Pratimapuja And Lingarchan

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Pratimapuja And Lingarchan

The Almighty is omnipresent and therefore exist in idol, picture, metal, stone etc., while idol or picture/photo etc., is worshipped, it is not done with the feelings that the same is idol, picture, stone, metal or soil but that is the medium through which sachchidanand (Almighty) is worshipped which exist in the same. Often a question is raised why we require stone or metal as medium? Can we not worship the Almighty without idol?

The Learned say that in this world formation a mixing of Jada and Chaitanya (Inanimate and Life – Vitality) is seen. That can be described in five types. Asti , Bhati, Priya, Nam and Roop (अस्ति, भाति, प्रियं, नाम, रुप). First three indicate Sachchidanand is Brahma Swarup. Asti means Sat (सत)True or being Bhati means Light Chit means mind, and Priya means happiness. The remaining two Nam and Roop (Appearance) are wordly forms. Thus Sachchidanand’s retation with Nam and Swarup make the world to appear, i.e. by which one can experience the being of everything. The ultimate goal is to recognize / experience and to see the Param Tatwa as Sachchidand. But the Param Tatwa being invisible, it cannot be sensed by any organ. As other wordly things, it is not easily accessible to the mind of all living beings in the world being covered by Maya (illusions).

Shruti also supplements the above philosophy. It says Brahma is eternal Truth and is in the form of divine knowledge. But mind & speech both are covered with Maya so one can not perceive the Paramtatva which is endless. Therefore the speech and mind while perceiving the Brahma find their efforts in Vain.

Therefore, Pushpadantacharya, the greatest devotee of Lord Shiva in 2nd Stanza of Shivmahimna Shrotras aptly says that Oh God ! your glory is much above the ways of speech and mind. If we praise the virtues of your worldly existence (Avtara), the virtues are endless and we are unable to praise. One can not praise your non-perceptible form because Shruti also described you as ’Neti’ ’न इति' means ‘not it is.’ Thou art not bound by any metaphysical or non-metaphysical theories. Therefore we are unable to describe you. How we should praise thou glory? How are and how many are your virtues? Who can perceive this? The situation is very typical and we are unable to praise you. However, if at all you shower your blessings, we may engross our mind and speech in your perceptible form and shall remain content therewith. Is there any devotee who does not enter into your perceptible form by his mind and speech? Or spontaneously does not worship and pray thou?

Thus we find that the mind and speech covered with illusion (Maya) can not worship the imperceptible Almighty (Paramtatva) without worshiping the perceptible God in the form of idol, picture/photo/Ling or any other form which could be perceived by being. This perceptible form being in this world it must be definitely in the form of * NAMJAPMALA i.e. Chanting the name of God (or mantra). Some people say we do not require idol-worshipping. We take the name, chanting mantras, worship and pray God, and that is enough. But one will notice that such people of course do very well by praying God but they worship only in one form viz., ‘Name’. Those who worship idols-(Pratima Poojan) are worshipping the Lord in the forms of name as well as ‘Roop’ i.e. appearance. An idol is the representation of a being May it be animal, human being or God. Ultimately taking the name, chanting the mantras by Jap, Worship, Prayer all are representation of God in the form of name. Thus some people use only name while many others use name as well as form both to worship the God. Those who take the name and do not worship idols are in a way idol-worshippers, as with the name of God, the devotee has certain idea of form of almighty.

Thus we find that the mind and speech covered with illusion (Maya) can not worship the imperceptible Almighty (Paramtatva) without worshiping the perceptible God in the form of idol, picture/photo/Ling or any other form which could be perceived by being. This perceptible form being in this world it must be definitely in the form of * NAMJAPMALA i.e. Chanting the name of God (or mantra). Some people say we do not require idol-worshipping. We take the name, chanting mantras, worship and pray God, and that is enough. But one will notice that such people of course do very well by praying God but they worship only in one form viz., ‘Name’. Those who worship idols-(Pratima Poojan) are worshipping the Lord in the forms of name as well as ‘Roop’ i.e. appearance. An idol is the representation of a being May it be animal, human being or God. Ultimately taking the name, chanting the mantras by Jap, Worship, Prayer all are representation of God in the form of name. Thus some people use only name while many others use name as well as form both to worship the God. Those who take the name and do not worship idols are in a way idol-worshippers, as with the name of God, the devotee has certain idea of form of almighty.

In short, those who oppose idol worship, if they in real try to understand the form of idol will agree that more or less the devotees and worshippers of the entire world by one way or other are idol worshippers or pray God in some perceptible form. It becomes eventual for a person whose mind and speech are under the shadow of Maya to worship that deity or deities who is/are very much in coordination and consonance with his/her faith (Shradha) and his experiences.

