Tuesday, January 31, 2012

[gita-talk] Re: Gita's View on Idol Worship, Is Idol Worship against Vedas and Not Recommended?

 

Sir,

I will be grateful if you can give views of Gita on Idol worship. Many claim that Idol worship is against the Vedas and it is not recommended.

Regards,

Satish Oberoi

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Hari Om

Concluding from my side, the Sanatan Dharma concept of God is not just of an omnipotent, omniscient, heavenly being rather that of an intimate and familiar even friendly and companionable personage; not merely a father figure, but a friend and even a BELOVED.

As regards, Brother Mike's observation that :
May they learn through Self-Realization to worship the
Eternal Essence of Brahman (God Almighty) within their own beings than
the lifeless idols

The answer is;

Worshiping the manifest Godhead (Sagun Brahma) is given preference over worshiping the unmanifest godhead (Nirgun Brahma) because for an embodied being the worship of the unmanifest or formless is explained as being both difficult and troubling. Thhe tenor of tolerance for all forms of worship is in clear evidence. However, the worship of divinity with form in the shape of Krishna or the numerous gods of the Hindu pantheon have CLEAR SANCTION without denying worship of the formless as equally legitimate if more difficult. ( BG 12:2/12:4/12:5)

As simple as that !!

A tolerant and inclusive approach towards diverse paths of worship is a recurring feature of the Gita. GOD APPEARS TO THE WORSHIPPER IN THE FORM HE CONCEIVES. Whatever the form of worship God acknowledges the prayer ( BG 4:11/7:21/7:22)

Externally divinity is ubiquitous, in every atom of creation and internally it is situated within as the indweller, the ATMA. (BG 13:27/18:20to 22/7:19/ 5:7/13:13-14).

Once this is the fact, how can there be an objection to Idol Worship?

Jai Shree Krishna

Vyas N B
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Vedic culture … Idol Worshiping … Influence from West

I understand Mike's reservations on Idol Worshipping knowing his background rooted in a Western thought process.

Let me emphasize again … any idolized notion is an idol no matter whether it is made of clay or stone or ideas! Whether a name such as Shiva or VishNu or Allah or God … whether a symbol such as Om or moon-and-star or a cross … or any natural form … or any human made form … as far as the understanding within remains notional IT IS IDOL WORSHIPPING ONLY … it is the PAGANISM irrespective of whoever does it in however form. Though the semetic religions conveniently coined this word to play the rest down, they remain PAGANISM as well till one understands the essence of life in its innate core.

Anything that has a tentative appreciation remains mere clay, stone, name and thought. ANYTHING THAT IS APPRECIATED WITH ABSOLUTE CONVICTION IS THE GOD AS SUCH.

Vedas do not refer to any temples. There is no archiological evidence for widespread reference to temple culture in Indian sub-continent till the westerners such as Greeks started influencing the culture. The appreciation of God was absolutely rooted in a firm acceptance that "Sarvam Khalu Idam Brahmaa" and hence always invoked through Yagnya (Existential Change which is catalyzed in a fire for one's witness). Of course, same philosophy continued even with Murti Poojaa. Arjuna could invoke The Vaasudeva (THE LORD OF ALL) in a Vaasudeva (son of Vasudeva). A Raama could invoke Lord Shiva in sand … Lord Raama is invoked by mere a chant … EVERYTHING is invoked in NOTHING by a VasishTha … IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT IS THE MEDIUM … ALL THAT MATTERS IS WHAT IS INVOKED!!!

Typical Murti Pooja prefers any natural element such as clay or stone or a tree or any other simple and easily accessible thing to start with. Then the seeker vests one's very vitality in the Murti - it is called PraaNa PratishThaapanaa. Then the seeker is enabled to (1) visualize the cosmic realities through a simple natural object that is in front on one hand; and (2) appreciate what oneself IS with a pure witness perspective on the other hand. PraaNa PratishThaapanaa is an essential understanding here - an innate appreciation of THE LIFE everywhere, with no exceptions! Even today, the best Murti Poojaa that is recommended is this rather than going to a temple!! One's very body is the best temple of all … enquiry into The Self within is the best worship of all …

The temple culture started as a social element as it serves an excellent tool for building societies, as it happened in the west. It caught up with the east as well due its social benefits. Also, the kings and emperors loved the idea as it promotes the power centers to their own benefit. That is religion - a power mongers' ideology … so many wars have been waged in its name leading to unthinkable human carnage. Even the recent world wars and gulf wars have their strong roots in such religious beliefs. To me THAT IS PAGANISM which means God is never understood and has been used as a tool for convenience! It includes all religions as far as the attitude behind remains so!! Any such worship or prayer remains idle and limited to an idol!!!

Whether Vedic or Jain or Buddhist or Judaic or Christian or any other form of belief … a superstitious or ego-promotional acceptance is always a mere idol worshiping, an ignorant act that is rooted in ignorance (Tamas) and promotes the same blindening ignorance (Andham Tamas) further in its seeker!

On the other hand … revelation is always revelation being truthful and truth-leading irrespective of how it is initiated … after-all, one could start ONLY with a notion or an image … therefore, ONLY IDOL WORSHIP can be a starting point to any … as far as one is firmly committed to THE TRUTH, one will verily lead oneself to THE ONE SELF irrespective of the path of initiation …

Tasyai tapo damah karmeti pratishThaa | Vedaah sarvaangaani | Satyamaayatanam ||

Respects.

Naga Narayana.

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-Shree Hari-

Namaste!

Re original question: 'Many claim that Idol worship is against the Vedas
and it is not recommended'. Well the Vedas were silent on the subject as
it was not practised in Vedic time, but came in at the end of that
period. According to 'HIDUWEBSITE', it was when other tribes were
incorporated into Aryan society that murti worship came into vogue. By
the way this site is pro idol worship, and is honest in their appraisal.
In that site they say that the abstract concept of God is suited to the
intellectual, I am unable to to paste this as this site can not be copied.
Re '
"In other words, to experience "God is everywhere," worship of cow are
an immense aid. This is because the worshipper, has begun to believe
that "God is everywhere".

How can you believe in Vasudev Sarvam and not believe in idol worship or
cow worship, this phenomena therefore is strange and incomprehensible to
us !!! Please enlighten us and oblige ! This is what remains to be
learnt My Dear Humbly Saadhak !!' : Does one worship cow/idol,
because one sees God in all, or does one worship cow/idols to lift one
into the divine realm, you have no choice but to say both, or contactict
your quotes. My question is, in a state of seeing God in all, why bother
with idols, you might just as well worship a pile of bricks, why clay in
a shape of any deity, all deities are a product of the mind, there is
only one truth.

Re 'So long as you agree, Mike, that - "The pristine and flawless Vedic
scriptures did not contradict at all." - matter ends. ' . Have I ever
said otherwise, also may I add it most definitely did not contradict re
idols, as as far as I can asertain they were mute on the subject.

Re As far as term 'idol' (murti) is concerned let me state Gita calls
every Jeeva/body to be 'murti' only (14:4) Swamiji also says all born of
nature, nothing about worshipping them, and thus to loose affinity to
with Prakrti breaks the cycle of birth and death. So I say careful of
what you worship, also remember the original question.

Om ... Shanti....

Mike.

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According to me Vyasji's interpretation needs elaboration and clarity

See for example
he says a jeewa is murti - this is incorrect and inappropriate
as jeeva is our self or jeevatma, where as atmic part is the gods energy that sustains the jeewa which is conscious and sat but does not have anand bliss in it, there fore jeewa searches for this while god is energy in the form of sat chit and anand, the body is the murti and that although prevaded by energy is not conscious and neither has anand although it does have god's shakti in it but never an object to worship (Ken and Kath and Swetas upanishad) as it is said in all scriptures but little do the majority know about the real essence and this is the problem we have with bharam viswaas and it is cause of many a frustration in our Indian contient; and object of art is not an object of worship it is art and made by us who are incomplete at all times of our lifes unless we have achieved moksha, which can also be within a living body (Kath Upanishad)

kindest regards
Pandit Tularam
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Vedas' are considered the most sacred amongst all the Hindu scriptures. There are 4 main vedas. Rig Ved,Yajur Ved ,Sam Ved and Athar Ved.
Yajur Ved:- Consider the following verses from the Yajur Ved:
" Na tasya pratima asti (" There is no image of Him") [Yajurved 32:3]
" There is no image of Himwhose glory verily is great.He sustains within Himself all luminous objects like sun etc.May He not harm me, this is my prayer.As He in unborn.He deserves our worship [The Yajurved by Devi Chand M.A.pg 377]
ii) " He is bodyless and pure." Is mentioned in Yujurved 40:8 [Yajurveda samhita by Ralph I.H.Griffith pg 538]
2.Atharva ved . Consider the foowing verses fro Atharva ved:-
i) " Deev maha osi"
God is verily great" [Atharvaveda 20 58:3]
3. Rig Ved i) th oldest of all the vedas is Rig veda. It is also the one considered most sacred by Hindus.The Rig Ved states that " Sages(learned Priest) call one God by many names" [ Rigveda 1:164:46]
Brahma Sutra of Hindu Vedanta is:- " Ekam Brahm,dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan"
"There is only one Gog,not the second;not at all ,not at all.not in the least bit".

Thus only a dispassionate study of the Hindu scritures can help one understand the concept of God in Hinduism

Arpitha J
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Namaskar.

According to me, the majority of Hindus are not different than the majority of Muslims. They follow their parent's religion blindly. The majority of Muslims worship Muhammad beside Allah. The majority of Hindus worship Rama beside Ishwar.

