Should I serve Deities?
[The following is the bhāva anuvāda of a darśana given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja at Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha, Māyāpura on March 9, 2014.]
Question: Can I get Deities and serve Them?
Śrīla Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It is very good to have Deities. But it is not so easy to serve Them. For those who have not developed the steadfastness to serve the Deities properly, it is better that they first take shelter of harināma. They will get the same result.
‘nāma’, ‘vigraha’, ‘svarūpa’ — tina eka-rūpa
tine ‘bheda’ nāhi, — tina ‘cid-ānanda-rūpa’
[The Lord’s holy name, His form and His personality are all one and the same. There is no difference between them. Since all of them are absolute, they are all transcendentally blissful. (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 17.131)]
deha-dehīra, nāma-nāmīra kṛṣṇe nāhi ‘bheda’ jīvera dharma — nāma-deha-svarūpe ‘vibheda’
[There is no difference between Kṛṣṇa’s body and Himself or between His name and Himself. But as far as the conditioned soul is concerned, one’s name is different from one’s body, from one’s original form and so on. (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 17.132)]
The Deities and the holy name are non-different so for those who cannot serve the Deities properly or those who are having some doubts, it is better that they take shelter of the holy name.