Why do we worship idols?
First, I would like to make it clear that this is my personal view and there may be conflicts from the popular beliefs. Also, I am a Hindu and hence my views are like what a Hindu would think about idol worship; this may not be in congruent with other religions’ idol worship.
We worship nature. We worship rivers, mountains, trees, plants, sun, moon and all the natural forces. Because we know that we can’t survive without and hence are indebted to the nature for its mercy shown to us. We know our goal – to rise and become God like, and are clear about that. We are humble people who accept and acknowledge the help of natural forces in our attempts to achieve our goals.
We love nature. We can’t live without them. It shows in our day to day customs and behaviour. This is not one-way taking or collectivist attitude. We give water to plant and trees, we protect them, nurture them. We worship the Sun like our God. We feel humble at the powers of natural forces, we worship the wind also.
Idols are visual representations of what we see and feel. Idols are made up of rocks, clay, they part of our nature. They are not created in some imaginative shapes and sizes to threaten and create an awe feeling in some tribe. We believe in education and enlightenment. We believe in reasoning and no matter how much we are able to decode, we always remain amused with the complexity and simplicity of nature.
When we worship nature and natural forces, we also see God everywhere. God is omnipresent. We give the idols the shapes and human like characteristics and hence we acknowledge that there is a God inside all of us. We all can become united with Gods. This couldn’t have become greater than this. We see God in you, him, her, and them. And hence our idols look like humans, because our love, our worship, our and our dear God does come to us in human forms. He came to us in the form of Ram, in the form of Krishna and He does come to us in human form each and every day. If only we could see and recognise Him….
Our idols are parts of the nature; they are human like, they are like us! We take care of our idols. We keep the area around them clean, we take care of them and we bend down in front of them……. Because we salute our God – we thank him for giving us this birth, for giving us this chance to live the single moment that we are alive. We bend down to show our gratitude and our love for Him.
When we love someone, we see him/her everywhere: in flowers, in birds, in moon and in the sun. Our love for God is above any singular feeling in this world. For that we don’t complain. That He made us poor or didn’t give us the riches that some others enjoy. For we took birth in this world that our God created, that we lived even a single moment, that our mothers held us close to their breasts, we are privileged.
We believe in Karma – that we do good and will get good. We do good and that makes Him happy. We don’t hurt others and don’t make others suffer. Not because there is a God watching us, but because there is a God in the other person also.
We worship idols – because we see God in them. If we saw God only in idols and not anywhere else, that would be very different. To say that we ‘need’ idols to see God is foolish. God is everywhere and in every form. Even in that bird and in that plant. Idols are one form of Him and Him only.
God is our love, our worship and also our friend. We talk to Him. And we take care of and love Him in the form of idols. Serving and taking care of the idols also represent the way our dear God takes care of us… and we also see that as the way in which we should take care of others…
What if someone attacks and hurts our idols? We will fight in defence and our religion doesn’t prevent us from fighting for dharma. We will do whatever in our capacity to prevent our idols from being troubled. But if something happened, we know that He allows us to learn many lessons from sufferings and problems. There is a right time for everything and He has plans for all. If we did our karma honestly and our hands didn’t shake, then we accept things and don’t worry too much about results. Because we believe in Him.
And hence we worship idols.