There are some movement in the Hindu religion. For example Brahmo Movement rejects idolatry, statue and symbolism.

" They are enveloped in darkness, in other words, are steeped in ignorance and sunk in the greatest depths of misery who worship the uncreated, eternal prakrti -- the material cause of the world -- in place of the All-pervading God, but those who worship visible things born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like) in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness, in other words, they are extremely foolish, fall into an awful hell of pain and sorrow, and suffer terribly for a long time" [Yajur Veda 40:9.]

" I am God Almighty, I am the Light of the world like the sun. Neither defeat, nor death, can ever approach me. I am the controller of the universe, know me alone as the Creator of all. Strive ye diligently for the acquisition of power and wealth such ( as true knowledge). Ask ye of me. May ye never lose my friendship. I give true knowledge, which is real wealth, unto men who are truthful. I am the revealer of Vedas which declare my true nature. It is through the Vedas that I advance the knowledge of all. I am the prompter of the good and true. I reward those who devote themselves to the good of humanity. I am the cause, I am the support of all that exists in this universe. May ye never turn away from me. May ye never accept another God in my place, nor worship him." [RIG VEDA, 10:48, 5.]

[37:123] Elias was one of the messengers.
[37:124] He said to his people, "Would you not work righteousness?
[37:125] "Do you worship a statue, instead of the Supreme Creator?
[37:126] "GOD; your Lord, and the Lord of your forefathers!"
[37:127] They disbelieved him. Consequently, they had to be called to account.
[37:128] Only GOD's servants who are absolutely devoted to Him alone (are saved).

Thankyou and may God guide me,

Muhammed Irtaza

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Hari Om

So long as you agree, Mike, that - "The pristine and flawless Vedic scriptures did not contradict at all." - matter ends.

Rest all, is regarding practice of it by different Jeevas in different manner. Some may be perfect, some faulty. Not every idol worship gets you 'the real thing' ! But some get you definitely.. Say of Sun, Siva, Durga, Ganesha and Vishnu. There may be faulty or blind practices prevalent now or in past, but that does not vitiate the principle and sanctity. Certainly, through idol worship, many have got the 'real thing'. Certainly Gita recognises that. Certainly there are no contradictions among Scriptures.

We all have stated time and again that you do not worship 'idol made of clay/stone etc' . We worship the God believed to be existing therein. Same thing Swamiji has also categorically stated. That addresses a majority of your latest posting.

As regards your views that rather than offering flowers etc to lifeless idol , one should offer to living beings..please note what Swamiji Ramsukhdasji Maharaj has stated:

Worship of God through the medium of a "murti" is a matter of faith rather than of reasoning. The glory of God is revealed to those who have faith in Him. The worship and adoration done by these devotees is accepted and partaken by God. Just like God ate the "Kitchadi" (cooked rice and lentil) prepared by Karma bai; God ate the tikkad (flat bread cake) from devotee Dhannaa; God drank the milk prepared by Meera bai etc. It means God manifest Himself in an idol, in front of a devotee who worships Him with faith and devotion.

As regards your last para as to whether idols of Siva or Durga or Vishnu are made of clay or they are spirits...well it depends upon how you see that. If you believe they are made of clay, then they are made of clay. But if you believe your Beloved resides there, then He resides there.

Ultimately it is your 'sentiment' ! As far as term 'idol' (murti) is concerned let me state Gita calls every Jeeva/body to be 'murti' only (14:4) ! We all are 'murtis' only (In India you will find names of persons like Ramamurti, Krishnamurti, Shivamurti... As commonly as you find MiKes, Smiths, Johna...Ha) ! If you worship your parents, Saints, etc seeing God in them, you are worshiping God. What is devoid of God?

Where Gita is silent on 'murti' ? Refer an earlier posting by our Neetishji Dubey...he has given Gita verses referring 'murti' ! Paramatma is situate as 'avyakta murti' (unmanifest idol) in everything.

Jai Shree Krishna

Vyas N B
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why does the question arise that idol worship is against VEDAS ,so far as i know all the religions in some form or other want to have some picture or idol or even ideal whom they surrender physically mentally and emotionally .kabir has said ''pahan pooje hai mile to main poojoon pahad ''so highly enlightened as Kabir -people can concentrate but not ordinary personsand murtipooja is for common people ,family people and regulated life style ,religious rituals [karmkand ]etc as VIVEKANAND Ji has said hindu religion is quite scientific in the sense that common people who are not aware or educated for them if rules are made in the name of religion it is easier for them to follow ,-like hygiene, culture ,or character for the smooth running of the society .all of us like to have and have the phtograghs of our elders or those whom we respect ,so why should it be against VEDAS .jai shree krishna
Chaman Nigam

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Idols do have utility. prayers in conformity to an idol which serves to bless the intention in a prayer.different type of idols appear to have been invented by our seers for psychic treatment and raise confidence and will power.many people prayers share blessings like a cooperative bank.god on its own is the highest concept. And reality.
subhashtewari

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Everything is worship … there is no idol ever … there is no worshiping either …

There is nothing that is not Upaasanaa. Everything and every act is ever-submitted to THAT. Hence everything is Upaasanaa only … sometimes it manifests with specific qualities projected upon individual entities … sometimes it just remains in its sublime presence with no apparent qualities … The very life is Upaasanaa ... The very existence is Upaasanaa ...

THERE CANNOT BE ANY IDOL WORSHIPPING! Everything is submitted to THAT which transcends all idols altogether - remains exclusive to all in spite of including all!!

When everything - whether manifested or not - is ever-submitted to THAT, anything that apparently is submitted to any perceived idol is also naturally submitted to THAT transcending all hierarchies one can ever fathom in between.

When THAT is everything with absolutely no hierarchy in between, any submission to anything is directly submitted to THAT as such.

When no entity has an option not be in submission to THAT, how can there be any thing or act that can remain not submitted?! How can any remain outside the realms of worshiping??!!

Everything is in absolute submission to THAT … Sarvam KrishNaarpitam iti.

At the same time ... when THAT is everything, how can there be anything but THAT?! In that case, who worships whom? What is worshiping?? When there is NOTHING as any specific existence while THAT IS in all beings … there is neither a worshiper nor a worshiped ... there is no worshiping in reality ...

THAT JUST IS ... Vasudevah Sarvam iti.

Respects.

Naga Narayana.

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Geeta's view is same as Vedas that supreme cannot be idolised. However, Verse 5 of Chapter 12 says that Kleshaha Adhiktarah Tesham, Avyakta Askata Chetasam, Avyakta hi Gatihi Dukham, Dehavadbhihi Avaapyate. Verse makes Bhawad-Geeta's stand clear on the subject in which preceding two verses 3 and 4 describe what is to be achieved and how it can be achieved and also the characteristic of one who have reached the goal as Sarvatra Sambudhhayaha.
Hence although experience of Divine is without form, it manifests in Bhakta with form by his behavioural characteristics. Idol is necessary in the beginning to focus the waandering mind, later purifying it by Bhava Shudhhi by remebering the virtues of the Divine as manifested in the idol and ultimately abandoning the idol with respect when task is achieved.
Jayantilal Shah

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Dear Ones, Namaste!
From the posting of Mike, specially his last para I see the spirit of it and doesn't categorically diminish the value of Idol worship!
I couldn't see humble sdhaka's post though to make comments.
Swamiji has already answered it nicely.
My take is this.
In idol worship, we feel humility by thinking about the quality of diety, particularly when we prostrate at His/Her feet. It is one way we relate to God in the form of Idol or any such symbol. By reminding of the great power of Lord in front of us, we become humble and thus benefit .Humility brings egolessness in us, and this brings Realization down the road!
We are talking about true Humility, not just make believe!
So, if Idol worship works for one regardless of what is said somewhere, fine, do it. At some point we need to go beyond it to arrive at Our True Home - Godliness!
Without Idol worship also one can reach God! Afterall Vedanta is also a part of Vedas teaching us the highest Truth by the way of Direct Path of self-realization by Self-Knowledge!
Namaskar............Pratap Bhatt

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Dear all,
Gita accepted both 'Sakara' (Image), 'Niraka' (No Image/Shape) ways of worship. Gita recommended 'Sakara' worship to all, as ' Image worship' is easier for all including common man.

Vasudeva

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Idol Worship … Gateway as well as hurdle for spirituality …

Though spirituality encompasses existential realm by far, it remains rooted in the very same existence as far as the seeker remains within the existential realm. The only existential mechanism for learning is to observe, imitate, imbibe and feel. A respectful acceptance of the teacher is essential for this process. An IDOL is the only gateway to learn. Therefore, an IDOL is the only gateway for stepping into spirituality as well.

At the same time, an existing IDOL is the road block for the very learning process as one refuses to and/or is afraid of breaking the existing IDOL. An IDOL being a notion generated by an existential element, from existential resources and for serving existential needs OUGHT TO remain an existential entity, just a point in the infinite grid of universal existence. The disciple can never appreciate anything beyond the IDOL unless the associated paradigm is broken!

Therefore, Poojaa is the very first prescription to any. Observe and imitate the IDOLISTIC behavior to learn. Rituals dominate the process.

Next is to appreciate the characteristics of the very rituals, the idol as well as the learner - SaguNopaasanaa. That lets the disciple appreciate the nature of the IDOL being worshipped, the process of worshipping itself as well as the mirror reflection one experiences within. That alone lets the disciple transcend the very IDOL toward a bigger picture.

