Meaning of Vigraha is ‘Embodiment’, not idol!
The younger religions of the world keep thinking that Indians worship the “form” or “Murthi”.
- So they have been trying for 4000 years to destroy the “idols” (not even regarding them as objects of exceptional artistic, historical and frequently scientific value).
- Their use of the term “idolatory” and the term “demons” reveal their ignorance of the actual facts.
The first embodiment, Vigraha, of the self or Atma is the body itself. See Tat Tvam Asi
- Those who wish to offer service (seva) to the Paramatma (supreme self), at home, invite ‘That’ into the ‘Vigraha’.
- Aavahayami (I invite), Sthapayami (I establish/seat), Poojayami ( I worship).
- Then we offer water, flowers, leaves, fragrant substances, delicious food, music, dance etc as a service (seva) to ‘That’.
- Then we ask ‘That’ to grant our wishes and needs.
- At the end of the day or period of worship, we offer the pooja again and ask ‘That’ to leave the Vigraha.
- Then it becomes just an idol. And that vigraha is duly immersed in water in order not to disrespect that Murthi that served as the Devata Vigraham.
In the temples, it is the Gurus and priests who take care of the “Aavaahana” etc. This method of worship pre-supposes that the Paramatma (supreme self) is not already present in the Murthi. That is how we are able to sculpt the stone, fashion it out of mud, wood, turmeric, etc and carry it about in our shopping baskets, pockets etc.
People think, if God was in that idol, how did the Muslims destroy it? The answer is simple, He wasn’t in it. All they saw/see is the idol – the murthi, and that is all it is to them. It was a vain destruction of something beautiful.
The little girl saw Ganesha in the tree trunk., He was there!
Swami Vivekananda said that we should worship the Paramatma that is already embodied in the bodies of poor people. That method, he said is Daridra Narayana Seva. Narayana is another name for Vishnu which is a name for the Paramatma. And daridra means poor. Any food or gifts or service given to people directly goes to the Paramatma. This philosophy is also called“Manava Seva – Madhava Seva” (Service to humanity is service to Madhava (another name for Vishnu, Paramatma))
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