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Worship of a slightly grazed idol...permissible?

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drajanm

New member
Hi all,

I had purchased a sivalingam made of green stone and a glass mahameru some days back. Today while cleaning them they accidentally slipped from my hands and fell on the ground. While they are not broken, the sivalingam has small marks on the base, which when rubbed by a finger yield the crumbly stone stuff. Even the mahameru has small, very small cracks on the base, which on rubbing keep yielding small glass particles.

My question is, can I continue worshipping these? They are not majorly damaged, just a few small imperfections caused due to the chipping away of some material at the base. I would have replaced them though, just that I am having a few thoughts because they are really expensive ones :|
 

sangom

Well-known member
Hi all,

I had purchased a sivalingam made of green stone and a glass mahameru some days back. Today while cleaning them they accidentally slipped from my hands and fell on the ground. While they are not broken, the sivalingam has small marks on the base, which when rubbed by a finger yield the crumbly stone stuff. Even the mahameru has small, very small cracks on the base, which on rubbing keep yielding small glass particles.

My question is, can I continue worshipping these? They are not majorly damaged, just a few small imperfections caused due to the chipping away of some material at the base. I would have replaced them though, just that I am having a few thoughts because they are really expensive ones :|

Shri drajanm,

Please do not do pooja for such defective sivalingam or Mahameru; it will bring untold suffering and hardship to your family. I say this from personal experience. There was a sphatika sivalingam in the devapooja in my house. One day this idol also got removed along with the old flowers of the previous day's pooja and thrown out. When its absence was noticed and it was traced back, it had fallen on a small stone and a small portion from the yonipeetham had chipped off. Some elders said that it should no longer be worshipped but my father continued to keep it in the pooja. For the next 12 years we went through great difficulties of all sorts.
 
OP
OP
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drajanm

New member
Dear sangom,

Thanks for your reply. I have removed them from the pooja.

Though I have read at many places that one should not worship a broken idol, I was persisting with them mainly because the magnitude of breakage is very small, and that too only at the base. Seems one cannot use such idols too..
 

Nacchinarkiniyan

Well-known member
I recall a story from Sri Ramakrishna. The Krishna idol in Dakshineswar temple once slipped from the priest's hand and a foot was broken. The pundits wanted the idol to be replaced. They asked Sri Ramakrishna's opinion. He said "you do not throw away a son if his leg is broken." The idol is only the representative of Krishna. In fact he personally mended the idol.

The idol is still there in the temple in a separate sannidhi. A new idol was installed by the pundits who did not heed Sri Ramakrishna's advice.

We should remember that a Sivalingam or Maha Meru is only the representation of the Deity. A symbol. Nothing more. People do keep Sivalingas and Mahameru in show cases.

Just because an idol/symbol is broken the Bhaktha does not lose the grace of the Deity.

I remember the time long back when the Vigneswara idol in my puja fell down and broke. Immediately myself and my wife took it out of the Puja and immersed it in a well with a lot of prayers. We were in our twenties then and had no experience in Pujas. Newbies.

I agree that you should replace the Sivalinga and Mahameru. Not because it would bring you bad luck, but because you do not want a defective symbol. We would like a perfect symbol.

I have changed the Vigneswara idol in my Puja at least half a dozen times. I was collecting Vigneswara images for nearly 20 years. I have a green stone Sakthi Ganapathi now.

I had a marble idol of Devi in my puja. But then over the years the marble got discolored because of all the abhishekams. I replaced that idol later with a beautiful panchaloka idol so that the idol could withstand all the abhishekams.

Your symbols are broken because of an accident. It has nothing to do with Divine Grace. Divine Grace will always be with you whatever happens to the Sivalinga or Mahameru.
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
Shri drajanm,

Please do not do pooja for such defective sivalingam or Mahameru; it will bring untold suffering and hardship to your family. I say this from personal experience. There was a sphatika sivalingam in the devapooja in my house. One day this idol also got removed along with the old flowers of the previous day's pooja and thrown out. When its absence was noticed and it was traced back, it had fallen on a small stone and a small portion from the yonipeetham had chipped off. Some elders said that it should no longer be worshipped but my father continued to keep it in the pooja. For the next 12 years we went through great difficulties of all sorts.

dear sangom,

just a curiosity query and please treat it as such.

you have stated in the above post, that due to worship of a defective sphatikam, you can directly correlate it, to 12 years of misery.

my queries are

- is it a matter of faith from you that you attribute 12 years of misery to thing single act of worship alone?

