Thursday, May 3, 2012


The Supreme Brahman manifests the entire Universe and is all-pervading. There cannot be a space that excludes Him. Idol worship means symbolic worship of the Supreme in a manifested form to offer our gratitude to Him. But some modern intellectuals think that worshipping the idol is beneath their dignity and is meant only for the less intelligent. This thought is due to delusion.

Ekam Sat, Vipra Bahudha Vadanti.

Truth is one: The learned say in manifold ways.

According to Vedic Scriptures, the Supreme BhagavAn can be worshipped in five-fold forms.

Para as Sriman NArAyaNa in Vaikunta

Vyuha as Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradymuna and Aniruddha in the Milk Ocean

Vibhava as RAma, Krishna Avataras

AntaryAmi as the One who is inherent deep in the heart

Arca as one who is in the form of deities in the Temples, duly consecrated.

The following Vedic Statements of MahA NArAyana Upanishad support the above:
ambhasya Pare

Bhuvanasya Madhye
nAkasya Prushte
Jyotemshi samanupravishtah
PrajApatiscarati Garbhe anthah

This principle can be explained by an analogy. A person who is very thirsty has to get water quickly to quench his thirst. Suppose, you ask him to either wait for the clouds to be converted into Rains or guide him to go to the distant Ocean or advise him to wait for the future Seasonal flood to come or direct him to dig deep into the Ground to get the water, it may not serve the purpose. But if you ask him to take the water from the near-by pond where the pure water is readily available, his thirst can be readily quenched. The Idol Worship is like taking sweet water easily from the Pond. This denotes the easy accessibility of the Supreme in this form.

para = Cloud

vyUha = Ocean

vibhava = Seasonal Flood

antaryAmi = Ground Water

arca = Water in the Pond

BhagavAn looks at the Bhakti BhAva and he cannot be reached solely through our limited knowledge.

The Vedic statements “na tasya pratimA asti” from Sukla Yajur Veda and "na tasya pratimA syAt" from SvetAsvatara Upanishad are misquoted by some to prove that Vedas are against temple idol worship. Let us see why such interpretation is erroneous and baseless.

na tasya pratimA asti yasya nAma mahadyaSah! ---Sukla Yajur Veda samhitA XXXII-3

na tasya purushasya pratimA pratimAnabhUtam kincit vidyate ! yato yasya nAma mahadyaSa ityesha vedAntavidah pathanti hiraNyagarbha ityesha catur ruco anuvAkodUra viprakarsheNa hiraNyagarbham pratimAbhUtamAha !


Tasya purushasya pratimA pratimAnam upamAnam kincit vastu nAsti ! ata eva nAma prasiddham mahat yaSah yasyAsti! sarvAtirikta yaSA ityarthah !


Standard English translations like Griffith and Robert Ernest Hume also convey the same meaning as aforesaid.

The above proves that the Sukla Yajur Veda Mantra means that there is no comparison for the Supreme and it does not refer to idol worship by any stretch of imagination.

na tasya pratimA syAt !

---SvetASvatara Upanishad iv-19

na hi tasya iSvarasya pratimA upamA kAcit asti nishpratiyogikatvena brahmamAtratvAt !

---- SrI upanishad brahma yogI bhAshyam

Hence the translation of the word "pratimA" as "Idol worship" is erroneous as it is totally out of context. Thus there is no Vedic Statement which condemns Temple idol worship,

There is clear mention of the AvatAr ( incarnation) of God in the Vedas.

It is obvious from the Vedic Verse ajAyamAno bahudhA vijAyate (forming part of Purusha Sukta) that though unborn, BhagavAn takes avatAr and that those who are steadfast know well his true form. The meaning is that a mortal is born due to his Karma whereas BhagavAn takes an AvatAr based on His free Will. He is not bound by any Karma as He is always unattached towards it.

The following is from TaittirIya AraNyaka iii-40, iii-41 of Kishna Yajur Veda.

ajAyamAno bahudhA vijAyate

tasya dheerA: parijAnanti yonim

The following is from Vajasaneya Samhita - Madhyandina Sakha xxxi-19 of Sukla Yajur Veda

ajAyamAno bahudhA vijAyate

tasya yonim paripasyanti dheerA:

The following is from Rig Veda i-154-1 which praises about the Trivikrama Avatara wherein BhagavAn measured the entire Universe with his divine feet:

vishNornukam vīryāNi pravocam Yah pārthivāni vimamerajāmsi

yo askabhāyaduttaram sadhastham vicakramāNastredhorugāyah

The following is from Rig Veda i-154-2 which mentions both about Trivikrama AvatAra and Narasimha AvatAra whereby BhagavAn Killed the Demon HiraNya Kasipu by taking the form of Man-Lion.

pra tad vishNu stavate vīryeNa mrgo na bhīmah kucaro girishthāh

yasyorushu trishu vikramaNeshu adhikshiyanti bhuvanāni viśvā

The MahAnArAyaNa Upanishad iii-5 mentions about SrI varAha avatAra.

udhrutAsi varAheNa KrshNena Sata bAhunA

Like the above there are many Vedic Verses which deal with the Avataras.

Utmost faith and prema bhakti towards SrI RAdhA KrshNa as prescribed by SrI CAitanya MahAprabhu is the surest and safest path in Bhakti Marga, which represents unconditional love towards the Supreme

जय जय श्रीराधे


The Nitya pitru tarpaNam formimg part of Brahma Yajnam has to be done every day using plain water without any tila. This is meant for invoking the pitru devatas. There is no AvAhanam for one's pitru, pitAmaha and prapitAmaha. This is to be done daily by even those whose father is alive. The proper method of doing this has to be learnt from a Guru.
The shaNNavati pitru tarpaNam invoking one's pitru, pitAmaha and prapitAmaha has to be done only by those whose father is not alive. This tarpaNam using tila is done during amAvAsya, sankramaNam ( birth of month) , ashtaka, etc