SriGuru: Sri Guru Bhyoh Namaha. Hari AUM Tat Sat. Please accept my dandavats. Is Bhagwaan Krsna the source of all incarnations or is Bhagwaan Visnu the source of Krsna? Please clarify , quoting from the Vedas, shlokas, verses. I do not want explanation without a verse, as I consider that to be of no use to my question. Haribol SriGuru
Swami Ram Swarup: My blessings to you. Incarnation (avtar) is not accepted in Vedas, in this connection, I paste my following article –
God is only one who creates the universe and no other can create the universe except God. Please think deeply is any one except God empowered for creation, etc.? The pious qualities of God are unlimited whereas qualities of soul, which resides in human body, are limited. That is why He is God. This fact is also mentioned by Rishi Patanjali in his Yog shastra sutra 1/24, “KALEASHKARAMVIPAKASHYAIHI APRAMRISHTAHA PURUSHVISHESHAHA ISHWARAHA” i.e., He who is not indulged in any sorrows/sufferings (kalesh), in any kind of deed (karma) and result thereof (vipakya), He is supreme in souls and is called Ishwar (God), whereas, soul is indulged in all the said matters according to deeds done in previous, and in the present life. So this is also a difference between God and souls and therefore soul can never be God based on the different qualities.
Amongst unlimited qualities of God, few may be enumerated-that God creates, nurses and destroys the universe. God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent and Almighty, beyond description, beyond imagination, and beyond calculation. Nobody on the earth can deny such qualities, but these qualities are to be discussed and considered deeply and he who does the same is called MUNI as per Vedas and shastras.
Let us think over one quality of God – Being Almighty. Almighty means God has all powers and thus God, to control the universe and to do any kind of deed for the same, can not be dependent on another, at any cost, being Almighty. Again shastras say, which is a true saying too, that there must be reason behind for any creation, matter etc. God is a reason to create the universe. Parents are the reason to give birth to a child. Ravana took Sita forcefully which became a reason for war between Shri Ram and Ravana etc. So as per Vedas there must be a reason of avtar and after studying eternal knowledge of Vedas and thinking deeply, there seems no reason to take avtar by Almighty God. As in Yajurveda mantra 2/26, so is in Shwetashwaropnishad shlok 6/8 wherein it is mentioned that there is no reason to form a God and thus God is also formless i.e., nobody can make God but God creates universe from non-alive prakriti. Secondly the said Upnishad says that the
deeds of God of creation, nursing, and destruction of universe are eternal, natural, and automatic. So naturally God needs no avtar to destroy Kalyug, earth, or devils etc., being Almighty i.e., God has all powers and is independent. Not God but only His powers are enough to control, create, nurse, destroy the universe. That is why Upnishad says that God has no desire to create etc., but it is eternal and natural and this sort of desire is named “IKSHAN” and not desire to create etc.
Suppose God has to kill a devil and He takes avtar and God kills the devils by arrow etc. It means God is not Almighty and independent because God has taken help of Avtar (Human body) and arrow, gun, etc., which is impossible.
This all I have told based on fundamental law of eternal knowledge of four Vedas. Yet if anybody says about avtar then it is their own views and they are satisfied with their views and can not be commented because they could have been realizing at their own but so far as eternal knowledge of Vedas is concerned, Avtar is not possible.
You can send your query again if any. I would also like to add that I have written detailed explanation of each shlok of Bhagwad Geeta uptil chapter 12 quoting ved mantras as proof. You are advised to study the book and the book can be sent by post, if you desire. Price of both the parts is Rs. 400/- and Rs. 400/-, excluding postal charges. The book is self explanatory on the subject of incarnation (avtarvad). However, I am not compelling you to purchase the book, please. It is one’s own discretion to buy the same.
N. Mahadevan: Respected Swamiji, If idol worship is a sin, then I would like to get your opinion of “Sankaracharya, Ramanuja, Madhacharya, Vallabhachrya, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Krishna Chithanya, Jayadeva, Ouvvayar, Azhvars, Nayanmars, Meera, Aandal, Pattinathaar, Namdev, Jnandev, Janabai, Thyagarajar, Muthuswami Deekshidar, Nrusimha Mehta, Narayana Bhattathiri…….” and the list goes on and on. While some of them were exponents of all the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahma Suthra, Ashtanga Yoga, Puranas and Ithihasas, some of them were not learned at all.Most of the above great people attained Moksha, as visualised in Vedas through Bhakthi Yoga and by following idol worship.
What about “AGAMA SAASTHRAS”, a part of “ATHARVA VEDA”? It deals with construction of temples, consecration of idols and doing daily poojas. Great Acharyas like Sankara and Ramanuja followed this. Please clarify. With Pranams, Mahadevan
Swami Ram Swarup: When anyone sends questions on this website asking about idol worship then I answer that idol worship is not mentioned in vedas by Almighty God because God is formless. Vedas also tell that God is ever unchangeable quoting Him as “Ajah Ekpaat”.
