Actually all Vedic literature directs the human being toward the perfect stage of devotion. The paths of fruitive activities, speculative knowledge and meditation do not lead one to the perfectional stage, but by the process of devotional service the Lord actually becomes approachable. Therefore all Vedic literature recommends that one accept this process. In this regard, Caitanya Mahāprabhu quoted from the Lord's instructions to Uddhava in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
- na sādhayati māṁ yogo
- na sāṅkhyaṁ dharma uddhava
- na svādhyāyas tapas tyāgo
- yathā bhaktir mamorjitā
"My dear Uddhava, neither philosophical speculation, nor meditational yoga, nor penances can give Me such pleasure as devotional service practiced by the living entities." (SB 11.14.20) Kṛṣṇa is dear only to the devotees, and He can only be achieved by devotional service. If a lowly born person is a devotee, he automatically becomes free from all contamination. Devotional service is the only path by which one can achieve the Supreme Person. This is the only perfection accepted by all Vedic literature. Just as a poor man becomes happy upon receiving some treasure, when one attains to devotional service, his material pains are automatically vanquished. As one advances in devotional service, he attains love of Godhead, and as he advances in this love, he becomes free from all material bondage. One should not think, however, that the disappearance of poverty and liberation from bondage are the end results of love of Kṛṣṇa. It is in relishing the reciprocation of loving service that love of Kṛṣṇa exists. In all Vedic literatures we find that the attainment of this loving relationship between the Supreme Lord and the living entities is the function of devotional service. Our actual function is devotional service, and our ultimate goal is love of Godhead. In all Vedic literatures it can be found that Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate center, for through knowledge of Kṛṣṇa all problems of life are solved.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu pointed out that although (according to Padma Purāṇa) there are different scriptures for worshiping different types of demigods, such instructions only bewilder people into thinking that the demigods are supreme. Yet if one carefully scrutinizes and studies the Purāṇas, he will find that Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the only object of worship. For instance, in the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa there is mention of Devī worship, or worship of the goddess Durgā or Kālī, but in this same caṇḍikā it is also stated that all the demigods—even in the shape of Durgā or Kālī—are but different energies of the Supreme Viṣṇu. Thus study of the Purāṇas reveals Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to be the only object of worship. The conclusion is that directly or indirectly, all types of worship are more or less directed to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. In Bhagavad-gītā it is confirmed that one who worships the demigods is in fact only worshiping Kṛṣṇa because the demigods are but different parts of the body of Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa. That such worship of demigods is irregular is also stated in Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 7.20-23 9.23) Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam confirms this irregularity by asking the question: "What is the object of worshiping the different types of demigods?" In Vedic literature there are various divisions of ritualistic activities; one is karma-kāṇḍa, or purely ritualistic activities, and another is jñāna-kāṇḍa, or speculation on the Supreme Absolute Truth. What then is the purpose of the ritualistic sections of Vedic literatures, and what is the purpose of different mantras or hymns that indicate worship of various demigods? And what is the purpose of philosophical speculation on the subject of the Absolute Truth? Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam replies that in actuality all of these methods defined in the Vedas indicate the worship of the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. In other words, they are all indirect ways of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sacrifices contained in the ritualistic portions of these literatures are meant for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. Indeed, because yajña, sacrifice, is specifically meant to satisfy Viṣṇu, another name for Viṣṇu is Yajñeśvara, or Lord of sacrifices.
Since neophytes are not all on the same transcendental level, they are advised to worship different types of demigods according to their situation in the different modes of material nature. The idea is that gradually such neophytes may rise to the transcendental plane and engage in the service of Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For instance, some neophytes who are attached to flesh eating are advised by the purāṇas to eat flesh after offering it to the deity Kālī.