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I used to think that all gods are one and the same but this specific verse from Bhagavata Gita seems to deny it.

The fruit gained by these people of small understanding, however is perishable, the worshippers of gods attain gods; whereas My devotees, howsoever they worship Me, eventually come to Me and Me alone.

Chapter 7, Verse 23.

Just in the previous verse Krishna says that he appears in whatever form the devotee desire, seemingly supporting that all gods are ultimately one and the same but just then he says the above statement.

Doesn’t it completely reject pretty much every sampradaya other than Vaishnavism?

What is the meaning of this verse?

3 Answers 3

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chapter7 verse 22, 23, 24 has to be read together to understand what Supreme lord Sri Krishna is trying to convey.

chapter 7 verse 22

Engaged with faith, that person worships that (deity) and his desire is fulfilled, but that (desire fulfillment) is delivered only through me.

chapter 7 verse 23

But, those with finite intellect obtain a perishable result. Worshippers of deities obtain those deities, (and) my devotees obtain me alone.

chapter 7 verse 24

The unintelligent, not knowing my unmanifest, supreme, incomparable and imperishable nature, believe that I assume a human form.

All the above verses, Sri Krishna is talking about the finite and the infinite goals. The way to reach him - supreme god.

Shri Krishna goes on to say that those who worship deities may eventually obtain the favour of the deity, who will shower them with his grace. Though commendable, this outcome will still be futile, because the deity is still a finite entity. Only those who seek the infinite Ishvara will gain infinitude by which their sense of finitude or incompleteness will be taken care of once and for all.

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According to Swami Sivananda: 7.23 Verily the reward (fruit) that accrues to those men of small intelligence is finite. The worshipers of the gods go to them, but My devotees come to Me. In commentary he says: Homas (rituals in which oblations are offered into the sacred fire) and Tapas (penance) of various sorts can bestow only temporary rewards on the performer. Liberation from the wheel of transmigration alone will give everlasting bliss and eternal peace.Those who worship Indra and others are Sattvic devotees those who worship Yakshas and Rakshasas (demoniacal beings) are Rajasic devotees and those who worship the Bhutas and Pretas (discarnate spirits) are Tamasic devotees.The knowledge of those who worship the small deities is partial and incomplete. It cannot lead to liberation.

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Subject: Clarification on the Concept of 'Reform' and the Meaning of 'Other Gods' in Its Historical and Literary Context. I have mentioned the book title and author at the end.

'Reform' encompasses changes made to social, political, or economic institutions and practices to improve them. To understand the significance of 'Gods' and reform in this context, consider the following chain of events and their necessity.

Initially, Vedic sages like Vasista, Vishwamitra, Kanva, and others introduced foundational spiritual concepts that were emulated in various fire and Vedic rituals.

Subsequent Aranyaka and Upanishad sages developed these teachings further. Sages such as Shvetashvatara, Balaki, Sanatkumara, and others facilitated the transition to the eras to the Philosophy of Singularity, Non-Duality, Purnatvam and more.

Then came Vyasa(s) who compiled and documented various past and present literature and concepts moving the reform towards Dharma and Bhakti, which was exemplified by Sri Krishna's influence to the highest order. The Brahmic Vedic sages still held prominent influence even at this point. Yet, Vyasa and his successors collected and restructured various literatures, bringing forth the Divinities of the Vedas, as well as later Cumulative Divinities such as Narayana (Vishnu), Rudra (Shiva), Hiranyagarbha (Brahma), and more.

This period was followed by the emergence of numerous Tantra sects and cults, with Buddha being a notable reformer. Buddhism incorporated Tantric practices, resulting in a significant shift away from Vedic Brahmanas.

The most influential and unifying reformer was Adi Shankara, a child prodigy who shaped the rituals of the current era, both residential and temple-based. He extracted the Bhagavad Gita from Itihasa, establishing its prominence today by connecting it to Upanishads and Brahmasutras.

Considering the Vedic literature from the Samhitas to the present, the 'Other Gods' reference pertains to those worshipped during the Vedic era using rituals geared towards material and heavenly wealth. In contrast, Sri Krishna's speech focuses on the more prominent Brahman aspects like Narayana, SadaShiva, Uma, and others.

For today's generation the term 'Other Gods' is a comparison limited to Shaivism, Shaktism, Ganapatyam, Saura, Ganapatya, and Skanda, representing a generational disconnect similar to a hypothetical interaction between baby boomers and Gen-Zs discussing cricket legends Gavaskar and Koli.

Source: Book The Spiritual Heritage of India. (Author: Prabhavananda). ASIN ‏ : ‎ B000NQ4REG Book 10: Vedanta and its Great exponents (includes various reformers Goudapada, Samkara, to Sri Ramakrishna) Book 1- 2: explores the Vedas to latest literatures Book 3: Shows the evolution of Buddhism

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  • Can you also add chapter number etc? Also why did you not update your existing answer and flag ?
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Apr 4 at 6:46
  • @TheLittleNaruto earlier post says "It was deleted yesterday by TheLittleNaruto♦." I have added the chapters. Apr 4 at 13:04
  • Then after editing the same post you could have flagged. There is no need of writing same answer in another post.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Apr 5 at 1:34
  • @TheLittleNaruto I did edit the same post and put in a request for undelete. nothing happened. Instead of deleting it directly a small gesture in the form of comment to add would have suffice. Apr 5 at 15:18

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