So, if anyone does idol worship at his own then no comments can be offered, let them do what they like. But as far as Vedas are concerned, Vedas deny about idol worship. If I also ask comments on the views of Swami Dayanand, Six ancient Rishis i.e., Gautam Rishi, Patanjali Rishi, Kapil Rishi, Kannnad Rishi, Gemini Rishi, Vyas Muni and several other Rishis who wrote upnishads, who only did worship of formless God, then it would not be justified. So, no comment can be offered, please. We live in secular state. Everyone is free to do worship, at his own discretion. But again I would tell that in Vedas, no idol worship is advised. Vedas tell that in the absence of Vedic knowledge, no one can attain salvation. Yet, I would say that if anyone has attained salvation, in the absence of adopting knowledge of Vedas, then he knows better and on that nobody can offer comments.
There are four Vedas and Vedas never tell about construction of temples, please. I paste my article on idol worship and you are always welcome to send your query, if any. Again, My blessings to you, for a long, happy life.
Idol worship is not mentioned in Vedas.
If an aspirant will concentrate over mouth of idol then for sometime he will concentrate on chin, nose, head etc., but concentration on one point will not be achieved. Secondly, Vedas do not preach to concentrate outside the body. Yog shastra sutra 3/1 also states, “DESHBANDHASYA CHITTASYA DHARNA” i.e., concentrate on a point of body like agyachakra, tip of the nose or heart. So we cannot go against the ved-shastras. Yes, idol worship has been started within two thousand and five hundred years. That is why, Vedas do not tell for idol worship but if people desire, they can go ahead.
Pictures, drawings etc., may not be considered idols but it is an art and not worship of God. We must know that knowledge of Vedas emanates direct from God and idol worship has been made by human beings. So now we have to decide whether we obey God or human beings. If we still follow the path made by humans then no problem, one must go ahead. On the other hand, follower of Vedas must continue his own path.
In four Vedas, the media to realize the God has been stated as –
Study of Vedas under guidance of acharya which is a real media and as mentioned in the Vedas, one has to follow the preach mentioned therein viz., performance of Yajyen, name jaap of God , regular contact with learned acharya of Vedas, ashtang Yoga Practice under his guidance etc. The said media is stated by God Himself in Vedas. Man, an artist, clay and every matter right from straw to sun, moon, air, space etc., is the creation of God. It thus concludes that we have to worship and realize the creator and we must not be attracted towards creation. Attraction is the task of senses, perceptions and mind which is destroyed but the creator is immortal. No other media is stated in Vedas except the human body through which the said worship is done by a Yogi, Rishi-muni or aspirant.
Vedas-shastras state that God is omnipresent and according to Yajurveda mantra 40/6 it is true but other mantras state that God is “Ninnaya” that is hidden in the universe and we have to locate the hidden God and not the visible, non-alive matters of the world.
T.V., radios etc., all articles are man-made and controlled by some mechanism. And examples of man-made mechanism are actually not applied on Almighty, omnipresent God. Any mechanism, for example- rocket launching , launching of satellites etc., involves the mind of a man and mind has limited power otherwise mind could have searched the hidden Almighty God also but Vedas state that mind, intellect , senses etc., have limited power and God is beyond imagination , beyond description, beyond calculation. That is why, our ancient Rishis, Rajrishis practised Vedic path that is did practice of Ashtang Yoga Philosophy, Yajyen etc.
As such they exercised control over mind, intellect, senses etc. A Yogi when makes the mind dead etc., and forgets even himself (soul) then he realizes the God. This eternal Vedic path of Yoga philosophy has been very well preached by Rishi Patanjali in his Yog Shastra.
God is not a matter to be seen with eyes. So how can He be seen alone in everything with the destructive eye?
Ego is not one-sided matter. If there is ego, neither a formless God is realized nor difference between idol or formless God is established. It is ego that most of the people respect the idol worship as well as formless God’s worship mentioned in Vedas but when an aspirant follows the Vedas, his mind becomes stable, then he only accepts worship of formless God and not others. Whereas, the worshipper who worships idol, he accepts formless God also i.e., he cannot ignore Vedas and can not accept one path alone. We must deeply think over it that why is it so?
God being formless has not preached regarding any of His substitute or symbol, so the aspirant who knows Vedic philosophy accepts the God’s preach accordingly. When God in four Vedas, has not stated about His mark or representative then how the follower would accept the same? Vedas have been preaching the formless worship as quoted above eternally whereas the worship of idol has been made for the last about two thousand five hundred years ago by the human-beings. So there is difference of worship of formless God and idol.
Idol worship is the worship where the sentiments and emotions of heart are involved and all the said involvements are man-made as well as destructible. How a mind/intellect having limited power can dig out the Almighty, formless, hidden God from the creation? God is Almighty i.e., He has unlimited powers whereas soul who is being assisted by mind, intellect and senses etc., has limited power.
Yajurveda mantra 1/5 and Rigveda mantra 3/56/1 states that even God cannot transgress His rules. So how can God be transformed according to our emotions and be forced to accept our sentiments which are not according to His laws of nature.