All religions of the world who believe in God, they all accept unanimously the fact that the God with unlimited mercy & benevolence favor his devotees. The Almighty which creates this surprising multi farious billions and billions of universe and galaxies with his incredible power of will-knowledge and ability to create is also a creator, non creator, creator of otherwise, capable, independent and holding all subjects in him. To favor the devotees and in order to perform better worship and concentration/meditation by the devotees the Almighty’s capable to take the perceptible form *(Saguna Roop).

It is said in Bhagwat that Oh! Urugay! The devotees who worship the Brhma (Almighty) with the mind & faith expressed in different idols or forms they are favored by the Almighty in those forms and fulfill their aspirations.

The chanters of Mantras believe existence of God in Mantra, Yogi believes representation of God in the light experienced in the Agyachakra which is situated in middle of the forehead above the eye brows. The worshipper of Yantra believes in their mysterious Yantras designed by Bhupur, Rekha, Kamaldal, Chakra, Trikon, Vartul, Bindu, etc. i.e. of Line, the design of lotus, wheel, triangle, circle and point etc., as a place where almighty exists, Ishwar, Parmatma God etc., words are also the representatives of God by ‘name’ Whenever the worshipper prays he does not say ‘Oh stone! I salute you to the idol of stone/metal Shivling-Brahma is one. There is nobody else, Brahma is omnipresent. Thou art entire/absolute Truth. In this entire world really speaking there is nothing like different materials. That Rudra is the only One. There is nobody else. Therefore Oh, Mahesh! i.e. Lords of all deities) I bow down to you and only to you. Just imagine while the worshipper pray in the above fashion to Shivling or Lord Shiva or say any other Deity does he pray the piece of stone or logwood or piece of metal ? Indeed the Worshipper with the help of Mantras of Shruti and Stutis (Prayers) prepared by great teachers (Gurus) and * Rishies, he concentrates and sights his God in the idol/shivling which he worships. While worshipping the devotee open – heartedly confesses Oh god ! I do not know how to welcome you, I do not know your anointing (to offer water – Jalabhishek), Oh Maheshwar ! I do not know how to worship you, Ido not know your 'Theme' I do not know how you are, how you look, notwithstanding in whatever from thou art and look like but accept my many many salutes. While the devotee, worships Shivling or idol of God /Goddess with faith, confidence, infinite, love and on the footsteps of the system introduced, propagated and advised by Gurus, Saints, Rishies, he is quite assured that with unparallel 'BHAKTI' i.e. Worshiping Shrihari (Almighty) is accessible. In Shastra we read ’भक्त्या तु अनन्यया शक्य'

The form of Almighty is omnipresent. This is a known fact to all the devotees. Whenever a guest or V.I.P. is to be greeted we satisfy by making tilak on his forehead or by garlanding him. We do not apply the kumkum or Sandalwood on his entire body. Forehead, a part of our head is believed as representative of entire body and it is also believed that it is best and important part of the body and as a token of our love/worship Kumkum tilak is applied only on forehead. It leads us to think that even in human body, we choose a specific place for rendering respect, what is wrong if we worshipi dol, etc., for devotion of the God who is omnipotent and omnipresent. Thou are every where. If saint comes, we are not happy only by worshipping him in mind. Over and above that we like to welcome him by tilak and garlands, offering flowers etc., Similarly the devotee is not satisfied only with mental worship of his God. He worships the idol with’Shodshopchar’ – 16 ways to worship the God for example Pooja. Archan, Aarti, Gayan, Naritya etc., (prayer with flowers, water, garland, Aarti by lamps, chanting mantra/Bhajan Dance, etc.). According to Bhartiya worship systems the Acharya Saints and devotees since hundreds and thousands of years continued to worship the idols. They might have attained spiritual enlightenment by such worship. It is natural and obvious if to day also the devotees pray the god on the parth of our predeceased great sages who had shown us the way of Moksa/Nirvana i.e. merging into Super Absolute or salvation, which is believed to be ultimate goal of every person.

It is reiterated in Geeta that it is easy and convenient to worship the perceptive form of God rather then non perceptive Form! To concentrate the mind in Brahma and ultimately to become steady and be fully engrossed with him is believed to be final goal of human life. The mind is very shaky. It is just like air without the outside objects like idols, yantra, shivling mantra, pictures, photo etc. it is very difficult to concentrate the mind. Therefore for convenience of worship and concentration of mind help of objects as stated above are believed necessary.

