On another question it has been stated that Idols are not worshipped but God is worshipped via Idol. Which scriptures say worship God via Idol

It has been pointed out that Veda says not allowed to worship statue (see below), but I have been informed we can worship God via Idol?

(arguable not correct translation) however, does not effect question - evidence of scriptures worship via idol.

"Andhatama pravishanti ye asambhuti mupaste"

"They enter darkness, those who worship the natural elements" (Air, Water, Fire, etc.). "They sink deeper in darkness, those who worship sambhuti." [Yajurveda 40:9]

Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.


1 Answer 1


I checked the verse given in the question. It has nothing to do with idol worship.

andham tamah pravisanti yesambhutim upasate tato bhuya iva te tamo ya sambhutyam ratah

Into blinding darkness enter those who worhip the unmanifest and into still greater darkness, as it were, those who delight in the manifest.

Isa Upanishad 12

asambhuti: the unmanifest, the undifferentiated prakrti. We get our rewards according to our beliefs.

asambhuti: non-becoming: Those who do not believe in re-birth may be referred to.

sambhuti: the manifest, the lord of the phenomenal world, karya-brahma, Hiranya-garbha. Sankara [Adi Sankara's interpretation of sambhuti]. It is sometimes said that asambhuti means that the world has no creator, that it is produced, preserved and destroyed by its own nature. Those who hold such view are the naturalists. See Bhagavad Gita xvi.8,9,20.

The Supreme is neither of these in the sense that he is not also the other. If we identify the Supreme with the manifest, it would be pantheism in the sense that the whole of the Divine nature finds expression in the manifested world, leaving nothing over, and it is a wrong view. Again, if the world of becoming were not there, it would also disappear in what would seem a world of undifferentiated abstraction. Within the depths of the spirit there is unfolded before us the drama of God's dealings with man and man's with God. Unity and multiplicity are both aspects of the Supreme and therefore the nature of the Supreme is said to be inconceivable.

The Principal Upanishads, Isa Upanishad 12, Commentary by S. Radhakrishnan

One thing they say, is obtained from the worship of the manifested; another they say, from the worship of the unmanifested. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this.

Isa Upanishad 13

One thing etc.: As a result of worshipping Hiranyagarbha, the devotee obtains such supernatural powers as the ability to reduce himself to the size of an atom, to make himself light as a feather, and to pervade the entire universe. These are characteristics of Hiranyagarbha.

Another etc: According to the Puranas, the result of such worship is absorption in prakriti.

The scriptures say that whatever a person worships he becomes after death. He who worships Prakriti, characterized by nescience, remains merged in prakriti for untold years. And he who worships Hiranyagarbha, who is only a manifestation of Prakriti, obtains a corresponding result.

Isa Upanishad 13, commentary of Swami Nikahilananda

Basically you will get powers by worshipping Hiranyagarbha but will remain at the level of Prakriti. Hiranyagarbha is a manifestation of Lord Brahma at the level of Prakriti. Worshipping Lord Brahma as pure Consciousness will lead to moksha while worshipping Hiranyagarbha will lead to complete mastery of Prakriti.

Here are two examples of scripture supporting Murthi puja.

Till the realisation of perfect knowledge a man should continue the ritualistic worship of Shiva. 59-60. In order to convince the world, the rituals must be continued.

Just as the sun is reflected in many vessels, in the same manner, O devas, know that the supreme Brahman, Shiva, assumes the form of whatever is seen or heard in the world real or unreal. There is difference in vessels but not in the water they contain.

This is what those who know the real meaning of the Vedas say. "Lord Shiva is within the heart of beings in this world." Of what avail are images to those who have the real knowledge?

Having an image is very auspicious for a person who has no such knowledge. It is a ladder that enables him to climb to a higher position.

It is very difficult to climb to a position without a support. The image is only a means to achieve the Nirguna Shiva.

The attainment of the Nirguna through a Saguna is certainly possible. In this manner, the symbols of all lords are conductive to steady faith and belief.

This lord is very great and this is the mode of worship of that lord. If there is no image, of what avail are scents, sandal paste, flowers etc?

Till the realisation of true knowledge, the image shall necessarily be worshipped. If any one does not worship the image before he attains perfect knowledge, his downfall is sure.

Shiva Purana, Rudra Samhita, Section I, Creation, Chapter 12

Whoever makes an offering to Me with devotion, be it of leaf, flower, fruit or water - that devout offering made by a pure-hearted man, I accept with joy.

Gita 9.26

Where would you put these offerings if there is no murthi or image?

There is also warning not to regard a murthi as mere stone.

To perdition he goes who regards the Guru as human, the Mantra as mere letters and the Images as stone.

Kularnava Tantra, Devotion to Guru, Readings by M.P. Pandit

  • @ Pradip you have taken this out of context - making an offering with Good heart is not the same as saying worshiping God via Idol - see also the the link above which relates to Idol worship this mentions many verses. Arguably, based on your point there are contradictions. Doesn't really answer my question. Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 11:56
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    You didn't answer my question. Where would you put the offerings suggested by the Gita in the absence of a murthi? Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 12:54
  • 1) you quote does not say put offering in front of Image / murthi - provide a quote that says that otherwise that's just your belief. 2) take fruit for example - what benefit is the fruit for anyone if you put in front of an idol, it cannot eat the fruit, its going to go off and wasted. God doesn't need fruit. 3) my understanding would be that you give fruit to poor people as a Godly act that's devotion. otherwise no benefit to anyone. 4) either way doesn't answer, where does it say you worship God via idol? Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 13:02
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    No commentator says that the verse quoted by you is talking about idol worship. I have now explicitly posted an entire section that says that without image worship a beginner will fail. Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 13:19
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    @MrGreenGold, I have explained that by Sankara is meant Adi Sankara's interpretation of Sambhuti. As for the effect of worshipping Hiranyagarbha I will add some of the following verses of Isa Upanishad. Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 3:05

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