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Murti Pooja

In Hinduism , there are two school of thoughts ,”Adwaita” and “Daita”. Adwaita considers God as one and universal power. In “Daita” ,Vedas and other scriptures consider God in everything. Dwaita also considers that God is in Human being and he has shape same as Human Being. Human likes to see everyone like what they are. So they also shape God as Humans. Dwaita also goes beyond one step by considering each and every live element as God substance. Because ultimately Dwaita and Adwaita meets in the end.
You can not bound your thoughts by just one way that God can not be in idol. Who says God is only in Idol? Hindus say that God is also there in Idol. If we assume God to be in any Human being , and if that man does something against morals ,then the image of God can be deteriorated. So we assume God to be in Idol which in a way an effigy of God which “actually” dont do anything but in a spiritual way its supreme image of God. So That Idol connects us with God. You can call that Idol as connection between you and God.
All ,who worship idol with full of love and devotion to God , are more likely to understand fact that God is not only in that idol, but also he is with me and he is with everyone. Idol clears your routine life from sins. Idol as a monitor keeps an eye on you and your regular work to make yourself more like good man. If it is made compulsory that you have to go to temple regularly once in a day, you will have some hesitation to go to temple if you have done something wrong. So you will automatically make sure that you dont do anything wrong which does not fit into general moral consciences. On the contrary if you believe in God who is not visible from your eyes, you are more likely to do something which you can hide from God because “actually” he is not looking at your deeds because you believe God to be supreme but not within you!!!.
Hindus actually believe in both the things (Murty Puja and Universal God). Krishna says in Bhagavad Geeta “If you believe in Monotheism, you will get love of God but it will take time (and requires extreme Concentration or mental ability to believe in things which is not visible to eyes.) but again if you pray Me(Krishna) , you will definitely get me in lesser time (Krishna as God) ( because you are logically convinced that God(Krishna) is in front of you and you have to please him so you have an image of whom you are praying).” This is why we Hindus believe in Idolatry (Murty Puja).

You should proud of it, if you logically pray it.

 The author Ravi Soni is a  MBA student from Pune, Maharashtra and is inspired by thoughts of Param Pujya Pandurang Shashtri Athawale.

Relevance Of Murti Puja
Written By: Sadhu Anandswarupdas
The glory and divine power of the Swaminarayan mantra. ,

When was Murti Puja (idolatry) born? What do the major religions say about idolatry? Does it play an important role in grooming our lives? The following article deals with some salient aspects on idolatry.
Mysterious are the ways in which people are sometimes drawn towards idolatry. Thakorbhai Patel, an eminent gynaecologist, was elected the Mayor of Baroda City in the late 1960's. During his term he contracted a fatal disease. An abscess in his liver threatened to kill him, He was also bleeding internally. As an expert medico he knew, rather too well, that he would breathe his last within a few days.
It is one thing to speak of death but altogether different when a person comes face to face with it. He becomes terrified.
Thakorbhai became desperate. He wanted help. Someone suggested the name of Yogiji Maharaj, a very humble saint. But Thakorbhai had no religious inclinations. Far from it, he fancied that a Murti(idol) is no more than a piece of stone, God a myth and saints a burden on society.
Nevertheless with the surfacing of the survival instinct, he went to meet Yogiji Maharaj with mind doubting and heart longing. Yogiji Maharaj consoled him, gave him sanctified water and advised him to drink it daily. Thakorbhai was overwhelmed by his utter simplicity, transparent purity and selfless love. So he willingly accepted that gift from a humble saint.

The first spoonful of the sanctified water, he gulped down, stopped his bleeding. With some more spoonfuls his disease was cured. He was amazed. Although, what occurred was contrary to his years of experience, something beyond his ken, he said, "I am a changed man. Now I have come to believe in Murti Puja and God, not so much because I was miraculously saved but because I experienced murti puja the Divine in Yogiji Maharaj.
Belief in Murti Puja is born, nourished and consolidated by the contact of a God-intoxicated saint. Not all are fortunate like Thakorbhai to come across a saint like Yogiji Maharaj. So naturally they have questions about Murti Puja. They want to know more about it.
Birth of Murti Puja: The precise date of the birth of Murti Puja is shrouded in mystery. However, the earliest spiritual texts of the world, the Vedas, refer to it, both covertly as well as overtly. The seed of Murti Puja lies certainly in the idea of a personal God, that is, God having a form.
A spiritual aspirant not only loves God but also experiences love from Him. However one can only love or experience love from someone if it has a live form, So it obviously follows that God has a form, that is, He is personal. The aspirant also believes that this God, is infinite, all-powerful, all-merciful, all-pervasive, all-knowing and the fountain-head of all goodness. You may question, how can God who is infinite have a form? But the aspirant is not worried by this query, for he believes that God is above all contradictions. For him, it is only love that matters.
He has given shape to these abstract ideas, something that he can adore and worship. Thus we have the rituals and the worship of symbols and idols, that mediate between him and God.
Benefits of Murti Puja: Ultimate redemption of the soul is possible only through the service of God or a God-intoxicated saint who is present on this earth as a human being. But it requires a spiritual insight to know and understand them. Ordinary people are short of it and thus it is likely that they are misled by imposters masquerading as God or His chosen ones. Sages and seers have, therefore, enjoined Murti Puja worship of worship. This is never misleading. In fact this kind of worship purifies the senses and mind to such an extent that the worshipper can readily perceive the difference between a true saint and an imposter. This is the fruit of Murti Puja.
Purification of the Senses and Mind: The senses are purified because the body is involved in worship. And the mind is purified because the worshipper, while worshipping the Murti does not take it to be a piece of stone but mentally attributes to it the qualities of God.
The more he thinks of it the purer he becomes. Purification corresponds to concentration. It is easy to concentrate when the Murti is in a human form and dressed exquisitely.
Queries regarding Murti Puja: Some people ask, "How can an infinite God reside in a Murti?" This question will not arise at all, were they to believe that God is omnipresent, for if God is present everywhere He cannot be absent from a Murti.
There are others who ask, "How is it that the presence of God is more pronounced in a Murti than other things?" For a moment let us forget things and consider human beings. It is a fact that God's presence is more in some people than others. Otherwise, how would you account for saints like Meera and Tulsi, Eknath and Tukaram, Gunatitanand and Bhagatji Maharaj? When ordinary people come into the contact of such saints, God within them starts manifesting. The more the contact, the more is the manifestation and the more the presence of God is felt. Such saints have the power to invoke God in a Murti.
The history of religion is replete with incidents wherein the Murti of God has responded to the loving calls of the devotees. No less are such incidents even in the history of the Swaminarayan faith.
Premanand Swami was garlanded by the Murti of Gopinathji in Gadhada when he was engrossed in singing His glory. Yogiji Maharaj had frequent talks with the Murti. We too would see the actual presence of God in a Murti, provided our hearts are sufficiently pure.
Swami Vivekanand was bold enough to say that every spiritual aspirant is an idolator as he has not fully realised God and his soul. And this is quite true, for it is impossible to conceive God without associating Him with some form or the other. 

Murti-worship as distinct from idol-worship

The notion that the term murti is equivalent to the English word "idol" is a misconception. The scholar Steven Rosen notes that early European missionaries were largely responsible for conflating the two terms by informing local Hindus that "idol" was the correct translation for "murti". Furthermore, scholar Diana Eck explains that the term murti is defined in Sanskrit as “anything which has definite shape and limits; a form, body, figure; an embodiment, incarnation, or manifestation.” Thus, the murti is more than a likeness; it is the deity itself taken “form". The uses of the word murti in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita suggest that the form is its essence." Thus, a murti is considered to be more than a mere likeness of a deity, but rather a manifestation of the deity itself. The Murti is like a way to communicate with the abstract one god (Brahman) which creates, sustains, and dissolves creation.

It is very interesting to note, that in Russian the word "morda" means some entity's face or facial-expression which can hint at that original etymology.
Hinduism and  Idol worship

Idolatry does not find any support from Vedas. In chapter 32 of Yajurveda it has been said that God Supreme or Supreme Spirit has no ‘Pratima’ or material shape. He cannot be seen directly by anyone. His name is so great that only the Name is enough to invoke Him. He pervades all beings and all directions.                                  
As God is formless and his name is enough, syllables comprising the words may, therefore, be taken as adequate representation. What God is like? The answer is, it is like the word ‘God’ containing the syllables G, O, D. The most striking example of this is the word ‘Om’ which means God in spiritual and material form. Thus according to the Vedas God neither has any image nor He resides in any particular idol or statue.
However we find that Hindu temples are filled with images or idols of gods and goddesses. This phenomenon can be easily understood if we try to know the necessity of assumptions. If we teach a child at nursery stage that ‘A’ stands for ‘apple’ we are making an assumption for easy learning of a letter of alphabet. While teaching geometry the teacher draws a triangle and says, “Let ABC be a triangle”.  The word ‘let’ is used here because the lines forming the triangle are not really lines according to the definition of a line. A line, by definition, has length but no breadth. How to draw such a line on a blackboard? Breadth invariably accompanies length whenever one attempts to draw a line. Hence one has to use the word ‘let.’ One has to assume that what has been drawn is a line. Similarly, geometry asks us to assume a point also. A point is defined as having neither length, nor breadth nor thickness. It is without any dimension; still we try to draw it on a blackboard. What we draw is practically a circle, but it is assumed to be a point. A true triangle and a true point exist only in definitions. Yet we have to proceed on the assumption that they actually exist.
As the mind cannot concentrate itself on a formless being or spiritual form of Supreme Being one has to assume God in some visible object or image. During the Vedic period there were neither temples nor images or idols of deities. So God was invoked through the fire kindled for havan materials. The seers of Upanishads discarded the practice of havans and concentrated on Imperishable ‘Om’. When the Buddhism and Jainism flourished in India the idols or statues of Gautam Buddha and Vardhaman Mahavir got much popularity. To rejuvenate Hinduism different images of God varied in shape according to different names of God came into existence. One may say that it resulted in spread of superstition in Hinduism. Yet it is a fact that all temples, mosques, churches and other religious buildings are also idols and images where God does not come to reside. It is weakness of the man that he likes human shape. So majars (graves) of Sufi saints among Muslims and crucified figure of Jesus Christ in the churches command much reverence. In the same way personification of different names of God and giving different forms to them have helped sculptors to make statues or idols that may find place in temples to be adored by devotees.
We can say that idolatry, in whatever form it may be, is based on assumption that God comes to a sacred place (building) or resides in a statue. There is no harm in going to temples or other places of worship. There is also no harm in saluting the image or images of God. However it must be clear to every one that no temple or an idol kept there enjoys any supernatural power. As the spiritual form of Supreme Being cannot be conceived through sense-organs and material form of Supreme Being (Virat) is the cosmos which also cannot be fathomed by the mind, so a devotee may concentrate on syllables or some image of his liking. As one’s folding of hands or touching of feet to give reverence to one’s father and mother actually reaches them; so any salute or reverence shown to an image thinking that the salute or reverence is meant for God really goes to God.


The Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicolas Poussin.
"The Bronze Serpent", formerly believed to be the one by Moses, sculptor unknown.
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although views as to what constitutes idolatry may differ within and between them. In other religions the use of cult images is accepted, although the term "idolatry" is unlikely to be used within the religion, being inherently disapproving. Which images, ideas, and objects constitute idolatry is often a matter of considerable contention, and within all the Abrahamic religions the term may be used in a very wide sense, with no implication that the behaviour objected to actually consists of the religious worship of a physical object.
Behaviour considered idolatrous or potentially idolatrous may include the creation of any type of image of the deity, or of other figures of religious significance such as prophets, saints, and clergy, the creation of images of any person or animal at all, and the use of religious symbols, or secular ones. In addition, theologians have extended the concept to include giving undue importance to aspects of religion other than God, or to non-religious aspects of life in general, with no involvement of images specifically. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. Man commits idolatry whenever he honours and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods, or demons (for example satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money etc."
The avoidance of the use of images for religious reasons is called aniconism, which has been an aspect of all major religions at times, some much more consistently than others. The destruction of religious images within a culture is called iconoclasm, of which there have been many major episodes in history.
The word idolatry comes (by haplology) from the Greek word εἰδωλολατρία eidololatriapara synthetically from εἰδωλολάτρης from εἴδωλον eidolon, "image" or "figure", and λάτρις latris, "worshipper" or λατρεύειν latreuein, "to worship" from λάτρον latron "payment". Although the Greek appears to be a loan translation of the Hebrew phrase avodat elilim, which is attested in rabbinic literature (e.g., bChul., 13b, Bar.), the Greek term itself is not found in the Septuagint, Philo, Josephus, or in other Hellenistic Jewish writings. It is also not found in (pre-Christian) Greek literature. In the New Testament, the Greek word is found only in the letters of Paul, 1 Peter, 1 John, and Revelation, where it has a derogatory meaning, as one of the vices. It is also found in the Didache and the Apostolic Decree includes a prohibition from the "pollution of idols". Hebrew terms for idolatry include avodah zarah (foreign worship) and avodat kochavim umazalot (worship of planets and constellations).
In current context, however, idolatry is not limited to religious concepts. It can also refer to a social phenomenon where false perceptions are created and worshipped, or even used as a term in the entertainment industry.