- how did this effect or affect your today's agosticism? ie when you look back, do you feel the same way as you did a long time ago?

- what did someone do at the end of 12 years to stop the prolonged bad luck yugam?

- what is your suggestion to drajanm re how to dispose of the current damaged sphatika? dump it into a temple pond? i presume throwing it in garbage would we welcoming ill luck.

personally, i have great fear of sphatika thanks to my mom's views who felt it to be a powerful presence in the house, once you started the practise of daily prayers for it. one of my relatives passed away, and his son had no interest in carrying out the daily rituals involving sphatikam. on advise from family vathiar, he went to kanchi and deposited it in the kanchi mutt. a few years ago, this happened.

any thoughts of yours, re why my mother would be in so much awe of sphatika, is welcome. i did not have the occassion to ask her, and she soon passed away.

btw, when i was in kasi, i saw sphatikams sold spread out in various sizes in 100s, in the chettiar shop, a few buildings from the sankara mutt hostel. i guess they acquire their power only when they are initiated and consecrated in a pooja room?

thank you sir.
 

Subhalakshmi

Active member
From what I know, You give any idol the power with everyday puja, the more you do it the more it gets powerful, I think it is a good idea to hold the slightly defective idols somewhere in the house since it may not affect you in any way, since it does not have the power of the prayers immersed into it.. My athimbare has "shaligramam" stones and does puja every day for two hours in the morning... the man himself has such a thejas.. who is almost 80 years old..
 

Nara

Well-known member
.... They are not majorly damaged, just a few small imperfections caused due to the chipping away of some material at the base.
Hello,

Since these poojas have a basis in some sort of agamas, is it not important for the faithful to rely only on those agamas for "authentic" answers and not on personal opinions on symbol, bhakti, etc.?

Even though I am a non-believer now, due to my experiences from my "poorva-ashrama", I have some knowledge in this area. As far as I am aware, the so called sAnnidyam in the vighraha is what is important when it comes deciding what to do with the damaged vighraha.

There are some vighrahas that are swayambu, like saligrama moorthees. Such objects never loose sAnnidyam, binnam or not, and therefore, nitya aradhanai must never be stopped. If there is any sentimental reasons why you don't want to keep the binna swyambu moorthy at home you must give it to a Matham or temple where nitya aradhanai to it will continue.

If it is not a swayambu moorthy, then the vighraha would have had sAnnidyam only if prana pradhistai was done according to the rules laid down in the appropriate agama. Otherwise, it was nothing more than a bommai to begin with, binna or not. One may have sentimental attachment to the idol, but it can't be anything more if you are serious about your faith.

If proper prana pradhishtai was done to the moorthy, then, in the first place, sAnnidyam would remain only so long as nitya aradhanai was continued, never missed even for a single day. If this was done without fail, then the moorthy would have had sAnnidyam before it was damaged, but not after.

For sAnnidyam to remain, the moorthy must be unblemished in any way. Any damage, minor or major, would result in the idol being blemished, then bye bye sAnnidyam, it is gone. It is now no more than a mere toy, you can do anything with it. Sentiment may prevent you from just throwing it away, but that is a different matter.

Other condition in which the moorthy will get blemished and as a result loose sAnnidyam include, touch by a woman, touch by any NB, touch by anyone other than a madi-Brahmin male after upanayanam.

If you are serious about your faith I would recommend that you consult with a Brahminical Vaideeka well versed in Agamas. Vedic scholars usually will have this knowledge also, and follow his advice.

If it is all about sentiment and not about sincerity to the basis on which your faith is built -- like god will always love you, your sincerity is what is more important, etc. -- then, anything goes, the god you believe in is not going to let you down because of a little damage, would it? Just follow your heart and do anything that pleases you.

Cheers!
 

Subhalakshmi

Active member
how about Sri chakram - My MIL used to do puja to it every day after my FIL passed on... and when she passed away, some said to give to the local temple, but it is in the house, but not sure if it is being worshiped with the proper manthras, even though I know daily prayers go on.. but I have heard that if you don't do the proper pujas, it could affect the family, how far is this true??? could anyone clarify this for me..
 

sangom

Well-known member
dear sangom,

just a curiosity query and please treat it as such.

you have stated in the above post, that due to worship of a defective sphatikam, you can directly correlate it, to 12 years of misery.

my queries are

- is it a matter of faith from you that you attribute 12 years of misery to thing single act of worship alone?

