What's the deal on Idol Worship?

And the Nature of God

prayerThere are many ideas about what God may be, but for the sake of argument let's say that God is the creative principal that permeates all existence. It is God that creates the difference between water and stone because fundamentally everything is made out of five elements.

In terms of ourselves it is the godliness or the creative principal inside our own bodies that regulates out autonomic nervous system, that converts the food we eat into new body parts and energy. In a wider sense God is the light that reveals what is hidden in the darkness beyond our perception.

Light is everywhere, but if we want to see the power of light, how can we do it? We can use a convex lens that can form a wide range of light rays to a thin, intense beam which can create a fire from nowhere, here it is the concentration of the light beam that had the capability to create fire.

In the same way, God is everywhere but we need an element, where we can bring all our concentration into it without any deviation and by which we can create a spiritual light within us and that will lead us to the divine power.

The essence of idol worship

God is everywhere, but people want to pray to Him, ask favours, offer food, tell stories, bathe Him, play with Him and do what they do in their lives. Creating a human-like idol creates an image of God as a companion, a guide, a friend, a protector, a giver, a fellow being and so on. An idol is just a concrete representation where they find Him. When I look into the eyes of an idol, I do not see stone or metal, but another pair of eyes looking affectionately at me, smiling.

It is not only Hindus who do idol worship but all other religions, even those who are apparently fully against idol worship. If you visit the places of worship of other religions and the home/offices of people following other religions we can see photos of their sacred places, relics brought from their sacred places, we can see idols of various saints and figures, we can see symbols of religions either cast in metal or stone and several other such things.

These "idols" are not only displayed in a respectful manner but people do look at them with respect, they look towards them while offering prayers and invoke them by touching or bowing before doing any important work. Is this not a form of idol worship? The idol may or may not be in the shape of a human figure !!!

Once Swami Vivekananda visited King of Alwar in present day Rajasthan. The king in an attempt to mock idol worship told Swamiji, "I've no faith in idol worship. How can one worship stone, wood and metal? I believe people are in illusion and just wasting time!"

Swamiji smiled. He asked the king's assistant to take down the picture of the king that was hanging on the wall. Although confused, the assistant did so. Then Swamiji ordered him, "Spit on the picture!"

The assistant was shocked and looked at both of them. Swami repeated again and again, becoming more stern each time. The king was growing angry and the assistant started trembling. Finally, he cried out, "How can I spit on this? This picture is of our beloved and respected king!".

Swamiji then told him, "The king is sitting in front of you in person. This picture is merely a paper - it does not speak, hear, think or move. But still you did not spit because you see a shadow of your king in it, Spitting on it was like spitting on the king itself." The king looked at Swamiji and bowed down, clearly understanding what he was referring to.

Stone is God - But God is Not Stone

Worldwide Hindu Temples


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