Do Hindus worship idols (Deity / stone / statue)
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Idol worship in India is happening since the ‘aadi kalam’ (Grand first period) and will continue to happen until the ‘ananta kalam’ (Grand infinite period).
In many places like Tirupati, Pandarpur, Badrikashram, etc. svayam (directly) Bhagavan Sri Vishnu is standing in the form of an idol. The names are:
In Tirupati, Bhagavan Sri Vishnu is known as Bhagavan Sri Venkateshwara / Srinivasa. In Badrikashram Bhagavan Sri Vishnu is known as Nara Narayana. In Pandarpur Bhagavan Sri Vishnu is known as Sri Panduranga / Vittala.
In each place Bhagavan Sri Vishnu is standing in his own unique style, with unique dress, etc. He is called as ‘sarva svatantra’, this is, he is completely independent and doesn’t depend on anyone or anything.
Now, let’s move to know about “Do Hindus worship Idols (Deity / stone / statue)” or “Why Hindus worship Idols – correct meaning”:
Let us understand this with an example.
When we salute our flag or do namaskara to our country’s flag, does it means we are saluting or doing namaskara to a cloth.
Can now we be called as cloth saluters or cloth namaskara doers?
We are saluting to the flag of our great country. That flag is representing our Great Nation India. That’s why we are saluting that flag or doing namaskara to that flag.
Similarly, when we do pooja to the statue of Bhagavan or Devatas (or Demigods) means we are doing pooja of Bhagavan who is present in that statue or stone.
Our Great Rishis / ancestors have seen the Bhagavan and thus they know how our Bhagavan looks and thus they have carved the stone into statue which they have seen earlier in Bhagavan’s different avatars.
Bhagavan gives darshana to people in different avatars, just like Arjuna saw the Great Vishva roopa of Sri Hari whereas Kamsa saw the roopa which made him to be afraid.
Hanuman saw Bhagavan in Sri Rama’s avatar, while Bhima saw the avatar of Prabhu Sri Krishna.
It is our inner aatma which sees the Bhagavan through our eyes. Bhagavan is called ‘antaryaami’, means who is present inside us, means who is present inside everything and anything including a stone or statue.
We need to celebrate when we see Bhagavan in the form of a stone.
Thus we need to open the eyes which is inside us to see the Bhagavan inside the stone / statue.
In future if anyone asks you why Hindus do pooja of a stone or statue, you can give this example with explanation.
Let’s all of us be proud of our Great Sanatana Dharma. Our Dharma is not started by any ordinary human.
It is there since ‘aadi kaala’, means unknown age and will be there until ‘ananta kaala’, means grand infinite years.
Let us all spread the Greatness of our Great Sanatana Dharma.
Now let us go little deeply:
In Hinduism / Sanatana Dharma why do we do the pooja / worship of a statue / stone?
Many people have this question, that is Whether Tirupati, Pandarpur, Badri, Udupi etc statues / stones are Bhagavan or not?
First of all we need to understand that Bhagavan is called “apraakruta”, means Bhagavan never took birth or would never have the end.
Also this means, Bhagavan is not naturally made.
Here “apraakruta” means which is not natural. Bhagavan is not made by natural things.
He is called “apraakruta” as he doesn’t have birth or end and also means, he doesn’t comes from the natural ingredient(s).
Also we should note that the statues present in these place like Tirupati, Pandarpur, Badri, Udupi etc are statues and not direct Bhagavan.
The Great and Most Beautiful statue of the Bhagavan which is standing in the form of Srinivasa / Venkatesha in Tirupati, or the Great and Most Beautiful statue of the Bhagavan which is standing in the form of Vittala / Panduranga in Pandarapur,
or the Great and Most Beautiful statue at the Badri Srimann Narayana, or the Great and Most Beautiful statue at the Udupi Sri Krishna is not Bhagavan, but it is a statue, means a stone’s statue.
But someone who is present inside these statues of Tirupati, Pandarapur, Badri, Udupi etc is the antaryaami, means the antaryaami which is present in these statues is the real Bhagavan.
He is there inside these statues as the “sannihita”, means someone who is present inside these statues.