The Ten Commandments on a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. The first commandment listed is interpreted as prohibiting Idolatry, but the nature of the meaning of Idolatry in the Biblical law in Christianityis disputed. A famous example of Idolatry in the Old Testament is the worship of the Golden Calf.
The Christian view of idolatry may generally be divided into two general categories, the Catholic/Orthodox view (which accepts the use of religious icons and other images) and the Protestant view. Fundamentalist Protestants still often accuse these other Christians of idolatry, iconolatry, and even paganism for failing to "cleanse their faith" of the use of images; in the Protestant Reformation such language was common to all Protestants. Puritan groups adopted a view similar to Judaism (as a result they were accused of Judaizing), denouncing all forms of religious objects, whether in three-dimensional or two-dimensional form, including even a plain cross.
The problem springs from differences in interpretation of theTen Commandments. "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." (RSV Exodus20:3-6).
The Roman Catholic and particularly the Orthodox Churches cite St. John of Damascus' work "On the Divine Image" to defend the use of icons. He wrote in direct response to the Byzantine iconoclasm that began in the 8th century by the Byzantine emperor Leo III and continued by his successor Constantine V. St. John maintains that depicting the invisible God is indeed wrong, but he argues that the incarnation, where "the Word became flesh" (John 1:14), indicates that the invisible God became visible, and as a result it is permissible to depict Jesus Christ. He argues: "When He who is bodiless and without form... existing in the form of God, empties Himself and takes the form of a servant in substance and in stature and is found in a body of flesh, then you draw His image..."
He also observes that in the Old Testament, images and statues were not absolutely condemned in themselves: examples include the images of cherubim over the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:18-22) which God instructed Moses to make, the embroidered figures of cherubim angels which God told Moses to make on the curtain which separated the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle tent (Exodus 26:31), or the bronze serpent mentioned in the book of Numbers.
He defends external acts of honour towards icons, arguing that there are "different kinds of worship" and that the honour shown to icons differs entirely from the adoration of God. He continues by citing Old Testament examples of forms of "honour": "Jacob bowed to the ground before Esau, his brother, and also before the tip of his son Joseph's staff (Genesis 33:3). He bowed down, but did not adore. Joshua, the Son of Nun, and Daniel bowed in veneration before an angel of God (Joshua 5:14) but they did not adore him. For adoration is one thing, and that which is offered in order to honour something of great excellence is another". He cites St. Basil who asserts, "the honour given to the image is transferred to its prototype". St. John argues therefore that venerating an image of Christ does not terminate at the image itself – the material of the image is not the object of worship – rather it goes beyond the image, to the prototype.
Catholic and Orthodox Christians use religious objects such as statues, Crosses, Icons, incense, the Gospel, Bible, candles and religious vestments. Icons are mainly in two- but rarely in three-dimensional form. These are in dogmatic theory venerated as objects filled with God's grace and power -- (therefore Eastern Orthodoxy declares they are not "hollow forms" or cult images).
Evidence for the use of these is found in the Old Testament and in Early Christian worship. For example, the veneration of the tombs and statues of martyrs was common among early Christian communities. In 397 St. Augustine of Hippo, in his Confessions 6.2.2, tells the story of his mother making offerings for the statues and tombs of martyrs. This is a very early form of Christianity, as the Biblical Canon had only been adopted about 30 years previously at the Council of Laodicea, however see Development of the Christian biblical canon for details.
The offering of veneration in the form of latria (the veneration due God) is doctrinally forbidden by the Orthodox Church; however veneration of religious pictures or Icons in the form of dulia is not only allowed but obligatory. Some outside observers find it difficult to distinguish these two levels of veneration in practice, but the distinction is maintained and taught by believers in many of the hymns and prayers that are sung and prayed throughout the liturgical year.
In Orthodox apologetics for icons, a similarity is asserted between icons and the manufacture by Moses (under God's commandment) of the Bronze Snake, which was, Orthodoxy says, given the grace and power of God to heal those bitten by real snakes. "And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any person, when he beheld the serpent of brass, they lived"(Numbers 21:9). Another similarity is declared with the Ark of the Covenant described as the ritual object above which Yahweh was present (Numbers 10:33-36); or the burning bush which, according to Exodus, God spoke Moses through; or the Ten Commandments which were the Word of God ("Dabar Elohim") in tablet form. These inanimate objects became a medium by which God worked to teach, speak to, encourage and heal the Hebrew faithful.
Veneration of icons through proskynesis was codified in the Seventh Ecumenical Council during theByzantine Iconoclast controversy, in which St. John of Damascus was pivotal. Icon veneration is also practiced in the Catholic Church, which accepts the declarations of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, but it is practiced to a lesser extent, since Latin-rite Catholics today do not usually prostrate and kiss icons, and the Second Vatican Council enjoined moderation in the use of images. Eastern-rite Catholics still use icons in their Divine Liturgy, however.
Some Protestant groups avoid the use of images in any context suggestive of veneration. Religious images are common in Catholic, Orthodox churches. The use of some religious images and symbols, for example in printed matter, is now more common among many modern Protestant groups than was the case in the 16th century, but large publicly displayed images, except the cross, are rare. ManyConservative Christians avoid any use of religious images, even for inspiration, as idolatry.
For know you this and understand: That no fornicator or unclean or covetous person (which is a serving of idols) hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
--Ephesians Chapter 5:5


Vermilion on a stone is a common form of a Hindu idol.
Hinduism grants equal status to all forms of worship and therefore it neither prescribes nor proscribes worship of images (murti) or idols.
Allegory is a key element of Hindu religion and modern day experts in Communications and Business Communications recognise how superior it is as a concept to represent abstract ideas. Each attribute of the God as imagined by the devotee is depicted in form of a deity such as purity and potency in linga, fierce ruthlessness towards evil indurga, cosmic force in Vishnu, amenable kindness and auspiciousness in Ganesha, extreme and indomitable power and pride in Kumara, 100% victory in Hanuman(Hanuman was the flag symbol of Arjuna and was sitting atop Arjuna's chariot throughout the 18 days of the Kurukshetra war). The multiple heads or limbs of Lord Vishnu or goddess Durga often seen in Hindu art, for example, would be intended to represent divine omniscience and omnipotence, whereas the use of an animal icons for vehicle would seek to allegorically represent particular abstract qualities associated with that animal/bird such as astuteness, agility or power. Gestures (mudra) the hand or the holding of a certain object are also heavily weighted with meaning. Certain tenets such as non-violence and search for God in all beings living and non-living led to depiction of several other forms.
Each individual icon thus becomes to the Hindu worshiper a complex statement of faith and every detail may be a focus of meditation and spiritual insight. To fully equate the divine with its icons ormurtis would be a misinterpretation of the Hindu concept of divine reality. The argument of scholars of Abrahamic faiths is that any attempt to represent Him will only fall short since there is nothing equal to him and that such representations should not be worshipped. Further they opine that it is he that gives a certain creation / creature a certain set of qualities and making gods out of them is insulting the Creator. In the same way, Veda-centric Hindu reformist movements in the 18th–19th centuries such as the Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj, were also highly critical of image worship like the Semitic religions and called for a return to the ancient Vedic and Upanishadic teachings.
Modern academic view is that in the Vedic period that preceded this, worship was primarily centred around the open-air fire altar (yajna-kunda) and no physical representations of the divine were used. A text in the Shukla Yajur-veda (32.3) reads, “Of Him there is no likeness (pratima), whose glory is infinite”. The Upanishads, which form the philosophical conclusions (vedanta) of the Vedas, repeatedly stress the formlessness (nirākāra, no material form) and unimaginable nature of God, and advise the aspirant to realise the divine presence inwardly. However by the time of Bhagavata Purana, meditation was recommended along with and worship of pratima (murti) with the understanding that it is not an ordinary material object.
The Hindu sages closed their eyes and meditated silently (forms of Skt. tapasya and Skt. sadhana) - they did not need enclosures/buildings, nor even words or mental images for their meditation. But these sages did not abuse any one's murtis or call its worship a sin. They recognized it as an approach/stage in an individual's sincere spiritual progress guided by the principles of Dharma.
As Swami Vivekananda said, "Would it be right for an old man to say that childhood is sin or youth is sin? .... Just because a few have passed by ignorance and attained knowledge, they cannot ignore that there are innumerable who haven’t tried at all. It is to be noted that in a man's journey of life, he is ever learning, some men are more literate, some are less; so is the case with some communities of our society against others (this dichotomy is common to all countries). The bottom line is: -
“It is not easy for everyone to focus on God as the un-manifested than God with a form, due to human beings having the need to perceive via the senses.[12]human beings having the need to perceive via the senses.
If Vedanta truly epitomizes the state of learnedness, in achieving this spiritual progress "the first stage for a layman is the external/material worship; struggling to rise high, mental prayer is the next stage, but the highest stage is when the divine has been realized" Unity in variety is the scheme of nature, and the Hindu has recognized it and practised ever since the yore through his equanimity to all and universal tolerance". This conscious Hindu recognition and the respect for different approaches to sincere worship proved useful to Jews who migrated to India (for trading or fleeing persecution by other anti-idolatrous Abrahamical religions) and thrived for many hundreds of years before moving back to Israel in 1948. Thus for the common masses,
Now that Vedanta is recognised as the summit of spirituality, one should learn what the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad discusses on the essence of Vedanta. The dialogue between Rishi Yajnavalkya and his wife, Maitreyi, elaborates the essence of Vedanta. The three recognized states to the path of Self-realization are: Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana. 'Sravana' is the discourse of scriptures from a qualified Guru. 'Manana' means constant reflection upon what has been learnt so that intellectual conviction may be produced in the mind. Finally, 'Nididhyasana' implies meditation that helps to cause a direct realization of the unity of things in God. Knowledge should lead to experience; intellectual conviction should result in perception (pravritti). That is why meditation comes in the last stage of the spiritual journey. Again the scriptures insist that successful completion of the states is neither necessary nor sufficient for Self-realization.
Striving for Moksha (salvation) i.e. one-ness with the universal soul (Brahman) is the ultimate goal of Impersonalism. One should try to understand supreme person through worship (Bhakti yoga) or meditation (Raja Yoga), or by performing one's duties well (Karma Yoga) or pursuing the intellectual path (Jnana Yoga) is the goal of (Devotees) or (Personalist).
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada translates Lord Krishna's divine words from Bhagavad Gita, "Be steadfast in yoga (yoga-sthaḥ), O Arjuna, perform your duty (kuru karmani) and abandon all attachment (sangam) to success or failure (siddhy-asiddhyoḥ). Such evenness of mind (samatvam) is called yoga."[59]
The Hindus believe with regard to God that he is one, eternal, without beginning and end, acting by free-will, almighty, all-wise, living, giving life, ruling, preserving; one who in his sovereignty is unique, beyond all likeness and unlikeness, and that he does not resemble anything nor does anything resemble.[13]
Although Vedas describe God as a power beyond imagination and that individuals should pursue a path of enlightenment / Vedanta, the truth however is, they do not reject Idol Worship. In Puja Vidhaan/Prakriya, there is a host of procedures such as (1).Suchi i.e. cleanliness, use of silks, (2). Muhurat i.e. Auspicious Timing (3).Guru vandanam(4).Symbols such as wearing preferably silks, donning tilak or decoration of the pooja griha and mandir with lights, flowers & rangoli (5). Solemnising the deity – avaahana (invitation), sthaapan (installation) and puja (worship). (3). Use of 'puja dravya' such as ganga jal, akshata, kumkum, turmeric, panchamrita et., (6).Invocation through mantras or dhyanam i.e. silent meditation (7).'kirtans / bhajans' i.e. transcendental experience (7). Gifts to friends & relatives and Charity to the poor. Inter alia, the idol becomes an interface with the God – although He is formless the devotee can conjure the Lord of his definition in all his grandeur, power and divine attributes like karuna and kripa. That 'He' is formless is known to every Hindu but idol worship is one of the several ingredients of Bhakti to enable mortal beings of different backgrounds and limitations to approach and experience Him the one Supreme Being.
Thus as Christopher John Fuller, Professor of anthropology at London School of Economics notes that an image cannot be equated with a deity and the object of worship is the deity whose power is inside the image, and the image is not the object of worship itself.
The misleading notion that Hinduism is fundamentally idolatrous was addressed in the context ofAbrahamic religions by the 11th-century Muslim scholar Al-Biruni. Al-Biruni rejected the notion and established that Hindus do not necessarily need anthropomorphisms, but the crowd and the members of the single sects use them most extensively. Al-Biruni wrote that the Hindus believe with regard to God that He is one, eternal, without beginning and end, acting by free-will, almighty, all-wise, living, giving life, ruling, preserving; one who in his sovereignty is unique, beyond all likeness and unlikeness, and that he does not resemble anything nor does anything resemble Him.
From a historical perspective, image worship (Murti-PujA) is an ancient tradition as a small part within the overall Hindu tradition, with the oldest extant images of the classical Pauranik deities allegedly dating to Ramayana when Rama worshipped Lord Shiva at Rameswaram. Other early archaeological finds include idols of the Gupta period (c. 3rd to 7th centuries CE).
Although Hinduism is commonly represented by such anthropomorphic religious icons such as murtis,aniconism is equally represented with such abstract symbols of God such as the Shiva linga and thesaligrama Furthermore, Hindus have found it easier to focus on anthropomorphic icons, as Lord Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 5.


