- Do Hindu religious scriptures strictly forbid worshiping and making idols/images of God?
- Who started making idols and images of God for the first time and why?
- If God forbids making idols/images then why were these made and worshiped?
If God does not like his images or idols then why do you make these?
- Who is the ultimate authority in bringing such big changes in religion - man or God?
Who decides the way of worship - man or God?
Following are some references from Bhagavat Gita, Yajur Veda, Rig Veda and a few Upanishads that forbid worshiping idols and images of God.
Bhagavat Gita 7-[19-21]:
All those who do idol worship, All those who worship demigods are materialistic people.
Bhagavad Gita 7:20:
Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.
Bhagavat Gita 7-22:
Endowed with such a faith, he endeavors to worship a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone.
Purport: The demigods cannot award benedictions to their devotees without the permission of the Supreme Lord. The less intelligent living entity does not know this, and therefore he foolishly goes to the demigods for some benefit. But the pure devotee, when in need of something, pray only to the Supreme Lord. A living entity goes to the demigods usually because he is mad to fulfill his lust [for material things]. Devotional service to the Supreme Lord and the worship of a demigod cannot be on the same platform, because worship of a demigod is material and devotional service to the Supreme Lord is completely spiritual.
Bhagavat Gita 7-23:
Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.
Purport: Some commentators on the BG say that one who worships a demigod can reach the Supreme Lord, but here it is clearly stated that the worshipers of demigods go to the different planetary systems where various demigods are situated, just as a worshiper of the sun achieves the sun or a worshiper of the demigod of the moon achieves the moon. It is not that everyone, regardless of whatever demigod is worshiped, will reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is denied here, for it is clearly stated that the worshipers of demigods go to different planets in the material world but the devotee of the Supreme Lord goes directly to the supreme planet of the Personality of Godhead.
Bhagavat Gita 7-24:
The ignorant believe that un-manifest Para Brahma (One God) incarnates or takes manifestations, because they do not completely understand My highest, immutable, incomparable, and transcendental existence.
Yajur Veda 3:32:
...Of that God you cannot make any images.
Yajur Veda 32:3:
na tasya pratima asti
There is no image of Him.
God is formless and bodiless
Yajur Veda 40:8:
He is bodyless and pure.
All those who worship the uncreated things, they are in darkness, and you'll enter more into darkness if you worship the created things.
Yajur Veda 40:9:
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. (Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.)
Rig Veda, Vol.6,45:16:
There is only One God, worship Him.
Rig Veda, Vol.8,1:1:
All Praise are to Him alone
Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1:
He is One only without a second.
Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19:
Na tasya pratima asti
There is no likeness of Him.
Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20:
Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam.
His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.
Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9:
Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah.
Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.