All who oppose muurti puujaa do muurti puujaa
From: Gautam Chatterjee, g email@example.com
To: Mr. Bhavesh Merja.
Subject: Arya Samajis are also very much Moorti-Poojaks as are the Muslims and Christians!
Mr. Bhavesh Merja’s and for that matter the Arya Samaj’s is a doctrinaire approach to things spiritual and they have hardly anything to do with the Rishi-Nirdeshit realities such as ‘realization’ and ‘transcendental consciousness’, etc. Anyway the Arya Samajis are nevertheless Moorti-Poojaks as they do also salute, celebrate, worship (as any other Hindus do) the Vedic ‘flags’ of God such as the Surya (sun), Chandra (moon), the high lands, the flat lands, the flora, the fauna, the Water Bodies, e.g., wells, rivers, seas, oceans, etc., and the divine personalities such as Brahmaa, Vishnu, Mahesh, etc., during the performance of the Vedic Tri-Sandhyaa including the Gayatri Upasana in an effort to access the ‘Nameless’ through ‘Names’, the ‘Amoorta’ (unmanifest) through the ‘Moorta’ (manifest), the ‘unknown’ through the ‘known’ just as in mathematics we can arrive at the ‘unknown’ figure through two ‘known’ figures. By virtue of having specific personality as ‘Granth Narayan’ the Four Vedas themselves are nevertheless ‘Moortis’ (icons) and by extension of the same logic even each and every letter and word of the Vedas are ‘Moortis’ (icons) that are celebrated by ‘Mandana’ and not derided by ‘Khandana’ (iconoclasm).
The ‘Moorti Pooja’ by Arya Samaji Bandhus is also evident as they offer pooja=Upaasanaa=Praarthana to Ustaraa, Kushaa, Patelaa, Anjan, Shiishaa, Chhaataa, Laathii, Jootaa, etc., offer Arghya to Agnidev, Vaayudev, Sooryadev, Chandradev, etc., regularly worship the Earth with Chandan, Akshat, etc., and also concentrate their mind on a concrete thing, viz., the backbone/vertebral column that amounts to Murti-Pooja and not abstract Pooja. ONE NEED NOT CONVINCE them ABOUT THE VALIDITY OF MURTIPOOJA, BECAUSE they HAVE PRE-EMPTED ANY SUCH ATTEMPT BY ALREADY ACCEPTING THAT they themselves VERY MUCH, AND WITH ALL GUSTO, do perform Moorti Pooja. The form of ‘pooja’ may differ from person to person, but offering of reverence or veneration in any form whatsoever amounts to ‘pooja’ of a ‘moorti’ (individuality and personality).
Mr Bhavesh Merja has no problems with Christians doing Shava-Pooja (dead body dangling on a cross) and its Preta-Pooja, Muslims doing Pooja of the Black Stone [Shang-e-Aswad (‘Aswad’ is ‘Ashweta’ in Sanskrit, i.e., black)] and Maqam-e-Ibrahim [i.e., Makham-e-Brahma, i.e., the Ashtakoniya/octagonal Yagna-Kund of Brahmaa at Ka’ba (Garbha Grih) of Islam (Isaalayam/House of God)]. But strangely he has problems with Hindus offering worship to the ‘unknown’ through the ‘known’ Praan-Pratisthit Moortis and accessing the ‘Nameless’ through the thousands of ‘Names’ (Sahasranaama) of God. He surely knows that Hindus do not worship ‘idols’ but ‘ideals’ and the aim of a Hindu Poojari is not to remain a ‘poojari’ the whole of his/her life but to internalize the ideals and earn the blessings of his/her Ishtadev and transform to be a ‘poojya’ (responsible and adorable) individuality/personality in the service of the holistic, altruistic and syncretic worldview, e.g., a Poojari of Hanuman auto-suggests, invokes and cultivates in himself Hanumanji’s outstanding qualities such as ‘Bala, Buddhi, Vidya’ and prays Him to revoke any ‘Klesh and Vikaar’ from life. This is a good strategy of auto-suggestion in human psychology and at the end of the day enhances the qualities of life and living.
In any case Mr Merja has no locus standi in criticizing Hindus for Moorti Pooja as our Moortis and ‘flags’ of God have been the vanguards of our territorial integrity and national unity and centres of gravity for perennial mobilization of the belief, faith and reverence of people all over the country for thousands of years.