Only when one develops deep appreciation all three aspects - worshiper, worshipped and worshiping - one naturally makes another paradigm shift … absence of all characteristics and its nature - NirguNa. A truthful appreciation of the non-existence that always remains the basis for existence can be enabled only when one breaks the barriers of IDOL in general. ONLY THEN, it is a possibility for appreciating THE ONE that is both existence (SAT) as well as non-existence (ASAT) to experience the ultimate reality ... VAASUDEVAH SARVAM ITI ...

Keeping the ultimate in view, there are utterances here and there that IDOL worshipping SHOULD BE dropped … Nedam yadidam upaasate … yadasya tvam yadasya deveshvathanu meemaamsyameva te manye viditam … even if you think THAT could be a wonderful god that you believe and worship, your appreciation is verily limited and questionable indeed!

One has the be acutely aware of the nature of an IDOL. It is not restricted to just a physical image. Any image is an IDOL only … an essay of vocabulary ... a movie of imagery ... just a fiction churned within a mind! An IDOL is anything and everything one tends to believe to lock oneself within - a cosmic entity, a natural form, a physical form, a wall, or a cross, or a symbol, or a sound, or an idea, or a silence ... Vyaakrita as well as Avyaakrita ... Sat as well as Asat ... Existence as well as non-existence ... BUT ... ALL THESE ARE IDOL WORSHIPING (PAGANISM IN OTHER WORDS) ONLY!

Taking this ultimatum as reference, very often one attempts to mislead oneself as well as others by settling to some concept as NIRGUNA while the rest being SAGUNA. The very settling is an indication that the state of very settlement is characteristic of the state bringing the same into SAGUNA realm. Therefore, there is ONLY IDOL WORSHIPING even if it is toward some "AVYAAKRITA" ... until one appreciates THE ONE in ALL, in SAT as well as ASAT, in Vyaakrita as well as Avyaakrita, in Existence as well as Non-existence ... until one appreciates oneself as THAT in depth ... Aham Brahmaasmi ... until one realizes ALL in THAT ... Vaasudevah sarvamiti ...

Till then … IDOL WORSHIPING is the only way that we tread, that we can know, that we can experience. Only correction we can make is … DO TRUTHFULLY whatever you do … THINK TRUTHFULLY whenever you think … EXPERIENCE TRUTHFULLY however you experience ... for ONLY ONE REASON - to appreciate THE TRUTH in depth …

Tasyai tapo damah karmeti pratishThaa | Vedaah sarvaangaani | SATYAMAAYATANAM ||

Respects.

Naga Narayana.

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-Shree Hari-

Namaste!

Re : 'If there is no "murti", how will a devotee prostrate and to whom
will he offer leaves, flowers, fruits and water etc? It proves that
there is description of worship of "murti" in the Gita. In the same
manner if a devotee worships a cow, a basil-plant, a peepala-tree, the
twice born, a liberated soul, the Govardhana mountain, the Ganga and the
Yamuna etc., their worship is also worship of God. This sort of worship
easily leads a devotee to the thought that God pervades everywhere. It
means that worship of God through the medium of an "murti" is a
beneficial, virtuous spiritual discipline."
Whom will he offer leaves, fruit water ... try people who have a
need, not a lifeless statue that has no needs, the Ganga try to
sacrifice by an effort to clean it up and protect it. In other words
the worship by service.

In my group when we meditate, we sit in a circle, in the centre is a
candle, it is there to acknowledge the divine presence, not worshiped,
ie to indicate that meditation is in progress.

From a blog:

But where are the great many quotes in the various scriptures about idol
worship?

There is not even a single line in the Vedas or Puranas that support
idol-worship.

Thus if great learned men use the best Vedic quote, "Come down to us,
Rudra, who art in the high mountains. Come and let the light of thy
face, free from fear and evil, shine upon us. Come to us with thy love,"
and translate it into worship of stone idols we can only reel in
repulsion and disgust. If this is one of the "great many quotes in the
various scriptures of the different sects of Hinduism referring to the
worship of murthis", then we can only shudder in silence and utter aversion.

Hindus should remember that they are led to believe that only their
brahmins are empowered to act as middlemen between themselves and the
gods through elaborate rituals and lengthy sacred sequences of mantras.
For millennia ignorant masses have been conditioned that these temple
priests are able to communicate with the mighty deities represented by
stone statues infused with their shaktis (power) in elaborate rituals
only feasible by brahmins.

So what are brahmins without their visible idols? And what are
worshippers without common sense to distinguish between manmade rituals
and scriptural Truth? And how did the followers of the eternal Sanatana
Dharma succumb to such darkness?

The pristine and flawless Vedic scriptures did not contradict at all. It
was the priestly caste that perverted them for their own power, and
maintained it with a plethora of granite gods. And a billion Hindus
remain blind to one of the greatest falsehood perpetuated in the name of
God Almighty. May they learn through Self-Realization to worship the
Eternal Essence of Brahman (God Almighty) within their own beings than
the lifeless idols without, a stain on the Sanatana Dharma which even
the Great Adi Shakti denounces! { Is this true?}

Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam."
"His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye."
[Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]
Reflecting on the above Upanishad snaps the whole concept of Bhagavigita
Ch 11 into focus,' cannot see him with the eye', so try observing him
with the consciousness, notice I am not using the word seeing.
Worshiping idols is missing the point.

I would like to explore this whole subject via the Veda, as this was the
platform of the original question.

What say you Sadhaks.

I did a search on Sadhaka-Sanjivani on line, for murti no hits, and idol
no mention in Bhagavadgita, about five mentions in the cometary,why the
silence?
Are the Gods like Shiva, Shakti(goddess) and Lakshmi, and Sri Krisna
clay or are they spirit.

Om ... Shanti ...

Mike.
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Dear All,

Worship and prayer are modes of communicating with the all-pervading,omnipresent Divine, with a deep sense of Bhakti(roughly, devotion).
Nobody 'worships' idols as such.The expression 'idol worship' is misleading. People worship God in many ways; one such way is through idols or photographs.
One cannot pray to or worship 'nothingness'. Therefore, we must have a symbol or shape to keep our eyes on or to meditate upon or beseech or speak to.
If someone tells you that he does not worship any image , be rest assured, he is telling a lie ! A Muslim, for example, says he does not pray to idols or photographs;
but when he prays he brings to his mind the image of the Kabba or a similar structure or a mosque, or a saint or a darga. He does not pray to 'nothingness'
because it is not possible, by definition, to visualise 'nothingness'. He too, therefore, is praying to a shape or image that he brings to his mind. So is the case with
other religionists. They too have some symbol or image to pray to or worship.There is no such thing as a superior mode or method of worship, as long as one
prays or worships with total surrender and a deep sense of involvement in the Divine.

SO THEREFORE, REMEMBER , YOU ARE NOT WORSHIPPING OR PRAYING TO AN IDOL , BUT TO GOD, THE DIVINE. THAT IS JUST A SYMBOL FOR YOU TO KEEP YOUR MIND ON.

K.A.K.RAO.

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Hari SharaNam,

All the beings are idols (MURTAYA SAMBHAVANTI YAAH-GitaJi 14/4) produced by the combination of lower/APARAA and higher/PARAA natures of the Supreme (GitaJi 7/4-5-6, GitaJi-13/26) . Lord KrishNa, the Supreme, in the form of manifested idol (i.e. VYAKTA MURTI) himself says that everything is pervaded by me as un-manifested idol (AVYAKTA MURTINA - GitaJi 9/4) and not only that he is the universe/multiverse (VISWAMURTI GitaJi-11/46). The Supreme idol, whether manifested or unmanifested is beyond any imagination created with nature produced mind, intellect etc. He, being manifested, is fully unmanifested and vice versa. He has hands, legs, eyes, heads, mouths, ears everywhere and he is sitting while being all pervading. He experiences all the senses without having senses. He takes care of whole world without being attached. He enjoys all the attributes being free from attributes (GitaJi -13/13-14). He has infinite forms (ANANTROOPA, VISWAROOP, CHATURBHUJA, DVIBHUJA,..) . He has infinite names (RAM, KRISHNA, VISHNU, SHIVA, DURGA, GANESH, SKANDA, ... .).

Dear Mike Sir,
In my understanding, the translation of Gita 7-24 , as you have mentioned, is not correct. It has ignored the word AAPANNAM/limited/restricted. Because of that it has changed the whole meaning. You may want to look some other translations/commentaries.
Its should be like.....
The ignorant, not knowing my Supreme imperishable unparalleled BHAAVAM/nature/existence, think of me (the Lord/Bhagavaan who is already manifested and talking to Arjun), the unmanifest, as being limited by the manifestation (i.e. his manifestation is like ordinary being).
Similarily, we must not ignore the word "AASHRITAM" in GitaJi - 9/11 which is also talking about the same fact.

Also, your following sentence does not reflect the true meaning of the those verses.
Bhagavat Gita 7:19-21: "All those who do idol worship, All those who worship demigods are materialistic people."
These verses do not indicate that "idol worship is bad". Here, in 20-21, it is said that the ignorant, full of material desires/KAAMs worship various TANUM/bodies/forms of demigods and the Lord directs their SHRADDHA/faiths/sentiments to those demigods.

May all be blessed!
Niteesh Dubey

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Hari Om

This refers to postings of Brother Mike and Humble Saadhaka re: Idol Worship. Rest all saadhaks have given their categorical views in favour of idol worship. I beg pardon of all of you for a detailed reply- exceeding Moderator's Guidelines.

RE: OBSERVATI0NS OF BROTHER MIKE

At the outset my compliments for your deep research , study (svadhyaay) and striving. Your research is doing Divine service to all of us, believe me on that.