In Islamšhirk (Arabicشرك‎) is the major sin of idolatry or polytheism. Islam strongly prohibits all form of idolatry. It refers to the deification of anyone or anything other than the singular GodShirk is also associating partners with him, giving his characteristics to others beside him, or not believing in his characteristics.
Within Islam, šhirk is an unforgivable crime; God may forgive any sin except for committingšhirk. It is the vice that is opposed to the virtue of tawhid, literally "declaring [that which is] one", often translated into the English term monotheism.
As in the other Abrahamic religions, in practice the term has been greatly extended and may be used very widely within Islam to describe behaviour that is deprecated, including the use of images in a way that is seen as un-Islamic, but does not literally constitute worship.
The word šhirk comes from the Arabic root Š-R-K (ش ر ك), with the general meaning of "to share".In the context of the Qur'an, the particular sense of "sharing as an equal partner" is usually understood, so that polytheism is "attributing a partner to Allah". In the Qur'an, šhirk and the related word (plural Stem IV active participle) mušrikūn (مشركون) "those who commit shirk and plot against Islam" often clearly refers to the enemies of Islam (as in verse 9.1–15) but sometimes it also refers to erring Muslims.

Idolatry as a negative stereotyping process

Yehezkel Kaufman (1960) has suggested that when God gave commandments regarding idolatry he meant it to be understood in its most literal form: according to the Bible, most idolaters really believed that their idols were gods, and Kaufman holds that this is an error in assuming that all idolatry was of this type, when in some cases, idols may have only been representations of gods. Kaufman writes that "We may perhaps say that the Bible sees in paganism only its lowest level, the level of mana-beliefs...the prophets ignore what we know to be authentic paganism (i.e., its elaborate mythology about the origin and exploits of the gods and their ultimate subjection to a meta-divine reservoir of impersonal power representing Fate or Necessity.) Their [the Biblical author's] whole condemnation revolves around the taunt of fetishism."
However, Kaufman holds that in some places idolaters worshipped gods and spirits that existed independently of idols, and not the forms of the idols themselves. For instance, in a passage in 1 Kings 18:27, the Hebrew prophet Elijah challenges the priests of Baal atop of Mount Carmel to persuade their god to perform a miracle, after they had begun to try to persuade the Jews to take up idolatry. The pagan priests beseeched their god without the use of an idol, which in Kaufman's view, indicates that Baal was not an idol, but rather one of the polytheistic gods that merely could be worshipped through the use of an idol.
Orestes Brownson asserts that the pagans in the Hebrew Bible did not literally worship the objects themselves, so that the issue of idolatry is really concerned with whether one is pursuing a "false god" or "the true God". Brownson may have been correct, but some claim Brownson's theory contradicts the understanding of the Ancient Hebrews, whose culture was contemporary with others that practiced "idol worship." The opponents claim that the Book of Daniel, Chapter 14,illustrates the Hebrew understanding of idols, but this chapter is rejected as apocryphal by Protestants and is not included in most contemporary translations of the Bible. In Daniel 14, Cyrus, king of the Persians, worships two deities, a deity named Bel and a dragon. Daniel 14 characterizes the king and some of the Babylonians as believing, literally, that Bel and the dragon are living gods:
Now the Babylons had an idol, called Bel, and there were spent upon him every day twelve great measures of fine flour, and forty sheep, and six vessels of wine.[4] And the king worshipped it and went daily to adore it: but Daniel worshipped his own God. And the king said unto him, Why dost not thou worship Bel?[5] Who answered and said, Because I may not worship idols made with hands, but the living God, who hath created the heaven and the earth, and hath sovereignty over all flesh.[6] Then said the king unto him, Thinkest thou not that Bel is a living God? seest thou not how much he eateth and drinketh every day?....


The Guru Granth Sahib, the central scripture and Guru of Sikhs, strongly rejects idolatry Idolatry is also rejected by the Dasam Granth a scripture by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, and within numerous rehatnamas (documents codifying the code of conduct of the Sikh religion), such as the Sikh Rehat Maryada and the Budha Dal Rehatnama. Sikhism criticises the practice of using idols to represent God and pray to him, and instead puts forward that the shabad, the word of God, is his "true" murti (deific representation), meaning that true prayer and worship of God is through meditation. The rejection of idol worship is demonstrated in Guru Granth Sahib Ji: "Worshipping their idols, the Hindus die; the Muslims die bowing their heads." (Ang 556).
In practice images of human figures of religious significance, such as the Sikh gurus, are common in modern Sikhism, and the Sikh attitude to non-religious images is generally relaxed.

by Mrs. Pervin Mistry

Mrs. Mistry writes on why idol-worship is wrong in our religion
Being One with Ahura Mazda, just as we do NOT have any statue of
Ahura Mazda, we also do NOT have any statues of Asho Zarathushtra!
In ALL of Ancient Iran, there is NOT a single portrait, statue or
confirmed bas relief of Asho Zarathushtra!
Mrs. Mistry writes:
We believe Ahura Mazda is the Supreme Creator and as such He is Everywhere and in All things, from the tiniest atom to the biggest star. As He is Spirit, He is not seen with our physical eyes and so it is with Asho Zarathushtra as well! Asho Zarathushtra is defined as a Yazad in Yasna 3 and 7 and the Khordad Yasht even defines Him as an Ameshaspand! He is One with Ahura Mazda, united with Him through His Thoughts, Words and Deeds! So say the Gathas too where Ahura mazda Himself refers to Asho Zarathushtra as The Only One Who Has Heard Ahura Mazda Completely, i.e. the Only One who could unite His conscience with Ahura Mazda in order to know His Thoughts, Words and Deeds!

Being One with Ahura Mazda, just as we do NOT have any statue of Ahura Mazda, we also do NOT have any statues of Asho Zarathushtra!

In ALL of Ancient Iran, there is NOT a single portrait, statue or confirmed bas relief of Asho Zarathushtra! The figure on the bas relief at Taq-e Bostan, near Kermanshah, is believed by some to be that of Meher Yazad (Mithra), whereas some believe it to be that of our Prophet. But, we do not know for sure that that is the carved picture of our Prophet!

Hence, even in the Sassanian times, we cannot prove for sure that our forefathers ever kept a portrait of Asho Zarathushtra! Spirit or Spiritual Beings cannot be given a shape as they are beyond confinement! Our aim is to develope our spirituality and spiritual senses and not restrict even sacred and Spiritual Beings in a definitive shape, form and confinement. God is everywhere and so is His Only Direct Messenger! Why should we degrade everything to the physical senses and sense perceptions?

Zarthushtis never were "murti" or idol worshippers. To them, spirituality or communion was between the Divine Spirit and their own urvan. We worship Ahura Mazda not through idols or give him any shape and form but we worship Him through Fire, His Son! Asho Zarathushtra also tells us to worship the Divine Spirit through His Sacred Fire which is His Own Divine Energy that pervades every atom and propells it to spiritual perfection. We do not worship Divine Beings through idols and it follows that we also do not worship or pay homage to our Prophet, a Yazad, through an idol or statue.
- Mrs. Mistry

Why to Worship an Idol ?

Because Idol worshiper has concept God is only in Idol, and if not, idol is like other stones and objects.
That is why the true Guru says.
बुत पूजि पूजि हिंदू मूए तुरक मूए सिरु नाई ॥ 
Worshipping their idols, the Hindus die; the Muslims die bowing their heads. 
ओइ ले जारे ओइ ले गाडे तेरी गति दुहू न पाई ॥१॥ 
The Hindus cremate their dead, while the Muslims bury theirs; neither finds Your true state, Lord. ||1|| {{{Bhagat Kabeer Ji, Raag Sorath 654}}}

Dear asker idol worshiper worships the demi Gods, like Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu and prime mother and not the omnipresent one and only Supreme Lord God.

काहू लै पाहन पूज धरयो सिर काहू लै लिंग गरे लटकाइओ ॥

Someone worshipped stone and placed it on his head. Someone hung the phallus (lingam) from his neck.काहू लखिओ हरि अवाची दिसा महि काहू पछाह को सीसु निवाइओ ॥

Someone visualized God in the South and someone bowed his head towards the West.

कोउ बुतान को पूजत है पसु कोउ म्रितान को पूजन धाइओ ॥

Some fool worships the idols and someone goes to worship the dead.

कूर क्रिआ उरिझओ सभ ही जग स्री भगवान को भेदु न पाइओ ॥१०॥३०॥

The whole world is entangled in false rituals and has not known the secret of Lord-God 10.30.

{{{Guru Gobind Singh, Dasam Granth 42}}}

Kabeerji has very well said.

3पाखान गढि कै मूरति कीन्ही दे कै छाती पाउ ॥ 

The sculptor carves the stone and fashions it into an idol, placing his feet upon its chest. 

जे एह मूरति साची है तउ गड़्हणहारे खाउ ॥३॥ 

If this stone god was true, it would devour the sculptor for this! ||3|| 

भातु पहिति अरु लापसी करकरा कासारु ॥ 

Rice and beans, candies, cakes and cookies - 

भोगनहारे भोगिआ इसु मूरति के मुख छारु ॥४॥ 

the priest enjoys these, while he puts ashes into the mouth of the idol. ||4|| 

मालिनि भूली जगु भुलाना हम भुलाने नाहि ॥ 

The gardener is mistaken, and the world is mistaken, but I am not mistaken. 

कहु कबीर हम राम राखे क्रिपा करि हरि राइ ॥५॥१॥१४॥ 

Says Kabeer, the Lord preserves me; the Lord, my King, has showered His Blessings upon me. ||5||1||14|| {{{Bhagat Kabeer Ji, Raag Aasaa 479}}}

नावहि धोवहि पूजहि सैला ॥ You bathe, wash, and worship stones. 

बिनु हरि राते मैलो मैला ॥ But without being imbued with the Lord, you are the filthiest of the filthy. 

गरबु निवारि मिलै प्रभु सारथि ॥ Subduing your pride, you shall receive the supreme wealth of God. 

मुकति प्रान जपि हरि किरतारथि ॥३॥ The mortal is liberated and emancipated, meditating on the Lord. ||3|| {{{Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Raag Raamkalee 904}}}…



People says
Idol worship is completely wrong according to vedas and is mere ritual with no moral ethics included! Is that why there is so much corruption in india? Hindus only doing rituals and not looking for morals from religion.

They do the stupidest of things, just coz the books say in poetic exaggeration as Ganga to be a beautiful river, a gift from above but hindus take it literally as descended from heavens! Hindus today Idolise it and put sarees on it as if they were decorating an Idol. How worse can the pollution get?

The reason is simple and it has to do with the fact that God is said to be omnipresent . Not only that but it is also believed that ' you are God, and I am also God' that is to say that God lives in human beings as well as in everything you see around you - cats, dogs, tress etc. So if God is in nature is the worship of same evil? Besides, a school of thought is of the opinion that the founders of the various religions are Gods who have to be worshipped.
At least I know that the christians believe Jesus is God and so do the hindus that Krishna is God. What they forget is that there is only but One God and all others His creation and no one can equate the creation to the Creator. It is like saying that the vice president of a sovereign state is the same as the president because after all they are all presidents.
So for me this issue has to be broadened and not to be focused on a particular group of people or religion. I am of the opinion that anybody who thinks Jesus is God or the virgin Mary is God or even Krishna as God and therefore tends to worship that person is an idol worshipper.
The reason being that notwithstanding their holiness they are all mortal human beings like you and I and made up of the five elements - fire, water, ether, earth and air. This means to worship anyone of them he be Jesus or whatever (an embodied being) is akin to worshiping an idol. So why worry your head about the hindus and their so called idol worship. If you believe in the cross of Jesus or any other cultural identity linked to any of the religions and tend to worship it then be sure that you are an idol worshiper.
God, with all His powers, has no body of His own. He only takes one on loan in an ordinary body in order for Him to have possession of the five senses and talk to His children in this dirty old world.
For anybody to claim he is God, he or she must have two basic requirements - no birth and no death- not even per second and rise up the next second and claim to have gained victory over death.
How can God the Creator of heaven and earth die and buried or to be born by an ordinary human being and have father and a mother? So anybody who worships anything besides the Heavenly God the Father is an idol worshipper. 
God did not create human beings solely for them to come on earth and worship Him. Do children have to worship their earthly fathers or parents because it is they who 'created' them? God is not to be worshipped. He wants us to know Him as accurately as He is. Perhaps, I have to take this opportunity to give a wee bit of God's introduction of Who and What He is as well as His place of abode.
God has a name, a place of abode and a form of identity. God is a Soul (bodiless) - the Supreme Father of all Souls. Also called Heavenly God the Father because it is He who created heaven ( the land of immortality), He has the form of a Star or better still a tiny point and lives in the far - away land far far beyond the sun called the Land of Peace or the Soul World with we His children as souls from where we came on this earth to play our various roles in the unlimited drama.However, our coming on this earth is numberwise according to the effort you make in this body to know Him accurately. Now, as the founders of the various religions come on earth to play their part in the unlimited drama and establish their various religions their followers also follow them with each playing his part in the unlimited drama which repeats itself every 5000 years.

Worship in itself is foolish, whether of idol or book or stone or statue or the infinite imaginary god.