- how did this effect or affect your today's agosticism? ie when you look back, do you feel the same way as you did a long time ago?

Shri Kunjuppu,

Very pertinent queries. It will ultimately come out as a matter of faith, however much I try to rationalize. So, let that be faith or belief. But more than the faith, what made me respond to drajanm's post was the desire that he and his family do not suffer.

My agnosticism is that the Superior power which manifests as the phenomenon called "Life" cannot be known or experienced by Man who is himself existing at the mercy of that very same power. (I try to put this in today's jargon as The OS in a PC cannot detect itself or correct glitches in itself; don't know if this is foolish or makes sense:)). Secondly, I believe we will not be able to realize or experience God by following any religion.

The incident happened when I was about 11 or 12. My Chinna Thaatha (mother's chithappa) advised that the sivalingam be removed from pooja and kept aside safely and immersed in Ganga as and when somebody from the family went to Kasi. But, strangely (it was not his usual nature to disobey elders) my father continued to keep it in the pooja. After about 7 or 8 years I went to Bombay in search of job. Thereafter I used to come home only on short leaves and did not notice the pooja or whether this particular item was there. After about 12 years, at the time of marriage I saw this idol was not there and had been kept aside safely in a small wooden box. This continued like that till in 2001 or 2002 we decided to surrender the entire pooja idols to the Sringeri matham which takes all such pooja idols; at that time the broken sivalingam was also deposited there.

- what did someone do at the end of 12 years to stop the prolonged bad luck yugam?
Nothing special AFAIK. I passed out of college, entered a job, started sending money home and also kept a close watch on the finances back at home. Since my parents were rather poor in money and asset management, perhaps my role gave a little boost. In another four or five years my younger brother got a job as college lecturer and he took over the management of the home finance, with my contribution. Thus partly it was human effort, partly changes brought about by passage of time.

- what is your suggestion to drajanm re how to dispose of the current damaged sphatika? dump it into a temple pond? i presume throwing it in garbage would we welcoming ill luck.
Best way is to immerse in Ganga. But drajanm says the idols are very valuable; I take it that they are costly. If so he may also deposit in one of the Mathams - Sringeri or Kanchi - and remit some amount to the matham towards daily pooja. (We-myself and my brother send Rs. 20,000/= per annum to the Sringeri matham since the pooja is there now.)

personally, i have great fear of sphatika thanks to my mom's views who felt it to be a powerful presence in the house, once you started the practise of daily prayers for it. one of my relatives passed away, and his son had no interest in carrying out the daily rituals involving sphatikam. on advise from family vathiar, he went to kanchi and deposited it in the kanchi mutt. a few years ago, this happened.

any thoughts of yours, re why my mother would be in so much awe of sphatika, is welcome. i did not have the occassion to ask her, and she soon passed away.

btw, when i was in kasi, i saw sphatikams sold spread out in various sizes in 100s, in the chettiar shop, a few buildings from the sankara mutt hostel. i guess they acquire their power only when they are initiated and consecrated in a pooja room?

thank you sir.
I do not know much about Sphatikam but in olden days the people were particular that the pooja is not performed by anyone and everyone; AFAP my grandfathers used to do the poojas themselves. I was later told once by my chinna thaatha that there arises some sort of affinity between the person who does the pooja and the idols and change of person weakens the power in the idols.

But over the decades I have witnessed many brahmin households decaying and finally even getting erased, despite their devapooja and all that.
 
OP
OP
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drajanm

New member
@Nacchinarkiniyan

I could relate very much to your story. In fact, while I do perform pooja for the idols, somehow I do treat them like my close friends. I talk to them frequently and ask for their help on issues. Which is why when they got slightly broken at the base, I was hesitant to replace them. Some part of me asks the same question, if your pet - or for that matter your own relatives - attains a bodily imperfection, do you discard them immediately... But again the fact that it has been mentioned in so many places about a defective idol bringing ill luck does make one want to think a bit. If I were to ask myself I would say that the God whom I love so much would never cause me misery because I retained a scarred form of him.