Gita is the nectar of all Scriptures including Vedas . It categorically believes in 'idol-worship' ... in all types of idol worship.. clearly and correctly so. There are no contradictions among Gita, Vedas , Upanishads, Bhagvatam, Ramcharitmanas or any other Great scriptures of Sanatan Dharma. Absolutely there are no contradictions at least on as important and crucial issue as idol worship. There is no question of "idol worship falling short of real thing"...oh no .. ! If ordinances of Scriptures are followed, certain idol worships get you the real thing most certainly..undeniably..easily..demonstrably..logically !!

At the same time it should be clear that you do not worship stone , you always worship Paramatma /Demi God...etc etc situate in that stone, metal, clay etc etc The Kabir's doha (two liner) referred by the Humble Most Sadhak is talking of those, who see merely a stone or some other thing but not Paramatma in that stone (Kabir attacked belief-less blind rituals more and tamasic worshipping Just As Gita too attacked them ).

The following are some verses of Gita from where the sanctity for idol worship can be inferred:-

Devotees prostrating before Me worship Me with devotion. (9/14); Whoever offers Me with devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I accept that pious offering of the pure in heart (9/26); Worship of God (in his five forms – Visnu, Siva, Durga, Ganesa and Sun-God, of the twice born, of teachers (including parents and elders) and of the wise liberated souls – this is called austerity of the body (17/14).

If there is no "murti", how will a devotee prostrate and to whom will he offer leaves, flowers, fruits and water etc? It proves that there is description of worship of "murti" in the Gita. In the same manner if a devotee worships a cow, a basil-plant, a peepala-tree, the twice born, a liberated soul, the Govardhana mountain, the Ganga and the Yamuna etc., their worship is also worship of God. This sort of worship easily leads a devotee to the thought that God pervades everywhere. It means that worship of God through the medium of an "murti" is a beneficial, virtuous spiritual discipline."

As regards your observations pertaining to worshippers of demi-gods going different way, as compared with worshippers of the Supreme referred in Gita ( 5 Supreme category Gods - Ganesha, Sun, Durga (Shakti), Vishnu and Siva) , firstly please note that idol worship is not limited to these two categories only. As per Gita, Idol worship can also be of
Yakshas (Say Kuber- Rajasic type ) ; Rakshashas ( Say Raavan- Rajasic Type) (BG 17:) ; of Pittars (abode of dead ancestors, elders, parents -9:25/17:4 - Rajasic) ; Bhoots, Pret ganas ( ghosts, spirits - 17- tamasic type ); Dwijas (Brahmins, Yogis, Teachers - 17:14) ; Seers and Saints/ Liberated Souls..17:14 ; Great Mountains (Refer Govardhan worship) , Rivers, ...what not ? Sure...but so what? How does that mean that Scriptures are contradicting between themselves? Idol worship is not controversially recognised in different scriptures - certainly not ? It is unanimously recognised. It is not that Vedas say something and Gita says another ! No... Not at all..! Results may be different based on Bhavas of worshipper but that is the case every where else be it charity or austerity or yagyas (sarifices) ..!!

Let me explain on your views one by one.

.. go to the different planetary systems where various demigods are situated,

Yes ! How does it vitiate the sanctity for idol worship? It does not. There are different results for different karmas emanating out of exercise of power of belief by different Jeevas. Those who worship Supreme alone (through say 5 forms) are worshipping only and exclusively Him and Him alone. Balance may be materialists even , may go to hells too, but so what? Where is contradiction among Scriptures? Where it is wriiten in Gita that idol worship always gets you God ?

just as a worshipper of the sun achieves the sun

Sun is one of the five Supreme. Sun is not demi-god. He is God Himself.

or a worshipper of the demigod of the moon achieves the moon. It is not that everyone, regardless of whatever demigod is worshipped, will reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Sure..! But which scripture promised that idol worship always gets you God? And how does that vitiate the sanctity for idol worship? Tamasic types worship idols of ghosts and spirits also but so what if they go to hells or become ghosts themselves?

That is denied here, for it is clearly stated that the worshippers of demigods go to different planets in the material world but the devotee of the Supreme Lord goes directly to the supreme planet of the Personality of Godhead.

So what...? Yes...where is contradiction?

Bhagavat Gita 7-24: "The ignorant believe that un-manifest Para Brahma (One God) incarnates or takes manifestations, because they do not completely understand My highest, immutable, incomparable, and transcendental existence."

It has nothing to do with idol worship.

Bhagavat Gita 7:19-21: "All those who do idol worship, All those who worship demigods are materialistic people."

Yeah Sure..! So what ? What is the contradiction? Do Vedas say otherwise?

Yajur Veda 3:32: "...Of that God you cannot make any images."

Where are images? The idols are as per descriptions given in Scriptures. Lord Siva having quarter moon on His Forehead or having Ganges in His hairs is not an image nor is Durga holding weapons or riding on Lion is some imagination.. Nor Lord Hanuman is output of imagination ..Nor Ganesha nor Sun ..Nor Rama nor Krishna ..who is out of imagination ? None.. ! Which demi-god or God etc is an image?

Yajur Veda 32:3: "God is formless and bodiless"

Okay but there is 'Samgra' of Him also. Where the Sakun Sakaar, Nirgun Nirakaar, Sagun Nirakaar etc are denied here. How does it contradict idol worship? Gita also says so at many places exactly or similarly. So what..?

Yajur Veda 40:8: "All those who worship the uncreated things, they are in
darkness, and you'll enter more into darkness if you worship the created things."

Who is worshipping stones ? Idol worship does not mean worshipping stone. You worship Supreme God, or Demi Gods, or Yakshas or Demons or Ghosts believed to be situated in them by you..! All of them are not created/uncreated by worshippers, for example, the idols may be created by sculptors but not God or demi gods believed to be situated in them . Lord Siva or Krishna or Ganesha ..they are not created or uncreated things..nay ..not at all. Actually, here Vedas are confirming Gita and talking about ghastly and tamasic idol worshipping.

Rig Veda, Vol.8,1:1: "All Praise are to Him alone"

Sure ! Who praises worship of tamasic type? Gita has not praised that. Gita has praised only of Supreme ; but then comes Devatas (sattwik) , then Yakshas/Rakshashas- Rajasic) , tamasic all sorts ..! Where iis praise in Gita also of any other except Him alone? Where is contradiction?

Rig Veda, Vol.6,45:16: "There is only One God, worship Him."

Sure ! But where does it say no one can worship any other ? Jeeva has "power to believe" ..a tamasic person may believe in ghost and as a result can become that also. Jeeva can go to hell also because of that but so what? Where is contradiction ?

RE: OBSERVATIONS OF HUMBLE SAADHAKA

As regards observations of Humbly Saadhaka, who claims unshakeable belief in Vasudev Sarvam, and always says 'All is God' but does not believe in 'murti pooja' and thinks that it is 'strange and beyond comprehension'.. my answer is 'Doosara Ayaa Kahaan Se (How other has come)' ?...If All is God where is scope for feeling strange? But, Param Shraddheya Swamiji Ramsukhdasji Maharaj says:

"He who does not worship anything, and only MAKES UP TALKS, he cannot realize that "God is everywhere"....
But those who merely say that God pervades everywhere but don't hold any object in reverence, have no divine sentiments of worship and devotion, and they are not really called devotees because they simply articulate "God is Everywhere" but do not really believe it; that is, they have not really turned towards God."

As regards question of the Humbly Saadhaka that " How can any idol represent the tattva or Paramaatmaa [assigned to be sarvavyaapak and anaadi and anant]? My answer is: Sir, if He is 'sarvavyaapak' then why can't He be in stone also? What is devoid of Him? Doosara Aaya Kahaan Se? - But the answer of Param Shraddheya Swamiji is:

"Worship of God through the medium of a "murti" is a matter of faith rather than of reasoning. The glory of God is revealed to those who have faith in Him. The worship and adoration done by these devotees is accepted and partaken by God. It means God manifest Himself in an idol, in front of a devotee who worships Him with faith and devotion."

That is what Swamiji has said, My Dear Humbly Saadhaka ! Now come to your observations about cow worship. Is there no God in a cow? DOOSARA KAHAAN SE AAYA ? Reply..! What difference does it make to the worship of cow or the God present therein if some body uses Liv-52 or has Italian marble flooring or likes creamy milk of a buffalo? Now read what Swamiji said about cow worship:

"In other words, to experience "God is everywhere," worship of cow are an immense aid. This is because the worshiper, has begun to believe that "God is everywhere".

How can you believe in Vasudev Sarvam and not believe in idol worship or cow worship, this phenomena therefore is strange and incomprehensible to us !!! Please enlighten us and oblige ! This is what remains to be learnt My Dear Humbly Saadhak !!