It's same as not doing any work and watching cartoon channels in TV.

No doubt it is prohibited in all holy books like Vedas, Upanishads, Talmudh, Bible and The Quran.

It is unfortunate that except The Holy Quran no book remains in its original form and original words.

The Holy Quran itself says that God has sent many messengers to show the right path to the humanity whenever it went astray. He has also revealed books to few of his messengers. Whenever people deviated form the Guidance sent by God and went astray and whenever people changed the books sent by God and deviated from the original script, God sent messengers to remind them the forgotten guidance and recall them back to the God's worship.

Quran says that all the previous books have been changed by its followers and they deleted certain rules which were against the human desires or interest and added what they liked.That's whyGod says that The Holy Quran is the last Book from God and it has been preserved till the universe ends. Hence it has been memorised by millions of muslims.

Regarding the Holy Quran it has been proved that there is no difference in any of the trillions scripwhere everver it is being printed on earth.

Why the idol worship is very foolish?

If there was any power to the idol worship, India would not have gone to the hands of Mugals and British from Hindu Kings. If there was any power to the idols, Brahmins will not go for higher studies and becomes Doctors and Engineers instead of doing rituals. If there is power to the idols, Jnanis like Buddha might have considered it. Vasishta will never advise Rama in Vasishtam like this:

"Kaalam yajna tapo dhana theertha devaarchana bhrmai

Chiram aadhi shatopetaa kshapayanti mrigaa iva"


People doing rituals like yaga, tapas, theertadana, pooja, etc. are wasting their life like animals.

मूर्ति पूजा का विरोध करते हुए बाबा साहब अम्बेडकर जी ने बहुजन समाज को 

22 प्रतिज्ञाओं को मानने के लिए कहा था।

बाबा साहब से पहले संत कबीर दास, संत रविदास आदि महान संतों ने भी मूर्ति पूजा का पुरजोर विरोथ किया था लेकिन बहुजन समाज ने महान पुरुषों की बातों को आज तक अपने तर्क के बल पर समझने की कोशिश नही की,जो पूर्णतया दूर्भाग्य की बात है।

मूर्ति पूजा एक पाखण्ड हो सकता है लेकिन जननांगों को पूजने से बढी मूर्खता कोई नही हो सकती।

शिवतेरस के दिन महिलायें बढ़े चाव से पार्वती की यौन तथा शंकर के लिंग रुपी काले पत्थर( शिवलिंग) की पूजा करती दिखाई देती है।

जब वो कहतीं है कि उन्होंने बीए./बीएससी/एम.ए./एमएससी/पीएचडी/एम.फिल/बीएड/बीटैक/एमटैक की शिक्षा प्राप्त की है तो बहुत खुशी होती है कि हमारे देश की शिक्षा दुनिया की शिक्षा से कितनी बेहतर है।,,,दुनियां के अन्य देशों में लोग शिक्षा के माध्यम से पाखण्ड व रुडियों को समाप्त करने का कार्य करते है लेकिन भारत में और भी अधिका बढ़ावा देने का।

मूर्ति पूजा का विरोध करते हुए बाबा साहब अम्बेडकर जी ने बहुजन समाज को 22 प्रतिज्ञाओं को मानने के लिए कहा था।

बाबा साहब से पहले संत कबीर दास, संत रविदास आदि महान संतों ने भी मूर्ति पूजा का पुरजोर विरोथ किया था लेकिन बहुजन समाज ने महान पुरुषों की बातों को आज तक अपने तर्क के बल पर समझने की कोशिश नही की,जो पूर्णतया दूर्भाग्य की बात है।

मूर्ति पूजा एक पाखण्ड हो सकता है लेकिन  जननांगों को पूजने से बढी  मूर्खता कोई नही हो सकती।  

शिवतेरस के दिन महिलायें बढ़े चाव से पार्वती की यौन तथा शंकर के लिंग रुपी काले पत्थर( शिवलिंग) की पूजा करती दिखाई देती है।
जब वो कहतीं है कि उन्होंने बीए./बीएससी/एम.ए./एमएससी/पीएचडी/एम.फिल/बीएड/बीटैक/एमटैक की शिक्षा प्राप्त की है तो बहुत खुशी होती है कि हमारे देश की शिक्षा दुनिया की शिक्षा से कितनी बेहतर है।,,,दुनियां के अन्य देशों में लोग शिक्षा के माध्यम से पाखण्ड व रुडियों को समाप्त करने का कार्य करते है लेकिन भारत में और भी अधिका बढ़ावा देने का।

मन्दिर के बाहर गरीब व्यक्ति भूँखा वैठा रहता है लेकिन मन्दिर में रखे उस लिंग और योनि रुपी पत्थर पर दूध/मिठाई/ सेव/संतार/केला/बेर आदि फलों का चड़ावा करते है।

हम जिस सभ्यता की दुहाई देते नही थकते क्या कभी सोचा है कि वह सभ्यता नही वल्कि सबसे बढी मूर्खा है।
एक महिला को पराए मर्द से हाथ लगाने पर भी तमाम आलोचनाओं का सामना करना पडता है  साथ ही यदि कोई व्यक्ति धोखे से भी स्पर्ष हो जाता है तो   उस व्यक्ति को सिंर गंजा होने की संभावना बनी रहती है। लेकिन यह क्या?यहां तो महिलाओं और पुरुष लिंग और यौन  पर हाथों से दूध बहाते है।
युवतियां अच्छे वर की प्राप्ति के लिए शिवलिंग  की पूजा करती है,क्या भारत के अतिरिक्त अन्य देशों में जहां,लिग और यौन पूजा नही होती है वहाँ की महिलाओं को अच्छे पति नही मिलते? 

भारत में वो लोग जो लिंग और यौन पूजा नही करते क्या उनको एक अच्छा जीवनसाथी नही मिलता? 

या जो लिंग और यौन पूजा करते है क्या उन्है एक अच्छा जीवनसाथी मिल ही जाता है?
वास्तव में कभी-कभी लगता है कि भारत से पाखण्ड को समाप्त करना,गधे पर सींग उघाने के समान लगता है। क्यों कि जो अशिक्षित है उनका यह दोष है कि वो शिक्षित नही है लेकिन जो शिक्षित है उनका क्या किया जाए।

मन्दिर के बाहर गरीब व्यक्ति भूँखा वैठा रहता है लेकिन मन्दिर में रखे उस लिंग और योनि रुपी पत्थर पर दूध/मिठाई/ सेव/संतार/केला/बेर आदि फलों का चड़ावा करते है।

!!.....Happy Shivratri.....!!

हम जिस सभ्यता की दुहाई देते नही थकते क्या कभी सोचा है कि वह सभ्यता नही वल्कि सबसे बढी मूर्खा है।

एक महिला को पराए मर्द से हाथ लगाने पर भी तमाम आलोचनाओं का सामना करना पडता है साथ ही यदि कोई व्यक्ति धोखे से भी स्पर्ष हो जाता है तो उस व्यक्ति को सिंर गंजा होने की संभावना बनी रहती है। लेकिन यह क्या?यहां तो महिलाओं और पुरुष लिंग और यौन पर हाथों से दूध बहाते है।

युवतियां अच्छे वर की प्राप्ति के लिए शिवलिंग की पूजा करती है,क्या भारत के अतिरिक्त अन्य देशों में जहां,लिग और यौन पूजा नही होती है वहाँ की महिलाओं को अच्छे पति नही मिलते?

भारत में वो लोग जो लिंग और यौन पूजा नही करते क्या उनको एक अच्छा जीवनसाथी नही मिलता?

या जो लिंग और यौन पूजा करते है क्या उन्है एक अच्छा जीवनसाथी मिल ही जाता है?
वास्तव में कभी-कभी लगता है कि भारत से पाखण्ड को समाप्त करना,गधे पर सींग उघाने के समान लगता है। क्यों कि जो अशिक्षित है उनका यह दोष है कि वो शिक्षित नही है लेकिन जो शिक्षित है उनका क्या किया जाए।

 — with Bamcef Net,

Idol Worship in Hinduism

The Snake Goddess

Manasa, the Snake Goddess
Ma Manasa Devi, the snake goddess, is worshipped by Hindus, mainly for the prevention and cure of snakebites and infectious diseases like smallpox and chicken pox as well as for prosperity and fertility. She stands for both 'destruction' and 'regeneration', almost akin to a snake shedding its skin and being reborn.

A Graceful Goddess

The idol of the goddess is depicted as a graceful lady with her body, adorned with snakes and sitting on a lotus or standing on a snake, under a hooded canopy of seven cobras. She is often seen as 'the one-eyed goddess', and sometimes portrayed with her son Astika on her lap.

Mythological Lineage of Manasa

Also known as 'Nagini,' the female serpentine avatar or 'Vishahara,' the goddess who annihilates poison, Manasa, in the Hindu mythology, is believed to be the daughter of sage Kasyapa and Kadru, the sister of the serpent-king Sesha. She is the sister of Vasuki, king of Nagas and wife of sage Jagatkaru. A simplified version of the myth regards Manasa as the daughter of Lord Shiva. Legends have it that she was rejected by her father Shiva and husband Jagatk?ru, and hated by her stepmother, Chandi, who scooped out one of Manasa's eyes. So, she appears to be foul-tempered, and benevolent only towards her devotees.

Manasa, a Powerful Demigoddess

Manasa, due to her mixed parentage, is denied full godhead. Ancient Hindu legends in the Puranas, narrate the story of the birth of this powerful serpentine goddess. Sage Kashyapa created goddess Manasa from his 'mana,' or mind, so she could control the reptiles that were creating havoc on earth and Lord Brahma made her the presiding deity of snakes. It is believed that Lord Krishna granted her divine status and she established herself in the pantheon of gods.

Manasa Puja, Worship of the Serpentine Goddess

During the monsoon season, Goddess Manasa is worshiped, mainly in the eastern Indian states of Bengal, Assam, Jharkand, and Orissa, throughout the months of June, July and August (Ashar - Shravan), a time when the snakes leave their nesting ground and come out into the open and become active. In Bangladesh, the Manasa and Ashtanaag Puja is a month-long affair spanning July and August. Devotees pay obeisance to goddess Manasa and perform various 'pujas' or rituals to appease her. Special 'murtis' or statues of the goddess are sculpted, various sacrifices made, and prayers chanted. In some places, worshippers are seen to pierce their bodies, poisonous snakes are displayed on the altar, and live shows depicting the life and legends of Manasa Devi are performed.

Murti Puja

Murti Puja is one of the core concepts of Sanatana Dharma. The literal meaning of murti is manifestation, something that has taken a concrete form. Murti without any prefix refers to devata murti or god-form. Thus murti is a representation (in a manifest, definite form) of god-form. Murti puja is worship of murti as a god-form, worship of god-form in the murti. The devotee worships the deity (or devata) who is requested to reside in the vigraha (murti) for the duration of the worship. A murti usually is a concrete shape, having features attributed to the god-form. These are usually the physical attributes of the deity as described by the theology for the Devata. The murti has as many hands/legs/heads as spoken of in theology. Features like wearing snakes/garlands/having moon as adornment, the weapons they hold, are also reflected in the murti.


But devata as such does not have a specific form or quality; these are not the physical attributes of devata. Devata being pure consciousness, these are the attributes that reflect the nature of that consciousness. For instance, when we speak of lord Siva, He is featureless. He is the eternal. But He is said to have two wives, wearing a snake, traveling on an ox, having matted and dusted hair. What are these features of the featureless? What are the wives of the One without the second? All these features, if seen properly, reflect only His featurelessness. His hair is the infinite space, vyoma (vyomakesa). The snake he wears is the awakened consciousness. He is the eternal and is associated with two attributes - energy and consciousness. These are His two wives (Sakti and Ganga). The universe is said to be the play of primal rhythmic energy and Her union with the eternal is said to be the dissolution or liberation as the context may be. The vehicle of this union is Nandi, the ox. This is the upward movement or ascent of man. He is digambara, the one with directions as his clothes - this in the trivial sense is nudity, but in profound sense only indicates His infiniteness. Thus, none of these are qualities in the sense that a person has qualities, but are the attributes that best describe the featureless.

