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Author Topic: Necessity of idol worship  (Read 150 times)

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Necessity of idol worship
« on: December 31, 2016, 12:14:28 PM »
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  • Q. What is the necessity of worshiping idols in temples?

    A. Idols or images of God are inert objects. A form carved in a stone or painted on paper is an imaginary form and is not even a direct photograph. Idols and images are only models representing certain concepts. They facilitate knowledge.

    The form of idols and photos is mainly human. This represents the concept that the Lord always comes to this world in human form as is said in the Bhagavad Gita (Manusheem Tanu Mashritam...). Please remember that the Gita did not say that the Lord would come in any other form. The forms of fish, tortoise etc., which the Lord took, as mentioned by the Puranas were only temporary. They were meant only to kill some demons and nobody worshipped such forms even during their time. Rama, Krishna, etc were the human forms of the Lord. They were worshipped by several devotees like Hanuman and Gopikas in their time and are being worshipped even today.

    The Lord will come in every human generation; otherwise, He would be accused of being partial to a particular generation or age. The Lord comes whenever there is a necessity as said in the Gita (Yada yadahi). Once this concept is realized, there is no need of going to the temple and worshipping idols One should go from school to college and then to university. This does not mean that when one leaves the school, the school should be destroyed. The school must exist for others who need it.

    Similarly, if for one person the idols and the images of God are not necessary anymore, it does not mean that the idols, photos and temples should be destroyed. They should be protected and must be respected as the models of divine knowledge for the ignorant devotees who need them. Some devotees cannot accept the human form, which is before their eyes as said in the Veda (Pratyaksha dvishah). For such devotees, idols and photos are necessary for meditation since they are still at the high school level in spirituality. Idols and pictures are useful for meditation for such limited minds as said in the Sastras (Pratima svalpa buddhinam).

    The Veda says that the Lord does not exist in inert objects (Natasya pratima, Nedamtat), but It says that inert objects can stand as models representing the Lord (Adityam brahmeti). Therefore seeing and meditating upon idols and photos are acceptable in the case of ignorant devotees. However, a lot of other rituals like offering food, burning camphor, fume sticks, oil lamps and breaking coconuts and offering flowers are not mentioned in the Vedas and are unnecessary. These unnecessary rituals should be avoided especially since many of them cause pollution and harm humanity. Offering food should be done to the human form of the Lord only, where it is befitting and not to the inert idols. Ijya or yajna is cooking and offering of the food to God. The Gita says that such ijya should not be done to inert objects.

    Source - http://www.universal-spirituality.org/rituals.html

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    Re: Necessity of idol worship
    « Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 11:52:11 AM »
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  • The idol worship is not wrong, but is limited to the initial stage. It serves good purpose in the initial stage by developing devotion. Even service and sacrifice is done in the idol worship. People sacrifice lot of their earnings to serve the temple containing idols.

    Devotees are ready for practical sacrifice to God even in the initial stage. But, the ego and jealousy to a co-human form prevents them to do sacrifice and service to human incarnation. This weak point is exploited by some bad priests to earn. This  is the negative angle of the idol worship. To remove this negative angle, the idol worship is condemned by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who was also a human incarnation. He opposed the concept of human incarnation like Mohammad since there are some negative aspects of this concept.

    The genuine human incarnation may not be properly received by the public suffering with ego and jealousy and their violent reaction was seen in the case of Jesus. The other negative angle is that the fraud human incarnations
    may exploit the society.

    The policy of the programme of any human incarnation depends on the psychology of the public with which it has to interact. Swami Dayananda rejected the idol worship since a rat stole the food offered to Shivalingam in a temple. Swami told that there is no Lord in the Shivalingam since it is only a stone. This concept arrests the exploitation done in the name of the idol worship. This does not mean that Swami is unaware of the merits of idol worship.

    Sometimes, the concept should be de-rooted completely in order to condemn the strong exploitation of the concept. Once the exploitation disappears, the concept can be again re-installed. Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa also existed in the time of Swami Dayananda. Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was a priest in the temple worshipping the idol. He supported the idol worship. He said that you should view the idol as the alive form. This means that you must catch the alive form of God through the idol.

    Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Himself was another human incarnation and declared that He was Rama and Krishna. This means, He never asked you to sit in the stage of the idol worship. The sense of His statement is that you should feel as if you are worshipping the alive form during the service of idol. Then only, the real devotion grows.

    The total story is that on one side, Swami Dayananda condemned the negative sides of idol worship and on the other side, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa supported the positive sides of the idol worship. The same God spoke simultaneously through both these human forms.

    The conclusion is that you should utilize any concept, accepting the positive views and avoid the negative exploitations of the same concept. Ignorant people misunderstand that Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Dayananda opposed each other. All the preachers existing in theism should always be correlated in other concepts since the fundamental point of existence of God is not violated. The difference in Them is only due to the existing circumstances in their times, which have to be reformed.

     


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