What is the Significance of Idol Worship?

Hinduism and other ancient cultures have a deep-rooted tradition of using idols, images and symbols in worship. With the dawn of the rational scientific age, this tradition came under heavy criticism (mainly from outside observers) for representing blind belief, ritual and superstition.

But are not symbols, images and idols an intrinsic part of the human psyche and the human emotional landscape, playing an important role in the communication of ideas, notions and emotions? Don’t we cherish photos of loved ones and store random souvenirs for their emotional significance? Not to forget, Instagram is making millions just allowing us to share images!

Heck, even marketing companies have long known this – scarcely an enterprise exists in the world that doesn’t strive to ensure that consumers remember its brand logo/symbol. And what about emojis? We love using these digital symbols to express how we feel. So deep and organic is our relationship with symbols and images.

Worshipping idols and images is intended to be a tool for focusing the mind and opening oneself up to the Divine. For a true devotee, the idol or image is not just a representation of God, it is God. Moreover, in the yogic sciences, the knowledge of instilling life into a gross object like a stone or metal has existed for millennia. This consecration process known as prana pratishtha can make the object reverberate at a higher frequency than its normal base nature, making it literally come alive to those who can perceive.

The video below (~12 min) provides an excellent guide to understanding the idol, image and temple worship in Hinduism. Watch and share your thoughts below.

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