Experience - Darsana

"Seeing" is a metaphorical expression of experiencing. By saying one "sees" devata, we are saying that the person is elevated to the state of experiencing god-consciousness.
Then, what does one mean when he "sees" God in this form? What does he mean when he says he saw Rudra or Durga? Does it mean he really saw the devata in human form? How is this possible? The answer has two parts:
Yes, devata does descend into a form for the sake of the devotee. When worshiped with sincerity, in any particular form, one sees divinity in the particular form as one may desire. As such, divinity is pure consciousness and it does not have a form. Just like water. But one can collect it in the vessel he wants. This vessel is of two kinds - the human vessel and the god-vessel. As long as a person exists, he has to experience the impersonal in either of these ways. The impersonal exists eternally, but experiencing comes only when we talk of a seeker. And so long as the seeker is there, there is a vessel needed. The vessel is called upadhi.
  1. Just invoke pure consciousness and experience the formless. You are the vessel here. This is like collecting water in a vessel.
  2. Invoke it in the form you want. This is like freezing water into an ice-block of your desired shape. You can behold water; see it, and its form. The ice-block is the devata. The reason this kind of practice can be institutionalized is that this is not specific to any human vessel - this is impersonal and a "concrete form" of the impersonal that is created for the well-being of entire mankind.
There is no difference in the level of divinity one sees or in the nature of divinity one sees. The only difference is in the way one seeks to attain divinity. These are different approaches that need to be practiced based on the approach of the devotee. There are definite advantages in both. But the former is a secret practice that is possible only in few cases while the latter is possible at a more popular level. The reasons are:
  1. Ego always comes in while saying I am the pure consciousness or its vessel. This is not the case when we try to invoke it as if we are not the same. But it should be understood that though one tries to invoke divinity instead of feeling oneness with it, he can behold it only when he attains that oneness. Seeing is becoming.
  2. Mind has the limitation of working even while it thinks it does not work. Concentrating on the formless is not possible unless one transcends the very state of concentration. So it is tough to get to the real state of experiencing the formless unless guided very carefully.
  3. Treating the formless as having forms and quality-less in terms of qualities allows one to soon discover the nature of those qualities. This way thinking of God and worshiping can be made understandable and practicable for everyone.
  4. The state of having a form always by one's side, is a great psychological advantage. One can easily start feeling "yes there is this (impersonal) person who is more interested in my welfare than me, who is capable of everything that I am not, who has infinite patience, power, mercy, and love for me and everyone else". One slowly decreases bothering about himself because he is already taken care of and starts caring more about the "person" than himself. This is how one slowly identifies with the impersonal and impersonalizes himself.
  5. In fact, if seen properly, what is a better way to say "I am that" (aham brahmasmi) and "That is me", than treating devata as having a form, life and qualities like human? Treating god like oneself is nothing but feeling oneness with God. By admiring the qualities attributed to devata, one grows beyond his own limitations of human qualities and invokes those qualities he worships the devata as having, in himself.
What we call seeing, is not seeing a physical form with biological eyes. The one who sees certainly sees a form but not a physical form that every one can see. It is visible to him alone as a taijasika rupa. The form talks to him and reveals to him many secrets of the path he is following, and showers on him many other boons. But this is only another way of saying that the devotee acquired all those through his sadhana. So, by disowning the capability as an individual and attributing it to the One, one can easily grow over ego. This is precisely the reason why duality of individual-God (dwaita of jivatma-paramatma) is so successful (e.g. Bhakti marga).
But devata as such cannot be limited to an murti. Then what are we doing by worshiping an murti as devata? We are only invoking the formless infinite in the small murti as small as our thumb. It does get invoked there - wherever we want and in whichever thing we want. We need not bother whether we can compress the infinite into the murti - we cannot and we don't have to. But of the size of the thumb is the Man that is ruling us from within (Purusha). This is the reason why the murti is usually prescribed to be of that size (for personal worship). However, the consciousness/energy that one beholds through the worship is only of the order that his own consciousness permits, and not of the size of the murti. One not only identifies the murti with the Purusha within - he actually experiences it.

Theory of Puja

Puja or worship is a token of affection towards divinity. It is the ritualistic expression of devotion. The divine is the closest and the most private relative of man, and puja is a way to express one's gratitude to God, because all that he is is because of God. God causes our existence, and our evolution. It is not an expectation of God that we express anything to Him, for it does not matter to Him. But it is a necessity of man to realize his own insignificance in the cosmic game, as that is the way he can grow over all his miseries into infinite bliss.
Just in the way a parent nurtures the child irrespective of whether the child says "thanks" or kisses the parent, God still takes care of our evolution. But just the way a child spending good amount of time in the parent's lap every day never starves for anything, the devotee who sits in the lap of the divine consciousness never starves for anything. The parent is already there to take care of us, so there is no need to starve for anything as such. But all the difference is in knowing that the parent is there. The child who thinks he is not getting something he wants, and a child who thinks he gets everything from the parent, do not differ in their success - the parent causes their success in either case. They differ however, only in the quality of their happiness, their confidence, their craving for desires. One who rests his desires on God alone has nothing to desire - because he knows he already has everything.
Yes, it is true that one can worship god desiring something - but when it is like the kid appeasing the mother with kisses wanting something, it is equally blissful. But one does not experience the bliss in that love - his attention is in the thing he is asking for and not the beauty of mother's love. It is still there however. And evolution in life is to slowly move one's attention from the object of desire to the experience of love. Then one automatically realizes the insignificance of desire. He realizes that the happiness in the object of desire is infinitesimal before the happiness in mother's love. And he then seeks to sit in the mother's lap and does not seek anything else. This is what happens when one keeps worshipping - sakama becomes nishkama over time. One does not have to suppress desires, but one has to worship with sincerity even though seeking something. This guarantees his evolution.

Textual References

Brahmana portion of the Veda (Aranyaka also to some extent) contains mantras for worshipping. There are many ways to worship, like arcana, homa, japa. The mantras that praise the devata are found mostly in the Samhita portion of the Veda. The mantras used in the sequence of various steps in the worship come from Brahmana. The procedures for various kinds of worship are found in the Kalpa Sutras (esp. Srauta Sutras). For different purposes, mantras are put into different sequences, and used in different combinations with different procedures. Each of these is called a samputikarana.

The Procedure

The major steps in worshipping are meditating on the devata, then invoking devata and praying. In case of arcana, devata is invoked in an murti. In case of homa, Agni is invoked and is asked to carry oblations to all the devatas. In case of japa/yoga the devata is invoked in the body of devotee himself. This is called dharana in yoga and nyasa in japa/upasana terminology. These categories are not mutually exclusive - nyasa can be done during arcana and so on. There are differences in the way it is done, but in all the cases the sadhaka invokes devata in himself, directly or indirectly.
There are a few common steps for all modes of worship. They are:


Sankalpa is the first step in worship. Before beginning worship the devotee mentions the place, date and time and declares that he is beginning worship. The devata being worshiped, the mode of worship and purpose of worship are also mentioned. After avahana, the mantra used for worship, its rishi and chandas are also mentioned before nyasa is done.


The devata is "satisfied" before worship. Tarpana comes from trupti and tarpana means satisfying. It is outwardly symbolized by leaving water, but the devata is satisfied by offering rahasya tarpana through yogic practice.
There are different means of giving a tarpana, for different purposes. In case of devatas it is through water or milk or any other sweet fluid. In case of pitris it is water with black sesame (tila+udaka).


The devata is then invoked, worshiped in any of the ways. One is said to attain to Samadhi and become one with the devata in that state, during worship.


The result/merit of worship performed is offered after worship. It is offered according to the result sought during sankalpa. It could be loka kalyana or any specific desire or simply left to the devata.
Here is a brief account of methods of worship.


Arcana involves 16 upacaras to the devata, dhyana, avahana. and visarjana. These are preceeded by vigraha sodhana and prana pratistha. Vigraha sodhana is finding and purifying the murti to make it fit for worship. Then the murti is charged with god-ness. This is called prana pratistha.
During prana pratistha, the murti is said to be given life, eyes and other organs. Without this, devata cannot be invoked in the murti. Through this, we are invoking the cosmic consciousness that enables all our vision, into the murti. In other words, we are charging the murti with the devata-ness. This is the step before inviting the devata (avahana). As the murti is given life and senses, we meditate on the form of devata we are invoking (dhyana). Then we invoke the devata in that form (avahana). Then the devata is worshipped in many ways, and is offered all that a human is offered.
It should be understood that prana pratistha is different from avahana. Prana pratistha is done to the murti while avahana is done by and for the devotee. Prana pratistha is charging the murti with god-ness while avahana is invoking the god-ness. Prana pratistha charges the murti with the devata, but it does not invoke it.
There are cases where devata resides imminently in certain murtis (like salagramas or swayambhuva lingas) and they do not need prana pratistha. However, avahana is needed in all cases including these, since invoking the devata in the murti is to be done every time the devotee is seeking to worship devata in that murti.
Having said this, when one worships with sincerity and attains divinity steps like prana pratistha and avahana happen by themselves even when they are not done explicitly. That does not undermine the significance of these steps but only stresses the importance of devotion.
Devata is offered all that a man is offered. The "upacaras" or services or treatment that are done to a human guest, like inviting, giving water and other drinks, clothes, food, entertainment that he likes are all done to the devata.
After that, the devata is "worshipped". This involves chanting mantra or stotra, and making offerings to the devata. This could be flowers or kunkum or abhisheka. Each devata is worshipped in a specific way. For instance Devi is worshipped with pushpa, kunkuma and haridra (turmeric). She is said to love to be praised (stotra priya). Vishnuis offered flowers, garlands, scents, He is said to like adornments (alankara priya). Siva is said to like abhisheka (continuously pouring water/milk/sweet liquids/rice/bhasmaetc over the Siva linga) (abhisheka priya).
Devatas are said to like to be invoked with different names (ex. Lalita Devi is praised as nama parayana preeta). By taking the different names of a devata, one realizes the multifaceted and infinite nature of the devata.
The upacaras are done again after this and the worship then concludes.


Japa is chanting of mantra. The procedure for japa involves sankalpa, nyasa, dhyana and mantra japa.


Homa is worshipping through fire (agni karya). In Homa, Agni is invoked. Agni is said to be the face of all devatas (deva mukha). All the oblations (havis) are offered to Him. After offering oblations to Agni, oblations to all other devatas are offered through Agni - Agni is said to carry those to devatas. Havis is said to be the food of devatas by obtaining which they cause man's well-being.
Agni being the carrier of oblations, his consort symbolizes offering. Agni is said to have two wives, Svaha and Swadha. Svaha is the word to be uttered while oblations are offered. Offerings to devatas are made with Svaha and offerings to pitris or departed fathers are made with Swadha.
For a homa, an altar is built. Then fire is invoked in that. Then the articles are purified and fire is worshiped. Then other devatas are worshipped.


One is supposed to perform eight rituals everyday, they are called nityakarmas. These are eight ways of worship. The list varies for varnas and each varna has the nitya karma-astaka prescribed separately. Broadly they are taking bath, various forms of worship, serving occupation and treating guests. For a srotriya, they are snana, sandhyavandana, japa, homa, devatarcana, vaisadeva, atithya and veda patha.

दलित स्त्री आंदोलन; चिंतन और संघर्ष की चुनौतियां

Written by अनिता भारती | Published on: February 18, 2016


भारतीय समाज की सबसे निचली सीढ़ी पर खड़ी दलित स्त्री ने समाज की वर्जनाओं निषेधाज्ञाओं को लांघते हुऐ ब्राह्मणवादी व्यवस्था केमुख्य आधार स्तम्भ; पितृसत्ता, धर्म और जातीयता को हमेशा कड़ी टक्कर दी है। चाहें वह चिन्तन का क्षेत्र हो अथवा संघर्ष का, दोनो स्तरों पर उसने अपने अस्तित्व व अस्मिता की लड़ाई को प्राचीन काल से लेकर आज तक जारी रखा है।

आधुनिक महिला आन्दोलन की शुरूआत 18वीं शताब्दी से मानी जाती है परन्तु दलित महिला आन्दोलन की शुरूआत हम बौद्धकाल से ही मानते है। दलित महिला आन्दोलन महज 200 साल पुराना न होकर सदियों पुराना है, जिसमें सर्वप्रथम बौद्धकालमें दलित वर्ग की, थेरी सुमंगला और पूर्णिमा दासीके द्वारा लिखी गई कविताओं को, हम दलित नारीवाद की प्रथम सशक्त अभिव्यक्ति मानते है। सुंमगला उन्मुक्त स्वर में अपने द्वारा, अपने आप को पा लेने की घोषणा करते हुए यानि अपने अस्तित्व को पहचाने की एक लंबी कष्टदायक प्रक्रिया से गुजरते हुए,एक उन्मुक्त और स्वतंत्र स्त्री की तरह अभिव्यक्त करते हुए गा उठती है-

                                                मुक्त हूं मै, मुक्त

                                                धन कुटे से पिंड छुटा, देगची से भी
                                                मैं कितनी प्रसन्नचित्त हूं
                                                अपने पति से घृणा हो गई है
                                                उसकी छत्र-छाया को मै अब बर्दाश्त नही कर सकती
                                                इसलिए मैं कड़कड़ा कर नष्ट करती हूँ
                                                लालच और नफरत को
                                                और मैं वही स्त्री हूं
                                                जो पेड़ तले जा बैठती है
                                                और अपने आप आपसे कहती है
                                                आह! यह है सुख
                                                और करती है चिंतन मनन सुखपूर्वक

पति की मार से त्रस्त सुंमगला मुक्ति का मार्ग ढूंढ लेती है, तो दलित स्त्रियों के जीवन के दमघोटू और शोषणकारी पलों को दासी पूर्णिमा ने बड़ी सशक्त अभिव्यक्ति दी है -

