By loving a lifeless material object and believing it to be God, the same divine benefit can be achieved as could be achieved by loving Shri Krishna directly. Even if you love an object made of lifeless material elements, if you worship it believing it to be God, you will attain God. Imagine there is a stone Deity and you love this with the feeling that it is God. God does reside in the Deity because He is omnipresent. He is also all-knowing, and therefore, He will give us a consequence based on our feelings for Him. But if we were to worship a statue of a human being such as our mother, father and so on, we will not attain anything. That human being does not permeate the statue. He is not all-knowing. What could he know about the worship we are performing to him through that statue? But if God were worshipped through that statue, because He is omnipresent and omniscient, we would receive a divine benefit from that worship. It is on this basis that Deity worship has been propagated in India.
If a one does not feel that God is present in a Deity, he will only receive the consequence of worshipping a stone sculpture. If we merely think, “What a great Deity! What great features! It’s wearing a lovely diamond necklace. It looks wonderfully alive.” These are only external qualities. They are all material or mayic. If your mind is attached to these, the consequence of this attachment will be material. On the other hand, if you lovingly feel God’s presence in the Deity, then you will receive a divine consequence. Very, very few people have these kinds of devotional feelings. The majority just make some brief show of respect to a piece of stone.
If one were to form these devotional feelings, then how much bliss he could experience! But we do not experience as much happiness from seeing the Deity as we do from seeing our husband, wife or child. If your loved one comes from England after ten years and you go to the airport to see him, how excited you are! We do not become this excited when we see God’s Deity. How then have we formed any devotional feelings for the Deity? How could we receive a divine consequence for that worship? For this very reason we have gone from temple to temple in uncountable lifetimes to worship one Deity after another. If you think you have devotional feelings, then ask yourself when you last went to the temple, “How many tears did you shed, thinking, ‘O Shri Krishna! When will I meet You?’”
To be continued . . .
An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
9 January 2010
© Radha Govind Samiti