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Idol Worship | Murti Pooja in Hinduism | Reason Behind Idol Worship

Idol Worship in Hinduism

Idol worship refers to the practice of worshiping God in image form. Everyone worships God in image form only even those who think they worship the formless God, because the mind objectifies everything, even the idea of formlessness. In this Blog, we listed out valid reasons that justify the Practice of Idol Worship in Hinduism and why Hindus pray to idols and images at homes and in temples.

According to Hinduism, the whole creation is a form of God. Every aspect and form in it reflects his glory because God is hidden in each of them. The whole creation is sacred because it is suffused with the presence of God. Hence, every aspect of it is worthy of worship. When you say, "God is this or that," you are limiting him. When you say, "God should be worshipped in this or that manner only," you are again defining and limiting your methods of worship. 

Idol Worship In Vedas

Yajur Veda 40:9 

Yajurveda  - Chapter - 40

Mantra - 9
अन्धं तमः प्रविशन्ति येसंभूतीमुपसते |
ततो भूय ऽ इव ते तमो य ऽ उ संभुत्याः रताः ||

Those people enter into darkness, who worships only "Asambhuti", and those too enters into darkness who worship only "Sambhuti"

Idol Worship in Bhagavad Gita 

Let's look the at the verses from Bhagavad Gita which help us to understand the reason behind Idol worship. In the later part of the article I have shared the reference from Srimad Bhagavd Gita also for more clarity on Idol types. 

In Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna tell us clearly about the attainment of salvation through various mode of worship that includes Idol worship also.So let us see the verses below; 

Self-realization is more difficult for those who fix their mind on the impersonal, unmanifest, and formless Absolute, because worship of the unmanifest is difficult for ordinary human beings. (12.05) 

But to those who worship Me meditating on My personal form with unswerving devotion, setting Me as their supreme goal, offering all actions to Me---I swiftly become their savior from the world that is the ocean of death and transmigration, O Arjuna. (12.06-07) 

Therefore, focus your mind on My personal form and let your intellect dwell upon Me alone through meditation and contemplation. Thereafter, you shall certainly attain Me. (12.08) 

If you are unable to focus your mind steadily on Me, then long to at­tain Me by practice of any other spiritual discipline, such as a ritual, or deity worship that suits you. (12.09) 

If you are unable even to do any spiritual discipline, then dedicate all your work to Me (or do your duty just for Me). You shall attain perfection by doing your prescribed duty for Me (without any personal motive, just as an instrument, to serve and please Me). (12.10) 

If you are unable to dedicate your work to Me, then just surrender unto My will with subdued mind and renounce (the attachment to and the anxiety for) the fruits of all work (by learning to accept all results with equanimity as God's grace). (12.11) 

After many births, the enlightened one surrenders to My Will by realiz­ing that everything is, indeed, My manifestation. Such a great soul is very rare.(7.19) 

Persons whose discernment has been carried away by desires im­pelled by their Karmic impression, resort to celestial controllers and practice various religious rites for fulfillment of their material desires. (7.20) 

Whosoever desires to worship whatever deity---using any name, form, and method---with faith, I make their faith steady in that very de­ity(7.21) 

Endowed with steady faith, they worship that deity and obtain their wishes through that deity. Those wishes are, indeed, granted by Me. (7.22) 

But such material gains of these less intelligent human beings are temporary. The worshipers of celestial controllers go to celestial controllers, but My devotees certainly come to Me. (7.23) 

The ignorant ones---unable to completely understand My immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible, and transcendental form and existence---believe that I, the Supreme Being, am formless and take forms or incarnate.(7.24) 

I do not manifest Myself to the ignorant whose Self-knowledge is obscured by My divine power (YogaMaya) and does not know My unborn, eternal, and transcendental form and personality (and consider Me formless). (7.25) 

Idol Worship Chapter 12 verses continues.

Arjuna asked: Which of these has the best knowledge of yoga---those ever-steadfast devotees who wor­ship Your personal aspect, or those who worship Your impersonal aspect, the formless Absolute? (12.01)

Lord Krishna said: I consider the best yogis to be those ever steadfast devotees who worship with supreme faith by fixing their mind on Me as their personal God. (See also 6.47) (12.02
They also attain Me who worship the unchangeable, the inexplicable, the invisible, the omnipresent, the inconceivable, the unchanging, the immov­able, and eternal---restraining all the senses, even-minded under all circumstances, en­gaged in the welfare of all creatures. (12.03-04)

Self-realization is more difficult for those who fix their mind on the impersonal, unmanifest, and formless Absolute, because worship of the unmanifest is difficult for ordinary human beings. (12.05)

But to those who worship Me meditating on My personal form with unswerving devotion, setting Me as their supreme goal, offering all actions to Me---I swiftly become their savior from the world that is the ocean of death and transmigration, O Arjuna. (12.06-07)

Therefore, focus your mind on My personal form and let your intellect dwell upon Me alone through meditation and contemplation. Thereafter, you shall certainly attain Me. (12.08)

If you are unable to focus your mind steadily on Me, then long to at­tain Me by practice of any other spiritual discipline, such as a ritual, or deity worship that suits you. (12.09)

If you are unable even to do any spiritual discipline, then dedicate all your work to Me (or do your duty just for Me). You shall attain perfection by doing your prescribed duty for Me (without any personal motive, just as an instrument, to serve and please Me). (12.10)

If you are unable to dedicate your work to Me, then just surrender unto My will with subdued mind and renounce (the attachment to and the anxiety for) the fruits of all work (by learning to accept all results with equanimity as God's grace). (12.11)

Now let us see what Srimad Bhagavad says about the Idol Worship. [SB - 11.27.12]

Verse SB - 11.27.12;
The Deity form of the Lord is said to appear in eight varieties — stone, wood, metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind or jewels.

Idol worship is neither mandatory nor prohibited in Hinduism.So it depends upon what worship method you select.Most of the people worship idol because they don't have enough practice to focus on Unmanifest. So it depends upon what worship method you select.

However, those who worship God with devotion and humility know that idol worship connects them to God and open their hearts to divine love.

Let us know if the doubt persist,I will add some more verses from Veda in near future. 

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