“There are also devotees, known as bhāgavatas, who worship You as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After being properly initiated in the method of Pañcarātra, they decorate their bodies with tilaka and engage in worshiping Your different forms of viṣṇu-mūrti. There are others also, known as Śaivites, followers of different ācāryas, who worship You in the form of Lord Śiva.”
It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that worship of demigods is also indirectly worship of the Supreme Lord. But such worship is not orthodox, because the worshipable Lord is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa. Demigods such as Brahmā and Śiva are incarnations of the material qualities, which are also emanations from the body of Nārāyaṇa. Actually, there was no one existing before the creation except Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The worship of a demigod is not on the same level as worship of Nārāyaṇa.
Akrūra said, “Although the minds of those who are devotees of the demigods are fixed on a particular demigod, because You are the Supersoul of all living entities, including the demigods, worship of the demigods indirectly goes to You. Sometimes, after flowing down from the mountains during the rainy season, small rivers fail to reach the sea; some reach the sea and some do not. Similarly, the worshipers of the demigods may or may not reach You. There is no guarantee. Their success depends on the strength of their worship.”
According to the Vedic principles, when a worshiper worships a particular demigod, he also conducts some ritual for Nārāyaṇa, Yajñeśvara, for, as it is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā, the demigods cannot fulfill the desires of their worshipers without the sanction of Nārāyaṇa, or Kṛṣṇa. The exact words used in the Bhagavad-gītā are mayaiva vihitān hi tān, which mean that the demigods can award some benediction after being authorized by the Supreme Lord. When a demigod worshiper comes to his senses, he can reason as follows: “The demigods can offer benedictions only after being empowered by the Supreme Lord, so why not worship the Supreme Lord directly?” Such a worshiper of the demigods may come to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but others, who take the demigods as all in all, cannot reach the ultimate goal.
Akrūra continued to pray, “My dear Lord, the whole world is filled with the three material modes of nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance. Everyone within this material world is covered by these modes, from Lord Brahmā down to the nonmoving plants and trees. My dear Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because You are beyond the influence of the three modes. Except for You, everyone is being carried away by the waves of these modes. My dear Lord, fire is Your mouth, the earth is Your feet, the sun is Your eye, the sky is Your navel, and the directions are Your ears. Space is Your head, the demigods are Your arms, the oceans and seas are Your abdomen, and the winds and air are Your strength and vitality. All the plants and herbs are the hairs on Your body, the clouds are the hair on Your head, the mountains are Your bones and nails, the days and nights are the blinking of Your eyelids, Prajāpati (the progenitor) is Your genitals, and the rains are Your semen.
“My dear Lord, all living entities, including different grades of demigods and different grades of overlords, kings and other living entities, are resting in You as parts and parcels of the big unit. One cannot know You by experimental knowledge. One can simply understand Your transcendental existence to be like the great ocean, in which different grades of living entities are included, or like the uḍumbara fruit, out of which small mosquitoes come. My dear Lord, whatever eternal forms and incarnations You accept when You appear in this world are meant for relieving the living entities of their ignorance, illusion and lamentation. All people, therefore, can appreciate the incarnations and pastimes of Your Lordship and eternally glorify Your activities. No one can estimate how many forms and incarnations You have, nor can anyone estimate the number of universes that are existing within You.