Patidar Senani: I have two questions. 1 who created the world? 2 why do Indians worship idols?
Swami Ram Swarup: (1) Almighty, omnipresent, formless God who is away from death and birth and who never faces the result of any kind of deed creates, nurses and destroys the world.
(2) Idol worship is performed in the absence of eternal knowledge of Vedas which emanates directly from God.
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.
Yajurved mantra 1/5 and Rigved 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. Atharvaved 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.
Yajurved 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.
Alok: Sadar pranam, how to do purushcharan of maha mrityunjay mantra? Regards, Alok.
Swami Ram Swarup: My blessings to you. word “Purush charan” quoted by you is not understood. Kindly, brief it. As regards mahamrityunjaya jaap, my article is pasted below:-
Mahamrityunjaya name has been originated by we people, otherwise it is Yajurved mantra 3/60. So we must say that we are reciting Yajurveda mantra but it has been a tendency to say it as mahamrityunjaya mantra. It can never be started with any other shloka or mantra etc., because Ved mantras emanate direct from God at the beginning of the earth. So Ved mantras have not been written by a Rishi-Muni, man, woman etc., as Almighty, Omnipresent, Formless God is unchangeable. So are the mantras. The Knowledge of Ved mantras is eternal, immortal and unchangeable.
In the said mantra, we pray to God that Oh God! I perform your Yajyen, may my life be long i.e., 100 years or upto 400 years as the Vedas say. However, no one can cross the age of 400 years please. So, everybody must recite and do Yajyen from the said mantras himself because in the mantra we are praying to God that Oh God! I am myself doing your worship by Yajyen and no one else on my behalf.
“TRIYAMBAKAM YAJAMAHE SUGANDHIM PUSHTIVARDHANAM URVARUKMIV BANDHANAANMRITYORMUKSHEEYA MAAMRITAAT.”
(Rigved mantra 7/59/12)
“TRIYAMBAKAM YAJAMAHE” is the Rigved Mantra number 7/59/12. Its meaning is (TRIYAMBAKAM) whose knowledge remains constant in past, present and future. Actually “AMBAKAM” means eyes, TRI means three i.e., He who has three eyes. Here three eyes means past, present and future, the three phrases of time i.e., whose knowledge remains unchangeable in past, present , future times and who is present and sees past, present and future.
(YAJAMAHE) do daily worship ((SUGANDHIM), who makes us the best and the purest (PUSHTIVARDHANAM) who increases the strength of our body and soul.
Meaning:- We must daily worship the God whose knowledge remains unchangeable in past, present and future and who is present and sees the past, present and future. He makes us the best and the purest and increases the strength of our body and soul.
Idea:- Yajyen and Ashtang Yog Practice is the best worship of God. So, we must daily do Yajyen and Ashtang Yog Practice.
(BANDHANAAT) connected to (LATAA) creeper (URVARUKMIV) like a ripened cucumber (MRITYOHO) from death (MUKSHEEYA) get liberated.
Meaning:- With the grace of God, may I get liberated from death like a ripened cucumber which gets released from the creeper.
Idea:- The cucumber automatically gets separated from the creeper when it gets fully ripened. It becomes tasty even. Similarly, by the worship of God i.e., while performing Yajyen and Practice of Ashtang Yog Philosophy, I may also attain full disease free age i.e., hundred years or more and get free from the death automatically.
(MA MUKSHIMAHEE) may we never be separated from faith, belief (AMRITAM) from supreme, divine pleasure of final liberation.
Idea:- This human body is blessed by God to do daily Yajyen wherein knowledge of Vedas is also listened from Brahma i.e., learned acharya who is a philosopher of four Vedas and Ashtang Yog. Our faith and belief must never diminish from following the said path of worship to get final liberation.
Main Idea:- In the above mantra , we pray to God. There are two types of prayers-
Prayer emanates direct from God in the shape of Ved mantras like above mantra which are eternal, true and the best.
Prayers which are man-made in the shape of so many shlokas etc., written by human-beings i.e., saints etc.
No doubt that the prayers which emanate from God are the best. So, the human being must know the deep philosophy of the Vedas and must worship God and must do prayer of God as mentioned in Vedas which will ever be beneficial for all mankind, we must only worship the God whose description has been given in the Vedas by God Himself. Who can know God as God knows Himself? So, description of God in Vedas is eternal, true and the best.
Secondly, prayer is not enough. God states in Vedas (Refer Rigved mantra 1/10/5) that one must also do hard, pious deeds to fulfil one’s prayer otherwise prayer will not help the person. Based on the Philosophy of Vedas, nowadays the true phrase is famous-“God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”. So we must ourselves do hard, pious deeds according to our prayer. Worship for the God/Gods against the Vedas are always sorrowful.
So the idea of the above mantra is clear wherein it is mentioned “TRIYAMBAKAM YAJAMAHE” i.e., Oh! God, we do Yajyen (worship) ourselves. So we can never depute any other person to perform the Yajyen from the above ved mantra because mantra states to perform the Yajyen ourselves. Mostly, due to lack of knowledge of ved mantras, we engage some other person to perform Yajyen which according to Vedas, can never be beneficial.
Because “YAJAMAHE” is “ATMANEPAD DHATU”. Dhatu means root word. It means YAJAMAHE word is applicable to personal matter. So we will have to perform Yajyen, personally. In Vedas its name has not been mentioned as “Mahamritynjaye mantra”.
However, if somebody has stated its name as Mahamritynjaye jaap then it makes no difference if we are aware of the truth-
That it is Rigved mantra 7/59/12 (quoted above) and also Yajurved mantra 3/60. So the study of Vedas and above quoted mantras reveals –“TRIYAMBAKAM YAJAMAHE” i.e., we must perform Yajyen with Ved mantras ourselves and do hard pious deeds i.e., listening of Vedas , performing of Yajyen and practice of Ashtang Yog Philosophy daily to fulfil the prayer mentioned in above mantras i.e., Oh! God may I be liberated from death and get divine pleasure of final liberation. The hard, pious deed must be carried out while discharging all our moral duties as mentioned in Yajurved mantra 40/2.