Why should we worship the idol of God?
Idol worship is a very big support in life! There are numerous reasons and tremendous benefits behind idol worship. Here are just a few of them:
Why do we decorate the idols of God and make them attractive?
The human mind is such that it likes looking at attractive things and it becomes still there. So when one sees the idol of God decorated with nice clothes, ornaments and garlands, then his mind becomes still and he thinks, ‘Wow, the Lord looks beautiful’ and thus he develops devotion for God. The result of this devotion is that the seeds of merit karma are sown.
It is because of this that the idols of God are beautifully carved. They are wonderfully dressed and decorated everyday, in order to draw people’s attention towards them and invoke their faith in God. This is very helpful in the initial stages of worship. Later, as worship matures, faith always remains irrespective of the outer circumstances.
‘An idol is a piece of stone, what can one benefit by worshipping a stone?’
We do not know what God looked like when He was living. The idol of God has been made from the imagination of the carver, so if we worship this idol, does it benefit us?
Even stone gives one the fruit of his faith and devotion. It is the faith within us that gives the results. Our faith should be such that we are praying to the real God, wherever He may be, through the idol. We do not have direct access to God, so we are connecting with Him through the medium of the idol. When we find God, then we no longer need the medium.
There is an interesting story of Bhima, one of the five Pandavas from Mahabharat, who believed in the Tirthankar Lord Neminath. His circumstances were such that he could not worship the Lord nor did he have an idol of the Lord, which he could use to worship. So he took a pot, wrote ‘Neminathay Namah’ (I bow to Lord Neminath) on it, and believing the pot to be God, started worshipping it every day with great devotion. He was able to yield the fruits of worshipping Lord Neminath in person!
So, ultimately it is our faith that counts; and that is what gives results!
If God is formless, then why do we need an idol?
Idol worship is one of the biggest sciences of India.
Whose idol is being worshipped? The idol of the One within whom, God has manifested, the One who has realized His true Self, the fully enlightened One. So if you bow down to the idol, then it reaches the Real God within. By worshiping these idols, the seeds of vitaraagata (State of absolute detachment) are sown.
The goal of the human life is to attain liberation, where one stays in the Knower-Seer state, the non-doer state. In order to reach this state we have to worship the idol of God.
Whose idol should we worship?
There are idols of various kinds of Gods and Goddesses in this world. Every idol’s worship is correct in its place. Depending on one’s individual development, each person chooses to worship a particular deity be it a Goddess or Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman, Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, Lord Mahavir, Lord Shiva, Jesus or Allah, etc., accordingly he keeps rising higher in the stages of spiritual development. In the final stage of development, he worships the fully enlightened God (the Vitraag Lord) the result of which is ultimate liberation.