                                                मै पनिहारिन थी
                                                सदा पानी भरना मेरा काम
                                                स्वामिनियों के दण्ड के भय से
                                                उनकी क्रोध भरी गलियों से पीड़ित होकर
                                                मुझे कड़ी सर्दी में भी सदा पानी में उतरना पड़ता था’
दलित स्त्रियां चौतरफा शोषण की शिकार हैं। दलित होने के कारण, स्त्री होने के कारण, और उस पर भी दलित स्त्रीतथा चौथा गरीबी के कारण। चौतरफा शोषण, अन्याय, अत्याचार के बावजूद वह अनवरत काल से संघर्ष करती रहीं हैं। पूर्व मध्यकाल में कुछ दलित संत कवयित्रियं है जो अपनी अप्रतिम प्रतिभा व जीवटता के कारण ही तमाम जातीय षडयंत्रों की शिकार होकर भी गुमनामी के अंधेरे में ना खोते हुए, समय के पथ पर अपने महत्वपूर्ण पद चिन्ह छोड़ने में सफल रही हैं। हालांकि उनकी राह बहुत कठिन थी। परशुराम चतुर्वेदी अपनी पुस्तक(उतरी भारत की संत परंम्परा पेज 101 से 103) में चौदहवीं शती की दलित संत ललदेह के बारे में अपना मत रखते हुए कहते है कि‘लल्ला या लाल कश्मीर की रहने वाली एक ढेढवा मेहतर जाति की स्त्री थी जो सामाजिक दृष्टि से निम्न स्तर वाले परिवार की होकर भी बहुत उच्च विचार रखती थी। इसके विषय में प्रसिद्ध है कि यह शैव-सम्प्रदाय का अनुसरण करने वाली एक भ्रमणशील भंगिन थी’’। चौदहवीं शताब्दी की संत ललदेह, जो कि कश्मीरी कविता की जनक भी कही जाती है, कुछ समय पहले तक मु्ख्य धारा के भक्ति काव्य-विमर्श और पटल से एकदम अदृष्य थी। दलित साहित्य और दलित महिला आंदोलन दोनों विदेशी विद्वान डा0 गिर्यसन और डा. बनेट का हमेशा शुक्रगुजार रहेगा जिन्होने अपने अथक प्रयासों से गली-गली, गांव-गांव घूमकर, संत ललदेह का काव्य खोज निकाला और उनके वाखों को ‘‘लल्ला वाक्यानि” में संगृहीत कर दिया। संत ललदेह ने अपने वाखों के माध्यम से जाति प्रथा, धार्मिक कट्टरता, छुआछूत के खिलाफ बहुत ही सरल व सीधी भाषा में वाख यानि पद लिखे है। संत ललदेह ने मूर्ति पूजा के साथ-साथ स्वर्ग नरक की धारणा का भी खंडन किया है। अपने होने के अहसास को जिस मजबूती से संत ललदेह ने स्वीकारा है वह अभिव्यक्ति अपने आप में दलित महिलाओं की उच्च जीवट शक्ति की परिचायक है --

                                                            हम ही थे, होंगे हम ही आगे भी
                                                            अविगत कालों से चले आ रहे हम ही
                                                            जीना मरना न होगा समाप्त प्राणी का
                                                            आना और जाना सूर्य का धर्म है यही’
मध्यकाल की ही मराठी भाषा की एक और प्रसिद्ध दलित संत कवयित्री है जनाबाई, जो कि संत ज्ञानदेव की दासी थी। भक्ति की धारा जो उस समय बह रही थी जनाबाई उस भक्तिधारा के खिलाफ अलग तरह की भक्ति की धारा चलाती है जिसमें भगवान भगवान नही एक साधारण मनुष्य बन जाता है। जनाबाई कहती है-

                                                            जनी फर्श बुहार रही है
                                                            ओर भगवान कूड़ा इकट्ठा कर रहे है
                                                            अपने सिर पर रखकर दूर ले जा रहे है
                                                            भक्ति से विजित
                                                            ईश्वर नीचा काम कर रहें है
                                                            जनी बिठोवा से कहती है
                                                            मै तुम्हारा कर्ज कैसे उतारूंगी
यह वही भगवान (बिठोवा) है जिसे प्रख्यात कवि मीराबाई ‘एक मात्र पुरूष कहती है। हालांकि मै इस बात से बिल्कुल सहमत हूं कि मीराबाई जैसा क्रांतिकारी चरित्र भक्तिकाल में दुर्लभ है, परन्तु दलित संत कवयित्रियां उसे एकमात्र पुरूष के घेरे से खींच एक समान्य मनुष्य की तरह अपनी जमीन पर उतार लाती है। यहॉ दलित और ‘गैर दलित महिलाओं की रचनाओं में बुनियादी फर्क नजर आता है। जनाबाई भक्ति को अधिकार के रूप में देखती है। उपकार या मोक्ष-स्वर्ग पाने के माध्यम के रूप में नही। ईश्वर पूजने के अधिकार के साथ-साथ वे बाजार में भी पूरी ठसक के साथ बाहर निकलना चाहती है ऐसा करने में उन्हें बदनामी का डर नही सताता-

                                                            सारी शर्म छोड़ दो और बेच डालो खुद को भरे बाजार
                                                            केवल तभी
                                                            तुम उम्मीद कर सकते हो
                                                            ईश्वर को पाने की
                                                            जाउंगी भरे बाजार
                                                            हाथ में मंजीरा
                                                            और कंधे पर वीणा लिए
                                                            मैं जाउंगी भरे बाजार
                                                            कौन रोक सकता है मुझे
                                                            मेरी साड़ी का पल्लू गिरता है
                                                            तब भी मैं जाउंगी भीड़ भरे बाजार
                                                            बेपरवाह, बिना सोचे, बिना विचारे
दलित संत कवयित्रियों की लड़ाई मंदिर प्रवेश से लेकर भगवान पूजने के अधिकार की होते हुए भी ईश्वर के पक्षपाती रवैये के धिक्कार की भी है क्योंकि वे इस बात को समझती है कि ईश्वर भी उनकीदलित स्त्री होने की पीड़ा को नहीं खत्म कर सकता! बांग्ला भाषा की धोबी जाति की दलित कवयित्री रामी कहती है --

                                                            तूफान को उन लोगों के सिर पर गिर जाने दो
                                                            जो अपने घरों में छिपे, अच्छे लोगों को कोसते है
                                                            मैं और ज्यादा इस अन्याय की भूमि पर नही रह सकी
                                                            मुझे वहां जाना है जहां यातनाएं न हो
दलित कवयित्री रामी के साथ विडम्बना यह है कि आज रामी रचित दुर्लभ पद यदि मिल भी जाये तो वह उनके पति व सुप्रसिद्ध वैष्णव कवि चंडीदास के पदों में समाहित है। हमेशा से ऐसा ही होता आ रहा है कि यदि पति-पत्नी दोनों ही समान काम करते हो तो महत्ता पति को ही मिलती है। यही भक्त कवि रामी के साथ भी हुआ है। इसलिए बहुत खोज करने पर भी उनके पद नही मिलते है। हाथ लगती है तो केवल जनश्रुतियां, किस्से-कहानियां और किवदंतियां। मध्य काल में और भी अनेक दलित संत कवयित्रियॉ हुई है जिनमें कई के नाम हम जानते हैं और कई को अतीत के गर्भ से खोजना बाकी है। परन्तु अब वह समय दूर नही कि इतिहास के गर्त में छिपी इन साहित्यकारों को वह उचित स्थान जो अभी तक नही मिला, भविष्य में जरुर मिलेगा।
अब सवाल यह उठता है कि क्या कारण है कि ये दलित कवयित्रियॉ अपने चिंतनशील और वैचारिक लेखन के बावजूद साहित्यिक समाज में अपनी जगह नही बना पाई। शायद इसका मुख्य कारण यही था कि इनदलित कवयित्रियों के प्रति शोधकर्ताओं और इतिहासकारों का रवैया भेदभावपूर्ण था तथा वे जातीय पूर्वाग्रह से ग्रसित थे। ब्राह्मणवादी पितृसत्तात्मक समाज में दलित महिलाओं का स्थान सबसे निम्न होने के कारण उनके प्रति दृष्टिकोण हेय था।
ऐसा नही है कि दलित स्त्री के साथ पक्षपात केवल साहित्य के क्षेत्र में ही हुआ हो। साहित्य के साथ साथ विभिन्न सामाजिक, राजनैतिक आंदोलनों में भी इसी पूर्वाग्रहों चलते उनकी हिस्सेदारी व नेतृत्व की तो बात दूर है उनका नाम तक का वर्णननहीं मिलता है। इसी वजह से दलित संत कवयित्रियों के साथ-साथ दलित महिला आन्दोलन की नेत्रियों और कार्यकर्ताओं की भी किसी भी इतिहास में चाहे वह दलित इतिहास हो या गैरदलित दोनो में, उपस्थिति शून्य दिखाई जाती है। दलित महिला आन्दोलन और लेखन की एक लम्बी परम्परा रही है, अब साक्ष्यों का भी अभाव नही है, आज दलित महिलाएं बडी शिद्धत और प्रतिबद्धता से अपने अस्तित्व और अस्मिता के सवालों से जूझने के साथ उन्हें उठा ही नहीं रही बल्कि उन पर विमर्श भी चला रही है। दलित महिला आन्दोलन के अपने आदर्श रहे हैं, सावित्रीबाई फुले से लेकर रमाबाई अम्बेडकर और अन्य दलित महिला नेता। आज भी हम दलित-गैरदलित महिला आन्दोलन पर चर्चा करते समय विदेशी विचारकों की तरफ मुंह उठाकर देखना बंद नही करते जबकि भारत में एक से एक दलित व गैर दलित महिला विचारक रही हैं। क्या हम तारा बाई शिन्दे, पंडिता रमाबाई ओर सावित्रीबाई फुले को भूल गए जिन्होंने विपरीत सामाजिक और स्त्री विराधी परिस्थितियों में काम ही नही किया अपितु स्त्रियों के पक्ष में भी परिस्थितियां बनाने भरपूर कोशिश की। सावित्रीबाई फुले का दलित- गैरदलित महिलाओं के लिए विद्यालय खोलना, विधवा आश्रम चलाना अपने आप में क्रांतिकारी उपलब्धियां है। हम नारी आन्दोलन की शुरूआत 19वीं शताब्दी के उत्तरार्ध से मानते है जबकि दलित महिला आन्दोलन भारत में बहुत पुराना है। दलित फेमनिस्ट मूवमेंट की शुरूआत हम बौद्धकाल से ही मानते है। आज भी भारतीय महिला आन्दोलन की उच्चवर्गीय व उच्चवर्णीय अगुवा महिला नेता, दलित महिला आन्दोलन के नेता व उनके ‘आईडियल को संम्पूर्ण नारीवादी आंदोलन का आई़डियल मानने को तैयार नही है। दलित महिला आन्दोलन की खासियत है कि वह अपने मुक्ति के सवाल को सामाजिक और आर्थिक प्रश्न से जोड़कर देखता है। दलित महिला आन्दोलन के लिए घरेलू हिंसा के साथ-साथ सामाजिक हिंसा भी उतनी ही महत्वपूर्ण है, क्योंकि दलित महिलाएं रोज-रोज गांवों-शहरों में फैक्ट्रियों- खेतों में दलित स्त्री होने के कारण अपमान शोषण और अत्याचार की शिकार होती है। दुख की बात है कि इस सामाजिक हिंसा के सवाल को महिला आन्दोलन उस प्रतिबद्धता के साथ नही उठाता जितना कि घरेलू हिंसा को।

दलित महिला आन्दोलन महज 200 साल पुराना न होकर सदियों पुराना है, जिसमें सर्वप्रथम बौद्धकालमें दलित वर्ग की, थेरी सुमंगला और पूर्णिमा दासीके द्वारा लिखी गई कविताओं को, हम दलित नारीवाद की प्रथम सशक्त अभिव्यक्ति मानते है।

आज दलित स्त्रियां उच्चपद पर होने के बावजूद चाहे वह राजनैतिक हो शैक्षिक या फिर अन्य कोई, उन्हे जिस तरह से समाजिक हिंसा का शिकार होना पड़ रहा है वह आंकड़ा दिन प्रतिदिन बढ़ता जा रहा है। दलित छग्गीबाई सरपंच बनने के बाद भी अपमानित होती है, उड़ीसा में दलित बच्ची ममतानाईक को साईकिल से स्कूल जाने पर उससे साइकिल छीन कर बेइज्जत किया जाता है। डायन, चुडै़ल बताकर आज भी दलित आदिवासी महिलाओं को पत्थरों से मार दिया जाता है। बेड़िनी और बांछड़ा जाति की औरतों को जातिगत पेशे के नाम पर वेष्यावृति में धकेला जा रहा है। देवदासी के नाम पर दलित महिलाओं के शोषण का सिलसिला अनवरत जारी है। भारतीय महिला आन्दोलन के लिए दलित महिलाओं के मुद्दे जैसे मन्दिर, पानी की लड़ाई, सामाजिक यौन शोषण अस्पृष्यता कोई अहमियत नही रखते। मन्दिर पानी के मुद्दे उनके इसलिए अहमियत नहीं रखते क्योंकि उन्हें जन्म से ही जाति आधार पर ये सुविधाएं प्राप्त है। अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय महिला दिवस जो कि प्रत्येक वर्ष आठ मार्च को मनाया जाता है इतने सालों में मंहगाई से भ्रूण हत्या तक मुद्दें बने पर दलित महिलाओ के मुद्दों को कभी प्राथमिकता नही मिली। क्या इसका कारण हम यह माने भारतीय महिला आन्दोलन अति उच्च शिक्षित मध्यम वर्ग की महिलाओं द्वारा चलाए जा रहें है। इसलिए उसमें उसी वर्ग की भागीदारी रही, और मुद्दे भी उन्ही के द्वारा प्रायोजित थे। पर ऐसा भी नही हैं, भागीदारी तो दलित पिछड़ी महिलाओं की बहुत अधिक रही पर लीडरशिप और मुद्दे उनके नही थे। किसी भी आन्दोलन में चाहे वह जनवादी हो राष्ट्रीय आन्दोलन, दलित महिलाओं ने अपनी अहम भूमिका निभाई है। सहभागिता के नाम पर वे भीड़ के रूप में आन्दोलन में जुड़ी रही।