Again this means, these statues have the “sannidaana” of the Bhagavan in these statues, but also we should remember these statues are not directly Bhagavan.
The statue shows the pratima (some people thing pratima means stone, it is not stone, but in fact is the mirror image of svayam Sri Hari) of Sri Hari, means the svaroopa / structure / form of svayam Sri Hari.
The stone / statue is the mirror image of Sri Hari.
The body of the Bhagavan is “chidaananda”, which is full of “gnana” / knowledge, he is the one who is full of “aananda” / happiness. This means, Bhagavan is not born or been given birth.
Bhagavan is completely independent of the nature, that is Bhagavan is not dependent on nature or somebody else. Rather the nature is completely dependent on the Bhagavan.
Bhagavan body cannot be destroyed or Bhagavan body doesn’t get destroyed by itself or by from external force or any force for the matter.
But whereas the statues at the Tirupati, Pandarpur, Badri, Udupi etc are made by natural ingredients, means, these statues have been built by the natural raw materials, which can be destroyed by natural force or by some external force.
Bhagavan is called “karunaadheesha”, he is svayam called “karunaa saagara” and “karunaa shaali”, and thus since he has to do anugraha / aashirvaada on the common people and others like us, he has to show his karuna / kindness towards us, he has to do anugraha on us and thus he should be present on this earth in some or the other median / form.
For this reason he is present in the form of statues in many places all over the world.
Means through these statues, Bhagavan is visible to us and does the anugraha on people like us.
Again we need to understand Bhagavan is present inside the statues, but the statue itself is not the Bhagavan.
Bhagavan Sri Veda Vyasa Deva (he is also the avatara of Bhagavan) has said that “na pratike, nahi saha”.
This means, in pratika / statue, Bhagavan is present, but the statue itself is not Bhagavan.
Not only the statues present at the Tirupati, Pandarpur, Badri, Udupi etc, but also the statues which are present in other temples, our houses, in the form of saaligrama etc all are statues, but not Bhagavan by itself.
But Bhagavan / Ishvara / Parabrahma / Sri Krishna / Sri Hari etc is present inside these statues as “antaryaami”.
Also we should note that the antaryaami Bhagavan present in Great places like Tirupati, Pandarpur, Badri, Udupi etc are different and the statues which are present in other temples or in our houses are different.
The statues present in these places like Tirupati, Pandarpur, Badri, Udupi etc are either installed by Great people (Devatas / Demigods) of the Bharatiya Sanatana Dharma or svayam Bhagavan has been sitting in these places in the form of statues as “udhbhava moorti”.
This is similar to other Devatas / Demigods also. Other Devatas / Demigods like svayam Sri Mahalakshmi Devi, Sri Brahma Deva / Sri Mukhya Praana Deva (next Sri Brahma Deva), Sri Sarasvati Devi / Sri Bharati Devi (next Sri Sarasvati Devi),
Sri Rudra Deva, Sri Parvati Devi, Sri Ganesha, Sri Kartikeya or any Devatas / Demigod may be, we need to think that the Bhagavan or Devatas / Demigods are present in the statues and statues by itself are not Bhagavan or Devatas / Demigods.
But they are present inside these statues as either svayam Bhagavan or Devatas / Demigods.
Also we need to remember that the body of Bhagavan is “apraakruta” means which is not natural. But whereas the bodies of svayam Sri Mahalakshmi Devi, Sri Brahma Deva / Sri Mukhya Praana Deva (next Sri Brahma Deva),
Sri Sarasvati Devi / Sri Bharati Devi (next Sri Sarasvati Devi), Sri Rudra Deva, Sri Parvati Devi, Sri Ganesha, Sri Kartikeya or any Devatas / Demigods are completely “praakruta”.
This again means, all these Devatas / Demigods are completely dependent on Bhagavan and these Devatas / Demigods are not independent.
All these Devatas / Demigods only follow the instructions of Bhagavan.
Very briefly let us understand that statues are not Bhagavan, but rather the Bhagavan who is present as the antaryaami inside the statues is the real “Bhagavan”, means Bhagavan is present inside the statue as antaryaami and statue by itself is not Bhagavan.
This is similar to the other Devatas / Demigods also.
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