Idol sculpturing is a science; Indian Idols of God and goddesses are not the absolute copy of human body. In Greek Sculpture we see the idols resembling absolutely human body as they are. In Indian idols of Vishnu/Shiva/Goddesses the imagination of Divinity and gorgeousness are also added. For example huge like silver mountain., Crescent as ornament on head luminous body like gems, number of hands with arms like *Parshu in hand seating on lotus, surrounded by number of worshipping deities, with 3 eyes and 5 faces is never found as a human body. The sculpture has imagined on the basis of pious sages who has envisaged such forms and sculptured accordingly. The meditation verse in Sanskrit is as follow:-

ध्यायेन्नित्यं महेशं रजतगिरिनिभं चारुचन्द्रावतंसं
रत्नाकल्पोज्ज्वलांगं परशुमृगमदाभीतिहस्तं प्रसन्नम्‌ ।
पद्मासीनं समन्तात्‌ स्तुतममरगणैर्व्याघ्रकृतिं वसानं
विश्र्वाद्यं विश्र्ववंद्यं निखिलभयहरं पंचवक्त्रं त्रिनेत्रम्‌ ।।

The devotee who perceives the God only in an idol and otherwise remained engrossed in material affairs is immature type of devotee and a devotee who perceives that the God is not only in the idol but is everywhere i.e. Omnipresent is a wise devotee. In his discourse of 18th Adhyay of Geeta Shree Madhusudan Saraswati says initially devotee says to God that “I am Yours” As time advances and the Devotee feel nearness to god, he takes a little liberty and says ‘you are mine’. When there is Para-Bhakti i.e. the devotee realizes or perceives the super power i.e. Brahma he says “I,Thou God and the entire world is in the form of VASUDEV. It is very much necessary that one should take the help of an idol by which name and form of God is contemplated and which helps to attain spiritual purity and enables to realize God. The meaning of universal oneness suggests that the God is neither in wood nor in stone but is in your feelings. Therefore one should develop the mind to perceive God every where. The God is not on the peak of a mountain nor in the Shivalaya but that Chidanandmay God is perceived in heart by your affection and sentiment. It is also said that the god of Brahmin is in fire, God of Yogi is in Samadhi (merging into God while meditating) God of an average intellectual person is in idol and God of realized person is everywhere. The purpose of quoting this is not to comment on idol, worship but one should bear in mind that worship without affection bear no fruit. It is an eternal truth.

If we consider all the quotations negating the idol-worship and certify ourselves that we are impartial then it is also unfair. The procedure of worship described in Shastras and promoted by our great ancestors, Gurus & Rishies will be unjustifiably discarded by us. This will suggest that we are totally atheist. Great Shankracharya also says “Oh Lord ! There is no difference between thou and me still I am yours. You are not mine, Ripple is of ocean but ocean is not of ripple”. This sense of wretchedness, helplessness is the sign of surrendering Devotee when feel and show these signs and then urge for God’s favour, God really pleases.

Parbrahma is in mind. It is unparallel and unperceivable. It has nobody square of form thereupon for facilitating the worshippers the form of Brahma is contemplated. God resides in hearts of everyone. But to imagine his existence in the idol is the externalization of God from our heart to the idol. The idol we can see and worship, this is the secret of idol worship. My Lord who knows everything about what is in my mind is rested in this idol to cherish my devotion to him. This understanding is required.

मम प्राणा ईह प्राण:
My Own Life I Install In This Idol.

It is known as Pranpratishtha of idol,. In other words personification of the idol.

Therefore, there is a difference between the idols kept in a shop and personified idols after Pranpratishtha rites. That is why Pranpratistha rites we find deity’s existence in idol. The form of idol is just like the form the accomplished worshippers had witnessed. The poojan i.e. rites are according to shastras and the worshiper has full confidence of the deity existing in the idol.

अभिरूप्याच्च बिम्बस्य पूजायाश्च विशेषत: ।
साधकस्य च विश्र्वासाद्‌ देवतासंनिधिर्भवेत्‌ ।।

The milk is produced minutely in the entire body of the cow but it comes out from the teats only. In the same way though God is omnipresent, his luster specially found more in the idols or other objects like pictures yantras which are personified and worshipped by devoted devotees.

When the God has taken may Avtaras i.e. births on this earth like tortoise, fish and human beings it is not impossible for him to take Avtar, birth in an idol, Doer, undoer, or doing the otherwise is capable of creating the entire universe is capable in all respect. The Almighty can very easily get his worshipper to witness his light/glory in an idol. The God through the idol showers his mercy to the extent the devotion and feelings expressed by the devotee. For individual worship, we find small temples in the house of every devotee. Similarly for worship by public at large either individually or jointly public temples are also found necessary. Public temples are the sign of faith of the people in Almighty.