If the Preta-Poojaks can have 169 countries and the Ka’ba-Poojaks (they all offer Namaz to that direction) 52 countries on Planet Earth (7 billion population now), why should Mr Merja try to dissuade the 1/6th of the global population (viz., Hindus) from seeing their lone Hindu country in the world as ‘Maa Bhaarati’ (‘Bharat Mata’/‘Mother Bharat’ – a form of the Goddess of Combined Divine Power, viz., Durga personifying every profound thing that Bharat stands for) and celebrating/worshipping it with the Mantras ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai!’ or ‘Vande Maataram!’. If they dare to call it ‘Moorti Pooja’ then they surely are not ‘Aryas’ (noble) but (Anaaryas/ordinary/ignoble) and are in league with the Jihadists as they are incapable of understanding and appreciating the science of iconography and symbolism and cannot even read between the lines.
Hinduism is not idolatry. An idol is an external symbol that brings to the mind the living presence of the deity it represents, even as the photograph of a person does. The idol of a deity is prepared as per the directions given in the Dhyaanasloka (hymn of meditation) of the deity as revealed in the depths of mystical meditation, to the sages. Again, when an idol is consecrated by the process of Praanapratisthaa (infilling with life) it becomes ‘alive’ as it were, by the subtle presence of that deity. It can then be worshipped. It is something like connecting an electric bulb with the source of electricity and putting the switch on. In all such matters, the scriptures are the final authority. Anyway, there is enough evidence to believe that the science of murtisilpa or iconography did exist even in the Vedic period. The beautiful description of the bodies, limbs and weapons of the gods (vide Rgveda 8.29) and the clear mention of the sage Tvasta as a devasilpi (an architect of the gods) should lead us to the conclusion that there must have existed competent sculptors who could fashion the icons out of solid physical materials as per the visions of the sages. The Vajasaneyi Samhita (1.15.16) refers to the Sun as ‘hiranyapani’ (‘one with a golden hand’). The Kathaka Samhita (22.11) refers to a sage Devala who lived by preparing images. While the Samaveda (1.9.5) refers to an image, there is a reference to a temple in the Atharvaveda (2.2.2.). Other Vedic works like the Sadvimsa Brahmana (5.10), Taittiriya Brahmana and Taittiriya Aranyaka refer not only to the images of gods but also to the sculptors like Tvasta. By the time of the srautasutras and the grhyasutras, worship of deities through images in temples seems to have been fairly well-established (vide Bodhayana Grhyasutras 3.7).” Worship of images, both at home and in temples, as well as in public places of worship is widesprtead and popular in Hinduism. There is a mistaken notion that this is pure and simple idolatry. When in idolatry, the physical symbol itself is revered as God, in image worship, the reverence is offered to God in and through the image. Preparation of images of deities, worship to the deities through them, either in one’s own personal or in family shrines or even in temples seems to be an ancient custom. Reference to images is found even in the Vedas (vide Rgveda 4.24.10)(4.32.23?). Worship of deities through images is explicitly referred to in the Ramayana (Ayodhyakanda 20.14, 15) and Mahabharata (Adiparva 70.49; Anusasanaparva 10.20, 21). Often, the images are replaced by symbolical objects such as sivalingas, salagramas and yantras, and worshipped.
How can Mr Merja deny the following references to Moorti Pooja in the Vedas and the Ramayana, etc.?
