There are many paths for the spiritual aspirant. The goal is to realise the ultimate truth of the all-perfect and infinite God. The Bhagavad Gita explains karma, bhakti and jnana as equally efficacious in the journey undertaken by the determined soul to seek God. But Lord Krishna places bhakti a cut above the rest when He declares that devotion to the Supreme brings its own great reward of God realisation, said Swami Gautamananda in a lecture.
The Lord has assumed manifold forms — Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kali, Rudra, Brahma, Vishnu, and so on, giving rise to a variety of devotees. Moreover, people have been worshipping Him differently in different ages. In Vedic times, there were no temples and worship was done through yagas and yagnas. They observed the ritual worship of fire and ritualistic offerings were made to the fire and Agni is believed to carry the offerings.
There are others who think of God as father, mother, grandfather, etc. Some constantly praise His glory with hymns or chant His names. They offer flowers, fruits, etc. to Him, or decide to observe vows for His sake and take pains to fulfil these.
The Lord is seen as the sustainer and the distributor of the fruits of our actions. He does this in the most impartial and just manner. His law of rewarding good and punishing the wicked holds good at all times and for all people.
The highest and beneficial knowledge is that pertaining to God. He is our source and destination. His name can nullify the effects of all the sins the jivatma has accumulated through countless births.
Accepting His supremacy, people worship Him as the abode, the beginning, the friend and the refuge. Though the human being seems to function independently with his body, senses, will power and intellect, there is an unseen force unifying the personality of the being and this is God. Even the leaf on the tree branch cannot quiver without this life-giving subtle factor.
His transcending nature is thus approachable to those who recognise Him while others who are blind to this continue in this cycle of birth.