दांडी यात्रा में गांधी जी के हजारों संख्या में दलित महिलाओं ने भागीदारी निभाई। नमक सत्याग्रह में 80,000 लोग गिरफ्तार किए गए जिनमें 17,000 महिलाएं थी जिनमें सर्वाधिक संख्या दलित व गरीब महिलाओं की थी। देश की आजादी के लिए अपने प्राण न्यौछावर करने वालो में झलकारी बाई, उदादेवी पासी, रानी अवन्तीबाई लोधी, वीरांगना महावीरी देवी, सिनगी दई, कइली दई, फूलों, झानों, रानी गूडियालों देवमनी उर्फ बंधनी, राजस्थान की वीर बाला काली बाई आदि अनेक नाम मिल जायेगे। जिन्होने अकेले-अकेले कई-2 मोर्चों पर संघर्ष किया। परआज भी आजादी की लड़ाई में उन्ही शिक्षित सभ्य और ऊॅच घरानों की महिलाओँ के नाम ही गिनाएं जाते है। जो समाज, घर व अपने परिवार की अच्छी सामाजिक-आर्थिक-राजनैतिक हैसियत होने के कारण जुड़ी थी। दूसरी ओरइन हैसियतों से वंचित दलित वंचित गरीब समुदाय की इन औरतों को याद भी नही किया जाता है। यह पूर्वाग्रह साहित्य से लेकर समाज में गहरे तक व्याप्त है।

डा0 अम्बेडकर का समय दलित महिलाओ की अपनी व समाज की स्वतन्त्रता समानता को लेकर की गई सक्रिय भागीदारी का स्वर्ण काल है। परन्तु दुःख इस बात का है कि अम्बेडकर कालीन 30-40 साल चले दलित आन्दोलन में इस आन्दोलन में लाखो-लाख शिक्षित-अशिक्षित घरेलू गरीब मजदूर किसान व दलित शोषित महिलाएं जुड़ी। केवल वे दलित आन्दोलन में ही नही जुड़ी अपितु उन्होंने अलग से दलित महिला संगठनों की स्थापना भी की। 25 दिसम्बर 1927 को चावदार तालाब के महाड़ सत्याग्रह में ढाई हजार दलित औरतो ने भाग लिया। 12 अक्टूबर 1929 को डा0 अम्बेडकर और दलित महिला नेता तानुबाई के नेतृत्व में हजारों महिलाओं ने पूना के पार्वतीबाई के मन्दिर में प्रवेश करते हुए लाठी- डंडे खाये। नासिक के कालाराम मन्दिर प्रवेश के दौरान एक पुजारी द्वारा दलित महिलाओं को धक्का मारने पर एक दलित महिला ने पुजारी के मुंह पर सनसनाता थप्पड़ जड़ दिया था। इस आन्दोलन को सम्बोधित करते हुए राधाबाई बडाले नामक सत्याग्रही ने अपने ओजस्वी भाषण में कहा- हमें मंदिरों मे जाने का, पनघट से पानी पीने का, भरने का अधिकर मिलना चाहिए यह हमारा सामाजिक हक है। शासन करने का राजनैतिक अधिकार भी हमें मिलना चाहिए। हम कठोर सजा की चिन्ता नही करतीं । हम देश भर की जेलों को भर देंगे। हम लाठी गोली खाएंगे। हमें हमारा हक चाहिए। योद्धा कभी अपनी जान की चिन्ता नही करता। गुलामी के साथ मिल कर जी गई जिन्दगी से मौत बेहतर है। हम जान दे देगें मगर अधिकर छीन कर रहेगें।
दलित महिला आन्दोलन अस्पृष्यता, लिंगभेद, असमानता के खिलाफ लड़ता हुआ दलित महिलाओं को स्कूल, कालेज. हॉस्टल खोलने के साथ पत्र-पत्रिकाओं में लिखने की प्रेरणा देता रहा। इस आन्दोलन में कौशल्या बैसन्त्री, बेबीताई काम्बले, सुलोचना डोगरे, सीताबाई गायकवाड़, तानुबाई काबले, राधाबाई बरालै और भी अनेक दलित नेत्रियां थी, जिनके नामों को अगर मैं गिनाने लगूं तो सूची- बहुत लम्बी हो जायेगी। यहां यह सवाल भी महत्वपूर्ण है कि अम्बेडकर के समय चला दलित महिला आन्दोलन 56 के बाद एकदम रूका क्यों नजर आने लगा? वह वास्तव में रूका था या दलित आन्दोलन की कमी थी जो वह दलित महिलाओं के आन्दोलन व उनके मुद्दों को उचित जगह नही दे पाया। बाबा साहब के साथ आंदोलन में इतनी बडी सख्या मे जुड़ी दलित महिलाएं उनके परिनिर्वाण के बाद एकाएक घरों में क्यों लौट गई? इसमें कोई शक नही की दलित आंदोलन भी अन्य आन्दोलनों की तरह दलित स्त्री को बराबरी की हिस्सेदारी देने में नाकाम रहा।

दांडी यात्रा में गांधी जी के हजारों संख्या में दलित महिलाओं ने भागीदारी निभाई। नमक सत्याग्रह में 80,000 लोग गिरफ्तार किए गए जिनमें 17,000 महिलाएं थी जिनमें सर्वाधिक संख्या दलित व गरीब महिलाओं की थी। देश की आजादी के लिए अपने प्राण न्यौछावर करने वालो में झलकारी बाई, उदादेवी पासी, रानी अवन्तीबाई लोधी, वीरांगना महावीरी देवी, सिनगी दई, कइली दई, फूलों, झानों, रानी गूडियालों देवमनी उर्फ बंधनी, राजस्थान की वीर बाला काली बाई आदि अनेक नाम मिल जायेगे।

आज दलित महिलाओं के सामने पितृसत्ता जातिवाद, निरक्षरता, तंगहाली और पूर्वाग्रह चुनौतियों के सामने खड़े है। यह पूर्वाग्रह समाज से लेकर साहित्य व आन्दोलन से लेकर वैचारिक धरातल पर बिखरे पड़े हैं। दलित साहित्य जहां एक ओर उसकी छवि उत्श्रृंखल कामचोर, पेटू आदि खीचने मे व्यस्त है वही दूसरी ओर उसकी क्षमता व प्रतिभा को नित नये फतवों से नेस्तनाबूद करने की साजिश रच रहा है। जिस आजादी और मुक्ति का स्वप्न लेकर दलित साहित्यकार दलित साहित्य को समृद्ध कर रहा है उन्ही मूल्यों के खिलाफ, दलित स्त्री कोदलित पुरूष परतन्त्रता की बेड़ियों मेंजकड़ना चाहता है। यौन शुचिता के नाम पर वह उसे अपने पांव की जूती व अपने उपभोग की वस्तु बनाकर सुरक्षित रखना चाहता है। मुझे उन दलित साहित्यकारों की बु़द्धि पर तरस आता है जो बार-बार दलित महिला लेखिकाओं को और सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं को अहसास कराने में कोई कसर नही छोड़ते कि दलित महिलाएं निपट मूर्ख, अक्षम, सवर्णो की गोद में बैठकर दलित पुरूष को सताने वाली होती है। वे उत्पीड़क और उत्पीड़ित का अन्तर भूल गए है। उन्हें बार-बार अहसास होता है आराम से गटकी जा रही घी चुपड़ी रोटी में ये आधा हिस्सा मांगने वाली कहां से टपक गई और अगर मांगती है तो गिड़गिड़ा कर दयनीय होकर क्यों नहीं मांगती, सिर ऊंचा करके क्यों मांगती है?

दलित महिलाओं के सामने दलित पितृसत्ता भी एक गम्भीर चुनौती है, जिसका आज सजग सचेत होकर दलित साहित्यकार व सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता विरोधकर रहे है।

दलित साहित्यकार दलित नारीवाद को बार-बार अपनी जातीय गुलामी का कारण मान रहे है। दलित स्त्रियों के प्रति मीडिया से लेकरशासन-प्रशासन, पुलिस-न्यायप्रकिया अपनी पूर्वाग्रह ग्रसित भूमिका निभा रहे है। साथिन भंवरी बाई के साथ हुएबलात्कार के अन्तहीन उत्पीड़न में पुलिस से लेकर कोर्ट ने अपनी भूमिका बहुत ही हास्यास्पद तरीके से निभाई। जयपुर के जिला एंव सत्र न्यायधीश ने तो भंवरी के बलात्कार को झूठा कहते हुए यहां तक कह दिया कि ‘‘ऊंची जाति के लोग नीची जाति की स्त्री के बदसलूकी कैसे कर सकते है। फिर वे बड़ी उम्र के वयस्क है कोई बच्ची तो नहीं, ऐसे लोग कभी बदसलूक नही हो सकते।“ आज भी भंवरी लड़ रही है ।वह थकेगी नही और वह लड़ती रहेगी।

पिछले दिनों खैरलाजी में दलित स्त्रियों सुरेखा और प्रियंका की बलात्कार के बाद की गई निर्मम हत्या को प्रशासन, पुलिस, मीडिया व स्त्री संगठनों ने जिस हल्के स्तर से लिया वह अत्यंत चिंतनीय ही नही निंदनीय भी है। दलित समाज के सामने खड़ी चुनौती भूमंडलीकरण, आरक्षण, साम्प्रदायिकता, नीजिकरण दलित स्त्री के लिए भी चुनौती है। चाहे साम्प्रदायिक दंगे हो या निजीकरण और भूंमडलीकरण के बढ़ते प्रभाव से खत्म होते रोजगार के अवसर, या फिर आरक्षण, इन सबसे वह ही सबसे अधिक प्रभावित होती है। भूंमडलीकरण, बाजारीकरण के चलते उसके श्रम की कीमत दिन पर दिन कम होती जा रही है, जिसके कारण उसके परिवार पर व उसके ऊपर इसका सीधा असर पड़ रहा है। आर्थिक चुनौतियां सुलझने की जगह और उलझ रही है। घर और बाहर थोड़ा हो या बहुत उसे ही मैनेज करना है। दलित स्त्रियों की शिक्षा की दर बहुत नीचे है, वे अधिकांशतः खेत और फैक्ट्रियों में अल्प वेतन पर काम कर रहीं है। विकास के नाम पर उसे जल, जंगल, जमीन से वंचित किया जा रहा हैं। दलित आदिवासी लड़कियॉ देह व्यापार में और घरेलू कार्यों की भट्टी में जबरदस्ती धकेली जा रही है, जहां उनके वेतन मान से लेकर काम के घण्टे व छुट्टियों तक नियत नही है।
अधिकांश दलित महिला आन्दोलन व उनके मुद्दों को महिलाओं के गैर सरकारी संगठनों द्वारा जिस तरीके से पेश किया जा रहा है वह भी चिंतनीय है। इन गैर सरकारी संगठनों द्वारा उठाऐ जा रहे सवाल फंड पर निर्भर करते है, मुद्दे की गम्भीरता पर नहीं । आज अनेक गैर सरकारी महिला संगठन दलित महिलाओं के मुद्दे जैसे देवदासी व खेती मजदूरी के सवाल पर काम कर रहे हैं। पर उनका नजरिया दलित महिलाओं की समस्याओं को समाजिक दायरे में न देखकर व्यक्तिगत रूप से देखा जा रहा है। जातिगत पेशे जैसे बेडनी या देवदासी जैसे  मुद्दों को व्यक्तिगत स्वतन्त्रता के साथ ना जोड़कर सामाजिक संदर्भो में देखा जाना चाहिए जैसे स्त्री मुक्ति का सवाल व्यक्तिगत ना होकर सामाजिक है। इस बात को मैं इस तरह समझती हूं।
जैसे यदि कोई 18 साल से ऊपर की महिला सोच विचार के स्वेच्छा से देवदासी बनना चाहे तो हलांकि इसमें भी मैं देह को साधन बनाने के पक्ष में नही हूं, क्योंकि देह की अपनी गरिमा होती है चाहे वह स्त्री की हो या पुरूष की। परन्तु एक जाति की ही औरतें देवदासी या बेड़नी या बार-बाला बनने के लिए मजबूर हो तब हम उस मजबूरी को व्यक्तिगत स्वतन्त्रता का मुद्दा नही बता सकते।

इस चौतरफा शोषण के खिलाफ लड़ने के साथ-साथ उसे अन्य महिला समूहों व विचारधाराओं के अलावा उसको अपनेसमाज-परिवार की मुक्ति के साथखुद की मुक्ति और बराबरी की भी लड़ाई लड़नी है। इन सबके बीच वह कैसे इन सब मुद्दों पर अपना तालमेल बैठायेगी,यह भी चिंतन का विषय है आज दलित महिलाओं से जुडे मुद्दे चाहे वह महिला रिर्जेवेशन का मुद्दा हो या कोई अन्य स्त्री मुद्दा, इनके नाम पर उसे अन्य महिला संगठनों द्वारा उसे बार-बार कहा जाता है कि जाति के नाम पर महिला आन्दोलन को दो हिस्सों में मत बांटों या फिर एक बार महिला आरक्षण बिल पास होने दो तब बात करेगे। यही बात जब वह अपने घर परिवार के जाति भाईयों से कहती है तो उसका यह कहकर मजाक उड़ा दिया जाता है कि“बड़ी-बड़ी गुलामियों को छोटी-छोटी आजादियों से मत तोलो” या व्यंग्य में “इतनी छोटी कहां हैमेरी आजादी कि तुम्हें और तुम्हारे जैसों को पूरी जगह ना हो” तो मेरा मानना है दलित स्त्रियों के चिंतन और संघर्ष की अत्यन्त कठिन है, पर वह लड़ रही है और लड़ती रहेगी। और अंत में निर्मला पुतुल की कविता के साथ दलित-आदिवासी महिलाओं का एक सशक्त  वक्तव्य जिसके लिए वे हरदम तैयार रहेगी --

                                    मैं चाहती हूं
                                    आंख रहते अंधे आदमी की
                                    आंखे बने मेरे शब्द, उनकी जुबान बने
                                    जो जुबान रहते गूंगे बने
                                    देख रहे है तमाशा
                                    चाहती हूं मैं
                                    नगाड़े की तरह बजें मेरे शब्द
                                    और निकल पड़े लोग
                                    अपने-अपने घरों में सड़कों पर ।

इस्लाम में तस्वीर और मूर्ति की मनाही अगर है तो क्यों है?

