In the previous article, you learnt the ‘ideal’ way of idol worship. The God you worship should become your ‘ideal’ and inspire you to possess his qualities. It was also supposed to remind you to see the same Lord in everyone around you (Vāsudevaḥ Sarvam Iti). Our sages designed idol worship as a tool for our mind to focus and pray. We also learnt from the Bhagavad Gita 9.26, how the Lord comes in some physical form and accepts the offerings given with true devotion and sincere love.
But, today most people worship the idol and perform pooja just as a mechanical ritual. Did you ever wonder why we offer only durva grass to Lord Ganesh and not bilva leaf? Or why milk or water is offered in temples during abhishek? Our sages and the holy scriptures have prescribed such actions with deep thought behind them. It is high time that you understand their thought.
Our sages were great scientists. They thoughtfully designed idol worship as a spiritual practice for everyone's progress. Some rituals are symbolic and some scientific. For example, offering a coconut symbolises to conquer over your ego, haldi (turmeric) represents chastity and prosperity. Clapping hands during aarti activates acupressure points of the body for good health. They discovered that every object resonates at some frequency level. Even our human body is a field of bio-electric energy, which was discovered much later by western scientists. Hence, the science behind offering durva grass to Lord Ganesh or bilva leaf to Lord Shiva is that their energy or frequency matches those particular deities. Similarly, even mantras are not mere words, they too are a form of sound energy and have the ability to completely transform your thoughts and mindset.
Did you ever think why the idols are most commonly made of either noble metals or stone or crystal or clay? It is because these materials can absorb energy easily, especially the bio-electricity and store it to act as a capacitor. The same energy is then emitted by the idol to energise the devotees visiting the temple. Idols on their own don’t have any power. They need to be energised to come to life, which ideally is a two-step process. The first step is consecration, where the material is declared as sacred and divine. For example, a stone or clay, which was earlier used for general purposes, becomes holy and spiritual once it is labelled as God and is accepted for worshipping. You now consider it as a form of God.
But this idol is lifeless and does not get divine power without the second step. Activation and actuation (pran pratishtha) is the second and most important step, where the idol is energised with powerful mantras by a spiritually realised master. This is how a jagrut devasthan gets its power as the deity is energised by a Jeevit Guru who is God realised. Now this idol emits the strongest energy in the temple, giving immense benefits to the devotees.
Even food and liquid absorb energy from surroundings and change their property. Our sages were aware of it thousands of years ago. Hence they introduced the act of performing milk or water abhishek or offering food as naivedya during worship. Your devotion and the powerful mantras chanted, transforms the molecular structure of milk / water or naivedya, thus making it holy. It even gains healing properties. Hence, later this energised milk or water is consumed as teerth and energised food as prasad. This fact was later demonstrated by a Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, that the molecular structure of water changes when it is exposed to human thoughts, words, sounds and intentions. Similarly, many experiments are done on other objects and the same results were observed.
The science and the real purpose behind idol worship were lost over the years. Hence, many people make fun of these practices and consider them useless. In reality, idol worship holds deep significant secrets for the betterment of mankind.
Spirituality is the backbone of our nation. Despite the highest number of donations and poojas that are performed in our country, we are still struggling with so many problems for years. Following spiritual practices without understanding the science behind them, leads to blind faith. On the other hand, just believing in science without having devotion makes you a non-believer of God and egoistic. Ishavasya Upanishad, verses 9 to 11, clearly mentions the result of this - those who blindly perform actions (karma) without taking knowledge fall into darkness and those who are only behind knowledge without practising it through actions will end up in utter darkness. The ideal way is to perform karma by gaining knowledge from a God realised Jeevit Guru. This is the only way to get ultimate happiness in life.
The need of the hour is to bridge the gap between science and spirituality, for our nation to emerge as a spiritual leader and superpower! Awaken yourself and rise above blind faith. Be wise and follow the path shown by a Jeevit Guru. In the next article, let us understand the scientific impact of idol worship on you and how Pooja is designed to truly transform your life. Stay tuned!
(Antar Yog Foundation; https://learn.antaryogfoundation.in)