Importance of idol worship

Questioner: There is this one thing that I thoroughly disapprove and that is idol worship. Why should we bathe the idol? After all it is a non-living thing! Instead, why not help those who are truly in need and are struggling to earn enough for just two square meals a day? We waste hours behind such rituals which are completely illogical! Why should we do all this?”

Importance of idol worship

Pujyashri: There is a reason behind it. Whose idols are they? They are of Lord Mahavira, Lord Krishna or Simandhar Swami. They have been present somewhere at some point in time. And in what state? The state of knowledge – Absolute Knowledge. So while reminiscing them we erect a statue. Suppose you are looking at your mom's picture and somebody says, “This is just a piece of paper, why are you gazing at it?” Wouldn't you immediately say, “But it's my mom.” Now since it's your mom's picture even though it's just a piece of paper, wouldn't it give you happiness just as you look at it? So is this picture a piece of paper or your mom? Now if I were to tell you to throw it or tear it off what would you say? “No, no it's my mom.” Wouldn't you say that? Obviously for you it's your mom's picture but for me it's mere paper. So why would you hold on to a piece of paper? Similarly, those you consider non-living idols, are also present somewhere.


Questioner: Yes, that's true!

Pujyashri: Besides, even if it's a small picture you would show it saying, ‘Look, this is my mom and this is my dad. This picture is of the days when I was a kid.’ Wouldn't you keep it carefully?


Questioner: Yes, I would!

Pujyashri: Now that snap too is basically just like an idol. It’s akin to an idol. But we have a lot of memories attached to it. And if I were to tell you to throw away these papers, you would disapprove and say, “But they hold many pleasant memories. They are pictures of my parents.” Looking at the picture of our departed grandparents also brings back fond memories of their helpful nature and how they had guided and helped us. Similarly, these Gods too are present somewhere and if we reminisce them our vibes reach them wherever they might be. And what do they possess? They have knowledge and bliss. So we too shall be bestowed with knowledge and bliss. Now looking at the other aspect, if we pray to these idols, we shall be blessed with material happiness because we are doing so out of our sincere faith in them. So although we pray to the idol, since we do so with faith it is our faith which gives us rewards. So just by sitting in front of these idols and watching them we can attain the state of non – attachment (vitragta) and be free from passion (nirvikar). The sense of devotion shall arise merely by viewing (darshan) the Lord. And so we should always have devotion for the Lord. Do you understand?