Jai Shree Krishna

Vyas N B

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very good reading .all many aspects have been covered nicely --jai shri krishna
Chaman nigam

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Gita's view on Idol worship is very simple and clear. Gita says that
the Ultimate Truth to be realised is that God is in everything however
big or infintsimal and everything is in God. This appears very abstract to start with and difficult to realize even follwing the various methods of yoga. It is therefore ntural that many people will like to visualise to start with God as something they can perceive easily, for example a force of nature like Fire or storm or thunder of an animal or a bird or a human being and they would like to keep looking at the picture or idol of such an image of God in the front of their eyes and in their mind to pray to him or worship him. This is like learning A for apple and b for bat in class 1: it is only after some years of scholling that one learbnns languages and only at a later stage learn to appreciate literature, novels, potetry etc. Similarly we learn to conut at the childhood age, thenn learn arithmatic and much later we can learn alegbra and calculus. Not all people get to the stage of mastering literature and hgher mathematics. In the seeking of the ultimate truth, some people will start at the class 1 stage and may remain there or reach upto class8. This is where idol worship is important. But some of them will go to Ohd leel or beyond in search of ultimate tryth as many
saints have done like Shri Ramakrishna, or Kabir. Eveb\n after they have
realised the Truth, they may continue ido worship. Since od resides in
everything, idol worhip is not inconsistent with Gita: but remaining in
idol worship without being able to realise the Truth is a failure to go
up: yet even sincere idol worship on a regular basis gives considerable
inner strentg to the people to live happily amidst all problems. It is
valuable in itself even if the timate Truth is not realised. But one
must know that God does not remain limited to a particular idol and must
not have an ego of pride tat one is worshipping an idol of God.
Vedas prescribe varoious rituals associated with worshipping God ad His
various forms like Fire, Sun, Earth etc. But Gita says that the ultimate
Tuth cannot be realised simply by following the rituals unless one fully submits to God, gives up all ego and desires, anger and hate, Rituals should enable complete submission to God and love for all.
You may like to read Swami Vivekanada's essays on Yoga, especially
BVakti Yga and Gyan Yoga to know his interpretation on this subject of
idol worship.

Basudeb Sen

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as we who are born in hindu families are exposed to idol worship fron the day we come to think or talk --first words that we hear is the name of ram, krishna ,shiv or any other god [incarnation]mata we are taught to namaskar or chant or the morning [good morning]by the name of god ,how can we br or our dharm [sanatan dharm ]be against idol worship .as said by swami Vivekannd - Hinduism is a way of life --you may not hardly follow the rituals but thinking and living is effected by the hinduism .jai shree krishna .

Chaman Nigam

====================================

-Shree Hari-

Namaste!

From: Hindu Scriptural evidence against making and worshipping idols.
Bhagavat Gita 7-23 : Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.
Purport: Some commentators on the BG say that one who worships a demigod can reach the Supreme Lord, but here it is clearly stated that the worshippers of demigods go to the different planetary systems where various demigods are situated, just as a worshipper of the sun achieves the sun or a worshipper of the demigod of the moon achieves the moon. It is not that everyone, regardless of whatever demigod is worshipped, will reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is denied here, for it is clearly stated that the worshippers of demigods go to different planets in the material world but the devotee of the Supreme Lord goes directly to the supreme planet of the Personality of Godhead.
Bhagavat Gita 7-24: "The ignorant believe that un-manifest Para Brahma (One God) incarnates or takes manifestations, because they do not completely understand My highest, immutable, incomparable, and transcendental existence."
Bhagavat Gita 7:19-21: "All those who do idol worship, All those who worship demigods are materialistic people."

Yajur Veda 3:32: "...Of that God you cannot make any images."

Yajur Veda 32:3: "God is formless and bodiless"

Yajur Veda 40:8: "All those who worship the uncreated things, they are in
darkness, and you'll enter more into darkness if you worship the created things."

Rig Veda, Vol.8,1:1: "All Praise are to Him alone"

Rig Veda, Vol.6,45:16: "There is only One God, worship Him."

So from that above it seems that idol worship falls short of the real thing.
Someone may ask me do you have any idols in your house, well I have an image of Guanyin and two Golden Buddhas, do I worship them, light candles, burn incense, offer gifts to them no, I just like their appearance, maybe they reflect a deep part of me, my bhava, do they stir in me something? Sometimes yes, do I use them for devotion? NO. They ultimately remind me of compassion and empathy, 'The Beloved' I really do not need to be reminded of.

Om ... Shanti ...

Mike

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IT IS FAR MORE KNOWLEDGE GIVING IF THE SUBJECT MATTER IS CONSIDERED IDOL USAGE THAN WORSHIP.IDOLS SERVE AS STORAGE DEVICES OF INITIAL INPUT ENERGY AND SUBSEQUENT PRAYERS AVAIL THE BENEFIC BLESSINGS.
subhashtewari

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Dear Sadaks,
Idol worship is ideal for sadaks. One has to concentrate all his mind on ONE thing first without any distraction. So a person first stars with idol worship, develops devotion, this devotion develops into Bakthi, this bakthis develops into Nis Kama prema Bakthi, the he see GOD everywhere and in everything like Prahalad. Only when mind reaches a stage where a person sees God as Omnipresent the he reaches godliness. God is said by Vedas, "Akshranam" (Divine Sound) Om, "apprameyam" (God cannot be seen with eyes and felt like object), which again means idol worship level overcome. Many Bakthas like Meera, Tukaram, Tulasidoss, Markandeya etc all first worshiped idol. The they reached heights where they saw God everywhere and in everything, then gave NO importance to idol worship.
B.Sathyanarayan

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Hari Om

Divine Moderators have already attached comprehensive views of Param Shraddheya Swamiji Ramsukhdasji Maharaj ! What then remains to be said? Ha..the very framing and language of question then becomes questionable !!!

No worship of Supreme is against Vedas ! You don't worship idol/ stone..you worship the 'avyakta' (unmanifest) Paramatma, interalia, situated in that stone ! It is your inner 'bhava' (sentiment) that gets credit not the outer couch. Your heart must melt in devotion. Swamiji often said: Yardstick of Vasudev Sarvam realisation is that what you get by worshipping an idol in a temple, you get the same thing by making prayer before a torn cloth !! It is 'bhava' all along !!
Actually , said Swamiji, to have a vision/thought/drishti of food in the prasad of God (Thakurji), drishti of water in Thakurji's charanamrit ( water which touched the legs of Thakurji's idol), drishti of stone in Thakurji's Shree Vigrah (idol) and of caste(jaati) in a Sadhu ..these drishtis take the seer into hells. Hence when you worship idol , your view/drishti/thought/vision/bhava should of seeing God in it...it should not be seeing a stone !!!

Jai Shree Krishna

Vyas N B
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Idol … worship … Poojaa … Upaasanaa …

Worship is an act in reverential submission. Worship to anything ought to be worship to The God. As Bhagavadgita declares often, the worship is always submitted to The Supreme irrespective of who and what is worshipped because HE IS EVERYTHING! Actually, there is no act that is not a worship in the whole universe because all acts and the very action is ever submitted to THAT ... Karma Brahmodbhavam viddhi! Therefore, there is no problem in worshipping any idol of your choice! However, one should be very cognizant that worshipping is FOR ONE'S OWN BENEFIT! GOD does not need any. The very notion that "HE may" drops the very god into a mere image, an inert, irresponsive and indifferent idol generating kind of desolation within the seeker.

Idolization is natural to any being. One puts forth one's life with idolization … mother, then father, etc. Idolization is the natural way of learning survival, imbibing the acts of survival that the idol exhibits and suggests. Since, idolization is so natural to everyone, it is the easiest approach for seeking Truth as well and hence promoted heavily in our scriptures. But, it is worthwhile noting certain subtleties here!

There are two types of worship: Poojaa and Upaasanaa. Both are meant for spiritual upliftment in the seeker's appreciation and are prescribed depending upon the nature of seeker.

Poojaa is one where the seeker submits oneself completely to another entity. An idol becomes a must in such an act. The worshipped entity ought to be relatively superior to the worshipper. The surrender becomes stronger as the worshipper perceives deeper sense of reverence toward the worshipped, The Idol. The prescription on Poojaa is to expand the very idol - be it an idea or an idol, or a picture or a person or nature or earth or sun or anything else - to its universal presence. Though the prescription is almost foolproof in its intent of dropping ego (Manonaasha) and realization (Aatmabodha), it has a subtle residual problem:

(1) Manonaasha: A trace of ego is shifted into the idol instead. For example, the worshippers often become violent if their idols are not respected in any form.

(2) Aatmabodha: The seekers stumble on mental blocks as the idol perceived is limited in its existential sense. Often, the seekers cannot break that barrier to appreciate the universal awareness.

As far as the worshipper (Poojaari) is always reminded of Poojaa's true intent, Poojaa is the most feasible, approachable and effective path for a seeker.

Upaasana, on other hand, means a paradigm shift. As the scripts says, the fellow within seems to be split in two - Ritam pibantou sukritasya loke ... one actively enjoying the ever-changeful world and another staying without any changes just as a witness. Upaasanaa is to shift oneself (as an individual perceived as doer, knower as well as enjoyer) to an epicenter in one's own perceived universe, to become the witness in spite of being active in this world. ANY ACT WHERE ONE IS ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THE WITNESS IS VERILY UPAASANAA! Once THE WITNESS is experienced, EVERYTHING is experienced as THAT IS EVERYTHING!

As mentioned earlier Poojaa is the starting point for any as it is closest to one's nature of day-to-day survival. Therefore one needs to bridge between Poojaa and Upaasanaa. Accordingly, Upaasanaa is of two types - SaguNa and NirguNa.

SaguNopaasanaa leads the seeker with the Poojaa with a paradigm shift - offset yourself to a witness of both the worshipper and the worshipped. It provides an opportunity to witness subject as well as object OBJECTIVELY... an opportunity to appreciate the true nature of the individual as opposed to the idol involved! ... an opportunity to appreciate all individuals and all idols collectively!! ... an opportunity to peek at a potential reality beyond all perceived qualities (GuNas)!!!

NirguNopaasanaa raises from SaguNopaasanaa as the witness stand becomes stronger. The seeker graduates naturally to appreciate the merger of the two distinct entities - the worshipper and the idol in their presence (Vyaakrita, SaguNa)! The empowered witness enables one to see the inseparable conjugate pair in their absence (Avyaakrita, NirguNa) as well!! One starts realizing the SaguNa in NirguNa and vice versa!!! The realization starts dawning in the horizons of one's innate presence ... THE ONE THAT EVER IS remains AS EVER ... all worshippers, all idols and yet neither a worshipper nor an idol, but JUST THAT.