इस्लामी धर्मग्रंथ और मान्यताएं तस्वीर और मूर्ति बनाने पर किस तरह की राय रखते हैं

इस्लामी धार्मिक ग्रंथ कुरान में तस्वीर या मूर्ति बनाने पर प्रतिबंध का ज़िक्र ही नहीं है. अगर प्रतिबंध है तो किसी चित्र या मूर्ति की पूजा करने पर. इसके उलट कुरान में तो मूर्तियों का ज़िक्र ही मिलता है.
ईश्वर के चित्र और मूर्ति बनाने की मनाही तो इन तीनों धर्मों में अभी भी है लेकिन, समय के साथ यहूदियों और ईसाइयों ने अपने धर्मों के प्रवर्तकों - हजरत मूसा और ईसा - की तस्वीर और मूर्ति को वैध मान लिया है. जबकि मुस्लिम समुदाय ने हज़रत मुहम्मद के चित्र या मूर्ति को कभी जायज़ नहीं माना. इसके साथ ही इस्लाम में तस्वीरों की मनाही अल्लाह और पैगंबर मुहम्मद तक ही सीमित न रहकर हर तरह के चित्रों और मूर्तियों पर लागू हो गई. हालांकि इस्लाम के सबसे पवित्र धार्मिक ग्रंथ कुरान में तस्वीर या मूर्ति बनाने पर प्रतिबंध का ज़िक्र ही नहीं है. अगर प्रतिबंध है तो किसी चित्र या मूर्ति की पूजा करने पर. इसके उलट कुरान में तो मूर्तियों का ज़िक्र ही मिलता है. जैसे हजरत सुलेमान का महल मूर्तियों से सुसज्जित था. लेकिन इन मूर्तियों की इबादत नहीं की जाती थी. इन्हें मात्र महल की शोभा बढ़ाने के लिए लगाया गया था.
इस्लाम में चित्रों की मनाही का ज़िक्र सिर्फ हदीस (सहीह अल-बुखारी) में मिलता है. इसके मुताबिक एक बार हजरत मुहम्मद यात्रा से घर लौटे तो अपनी पत्नी आयशा के कमरे पर एक पर्दा देखा जिस पर चित्र बने थे. इसे देख उन्होंने गुस्से में कहा - अशहदु अल-नासा अज़ाब अल-यौम अल-कियामा अल-मुस्सविरून (क़यामत के दिन तस्वीर बनाने वालों को सबसे सख्त सजा मिलेगी). हदीस की इसी दलील पर इस्लामी विद्वान तस्वीरों को प्रतिबंधित मानते हैं.
सवाल उठता है कि इस्लाम को मानने वाले तस्वीर और मूर्तियों के सवाल पर इतने अधिक संवेदनशील क्यों हैं? इसे समझने के लिए हमें इस्लाम से पहले के अरब समाज की धार्मिक मान्यताओं पर एक नजर डालनी होगी तो इसके कारण स्पष्ट होने लगते हैं.
जब हजरत मुहम्मद से उनके अनुयाइयों ने पूछा कि हे पैगंबर! वह ईश्वर जिसकी इबादत का हुक्म आप देते हैं, कैसा है? तो उन्होंने चार आयतों में उस सर्वशक्तिमान, सर्वव्यापी ईश्वर का वर्णन किया
अरब लोग एक साल को 360 दिन का मानते हैं और इस्लाम से पहले के यहां के समाज की धार्मिक मान्यताओं में हर दिन के लिए एक देवी या देवता मुक़र्रर था. यानी इस समाज में 360 मूर्तियों की पूजा हुआ करती थी. इनमें अल्लाह नाम के देव का स्थान सबसे ऊपर था. इसके बाद तीन देवियों - अल-लात, मनात और अल-उज़्ज़ा का स्थान आता था. इतने देवी-देवताओं को मानने वाले समाज में जब हजरत मुहम्मद से उनके अनुयाइयों ने पूछा कि हे पैगंबर! वह ईश्वर जिसकी इबादत का हुक्म आप देते हैं, कैसा है? तो उन्होंने चार आयतों में उस ईश्वर का वर्णन किया, उसे अल्लाह के नाम से पुकारा और कहा :
  1. कुल हु वल्लाहु अहद - कहो कि वह एकेश्वर है
  2. अल्लाहु समद - वह अमर है और हर कारण का कर्ता है
  3. लम यलिद व लम यूलद - न वह किसी कोख से जन्मा है और न ही कोई उसकी कोख से जन्मा
  4. व लम यकुन लहू कुफुअन अहद - और उस जैसा कोई और नहीं
ये चार आयतें कुरान के इखलास नाम के 112 वें अध्याय की हैं. इस्लामी मत के अनुसार यह तर्कसंगत लगता है कि जो बहुआयामी हो, जिसका कोई आदि और अंत न हो और जिसके जैसा कोई न हो, ऐसे सर्वशक्तिमान और सर्वव्यापी आराध्य को चित्र या मूर्ति के सीमित दायरे से देखा-समझा नहीं जा सकता. पैगंबर मुहम्मद के जीवनकाल में जब भी इस विषय पर कोई सवाल खड़े हुए तो उसका समाधान खुद उनके द्वारा हुआ. पैगंबर की मृत्यु के बाद इस्लामी मसलों का समाधान इस्लाम के चार खलीफा - हज़रात अबू बकर, उमर, उस्मान और अली के द्वारा किया जाता था.
जो बहुआयामी हो, जिसका कोई आदि और अंत न हो और जिसके जैसा कोई न हो, ऐसे सर्वशक्तिमान और सर्वव्यापी आराध्य को चित्र या मूर्ति के सीमित दायरे से देखा-समझा नहीं जा सकता
धर्म के दो मुख्य आयाम हुआ करते हैं – एक उसका बाह्य स्वरुप और दूसरा उसका अंतस. किसी विचार के बाह्य स्वरुप की भौतिकता को तो आकार, रंग या प्रतीक चिह्नों से दर्शाया जा सकता है. जैसे हिंदू धर्म में छाप, तिलक आदि, यहूदी धर्म की विशिष्ट टोपी, ईसाइयत में सलीबी लॉकेट और इस्लाम में दाढ़ी और पहनावा. लेकिन मनुष्य धर्म के अंतस की तस्वीर बनाने में अक्षम है. शायद इसीलिए इस्लाम मानता है कि तस्वीर बनाना जायज नहीं. मुस्लिम विद्वान मानते हैं कि ईश्वर के गुणों की अनुभूति तो हो सकती है लेकिन उनकी अभिव्यक्ति संभव नहीं है और यह दलील मुस्लिम समाज को सर्वमान्य है.
जैसा कि अन्य धर्मों में भी देखने को मिलता है कि अपने शुरूआती दौर को छोड़कर धर्म, संप्रदायों में बंटने लगता है. जैसे ईसाइयों में कैथोलिक और प्रोटेस्टेंट, हिंदुओं में वैष्णव और शैव, बौद्ध धर्म में हीनयान और महायान. इस्लाम भी इस संप्रदायवाद से अछूता नहीं रहा. सन 661 के आसपास, जब इस्लाम के चौथे खलीफा हज़रत अली का निधन हुआ तो धर्म के कुछ पहलुओं को लेकर विवाद होने पर शिया संप्रदाय की नींव पड़ी और इस्लाम की दो मुख्य धाराएं - शिया और सुन्नी - अस्तित्व में आईं. बाद में इन दो विचारधाराओं का अस्तित्व नदी के उन दो तटों के जैसा हो गया जिनकी मंज़िल तो एक ही है लेकिन मिलना असंभव.
इस्लामी जगत में सुन्नी संप्रदाय के अनुयायी बहुसंख्या में हैं जबकि शियाओं की जनसंख्या केवल 12 प्रतिशत ही है. शिया संप्रदाय का वैचारिक नेतृत्व ईरान करता है. तस्वीर और मूर्तियों के मसले पर शिया समाज और खासकर ईरानी समाज व राज्य व्यवस्था का रवैय्या काफी उदार लगता है. यहां हर घर में हज़रत अली की तस्वीर का पाया जाना उनकी अस्मिता का हिस्सा बन गया है. शिया विचारधारा के लोग पैगंबर के बाद अली को अपना प्रेरणास्रोत मानते हैं. अली के व्यक्तित्व को वे कुछ इस तरह बयान करते हैं - ला फतहा इल्ला अली, ला सैफ इल्ला ज़ुल्फ़क़ार (नहीं है विजेता कोई अली जैसा और कोई तलवार अली की ज़ुल्फ़क़ार तलवार सरीखी नहीं). शियाओं का अली प्रेम सुन्नी संप्रदाय के विरोध का एक मुख्य कारण माना जाता है. सुन्नियों का मानना है कि शिया संप्रदाय इस्लाम के मूलभूत एकेश्वर के सिद्धांत को नकारता है. शिया इस आक्षेप को स्वीकार नहीं करते.
मान्यताओं पर ठेस लगना स्वाभाविक है लेकिन उस पर प्रतिक्रियाएं किस हद तक जायज़ हैं इस बारे में पैगंबर मुहम्मद के जीवन काल की एक घटना और इसी सिलसिले में कुरान के कौसर नामक 108वें अध्याय की तीन आयतें भी हैं.
किसी भी व्यक्ति, समाज या राष्ट्र की आस्था को ठेस पहुंचने पर अक्सर प्रतिक्रिया देखने को मिलती है. इस्लाम इस मामले में कुछ अधिक संवेदनशील प्रतीत होता है. अयातुल्लाह खुमैनी द्वारा सलमान रश्दी के खिलाफ मौत का फ़तवा देना इसी का एक चर्चित उदाहरण है. मान्यताओं पर ठेस लगना स्वाभाविक है लेकिन उस पर प्रतिक्रियाएं किस हद तक जायज़ हैं इस बारे में पैगंबर मुहम्मद के जीवन काल की एक घटना और इसी सिलसिले में कुरान के कौसर नामक 108वें अध्याय की तीन आयतें भी हैं.
मुहम्मद साहब की संतानों में पुत्र नहीं थे और जो हुए वे बचपन में ही चल बसे. इस्लाम पूर्व अरब समाज में पुत्र विहीन पुरुष को पौरुष विहीन माना जाता था. समाज के दूसरे लोग इस्लाम के अनुयायिओं को ताना देते हुए कहते थे कि तुम्हारा पैगंबर तो ‘अबतर’ है यानी पौरुषहीन, वंश विहीन है. इस बात से आहत होकर जब वे पैगंबर के पास पहुंचे और पूछा कि हम गैर मुस्लिमों के कटाक्ष पर क्या रवैया अपनाएं तो इस सवाल के समाधान हेतु तीन आयतें अवतरित हुईं :
इन्ना आतैनाकल कौसर - हमने तुम्हें (बेटी के रूप में) स्वर्ग की नदी कौसर प्रदान की है
फसल्ले ले-रब्बेक वनहर - इसलिए मेरी भक्ति करो
इन्ना शानिअका हुवल अबतर - और जो तुम्हें वंश विहीन कहते हैं वे खुद ही वंश विहीन हो जाएंगे
इस आसमानी फरमान के तहत उस समय के मुस्लिम समाज ने अपनी भावनाओं पर ठेस पहुंचने वाली बातों को या तो नज़रअंदाज़ किया या गैर-मुस्लिमों के साथ संवाद ही किए. लेकिन आज इसका उलटा होते दिखता है जोकि जाहिर तौर पर ऊपर लिखी आयतों और उनके संदेशों के विपरीत है.

Worship by HINDU


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