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God and gods
According to the Vedic scriptures, there are countless eternal living beings throughout the material and spiritual worlds. All these living beings are conscious, but amongst them one is supremely conscious. He is the singular supreme, because He is maintaining all the others, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman (Katha Upanishad 2.2.13) And, according to all the authorized scriptures, that supreme being is Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Under Him, there are many subordinate gods or controllers, called as 'demigods'.
Most people think 'All gods are equal' or 'You can worship any god; you'll go to the same destination' or T am god, you are god, everyone is god'. But actually these are all misconceptions. One should clearly understand the difference between the positions of the demigods, Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna. Without a proper understanding of this subject, one can never attain the perfection of life.
Many people argue, "Why do you discriminate between one god and another god? All paths lead to the same goal. All gods are one. All gods are equal". This imaginary philosophy may sound nice to hear, but the actual reality is completely different. Can you ask why you discriminate between the Managing Director and the peon in a company? In a company, there is a natural hierarchy extending from the owner, the Managing Director, the Works Manager, the Shop Superintendent down to the supervisors and workers. In the same way, in the cosmic hierarchy, there is the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, who is the owner and proprietor of all that exists, and there are innumerable subordinates who serve Him.
In this connection, some people quote.
akaashuth patitam toyam yatha gacchati sagaram
sarva deva namaskarah keshavam prati gacchati
"Just as a drop of water falling from the sky ultimately goes to the ocean, in the same way all worship performed for all the demigods ultimately goes only to Lord Keshava (Krishna)."
On the basis of this verse, such people claim, "Whether we worship Shiva, Brahma, Ganesh, Vishnu or Krishna, it is all the same. Ultimately everything goes to the Brahmajyoti or the unknown Absolute Truth." If the claim of such people has any substance, then the verse should read as follows: "sarva deva namaskarah brahmajyoti prati gacchati". But the actual verse mentioned above clearly distinguishes between 'sarva deva' (all demigods like Shiva, Karttikeya, Ganesh) and 'keshavam prati " (Lord Shri Krishna). This shows that Lord Keshava or Krishna has a unique position above all the other demigods. Although it is true that all our offerings to the demigods are meant actually for the pleasure of Krishna, still they are not a direct offering of love to Krishna. Worshipping the various demigods is like watering the branches, leaves, twigs etc of a tree, whereas worshipping Lord Krishna directly is like watering the root of the tree.
In the cosmic hierarchy, all the living entities are divided into three principal categories: