Is It Good to Invoke Astral Beings? Should God Be Worshipped With or Without Form?


What are the different ways to invoke astral beings? Since rites & rituals are used in both, invoking a Deva or invoking God through an idol, what kind of worship leads to God? It is said that some forms are not fit for devotion. If this is true, then why do saints say that it doesn’t matter what form you worship, since all of those belong to God only? Also, in Bhagavad Gita, ch. 7, Krishna rejects devotion to form but in ch. 12 he supports it. It’s too confusing, please explain.

—S, India


Dear One,

It is not recommended to invoke astral beings. There are of all kinds of them, and even the highest ones are not like Masters or Divinities. This is why Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita (7:23): “Men of meager understanding, however, (in limiting their worship to the lesser gods) receive limited results. Devotees of the lower gods go to those gods. Devotees who worship Me (the Infinite One) come to Me.”

You can use an idol and worship it, if you see the infinite, almighty, absolute God behind it. Any form will do, but the devotion should always be directed to the Supreme, not to any astral being. They are not fit for devotion.

Yes, Krishna advises devotion to form, but then guides the devotee finally to the unmanifested Supreme, without form. In this sloka for example he advises devotion to form for most human beings (12:5): “Those who make the Unmanifested their primary goal make the path more difficult for themselves. Arduous for embodied beings is that path.”

Then as you say, he speaks about the absolute formless Brahman (13:12): “I will now tell you what knowledge one should pursue: true knowledge, which bestows immortality. Hear (what I have to say) about the Supreme, Beginningless Brahman: He who cannot be said either to exist or not to exist (since existence implies coming into being).”

In essence: Krishna (and Yogananda too) advocates devotion to form, since that is, for most human hearts, easier and more spontaneous. But then they lead you gradually to the infinite and formless reality. The highest Truth has no form, but is eternal formless blissful Consciousness: the Supreme, Beginningless Brahman.

May your heart blossom towards God, that is the most important.