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Re: Vedas and Archai

From: TCA Venkatesan (vtca_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Fri Jul 06 2001 - 12:31:33 PDT

Dear Sri Srimahavishnu,

Thanks for your message about vEdap pramaaNam
for archaa worhsip. I would like to share with
you and other bhaagavataas, the following 
article by Sri Sudarshan posted in another
e-forum, regarding adiyEn's question.

adiyEn madhurakavi daasan
TCA Venkatesan

--- "Sudarshan M.K." <sampathkumar_2000@yahoo.com>
wrote:
> Dear Sri.TCA,
> 
> This is a very important question. All of us must
> take note of this 
> and be aware of the 'veda-pramANa' for 'archA'
> worship.
> 
> Sri.S.M.S.Chari in his book "Vaishnavism: Its
> Philosophy, Theology and 
> Religious Practices" has dealt with this question in
> a very succint 
> and convincing manner and I share it here below for
> the benefit of all 
> members of the group.
> 
> On Page 222 of the book he writes:
> 
> "Idol worship... in Hindu religion can be traced
> back to the Vedas. 
> One of the hymns of the Rgveda refers to the worship
> of Vishnu.
> 
>  "pravah pAntam-andhaso dhiyAyate; mahe sUrAya
> vishnavE cha archatE"
>                                             (Rg.Veda
> I.155.1)
> 
> "On the authority of this hymn Sage Marichi, one of
> the exponents of 
> the Vaikhanasa Agama enjoins that Vaishnavas should
> worship Vishnu 
> daily. On the basis of this Vedic authority Sage
> Saunaka also extols 
> the worship of Vishnu...
> 
> "One other hymn of the Rgveda makes an explicit
> mention of the worship 
> of the idol as a means of God-realization:
> 
>  ado yad-dAru plavate sindhOh pAre apUrusham;
>   tadArabhasva durhaNo tena gaccha parastaram. 
> (Rgveda X.155.3)
> 
> "The hymn states that that the 'purushOttaman' who
> resides in the 
> farthest place manifests Himself in the form of a
> log floating in the 
> ocean of Sindhu (Indian Ocean); it is a divine form
> and not made by 
> any human being (apaurusheya) and by offering
> worship to this wooden 
> image, one will attain the Supreme Being.
> 
> "That this hymn refers to idol worship is proved by
> the fact that 
> 'skanda purAna', while speaking of the greatness of
> Jagannath (deity 
> at Puri, Orissa, which is wooden) elucidates this
> hymn... (We should 
> also not forget that in Kanchi-puram, under the
> waters of 
> the temple-tank at the SriVaradaraja temple, there
> is preserved a 
> beautiful wooden idol of Varadarajan, taken out for
> public worship 
> once in 40 years!). 
> 
> "It is not therefore correct to say that Vedic
> religion is primarily 
> concerned with the worship of deities in the form of
> 'yagnya' or 
> sacrificial rites in the consecrated fire and that
> it does not allow 
> the worship of idols. The word 'yaj' etymologically
> means worship of a 
> deity ('yaj devatA pUjyAm'). Worship is done in 4
> ways: 'japa' or 
> recitation of mantras, 'huta' or offering oblations
> through the 
> sacrificial fire, 'archana' or offering worship to
> an image of God and 
> 'dhyANa' or meditation. All the 4 ways have been
> observed in the Vedic 
> times, according to the capacity of the individual
> devotee, though 
> more emphasis seems to have been given to 'yagnya'
> or 'huta'. Even in 
> the performance of 'yagnya', the individual divine
> beings have to be 
> invoked by reciting appropriate Vedic hymns in a
> media such as 'kusa' 
> or blade of grass, 'kumbha' or a water-pot, 'agni'
> or the sacred fire. 
> The consecration of God in an idol prescribed by
> 'pAncharAtra agama' 
> through certain religious rites is similar to it..."
> 
> Trust the above clarifies your question.
> 
> Regards,
> dAsan,
> Sudarshan

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