Every human aspires to be very close to God, to be in His presence and to achieve unity with the Almighty. The real aim of a human birth is to experience God and to unite in Him. However there exists a veil of illusion between man and God. This is Prakriti (nature). Man has to conquer Prakriti to reach the Lord.
Worshipping the formless God is principally necessary to reach the goal, however this is highest type of action and is extremely difficult. An ordinary person cannot directly attempt to complete the university degree. He has to first and foremost complete his first grade, move on to 2nd grade, 3rd grade and so on and lastly attempt to complete the master’s degree. If the master’s degree syllabus is given to him when he is in the 1st grade itself, it is of no use to him. Idol worship is like the first grade syllabus. It is essentially the first step but is a very crucial step that needs to be completed. At the higher steps it is not needed. Therefore Swamiji likes both equally.
-Glimpses of Bhaktimala 4