Respects.

Naga Narayana.
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Respecting Idol worship, Respecting our Nation's/Team's Flag or Symbol, or Respecting our holy books are all alike.
In all of them we create a Form to evoke the sentiments. Thats the most easy and superior way for Humans to work for higher cause.

Human emotions quickly respond to external stimulus. We can stimulate them to move towards a higher or lower cause. Idols, Flags, books, symbols are the external stimulis whereby we can employ/direct the emotions towards higher cause.

regds,
rakesh

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Strange and beyond comprehension is this moorti-poojaa.
How can any idol represent the tattva or Paramaatmaa [assigned to be sarvavyaapak and anaadi and anant]?
What is to be said about polluting the air in several ways and worshipping pawan devataa?
The same is the case with cows. People prefer buffalo's creamy milk and consider cow's milk for the sick persons and children. Who cares what Bhai Sathyanarayan said? No man uses cow dung in marble floored rooms. Who (except one or two) will give gaumootra in liver trouble of kids instead of Liv-52 or alike?
Worshipping of idols in temples and letting the invalid and the diseased sleep hungry stomach in the neighbourhood.
Kabeer said,''paahan pooje se hari mile, to main poojoon pahaad ...."
What else remains there to learn?
Humbly,
Saadhaka.

---------------------------------------------

Shree Hari Ram Ram

Please read the attached Article by Swamiji from "Gita Darpan" published by Gita Press. Let us know if this has been helpful. Sadhaks please express your insights from the "scriptures"/Gita, regarding this topic. Ram Ram

|| Shree Hari ||
Ram Ram

On Idol Worship in the Gita

Ye sanatana dharmasthaah sraddhaa prema samanvitah |

Murti pujan na kurvanti murtau tu prabhu pujanam ||

According to our eternal Vedic principles devotees do not worship idols, rather they worship only God. It means God (Supreme Consciousness) pervades everywhere, however, to be particularly aware of Him, a "murti" (no exact translation, idol is being used) is created for worshiping Him. By doing so, meditation and thinking about God can takes place very easily and continuously.

If it is the "murti" that is being worshiped, then a devotee should have the sentiments within of it being a "murti", that it is stone from a particular mountain, it was created by some person, and brought here by another! In other words, O' Lord of stones, you please lead me to my salvation. However, no one says such a thing at all. Then how is it considered "murti" idol worship? Therefore devotees do not do idol worship, however they worship God in the "murti". This sort of worship is the beginning of devotion. This worship continues even when a devotee attains perfection.

Regarding "murti puja" the Lord declares in the Gita, "Devotees prostrating before Me worship Me with devotion. (9/14); "Whoever offers Me with devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I accept that pious offering of the pure in heart" (9/26); "Worship of God (in his five forms – Visnu, Siva, Durga, Ganesa and Sun-God, of the twice born, of teachers (including parents and elders) and of the wise liberated souls – this is called austerity of the body (17/14). If there is no "murti", how will a devotee prostrate and to whom will he offer leaves, flowers, fruits and water etc? It proves that there is description of worship of "murti" in the Gita.

In the same manner if a devotee worships a cow, a basil-plant, a peepala-tree, the twice born, a liberated soul, the Govardhana mountain, the Ganga and the Yamuna etc., their worship is also worship of God. This sort of worship easily leads a devotee to the thought that God pervades everywhere. In other words, to experience "God is everywhere," worship of cow are an immense aid. This is because the worshiper, has begun to believe that "God is everywhere". On the other hand he who does not worship anything, and only makes up talks, he cannot realize that "God is everywhere". It means that worship of God through the medium of an "murti" is a beneficial, virtuous spiritual discipline.

Besides worship of God, to worship body made of bones and flesh, in other words, to adorn our bodies with make-up, beautiful ornaments and clothing and building luxurious homes and decorating it with beautiful objects, is nothing but worship of idols which will lead to ruin.

** Something Worth Knowing **

Generally all the believers hold the opinion that God pervades everywhere; But those who have started worshiping Him through the medium of an "murti" or the Veda, the Sun, the pipal, the tulsi plant or cow etc. are really speaking, believers in God's all pervasiveness. Because, those who accept the presence of God in an "murti", the Veda, the Sun, etc, will on their own, begin to believe in the presence of God everywhere, and in all beings. Those who accept the presence of God only in a "murti" etc., they have been called "Prakrta" (Beginners) (Srimadbhaag 11/2/47) because they have begun the practice of worshippng God in one place, in other words, they have turned towards (developed inclination for) God. But those who merely say that God pervades everywhere but don't hold any object in reverence, have no divine sentiments of worship and devotion, and they are not really called devotees because they simply articulate "God is Everywhere" but do not really believe it; that is, they have not really turned towards God.

Worship of God through the medium of a "murti" is a matter of faith rather than of reasoning. The glory of God is revealed to those who have faith in Him. The worship and adoration done by these devotees is accepted and partaken by God. Just like God ate the "Kitchadi" (cooked rice and lentil) prepared by Karma bai; God ate the tikkad (flat bread cake) from devotee Dhannaa; God drank the milk prepared by Meera bai etc. It means God manifest Himself in an idol, in front of a devotee who worships Him with faith and devotion.

Question: How do we know whether God accepts and partakes in the food offered to Him by devotees?

Answer: In God's kingdom things do not hold importance, rather it is the sentiments "bhaav" that are important. It is due to sentiments only that God partakes in the food and the actions offered to Him. When a devotee has the sentiments of feeding God from the core of his heart, then God begins to feel hungry. Because of the sentiments of the devotee, the food that is partaken by God, that thing does not remain perishable, rather it becomes divine. Even if there is some defect in the sentiment of devotion, He is satisfied merely by the offer of food to Him. For God to be satisfied, things and actions are not important, rather only the sentiments are important. The saints also declare that God relishes the simplest dishes offered with devotion but He rejects the most delicious dishes offered without devotion.

Once I came across a devotee who served a saint with great reverence. He said that he knew that the saint was thirsty. So when he took water for the saint, the saint drank it. Similarly a chaste wife comes to know when her husband is hungry and thirsty and what dish he will relish in lunch or dinner etc. When that dish is offered to the husband, he declares that today he wanted to have that very same dish. Similarly a devotee comes to know when God is hungry and thirsty and foods God wants to relish.

A few anecdotes may illustrate the point -

There was a priest in a temple. His favorite deity was Bal Gopal (Krishna, as a boy). He used to make small "ladoos" (a sweet dish, a sweetmeat in the form of a ball) and place it near his head at night while sleeping because children get hungry at night. On day he forgot to put the put the "ladoos" so at night Bal Gopal told him in his dream, that I am feeling hungry. There is a similar incident. There was an ascetic. Every year after Diwali, he offered cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts etc. to the Lord. One year the nuts became very expensive, so he began to offer peanuts to the Lord. One day the Lord said to him in a dream - What ! Are you going to feed me only peanuts? Thereafter he once again began to offer cashews, almonds etc. Before he had some doubts as to whether God was partaking in the offerings or not? But once God told him in his dreams, then all his doubts vanished. This means that when food is offered to God, He becomes hungry and he accepts and partakes in it.

There was a sage who had a great appetite. One day he fell very sick. Someone advised him to frequently drink the cow's milk, but to only drink that milk that remains after the calf has been fed. He followed the advice of first letting the calf be well-fed and thereafter extracting and drinking the remaining cow's milk was quite filling. After a few days he recovered and became healthy. The act of justice has so much power that it can cure even sickness and satisfy the sage, then what to speak of an object that is offered with devotion to God !

Everyone must have realized the fact that when a person offers you food with love and affection, then that food has extra-ordinary flavor, it is delicious and that food helps in maintaining divine traits in you. Even animals are no exception. They too are influenced by the sentiments. When a cow dies leaving its calf behind, the calf is fed on milk of another cow. The calf remains alive with that milk, but he does not become well-nourished. The same calf if he had drank the mother's milk, then the mother would lick his body with love, and feed him, by which even with a little bit of milk, the calf would have become well nourished and healthy. When even human beings and animals are affected by the sentiment of affection, then what to speak of God Who knows even the hearts, minds and sentiments of devotees? It was because of this devotion of Vidura's wife that Lord Krishna ate the banana peel offered with great devotion. Again it was out of affection of the gopis (that Lord Krishna ate curd and butter by snatching it from their hands. The Lord says to Brahma -

"Naivedhyam purato nyastam chakshushaa grhyate mayaa |

Rasam cha daasjihvaayaamshraami kamalobhdava ||

"O lord of the Lotus! I accept and partake in the food preparations put before Me through My eyes but I relish these foods through the tongue of My devotee."

I have also heard the saints saying that sometimes God sees the food offered to Him with devotion, sometimes He touches it and sometimes He also eats a part of it.

As the father of a child gets pleased if the child hands over something to him, then he is very pleased, the father lifts his hands and says to the child, and tells the child to grow big and tall. Was that thing unattainable by the father? Did the father get anything of great importance when the child gave that thing to him? No! The father is pleased, simply due to the sentiments of giving expressed by the child. Similarly, God is not lacking in anything. Nor does God desire anything. Then too God is pleased when a devotee expresses the sentiment of giving (making an offering). But those people who decorate the temples and the idols only for cheating people, who offer delicious dishes to Him to deceive, then God does not accept their offerings. Such people, don't actually worship God, rather they are worshiping money, individuals and selfishness.

