Tuesday, May 14, 2013

[gita-talk] Re: Belief in Existence of God, but not Idol Worship. How to guide ?


Pranam. I have a question which I wish to share with you frankly so that I could
be guided accordingly to follow.

My both grandsons, aged 21 and 18 years believe in the existence of God but do
not believe in 'idol worship' in temples or in home! We tell them to worship the
Lord in the morning and evening in our home and apply 'vibuthi' in the forehead
and do pray by reciting some prayer! On compulsion they obey and do it. They
don't believe in rituals too. Their father is no more who died in an accident
when they were very young. Her mother and we(grandparents) are supporting them.
One is in the final year of Engineering and the other has just completed of one
year of Law at Cochin. Can we be guided in this respect and oblige to enlighten

With our pranams,



Shree Hari
Baluji, We have posted your query. However, as per the guidelines of this
forum, kindly commit to responding to this thread, which will help us bringing
it to a closure. thank you,
Gita Talk Moderators, Ram Ram


If someone believes in the existence of God?Almighty/Creator, that is a great characteristic in itself. It does not matter if they do not believe in 'idol' worship or rituals. The fact that they do not object to or argue against your worshippin idle or your practicing rituals is also a great quality. We should not worry. But you owe an explanation to them: you need to tell them that you worship God with an idol or deity in front because it helps ypu conceptualise God much moreeasily andrelate to Him. But there are Santana Dharma/ Hindi Dharma scriptures where one can meditate upon or worship the Formless / Nirakar God. You can also tell them that the rituals have become habit for you from childhood days and you feel better psychologically practicing them along with Mantras. About Mantras, you can translate them into English and give them copies so that they understand what youare saying to God through the Mantras. They will feel better if they see you explain what you do rather than pleading them to follow you.
Basudeb Sen


Dear Sadhak,
We do not worship idol or image, but the ideal that they represent. When you look at the photo of your near and dear ones, you do not think of the material with which the photo is made but to the memory of those whom you love or respect. Similarly, each name, form and attributes given to different deities should be remembered when you stand in prayer before the idol or image. In fact, these idols and images are just tools to help you to train your mind to absorb in concentration and thereafter fly higher in spirituality which is beyond name, form, attributes etc.
Mohan Nair


dear Gita Group members
Spiritualism is different and need not be confused with idol worship or religious mindedness. A person may be spiritual but not necessarily religious/idol worshiper.
thanks and regards
G K Agrawal


Rituals (idol worship specially) when forced on growing young children, often result in strengthening their anti-ritual mentality. Please follow the principle : Example is better than Precepts.



They don't need to do idol worship. God resides in everyone and everywhere. Therefore, they can worship God who is in us. How is that done?

Treat people around with love, respect, care and service attitude. See the presence of God and have sense gratitude, respect and reverence. This is more powerful than just worshiping idols.

Please read these Srimad Bhagavatam statements carefully --

SB 3.29.21: I am present in every living entity as the Supersoul. If someone neglects or disregards that Supersoul everywhere and engages himself in the worship of the Deity in the temple, that is simply imitation.

SB 3.29.22: One who worships the Deity of Godhead in the temples but does not know that the Supreme Lord, as Paramàtmà, is situated in every living entity's heart, must be in ignorance and is compared to one who offers oblations into ashes.

SB 3.29.23: One who offers Me respect but is envious of the bodies of others and is therefore a separatist never attains peace of mind, because of his inimical behavior towards other living entities.

SB 3.29.24: My dear Mother, even if he worships with proper rituals and paraphernalia, a person who is ignorant of My presence in all living entities never pleases Me by the worship of My Deities in the temple.

SB 3.29.25: Performing his prescribed duties, one should worship the Deity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead until one realizes My presence in his own heart and in the hearts of other living entities as well.

SB 3.29.26: As the blazing fire of death, I cause great fear to whoever makes the least discrimination between himself and other living entities because of a differential outlook.

SB 3.29.27: Therefore, through charitable gifts and attention, as well as through friendly behavior and by viewing all to be alike, one should propitiate Me, who abide in all creatures as their very Self.

Hopefully, these statements of Bhagavatam clarify your doubt. They don't need to worship idols. Lets them be kind and loving person who has sense of gratitude towards God.

Murari Das


Why is idol worship or vibhuti or rituals that important ? You as grandparents have given them good values and that is all that matters. Unless, as grandparents you are not sure of the values. Let them bloom and become individuals in their own right. Hopefully, they will both make you and their Mom very proud some day.

Kalpana Jaggi


Hari Om Balus,

Since my kids were 3-4 years old, we do prayers. We chant mantras in sankrits for 1-2 mins and do prayer in mother tongue for 1-2 mins. This takes total 5 mins. We try to do it at least once a day and most of times twice a day - morning and evening. Sometimes, kids don't want to do it. I remind them that they are showing gratitude towards God for giving them everything. I had asthma and many times, I just wanted breathe. At least, they can breathe properly. They have so many things in life to be thankful of.

They don't need to do these prayers to idols. They can do them to God within them. God within us hears whenever we talk. Listening to God is sometimes called inspiration from within. Developing the sense of presence of God in our life is great support which helps us to be strong and steady in the life and also, be happy and optimistic. Help them develop inner understanding of God instead of focusing on rituals or idols.

Murari Das


To see God, you have to be there. So, you is all.You and what you are observing, experiencing is a singular process and not that God is an object separate from you.
Now to realise God, Truth-'Why' you want to realize, the motive behind realisation contains the key and not any answer. Any answer will satisfy the intellect only.
God is essentially used as an explanation, a device to cover up pain and uncertainty. If the comfort of this explanation is not there, see what you find out?
What is being conveyed is that if you just do not depend upon what is referred as God, you are one with yourself, one with pain and uncertainty you are facing. All pain and uncertainty is psychological discomfort, if it is not immediate physical danger. You can always see rest here and now.
Here you have a brush with Truth, the Original energy.
You may authentically know ‘what God means’.

To experience pain (any uneasiness) and uncertainty is normal. There is nothing to feel comfortable about future now. This can just be made clear to the children not as an assertion or application but through daily interactions. Children will sense freedom to create, to find 'what is True'.
Y V Chawla


One should ask themselves first, does one understand what are all those practices about. If he is confused, so will children be. Your narrative in terms of prayer and worship and God is christian narrative so they will think like christians. One cannot blame a child if he talks when he learns. What word in Samskrutam implies idol worship. What is the word for worship in Samskrutam? If you do not have a word, then you translations may be wrong and teh imagery you are building must be wrong too.
Ravindra Koul

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