Why Do We Worship Idols?


What is the logic behind idol worship?

We don’t worship the idol, we worship through the idol. The deity does not represent God; the deity IS God. Worship through the idol happens only when one feels the deity IS God, not when one feels the deity represents God. When one thinks the deity represents God, even then there is a gap between oneself and the Divine. One cannot conceive the idea of God or divine as long as the mind is functioning in the physical frequency. Naturally, one needs to have something perceivable which one can connect or relate to. When one really disappears into that, only then one experiences the higher conscious state.

During worship if one feels: “Oh I know about God, that energy is represented by this deity” then again only your ego, what you think you know about God, only that is participating, not your whole being. Worship happens when one loses one’s ideas about the divine. Only then the divine will start expressing itself. That is why the DEITY IS GOD! It is the channel through which the seeker can experience divinity.

There is a very beautiful sutra, a Tamil verse, given by Mahadeva to a Rishi. The translation is as follows: ‘There is a beautiful statue of elephant carved in teak wood. When we see an elephant, the idea of wood disappears. When we see the wooden statue, the idea of elephant disappears. In the same way, only when the seeker understands that the deity IS God, worship through the idol happens. Till then, it is only idol worship.’

If one sees the Deity, God, one cannot see the statue. If one sees a statue, one cannot see God. One can see only any one thing at the time. Only when one sees the deity as God, one will lose himself. Worship through the idol will start happening when one loses himself into the deity, when one knows for sure the deity is alive. Deities respond to the authentic attitude of the devotee/ seeker. When they are looked at with love, they become a spirit, a living being. Without love, they are just a thing.

There is a beautiful Shloka (verse) in the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna says, “Whatever form and attitude you offer worship with, I will appear and respond to you in the same form and mood”. In the Shiva Sutras, Lord Shiva says, “Look lovingly at some object, do not go to another object. Here in the middle of the object, let the blessing happen to you.”

Here is a technique to practice what is described above:

Have a picture of a favourite Deity or Guru, and look with a deep love without moving to any other object. Let everything disappear, just become the eyes; be completely centered on your eyes. If you have jumped to any other object, come back and just sit in a relaxed way with deep love and you will see that a very deep silence, bliss and blessing starts coming out of your system.