(i) “Maa asi prabhaa asi Pratimaa asi.” (“Hey Mahaviir, Tum Ishwar ki Pratimaa Ho!”); -Taittiriya Pra. Anu. 5; (ii) “Sahasrasya Pratimaa asi” (Hey Parameshwar, Aap Sahasron kii Pratimaa (Moorti) haein.”) -Yaju. 15/65 ; (Thou art the Pratimaa of a thousand. Thou art the representative of a thousand. Thou art the measure/equivalent of a thousand. Thou art worth a thousand. Thee for a thousand.); (iii)“Archat Praarchat Priyamedhaaso Archat.” (Hey Buddhimaan Manushyo! Us Pratimaa kaa Poojan karo, bhalii-bhaanti poojan karo)-Rgved Ashtak 6, A 5, S 6, M 8, Anuvaak 7; (iv) “Mukhaaya te Pashupate ! Yaani chakshushi te bhava, twache roopaaya sandrishe pratiichiinaaya ten amah. Angebhyast udaraaya jihwaaya aasyaaya te dadbhyo gandhaaya te namah.” (Hey Pashupate Shiva! Aap ke mukh ko, tiin netron ko, twachaa ko, roop ko, angon ko, udar (pet) ko, daanton ko aur naasikaa ko namaskaar ho.)-Atharva 11/2/5-6 (Homage, O Pashupate, Lord of Beasts, unto thy face and all thine eyes, To skin, and hue, and aspect, and to thee when looked at from behind! We offer homage to thy limbs, thy belly, and thy tongue, and mouth we offer homage to thy smell.); (v) “Ehyashmaanmaatishthaashmaa bhavatu te tanuh, krinwantu vishwedevaa aayushte sharadah shatam.” (Hey Paramaatman ! Tum aakar ish paashaan (stone) mein viraajmaan ho. Yah aapkaa shariir ban jaawe aur sab devataa sainkaron varsh paryant ismein aapki vibhooti ko sthir karein.)- Atharva 2/13/4 (vi) “Etu praanaa etu manah etu chakshyoratho balam.” (Ish Pratimaa mein praan aayein, man aayein, netra aur bal aaye.)-Atharva 5/60/12;
(vii) “Rishiinaam Prastaro∫si namo∫stu devaaya prastaraaya.” (Hey Pratimaa ! Tu Rishiyon kaa Prastar/Paashaan (stone) hai, tujh divya Prastar/Paashaan ke liye namaskaar ho.)-Atharva 16/2/6 (viii) Salute God’s Flags also: “Ud u Tyam Jaat-Vedasam, Devam Vahanti Ketavah . Drishe Vishwaaya Sooryam.” (RgVed 1.50.1, Yaj. 7.41, 8.41, 33.31, Saam. 31, Ath. 13.2.16, 20.47.13) (His Flags/heralds bear him up aloft, the God who knoweth all that live, Sūrya, that all may look on him.) Ush Jaat-Vettaa, Sarva-gnya, Sarvavyaapak Sarvaprerak, Sarvaprakashak Dev Ko Hi Sabke Prati Darshaane Ke Liye (Ketavah) Dhwajaayein (Ut Vahanti) Uupar Fahraa Rahii Haein. Dhwajaayein kisii ke shaashan kii pratiik hotii haein. Soorya, Chandra, Nakshatra, aadi dhwajaayein aakaash mein uupar, bahut uunche, badii duur duur tak fahraa rahii haein. Wei sab usii sarvagnya, sarvavyaapak shaashak ke shaashan ka dyotan kar rahii haein. Kitnaa sundar, susajj, sudridh aur suvyavasthit hai uskaa shaashan! Sampoorna srishti aur samast praakrit deva usii ke shaashan aur usii kii mahimaa ko darshaa rahe haein. Saluting/worshipping said God’s Flags amounts to saluting God just as saluting the National Flag amounts to saluting the Nation. Hindus, therefore, respect and also worship Mother Nature and all creation – the labour of love of the Creator – with the full Aasthaa that the worship surely reaches the Creator/Supreme Lord who is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. (ix) Stutiyogya Maanav: “Viitii yo devam marto duvasyed, agnim iiliitaadhwa+re havishmaan, Hotaaram satya-yajam rodasyor, uttaan-hasto namasaa vivaaset.” – RgVed 6.16.46 Stuto Ush maanav ko jo maanav kaamanaamayataa ke saath, saprem adhwa-r mein, jiivanyagnya mein paavak, daataa, satya-yaj paramaatmadev ko parichare, sewe, jo havih-maan hokar uttaan-hast (daan karne mein daani kaa haath upar hota hai. Atah uttaan-hast kaa arth hai dene waalaa), upar haath karne waalaa hai, jo maanav dyau-bhoo ke biich mein sa-naman, vinamrataa ke saath sarvatah seva kare. (x) Stutipaatra : “Tam u stuhi yo antah sindhou suunuh, Satyasya yuvaanam a+drodha-vaacham su-shovam.” – Atharva 6.1.2 Usi ko stut jo bhiitar sindhu mein, sansaar saagar mein prerak satya kaa, yuvaa, a-drohavaak susevaa dwaaraa sukhii karne waalaa. (Therefore a great man can also be Ibaadat ke laayak or cause célèbre.) (xi) Devon/Mahapurushon Kaa Stavan “Devaanaam nu vayam jaanaa, pra vochaama vipanyayaa, Uktheshu shasyamaaneshu, yah pashyaad ut-tare yuge.” – RgVed: 10.72.2 Hum stuti se, stutishiil vaanii se devon ke jiivanon ko avashya pra-kathan karein. Jo kathanon aur pravachanon mein, vaktavyon aur aadeshon mein uttar yug mein, bhavishya kaal mein, aane waale samay mein dekhe (hum uska bhi prakathan karein).
