Those who worship the gods go to the gods. Those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors. Those who worship the spirits go to the spirits, but those who worship Me (God) assuredly come to Me.
This verse is a reflection of the teachings we got in chapter eight regarding what the mind is fixed on—what is ‘worshipped’—at death that determines what comes after. We know who “Me” is, but what is meant by gods, ancestors and spirits?
Gods could mean the senses, specific deities, or desires one gets obsessed with. Worshipping ancestors could mean placing ‘family’ first, dead or alive. Spirits could mean the dead, ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night, even the nice ones, or attaching entities, nice or not nice. Whatever one is attentive to at death, that is where one will go, or what one will become.
The verse refers to the most common things people will place before God. Whether this done consciously or not, is irrelevant. It doesn’t just mean in your mind and heart, but in what you do, how you use your time, your money and your energy. If you place desires before God, if you place family before God, if you place spirits before God, this is what you will get for your trouble.
With the mind, attention, consciousness fixed on God however, you would go to God. This is a certainty, and is the most practical purpose of yoga: It causes one’s mind to be occupied with God rather than the mundane. If this is the only reason you take up yoga, it is worth doing.