Those who call the devotees who make offerings to God, who worship and revere God as hypocrites, and themselves being filled with pride, consider that they are better, and not hypocrites, then such individuals cannot attain salvation. Those who are engaged in performing virtuous deeds in whatever way they can, they are virtuous as such, while those who renounce virtuous deeds out of pride will reap adverse fruit for their evil deeds.

Question - The wicked break "murti" of God, then why does God not reveal His powers, His miracles ?

Answer - He who does not have good sentiments towards God's idols, he who is averse to those who worship and pray to God's idols, and he who destroys the idols out of hatred, why at all would God reveal His powers and His miracles in front of these people? God's greatness is revealed when there is faith.

Those who worship God in an Idol due to their sentiments - "God is present in this Idol" being weak, therefore when evil men who destroy the idols, God does not reveal His powers. But those devotees who have complete and implicit faith and belief that "God is present in this idol," then there God reveals His miraculous powers. Just like in Gujarat near Surat there is a temple of Lord Siva. In the emblem of Lord Siva (Siva Linga) there are many holes. The reason is that when the Muslims came to destroy that emblem of Lord Siva, innumerable large bees came out of that emblem and it caused the Muslims to flee.

The candidates who want to pass an examination respect the examiner because their success depends on him. But God has not to pass any one's examination. Because God's passing in exam does not make Him greater, and His failure does not make Him weaker. Just as when Ravana sends Maricha disguised as a fraudulent golden deer in order to put Lord Rama to test, the Lord chases the deer. It means that He fails in the test given to Him by Ravana. Now what certificate did he wish to get from Ravana! Similarly God fails in the examination given to him by those who destroy temples. The Lord does not reveal His glory to them because they come to Him with evil sentiments rather than as devotees.

A man according to his sentiments has different dealings with his wife, mother, and sister, though the female bodies are of a similar type. Similarly an idol made of stone, brass or silver is God for a devotee while for a non-believer it is merely an idol made of stone, brass or silver. The properties of each are different, but the sentiments are one and the same (i.e. it is the presence of God in the idol). It is in the sentiments that one can find God -

"God reside neither in wood nor in stone nor in clay but He resides in the sentiment; therefore sentiment plays an important role." (Garuda. Uttara 3/10)

There was an ascetic, that was free from worldly desires. He had two idols - one of the Lord Ganesa and another of a rat - both of the same weight. The ascetic had to go to Ramesvarama for pilgrimage. So he wanted to sell the two idols to a goldsmith. The goldsmith weighed the two and said that he would pay Rs. 500 for each. The ascetic said, "How can both cost the same? One of them is Lord Ganesa while the other is his vehicle." The goldsmith said, "Sir! I don't value Lord Ganesa or the rat; I value only gold". The ascetic's sight was only on Lord Ganesa and the rat whereas the goldsmith's sight was only on the gold. Similarly those who destroy idols perceive stone and brass etc., rather than God in the idol.

In fact all animate and inanimate beings and objects etc., are the manifestations of God. Those who have the sentiments and believe that God pervades every where, behold God in every being and object. But those who attach importance to the world, they behold the various beings and objects as separate. Similar it can be understood with the idols.

Question - The wicked break idols of God, then why does God not reveal His powers, His miracles ? (continued)

Answer: (continued) People worship the deities (idols) with faith, they sing glories and pray to the Lord; because they see something extra-ordinary in the idol; but those who destroy the idols, they too perceive something special in these idols. If they did not see anything special in these idols, then why would they only destroy the idols, why do they not break other stones? In other words, they too believe there is something extra-ordinary in the idol. It is only due to hatred for those who have faith and to want to cause pain and suffering to them that they destroy the idols.

Out of jealousy and egoism, some people, destroy the temples that were constructed according to the limits and boundaries established of customs and as prescribed in the scriptures and they destroy the idols that were invoked with the spirit of God (praan pratishthaa) through a formal process. They do so in order to hurt the feelings of believers, to distress them, to transgress their ethical propriety, and to earn their own name and fame. Out of that hatred, they destroy idols, to invoke pain and distress in the hearts of Hindus, for generations to come as these Hindus on seeing these broken deities are reminded. Such persons have to meet with an extremely evil fate. They go to the treacherous hells because their intentions are evil, to give pain and suffering to others, to destroy others. The outcome of evil intentions is also evil. But those who apply all their strength to protect the temples and the deities, and even sacrifice their lives, they meet with a good end because their intentions were good.

If we respect a learned man, then as such, we are revering the knowledge, not the person's body made of flesh and bones. Similarly those who believe in the presence of God in the deities (idols), they worship God only. Through the deities it is God only that is being revered, not the deity. Those who do not believe in God in a deity (idol), the glory of God is not revealed in front of them; whereas God's glories manifest in front of a believer.

Question: Why should we do murti puja (worship idols)? What is the need of Murti Puja (idolatry?

Answer: We should worship deities (idols) in order to increase the sentiment of devotion, to awaken that sentiment and to please God. It is also essential to get rid of the importance we have placed for this world in our inner faculties, and to get rid of the various attachments and infatuations to the world. By the worship of God through the deity (idol), by offering flower garlands, by adorning the Lord, by offering homage with kindled lamps and by offering various food preparations to the Lord are all very essential. The point is by worshiping the deities, we gain doubly – our sentiment of devotion is awakened and enhanced and our "sense of mine" and attachment to the mundane objects is renounced.

Every person should hold one place in their heart, for which he is willing to renounce everything. That place may either be God, or a saint or great soul, or mother-father, or a teacher. By doing so, man's worldly sentiments are reduced and spiritual sentiments increase.

As part of a pilgrimage, a group of people were going around Kasi. A guide was showing them around the various temples and made them prostrate before the emblem of Lord Siva to worship Him. Among the group were a few modern day boys. They disliked paying their obeisance at the various different places and so they remarked. "What is the benefit of prostrating so often at the various deities? There was a saint who listened to them. He said to the boys. Brothers, just as you reside in this body made of flesh and bones, so does God reside in the idol. Your life spam is fairly short, whereas, the life span of this deity of Lord Siva is significantly longer. Therefore from the perspective of years of life, the Shiv Linga is far older than you. From the perspective of purity if one sees then this body made of flesh and bones is far more impure than this deity made of stone. From the perspective of strength, this stone is far stronger than these bones. If you want to test this, surely you strike your head against this stone and see for yourself which one breaks - your head or the stone deity. You have sinful qualities and bad conduct, whereas this deity is flawless. The point is that the deity (idol) is better and great in all respects. Therefore the deity is worth worshiping. It is venerable. You consider your name's praise and blame as your own praise and blame, your body's honor and dishonor, as your own honor and dishonor, then will God not consider the worship, eulogy and prayer offered to Him in the idol as His own? O' Brother! In fact your name and body which are praised and honored are not your own self, yet you become pleased by praise and honor. But God pervades the entire universe including the idols. Therefore He is present also in the deities as it too is a form of God. Will God not be pleased while we worship Him in the idol? The extent to which we express our sentiments of worship for Him, God will be that much more pleased with us.

Question: Why should we do murti puja (worship idols)? What is the need of Murti Puja (idolatry? (continued)

Answer: (continued) He who is a believer in God, even though he may restrain himself from worship of idols, but regardless, worship of idols takes place through him. Now how is that? He believes and follows the ordinances of the Vedas, then that too is worship of idols as Vedas too (being written book) are idols only. Revering the Vedas is a form of idol worship only. Similarly reverence and service to the preceptor (guru), to parents and guest etc., to serve them with food, water, clothing etc is a form of idol worship. Their bodies are insentient but by revering their bodies, they too are being revered, by which they are pleased. The point is that man wherever, whoever, in which ever form he respects and reveres, it is all worship of idols. If man worships the idol with deep sentiments, then that worship is God's worship only.

There was a recluse who lived under an umbrella and worshiped an idol of Lord Visnu made of black stone (Shaligram). Some people who did not believe in idol worship, they did not like this Babaji's form of worship. They complained about him to Mr. Hook an English Officer, hat he was insulting the all-pervading God by worshiping this black stone idol. Mr. Hook angrily ordered the recluse to leave that place for good. The next day the recluse made a statue of Mr. Hook and began to beat it with his shoe by demonstrating in front of the people and calling the statue of Mr. Hook an idiot. This incident was brought to the attention of Mr. Hook. He again called the recluse and asked him why he was insulting him in that way. The recluse replied that he did not insult him at all but he was insulting this foolish statue of his. After saying this he kicked the statue with his shoes. Mr. Hook said that insulting my statue, is insulting me only. The recluse said, that you are not in this statue (i.e. idol) at all, then too even simply for name sake you are so very much affected. Our God is in all space, time, things, etc; Thus he who with faith worships God in an idol, then is this revering God or not? Hearing his reasoning, Mr. Hook said to the recluse, that he could go to his place and worship the idol free as he wished.

Question - Some people eat or drink forbidden things such as meat or beer etc. in the temple premises or nearby. Why does God not prevent them from doing so?

Answer – Children play mischievous games in front of their parents; but parents don't punish them because they think that children are our very own, out of ignorance and innocent they are not aware. Similarly God also thinks that they are my very own ignorant children. Therefore God's sight does not go towards our behavior at all. But those who eat or drink forbidden food and perform forbidden actions in the temple premises, they will have to suffer for their misdeeds.

Question – Previously, Kabirji and a few other saints criticized idolatory, Why?