All Vedas state that His laws of creation remain unchangeable. So there is no value of our sentiments etc., contrary to His rules and regulations. In the said Rigveda mantra, God strictly states “that all mountains, seas, rivers and even the Yogis who have realized Him (God) are incapable to change His rules and regulations and the way of worship etc.” So our self-made worship, emotions and sentiments etc., are of no use until these are according to Vedas.
As regards flag, yes it is invaluable not only for soldiers but for countrymen as well. However, the flag of each country is different. Will any other countryman sacrifice his life for our Tiranga? We, the Indians are enough to sacrifice our lives to maintain the dignity of our adorable Tiranga. So flags are different, the countries being different but God is one and only one for entire universe. So worldly example in the matter of formless, Almighty God is not applicable, please.
Also the matter of image being very clear to the devotee when it speaks to him in his own language of devotion, forces a learned man to say that the said speech between his mind and soul is worldly speech and even destructible whereas when a Yogi realizes God, he is completely unable to speak, hear, see, smell, eat, think etc. In this connection, the description of Yog shastra sutra 4/30,31, 32 pertaining to Dharmamegh Samadhi refers.
Yes, only currency notes are valuable. Similarly the Yogis –like Yogeshwar Sri Krishna Maharaj, Sri Ram, Vyas muniji, Guru Vasishth, Atri Rishi, Patanjali Rishi and the present Yogis-Rishis –Munis who have realized God, following the Vedic path are valuable. The stamp of beloved God is everywhere that is in sky, water, vegetation, in each living being etc. But as far as worship is concerned then the follower of Vedas only worships formless God who creates, nurses and destroys the universe, alone being Almighty. He is Almighty, therefore, He doesnot need any assistance from anyone.
This is never forgotten that the image has been brought from Jaipur etc., so if one can worship an image then why can’t one worship all pervading, omnipotent, omniscient, merciful God, who is the source of everything, who is eternal, unchangeable, life of life and soul of soul etc. Why do we change Him from being unchangeable to changeable idol?
Practice makes man perfect. So the beginner will get the sanskar (effect) on his chitta of idol worship and the same will never be omitted again. Secondly, according to the Vedas idol worship is not authentic. You see, there is no shape of soul. Atharvaveda mantra 10/8/25 states that size of soul is less than the tip of hair i.e., soul is the minutest matter which remains unseen. But when an aspirant tries to know about the soul, he knows based on qualities. We know about a person according to the description of his qualities- good or bad. Accordingly, we know Ravanna, King Harishchandra etc., based on their bad and good qualities respectively. So is the case of formless God. God has given His description/His divine qualities in Vedas only. After studying the Vedas, we first know the God based on Shabda Brahma i.e., ved mantras. Thereafter, when we worship Him according to Vedas, we attain Samadhi and realize Him. This fact has also been
mentioned in Shantiparv of Mahabharat wherein Bheeshma tells Yudhishthir that Oh! Yudhishthir, he who gets perfection in Ved mantras first, then he realises God.
When Formless, Almighty God has not stated in any ved about the idol worship then how will He be pleased by idol worship? Yajurveda mantra 32/3 states “NA TASYA PRATIMA ASTI” i.e., God cannot be measured. So there cannot be any idol of God because He is immeasurable. However, if people get peace in following idol worship, they may continue. Here I am only discussing the fact of Vedas.
Touching of hand and body etc., is materialistic matter which can only please mind, intellect through skin but it can’t be quoted in respect of Formless, Almighty God.
Whole world can be considered as the body of God but in reality God does not have body because God is alive whereas world is non-alive matter. So God is separate and world is separate. God remains immortal whereas world is destructible.
The image will be destroyed one day but not God. When there is no body of God then how will we be able to offer flowers, sandal wood paste, food etc., to Him.
Yajurveda mantra 40/8 states God to be the purest and He needs not to be purified by bathing, changing clothes and applying sandal wood paste etc. It is an idol or body of human-being which requires purification again and again.
External form of worship will strengthen the idol only because we will be singing, describing the attributes of idol/creation and not to Formless God. If we in the beginning are not able to judge the true, divine qualities of formless God then our love and faith will remain unstable.
Such aspirant will only feel nearness to the idol and not formless God who is already within him and who already resides the nearest to the soul i.e., within the soul.
We will have to study the Vedas which state that idol worship is not permitted by God. Yet, if an aspirant wants to worship an idol then I am telling again and again that he can go ahead at his own. On receipt of your e-mail, I am giving answer based on Vedic philosophy only that what Vedas say about idol worship. Vedas do not speak about idol worship and avtarwad. However, people are free to go ahead on their own and do whatever they like.
When I will see any art which is liked by soul through eye, definitely it will be admired and the scene which is disliked will be ignored. So if many people admire the idol of Ganesh sitting on conch, admiration is natural. As far as Vedas-shastras and other holy ancient books written by Rishis are concerned in the worship of formless God, spirit has no concern. Neither spirit exists nor has any concern with the worship of God.
So in the end I again say that he who wishes to worship idol, he may go ahead at his own. I have only told Vedas’ views on the matter of idol worship on receipt of your this particular e-mail