Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 7, Verse 21

यो यो यां यां तनुं भक्त: श्रद्धयार्चितुमिच्छति |
तस्य तस्याचलां श्रद्धां तामेव विदधाम्यहम् || 21||

yo yo yāṁ yāṁ tanuṁ bhaktaḥ śhraddhayārchitum ichchhati
tasya tasyāchalāṁ śhraddhāṁ tām eva vidadhāmyaham

yaḥ yaḥwhoever; yām yāmwhichever; tanumform; bhaktaḥdevotee; śhraddhayāwith faith; architumto worship; ichchhatidesires; tasya tasyato him; achalāmsteady; śhraddhāmfaith; tāmin that; evacertainly; vidadhāmibestow; ahamI

Translation

BG 7.21: Whatever celestial form a devotee seeks to worship with faith, I steady the faith of such a devotee in that form.

Commentary

Faith in the worship of the Supreme Lord is the most beneficial kind of faith, which comes with true knowledge. However, if we look around us in the world, we find innumerable devotees of the celestial gods as well, who engage in their devotion with firm and unflinching faith. We may wonder how these people develop such a high level of faith in a lower form of worship.

Shree Krishna provides the answer in this verse. He says that faith in the celestial gods is also created by him. When he sees people seeking to worship the devatās for the fulfillment of their material desires, he steadies their faith and helps them in their devotion. The celestial gods themselves do not have the ability to generate faith in their devotees. It is the indwelling Paramātmā (Supreme Soul), who inspires śhraddhā in them. As Shree Krishna states in verse 15.15, “I am seated in the hearts of all living beings, and from me comes memory, knowledge, and understanding.”

One may ask that why does the Supreme Lord create faith in the celestial gods, when such faith is inappropriately placed. This is just as parents allow their children to shower affection on dolls as if they were real babies. The parents know their child’s affection for the doll is out of ignorance, and yet they encourage the child to love and play with dolls. The reason is that the parents know this will help develop qualities of affection, love, and care, which will be beneficial when the child grows up. Similarly, when souls worship the celestial gods for material gains, God steadies their faith, in the expectation that the experience will help evolve the soul upward. Then, one day the soul will surrender to the Supreme Lord, understanding him to be the summum bonum of everything.