Besides the 33 Devatas, i.e., the 8 Vasus, 11 Rudras, 12 Adityas, Indra and Prajapati as described in the Vrihadaaranyakopanishad-9/2 and other celestial beings, Vijayshiil, paropakaari, tejaswi, prakashmaan, aanandii, sushobhaniiya, dhiir, viir, vidwaan, sadaachaari, vyaktiyon ko bhi dev kahte haein. Mantra mein shiksha dii gayii hai ki devon ke jiivanon kaa stavan karna chaahiye. Devon ke jiivanchariton kaa shraddhaa ke saath anushiilan kiijiye aur unkii gaathaaon kaa gaan kiijiye. (Hindu isi liye katha, pravachan aadi ayojit karte haein).
(xii) Saarvabhauma Saadhanaa “Swasti Maatra Uta Pitre No Astu, Swasti Gobhyo Jagate Purushebhyah, Vishwam Su-Bhootam Su-Vidatram No Astu, Jyog Eva Drishem Sooryam.” – Atharva Veda-1.31.4 Well be it with our mother and our father, well be it with our cows (also dishaa vidishaaon ke liye, disha vidhishaaon mein sthit raashtron ke liye), jagat ke liye, saarii prithivi ke liye, and people. Ours (Hamaaraa Vishva) be all happy fortune (Su-Sampanna/Su-Aishwaryashaalii) aur Su-GnaanSampanna, Sumatiyukta, grace, and favour. Long, very long may we behold the sunlight (Hum chira kaal hii, diirgha kaal tak soorya ko dekhein, soorya kaa darshan karein.). Vedmaataa yahaan vishwa ke sunirmaan ka ek shobhan chitra prastut kar rahi hai. Vishwa kaa sunirmaan na yogi aur na sannyaasi karenge, na adhyaapak aur upadeshak, na naayak aur gaayak karenge, na gnyaani aur dhyaani, na vedagnya aur shaashtragnya karenge, na shaashak aur saadhak. Wei sab to keval maargadarshan karenge aur pathpradarshan karenge. Vishva kaa sunirmaan to keval maataa aur pitaa karenge, wei maataa aur pitaa jinkaa jiivan sujiivan hogaa, jinkii jindagii jindaa aur paak jindagii hogii, jinkaa astitwa su-astitwa hogaa, jinkii hastii su-hastii hogii. Vishwa ke sunirmaan ke liye aadarsh maataa aur pitaa chaahiein, swachchha aur swasth jananii aur janak chaahiein. Jis prakaar bhavya bhavan banaane ke liye bhavya kaariigar chaahiein usii prakaar vishva ke sushobhan ke liye supaawan aur sushobhan maataa pitaa chaahiein.
Har taraf se vishva ke nirmaan kii aawaajein aa rahii haein. Har wah vyakti jise bolnaa aur likhnaa aataa hai vishvanirmaan kaa raag alaap rahaa hai, vishva ke sunirmaan kii dhwani gunjaa raha hai. Par kisii ko yah pataa nahiin hai ki vishva kaa sunirmaan hai kya vastu, aur kaun hai uska nirmaataa.
That is why Vighnahartaa Bhagwan Ganesh is the Pratham Poojya Devata because He taught the world the pivotal importance of parents to the life and upbringing of a child and by extension to human society.
3. The popular way of Hindu worship is also explicitly referred to in the Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhyakanda 20.14-17, e.g., “At that time, Kausalya having spent the whole night with steadfastness, was performing worship to Vishnu at dawn, for the welfare of her son. Kausalya, who was interested in practising religious vows regularly, was appearing auspiciously in a white silk sari and was gladly performing sacrificial ceremony in a sacred fire, by reciting vedic hymns.
Then Rama entered his auspicious mother’s apartment and saw his mother performing sacrificial ceremony in a sacred fire there.
There, Rama saw the articles of worship kept ready for the purpose of the sacred ceremony like curd, unbroken rice, clarified butter, sweet meats, things fit for oblation, fried grain, garlands made of white flowers, rice boiled in milk, mixture of rice and peas with a few spices, sacrificial sticks, vessels full of water etc.”
Those who criticize or hate so called idolatry need to know that no act of idolatory is taking away the freedom of non-belivers in anyway. The so called idolator Vedics are never out there to convert anyone. It is a Vedic process. There is no good reason to hate it.