Isn't keeping the idol-murtis or pictures, etc., of non canonical deities (like Saî Bâbâ, Santoșhî Mâtâ) in the temples dedicated to scripture defined canonical deities, a sin or a forbidden act?

These days we can see murtis or images of several non-canonical deities in the temples dedicated specifically to canonical deities.

For instance: Puri Mațh's Shankarâchârya Nischalananda says something very similar in this video starting at 2:45 minutes.

What does scriptures say on this phenomenon, which at present is very prevelant?

  • Pictures/idols of gurus can be kept. People keep pictures of Adi Shankara, Sri Bharati Tirtha (current Shankaracharya of Sringeri), Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa etc. Keeping picture of Saibaba should be fine because he is considered as a guru by many. Worshipping Saibaba as God should also be fine since we have the sloka - gururbrahma gururvishnuh etc which says guru is God. And as far as I know, Santoshi Mata is a genuine deity, so keeping her picture/idol is also fine.
    – user23407
    May 23, 2021 at 21:10
  • Many South Indian temples have idols of gurus in them. They are permitted by Agamas. As an example, Idols of Ramanuja, Alwars, are present in many Vaishnavaite temples.
    – user23407
    May 24, 2021 at 4:21
  • I am sorry I do not understand your point. How does it make any difference if someone is a sect founder? Still, here is another example - Raghavendra Swamy is not a sect founder, he is an acharya and he has many temples and even a kshetra (mantralayam) dedicated to him. Regarding your last point, it can be argued that even Saibaba has a special position among many Hindus. Or do you think there is a reason why this argument cannot apply for Saibaba? Please clarify
    – user23407
    May 24, 2021 at 5:06
  • 1
    'temples' are a recent development (last few thousand years) and is not founded on vedic origin. WHO determines what is canonical?? There is no popery in Hinduism. May 24, 2021 at 5:19
  • 1
    I believe all the points for an answer are already given in my comments. If I find the time and the interest, I will see if I can write an official answer.
    – user23407
    May 24, 2021 at 5:27


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