Tag Archives: Worship

Deity Worship in Bhagavad-gita

Q. Please explain me if deity worship is authorized in Bhagavad-gita?

A. This question is to be considered by referring to certain concepts.  

Generally people do not accept anything unless they are given proof of the facts upon which they have to base their consideration. Of course it is a common sense that everyone wants to examine the facts and only when he is convinced about their authenticity he may accept them.
But when people demand proof they have their own concept of proof and evidence in their mind as per their logic. Most of the people demand proof in writing or many of them rely upon words of superiors and so on.

It is to be understood that the method of proving many things is not by direct reference but by our proper understanding of the concept of particular topic. For example, every liquid contains base of water. But do we find on any bottle of liquid, words or caption that ‘this liquid contains water base’. Of course not always. Then how can we understand this?
If one has properly studied chemistry he would undoubtedly accept this contention and would never demand any written caption on bottle of liquid as stated above.
Similarly people study Bhagavad-gita, but they don’t know how to take words of Krishna in appropriate manner. Because they may not study Bhagavad-gita under direction of spiritual master.

Lord Krishna states in Bhagavad-gita (9.34) ‘Always think of Me, become My devotee, pay obeisances to Me, and surely you will come to me.’

Now when one desires to remember Lord Krishna, how can one know how Krishna looks like? How can one know how to pay obeisances to Krishna?

Now these things are not possible unless one is given an opportunity to know how Krishna looks like and what is the process of paying obeisances to Krishna. For example when we have never seen our forefathers, how can we know about how they looked like? Of course when we see their photo or image. And accordingly we can know about their personality and we can bow before them to pay them honor.

Similarly, as Lord is sat-cit-anand and His body is completely transcendental, it is not possible for us to know and see Him by our imperfect senses.

Therefore, in order to give us a facility to see Him Lord Himself has instructed in Srimad-Bhagavatam that He can be perceived in His icon or image form (shaili darumayi……).
This is the concept of Deity worship. So even though the actual reference of Deity worship is found in Srimad-Bhagavatam, it’s original concept is found in Bhagavad-gita (9.34).
Only what is required is a proper understanding of the verse under guidance of a spiritual master who is the representative of Krishna.

The purpose, need and scientific aspect of Deity worship can be explained by following example;

Why do we need a clock? What is scientific aspect of a telephone or television?

The answer is that all these things enable us to develop contact with those objects which are out of reach of our senses.

We need a clock because clock gives us an opportunity to understand what is the time (time factor) irrespective whether it is a watch clock or digital clock or any old-styled clock. Unless we use clock we have no chance to understand and develop connection with the time factor.

Similarly television and telephone enable us to develop contact with those objects and personalities which are beyond our jurisdiction.

Same is the concept of Deity worship. When Deity of Krishna is installed,  Krishna gives us an opportunity to reciprocate with Him through His Deity. Accordingly, we can systematically revive and develop our lost connection or relation with Him and pay obeisances to Him.

As such Krishna shows His mercy upon us by allowing us to see Him through His Deity form. This is the scientific aspect of Deity worship and its root is found in Bhagavad-gita (9.34) as already stated above.

Feeding stomach and devotional service

One who is on the path of liberation by Krishna consciousness is very dear to every living being, and every living being is dear to him. This is due to his Krishna consciousness. Such a person cannot think of any living being as separate from Krishna, just as the leaves and branches of a tree are not separate from the tree. He knows very well that by pouring water on the root of the tree, the water will be distributed to all the leaves and branches, or by supplying food to the stomach, the energy is automatically distributed throughout the body. Because one who works in Krishna consciousness is servant to all, he is very dear to everyone. And because everyone is satisfied by his work, he is pure in consciousness. Because he is pure in consciousness, his mind is completely controlled. And because his mind is controlled, his senses are also controlled. Because his mind is always fixed on Krishna, there is no chance of his being deviated from Krishna. Nor is there a chance that he will engage his senses in matters other than the service of the Lord. He does not like to hear anything except topics relating to Krishna; he does not like to eat anything which is not offered to Krishna; and he does not wish to go anywhere if Krishna is not involved. Therefore, his senses are controlled. A man of controlled senses cannot be offensive to anyone.

By giving water to the root of a tree one satisfies its branches, twigs and leaves, and by supplying food to the stomach one satisfies all the senses of the body. Similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord one automatically satisfies all the demigods and all other living entities.” Therefore, after reading Bhagavad-gita one should promptly come to the conclusion of Bhagavad-gita: one should give up all other engagements and adopt the service of the Supreme Lord, Krishna, the Personality of Godhead. If one is convinced of this philosophy of life, that is faith
Persons who are engaged in the worship of demigods are not very intelligent, although such worship is offered to Me indirectly,” Krishna says. For example, when a man pours water on the leaves and branches of a tree without pouring water on the root, he does so without sufficient knowledge or without observing regulative principles. Similarly, the process of rendering service to different parts of the body is to supply food to the stomach. The demigods are, so to speak, different officers and directors in the government of the Supreme Lord. One has to follow the laws made by the government, not by the officers or directors. Similarly, everyone is to offer his worship to the Supreme Lord only. That will automatically satisfy the different officers and directors of the Lord. The officers and directors are engaged as representatives of the government, and to offer some bribe to the officers and directors is illegal. This is stated here as avidhi-purvakam. In other words, Krishna does not approve the unnecessary worship of the demigods

Bribing government officials & demigod worship

Persons who are engaged in the worship of demigods are not very intelligent, although such worship is offered to Me indirectly,” Krishna says. For example, when a man pours water on the leaves and branches of a tree without pouring water on the root, he does so without sufficient knowledge or without observing regulative principles. Similarly, the process of rendering service to different parts of the body is to supply food to the stomach. The demigods are, so to speak, different officers and directors in the government of the Supreme Lord. One has to follow the laws made by the government, not by the officers or directors. Similarly, everyone is to offer his worship to the Supreme Lord only. That will automatically satisfy the different officers and directors of the Lord. The officers and directors are engaged as representatives of the government, and to offer some bribe to the officers and directors is illegal. This is stated here as avidhi-purvakam. In other words, Krishna does not approve the unnecessary worship of the demigods

Worshipping cows

Q. Why do you worship cows?

A. Because all living things are part of God, all life is sacred and worthy of respect. The Supreme Lord is most worthy of honor and respect, and the Vedas teach that whatever or whoever is dear to God is also sacred–fit to be worshiped in relation to God.

Krishna is known as Govinda, ‘the Lord of the cows’. The cow is sacred and fit to be honored or worshiped because she is dear to God. Worship or honor given to the cow is pleasing to God. If human beings can have favorite animals, why not God? Since the cows are dear to Krishna, they are also dear to his devotees.

The cow is also dear because of her gentle nature and her important service to humanity. Cows provide us with milk, “the miracle food,” which the Vedas consider an ideal food for health. It helps develop the brain for understanding religious and philosophical topics. Since the cow supplies us milk, she is considered another mother. We don’t think highly of a society that practically worships pets but sends cows to be slaughtered.