Answer - Saints and great souls manifest and reveal themselves according to the need of the hour and perform actions accordingly. When many fights broke out between the followers of the Siva and those following Vishnu, at that time Tulsidasji Maharaj composed the Ramcharitmanasa, by which the fights between the two came to an end. Many have written different commentaries on the Gita. As according to the need of the hour, the great souls received that particular inspiration in their hearts, and accordingly the commentaries were written. When the Baudha religion (Buddhism) was spreading by leaps and bounds, at that time Sankaracharya revealed Himself and propagated Sanatana Dharma. Similarly when the Muslims ruled over India and the temples as well as, idols were destroyed by them the saints such as Kabirji and other saints declared, "We need neither temples, nor idolatry because our God does not reside only in temples and idols but He pervades everywhere." In fact the intent of these saints was not to criticize idolatry but they meant to direct the people towards God.

Question – Nowadays the times are not as they were before, the Muslims are not destroying the temples and idols. Then too why do the followers of a certain sect criticize idolatry and worship of God endowed with form?

Answer - To criticize any one is to have insistence on your own sect and ways; because those who criticize other sects (their beliefs and opinions), do not want to realize the essence of the Supreme Consciousness (Paramatmatattva), they do not want their own salvation, rather they want their individual form of worship, they want to expand their sect's numbers, they want to propagate their sect and organization. Believers in such sects and groups will not realize God. Those who have insistence of their own sect, organizations and groups, they are of certain system of opinions, doctrines, religious, philosophical persuasions and such people's talks are not worth believing and accepting -

People who have insistence on their own sect, belief systems and opinions, cannot know the Essence (tattva). (Manas 1/115/4)

Those who believe in the attributeless, formless God, criticize the worship of deities, then as such they are belittling their All Pervading One, because from their beliefs and opinions, that formless God does not pervade at the places where there are idols. In other words, their formless God is in certain space only (not everywhere). If they accepted the formless God even in the idol, then why would they criticize the one endowed with form? Secondly, those who worship the formless, believe that God is neither endowed with form, nor does he incarnate (as an avatar); it means that their Omnipotent, Almighty God, is incapable to (incarnate) and to be endowed with form, in other words, that Paramatma is not Almighty. But in fact Paramatma is not so. "He is being (manifested) and non-being (unmanifested) (Gita 9/19). So instead of getting entangled about His form etc., we should worship Him according to our own belief.

We must think that do we want our salvation, or do we want to engage in controversies and arguments about formless-with form etc.? If according to our interest and inclination, if we utilize our time in worship of either God endowed with form or The Formless then it will lead to spiritual progress.

"Tere bhaave jo karo bhalo burou sansaar |

"Narayan" tu baithike aapnou bhuvan buhaar ||

But if we insist on fighting then there are many mundane affairs in this world pertaining to wealth and property etc., which people can fight over. But after pursuing the spiritual path, why must we induce fights? Why should we unnecessarily waste our time and energy in condemning and criticizing the ways of worship of other sects? Rather, while we are engaged in worship, how did we find the time to criticize other people's faith? The amount of time we wasted in insulting and blaming other sects and their ways of worship, that much time if we followed our own spiritual path with faith, reverence and devotion then we would be greatly benefited.

Those saints that have criticized idolatry, they have (instead of idolatry) laid special emphasis on chanting the name of God, good company, words of spiritual guide, contemplation on God, meditation etc. But the people who have renounced idolatry and at the same time are not promptly engaged in chanting the name of God and meditation etc., they are deprived of both the benefits! Instead of them, those that worship idols are superior because at least they worship God according to their own belief system.

Some believers may argue that they condemn other ways of worship in order to intensify their own way of worship and to develop exclusive devotion for it. The answer is that a devotee can't develop exclusive devotion to his favorite Deity or to his way of worship by condemning others ways, because it is only He who assumes different names and forms. He is attributeless, as well as, endowed with attributes. Therefore the believers of different sects believing in different ways of worship should respect one another because everyone worships the same God. Those that are with faith and belief, with a simple straight-forward sentiments engaged in the worship of their Beloved (Ishtha), by condemning their Beloved, their way of worship, their heart will be hurt, it will feel a blow, whereby they will be pained and will suffer, then those who have condemned them will incur grave sin, whereby their own way of worship will not lead them to perfection.

Condemning others in the name of exclusive devotion is an evil disguised as a virtue. It is easy to escape an evil by considering it an evil, but it is very difficult to escape an evil if it appears as a disguised virtue. Ravana and Kalanemi disguised as Saints could deceive Sita and Hanumana repectively. Similarly Arjuna also recoiled from fighting, that is doing his dharma (i.e. duty) being a member of the warrior class, thinking that he would incur sin by killing his kinsmen. So in Arjuna also he evil of unmanliness appeared as disguised non-violence and virtue. Therefore much effort was required by Lord Krishna in preaching the lengthy gospel of the Gita. If the evil appeared in Arjuna in the form of an evil, then Lord could easily remove it. Similarly if the evil of condemnation appears in us in the form of exclusive devotion, we should not mislead ourselves to ruin by wasting our precious time, capabilities, understanding etc. in condemning others. But an aspirant should want that with great caution and alertness, he must utilize his resources (time, abilities, capabilities etc) in worshipping his favorite Deity.

Those saints that have criticized idolatry, they have (instead of idolatry) laid special emphasis on chanting the name of God, good company, words of spiritual guide, contemplation on God, meditation etc. But the people who have renounced idolatry and at the same time are not promptly engaged in chanting the name of God and meditation etc., they are deprived of both the benefits! Instead of them, those that worship idols are superior because at least they worship God according to their own belief system.

Some believers may argue that they condemn other ways of worship in order to intensify their own way of worship and to develop exclusive devotion for it. The answer is that a devotee can't develop exclusive devotion to his favorite Deity or to his way of worship by condemning others ways, because it is only He who assumes different names and forms. He is attributeless, as well as, endowed with attributes. Therefore the believers of different sects believing in different ways of worship should respect one another because everyone worships the same God. Those that are with faith and belief, with a simple straight-forward sentiments engaged in the worship of their Beloved (Ishtha), by condemning their Beloved, their way of worship, their heart will be hurt, it will feel a blow, whereby they will be pained and will suffer, then those who have condemned them will incur grave sin, whereby their own way of worship will not lead them to perfection.

Condemning others in the name of exclusive devotion is an evil disguised as a virtue. It is easy to escape an evil by considering it an evil, but it is very difficult to escape an evil if it appears as a disguised virtue. Ravana and Kalanemi disguised as Saints could deceive Sita and Hanumana repectively. Similarly Arjuna also recoiled from fighting, that is doing his dharma (i.e. duty) being a member of the warrior class, thinking that he would incur sin by killing his kinsmen. So in Arjuna also he evil of unmanliness appeared as disguised non-violence and virtue. Therefore much effort was required by Lord Krishna in preaching the lengthy gospel of the Gita. If the evil appeared in Arjuna in the form of an evil, then Lord could easily remove it. Similarly if the evil of condemnation appears in us in the form of exclusive devotion, we should not mislead ourselves to ruin by wasting our precious time, capabilities, understanding etc. in condemning others. But an aspirant should want that with great caution and alertness, he must utilize his resources (time, abilities, capabilities etc) in worshipping his favorite Deity.

Question: How is "Svayambhu" (Self-Existent) idol sculptured?

Answer – This question can arise only if "Svayambhu" (self-existent) idol is sculpted. They are not sculpted at all. They simply manifest (Reveals themselves), therefore it is called self-existent; or else why would it be "Svayambhu"?

Question – How to know whether an "murti" idol is self-existent "Svayambhu" or sculptured?

Answer – Every person cannot know it (i.e. recognize a self-existent idol). As a person recognizes an old acquaintance, so does a devotee who has vision of God recognize a self-existent idol.

Question – What is the difference if a person worships a sculpted "murti" idol or a self-existent "Svayambhu" idol?

Answer - If a devotee has belief and faith, then worshiping the sages in an emblem of sacrificial grass or Lord Ganesa through betel-nut proves beneficial. Similarly if a devotee beholds and worships the sculptured idol, it leads him to spiritual progress. But worshiping a self-existent idol and having belief and faith leads to special and quick spiritual progress. Just like on listening to the discourse of a saint in person is far more beneficial than reading his discourse from a book, so is worship of a self-existent idol more beneficial. Sanjaya also declares the same about the gospel of the Gita that he has heard the supreme and most profound gospel direct from Lord Krishna (Gita 18/75).

Question – What is the reason that a person is easily and suddenly attached to the world but he is not easily attached to God?

Answer - The reason is that a person regards himself as body. By identifying himself with the body, he is easily attached to the world because the body has its identity with the world. Homogeneous entities are suddenly attached to each other as people of the same social order and same profession etc., are easily connected. Just as those who consider themselves to be Brahmin, Kshatriya , become connected with Brahmin, Kshatriya, and those who consider themselves to be wise, traders, etc, they easily establish relation with others that are wise, traders etc., - "Samaansheel-vyasaneshu sakhyam" A man does not directly have vision of God and he considers himself to be an idol (body), then for such a one, to have the sentiments of the presence of God in the "murti" idol will be easy. IN other words, as long as there is a sense of Me and mine-ness, till then one should worship idol of God. Even after God-Realization he should not renounce worshiping the idol, because the spiritual discipline that was beneficial to him, he must remain ever grateful to it, it must not be renounced.

From book in Hindi "Gita Darpan" by Swami Ramsukhdasji

The message is available in HINDI titled "GITA MEIN MURTI PUJA" in July 2010 Folder at: http://www.satcharcha.blogspot.com/

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