As part of devotional service, Vaiṣṇavas protect the body for the service of the Lord, but those who are gross materialists accept the body as the self. They worship the body by the yogic process of meditation on the different bodily parts, such as maṇipūraka, dahara and hṛdaya, gradually rising to the brahma-randhra, on the top of the head. The first-class yogī who has attained perfection in the practice of the yoga system ultimately passes through the brahma-randhra to any one of the planets in either the material or spiritual worlds. How a yogī can transfer himself to another planet is vividly described in the Second Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
In this regard, Śukadeva Gosvāmī has recommended that the beginners worship the virāṭ-puruṣa, the gigantic universal form of the Lord. One who cannot believe that the Lord can be worshiped with equal success in the Deity, or arcā form, or who cannot concentrate on this form is advised to worship the universal form of the Lord. The lower part of the universe is considered the feet and legs of the Lord's universal form, the middle part of the universe is considered the navel or abdomen of the Lord, the upper planetary systems such as Janaloka and Maharloka are the heart of the Lord, and the topmost planetary system, Brahmaloka, is considered the top of the Lord's head. There are different processes recommended by great sages according to the position of the worshiper, but the ultimate aim of all meditational yogic processes is to go back home, back to Godhead. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, anyone who reaches the highest planet, the abode of Kṛṣṇa, or even the Vaikuṇṭha planets, never has to come down again to this miserable material condition of life.
The Vedic recommendation, therefore, is that one make the lotus feet of Viṣṇu the target of all one's efforts. Tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padam: the Viṣṇu planets, or Viṣṇuloka, are situated above all the material planets. These Vaikuṇṭha planets are known as sanātana-dhāma, and they are eternal. They are never annihilated, not even by the annihilation of this material world. The conclusion is that if a human being does not fulfill the mission of his life by worshiping the Supreme Lord and does not go back home, back to Godhead, it is to be understood that he is breathing just like a blacksmith's bellows, living just like a tree, eating just like a camel and having sex just like the dogs and hogs. Thus he has been frustrated in fulfilling the specific purpose of human life.
The next prayer of the personified Vedas to the Lord concerns His entering into different species of life. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, Fourteenth Chapter, that in every species and form of life the spiritual part and parcel of the Supreme Lord is present. The Lord Himself claims in the Gītā that He is the seed-giving father of all forms and species, who therefore must all be considered sons of the Lord. The entrance of the Supreme Lord into everyone's heart as Paramātmā sometimes bewilders the impersonalists into equating the living entities with the Supreme Lord. They think, "Both the Supreme Lord and the individual soul enter into the various bodies; so where is the distinction? Why should individual souls worship the Paramātmā, or Supersoul?" According to them, the Supersoul and the individual soul are on the same level; they are one, without any difference between them. There is a difference, however, between the Supersoul and the individual soul, and this is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, Fifteenth Chapter, wherein the Lord says that although He is situated with the living entity in the same body, He is superior. He is dictating or giving intelligence to the individual soul from within. It is clearly stated in the Gītā that the Lord gives intelligence to the individual soul and that both memory and forgetfulness are due to the influence of the Supersoul. No one can act independently of the sanction of the Supersoul. The individual soul acts according to his past karma, reminded by the Lord. The nature of the individual soul is forgetfulness, but the presence of the Lord within the heart reminds him of what he wanted to do in his past life. The intelligence of the individual soul is exhibited like fire in wood. Although fire is always fire, it is exhibited in a size proportionate to the size of the wood. Similarly, although the individual soul is qualitatively one with the Supreme Lord, he exhibits himself according to the limitations of his present body. But the Supreme Lord, or the Supersoul, is unlimited. He is said to be eka-rasa. Eka means "one," and rasa means "mellow." The transcendental position of the Supreme Lord is that of eternity, bliss and full knowledge. His position of eka-rasa does not change in the slightest when He becomes a witness and advisor to the individual soul in each individual body.
But the individual soul, from Lord Brahmā down to the ant, exhibits his spiritual potency according to his present body. The demigods are in the same category with the individual souls in the bodies of human beings or in the bodies of lower animals. Intelligent persons, therefore, do not worship different demigods, who are simply infinitesimal representatives of Kṛṣṇa manifest in conditioned bodies. The individual soul can exhibit his power only in proportion to the shape and constitution of the body. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, can exhibit His full potencies in any shape or form without any change. The Māyāvādī philosophers' thesis that God and the individual soul are one and the same cannot be accepted because the individual soul has to develop his power according to the development of different types of bodies. The individual soul in the body of a baby cannot show the full power of a grown man, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, even when lying on the lap of His mother as a baby, could exhibit His full power by killing Pūtanā and other demons who attacked Him. Thus the spiritual potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is said to be eka-rasa, or without change. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, therefore, is the only worshipable object, and this is perfectly known to persons who are uncontaminated by the modes of material nature. In other words, only the liberated souls can worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Less intelligent Māyāvādīs take to the worship of the demigods, thinking that the demigods and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are on the same level.
The personified Vedas continued to offer their obeisances. "Dear Lord," they prayed, "after many, many births, those who have actually become wise take to the worship of Your lotus feet in complete knowledge." This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, wherein the Lord says that after many, many births a great soul, or mahātmā, surrenders unto the Lord, knowing well that Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is the cause of all causes. The Vedas continued: "As already explained, since the mind, intelligence and senses have been given to us by God, when these instruments are actually purified there is no alternative but to engage them all in the devotional service of the Lord. A living entity's entrapment in different species of life is due to the misapplication of his mind, intelligence and senses in material activities. Various kinds of bodies are awarded as the result of a living entity's actions, and they are created by the material nature according to the living entity's desire. Because a living entity desires and deserves a particular kind of body, it is given to him by the material nature, under the order of the Supreme Lord."