Many questions creep up in our minds when we think about idol worship. How can God reside in an idol that cannot protect itself from a blow of a mere hammer? How come some cultures worship idols day in and day out, decorating it immensely and putting all faith in an image or an idol which hardly speaks anything? Well, in that case, if we say that the Divine has given us life, then we must be immortal whatsoever and never die even with a gunshot. If we have placed the Divine in our hearts, then why do humans still get heart diseases, cough, cancer, mental disorders etc.? Furthermore, if God cannot reside in an idol which can crumble down to dust, then the Divine verily cannot reside in the Universe too, because blackholes constantly finish off things in the outer place. And if so many enlightened and holy beings have been born on Earth, then, all of them must be liars as their physical bodies died. And why were they born in a planet which is so vulnerable not only to a blackhole but also to the man-made nuclear and atomic bombs? If this Earth too cannot sustain itself during a blackhole incident, then why did so many prophets, siddhas, holy men and enlightened monk decided to walk on such a temporary world? If the lives of Buddha Meerabai, Adi Shankaracharya, Sri Ramakrishna, Jesus Christ, Sharada Devi and various prophets holds any truth, then, idol worship holds the same truth as well. We all are different fishes in the grand ocean of cosmos. Yato mat, tato path!
I will say, whatever is in the macrocosm, it is there in the microcosm as well. As above, so below. If the Divine is infused in the Cosmos, then the Divine is infused in an idol which is combined with faith too and one can realise the Divine in accordance to one’s own inclination as Sri Ramakrishna had said- ‘Yato mat, tato path’ which essentially means that there is one goal in multitudes of so many religious as well as spiritual paths.
A nun, whose spiritual master had instructed to worship fire and sun instead of any image, began to press Maa Sharada to give an opinion. Maa at first was reluctant to do so, advised that nun to follow whatever she wanted to but eventually, she yielded to her pressure and finally said, “If your teacher were an illumined soul- you have forced me to say- then he would not have made such a statement. From time immemorial innumerable people have worshipped images and thereby attained spiritual knowledge. Do you want to deny this fact? Sri Ramakrishna never cherished any such parochial and one-sided view. Brahman exists everywhere. The prophets and incarnations are born to show the way to a benighted humanity. They give different instructions suite to different temperaments. There are many ways to realize the Truth. Therefore, all these instructions have their relative value. Take, for instance, a tree. There are birds perched on its branches. They have different colours, white, black, yellow, red, etc. Their sounds are different. But we say that these are the sounds of the birds. We never designate a particular sound as that of birds and refuse to acknowledge other sounds as such.”
So beautifully Maa explained the futility of fighting over the Truth! Yato mat, tato path! Such was Maa Sharada’s and Thakur’s grand acceptance for various lines which lead to the same Truth!
I am well aware of the fact that some hardliners might get offended by this post and to be true, I have no problem with that. People are free to keep their offense (with regard to this post) to themselves. Thank You.
No copyright violation or plagiarism intended.
Devi, Sarayubala. First Series Recorded by Sarayubala Devi. The Gospel of The Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. Recorded by her devotee-children. Sri Ramakrishna Math Printing Press, Mylapore, Chennai. 2008.