@Sangom

I have gotten a metal replacement for the damaged ones. I have removed the grazed idols from the pooja, but I just cannot bring myself to discard them. They are there with me, crumpled up in an old bag. :)
 

anant1948

New member
I would like to say without any hesitation that God does not punish us for anything that we do. It is our prArabdha karma.

I was seeing the CD Video of Ramana Maharishi and in that I saw the following.


THE ORDAINER CONTROLS THE FATE OF SOULS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR DESTINY. WHATEVER DESTINED NOT TO HAPPEN WILL NOT HAPPEN, TRY AS YOU MAY. WHATEVER IS DESTINED TO HAPPEN WILL HAPPEN TRY AS YOU MAY TO PREVENT IT. THIS MUCH IS CERTAIN. THE BEST COURSE IS TO REMAIN SILENT.

The above are the words of Ramana Maharashi spoken to his mother when the latter with her other son came to Arunachala Hills to take Ramna Maharishi back home when she came to know that he was at that place.

It might be difficult for we mortals to remain silent but what I feel is that we should do what we think is right in such situations but leave the result to Him. By doing that, we will not be disappointed and at the same time will have the satisfaction of having tried. We have to learn to accept what happens and not get disheartened or disappointed. Whatever happens is perhaps for our good only or as per what we deserve. No use despairing.

The words of Ramana Maharishi has got engraved in my mind and I keep telling people not to expect anything and just do our duty. Whatever happens, though we might say is under our control, is not exactly that way. We are made to act the way we do at the moment of our action. It is up to us to consider it as preordained or not. I am of the opinion that whatever has to happen will happen and Ramana Maharishi's words keep echoing to me.

As Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said about the idol as mentioned by a member in this thread, we need not throw the idol if it breaks accidentally. It is altogether a different matter if some one willfully breaks an idol. He ought to be punished for that and his act does get added to his karma.

 

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
What is Idol represents to you? If you have faith the God only resides in the Idol, then I can not give you any alternatives. If Idol is symbol, and is used for focusing your thoughts, then the defect will be on your mind and you will be distracted. If you are above all that the defect does not matter. I like Nacchi's, and anant1948's comment. I too do not believe in punishments. I do believe that all our actions have karma due to our attachments to the result.

A flag represents of the country, it is respected and displayed. If it gets torn out of respect you get a new flag. If it gets dirty, you wash it and display it again.
 
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sangom

Well-known member
how about Sri chakram - My MIL used to do puja to it every day after my FIL passed on... and when she passed away, some said to give to the local temple, but it is in the house, but not sure if it is being worshiped with the proper manthras, even though I know daily prayers go on.. but I have heard that if you don't do the proper pujas, it could affect the family, how far is this true??? could anyone clarify this for me..

Smt. Bushu,

The Sree Chakram, whether etched on copper/silver/gold foil or drawn on paper and framed, if it has been worshipped in a particular way for years, needs to be continued in the very same fashion without any change in the important details like the moolamantra, number of times it is repeated, the naivedyams offered, and so on. Usually what used to happen in many a tabra family was that one male will start this SreeChakra pooja for getting certain desires fulfilled - may be material things, or esoteric powers - and on his demise, the rest of the people don't know how to do that pooja (mostly the original upaasaka will like to keep this secret because in all these tantric worships, secrecy is supposed to bestow more powers/results in shorter time) and will not like to reveal to anyone whom he finds unsuitable. Since our community people took to rapid changes in ways of life during the last 60 or 70 years, most of the old generation upaasakas died without giving the upadesam to anyone.

Keeping the Sree chakram without the prescribed worship will definitely bring troubles and difficulties of all sorts to the entire family. But who will suffer, in which way and how badly will depend on their own Karma; just as in the time of an epidemic some people will suffer horribly and die while at the other extreme some people will escape completely unaffected.

The best way to dispose of the Sree Chakram is to donate it to some temple where they are prepared to take proper care of it and make payment for that, if such a thing is required.
 

anant1948

New member
Before my father passed away, he had given the Siva puja to one temple and we gave money too for doing pujas for that daily. However, one siddhar told me sevenl years after my father passed away that the Siva puja should never be given to a temple as in a temple the puja/naivedyam are done to the main deity and the puja does not get cared. We then decided to get the puja back and we had a shock of our life to find the puja in a condition which I cannot describe. We were aghast. From then on I am doing the puja We also understand that the puja cannot be consigned to a river. The best thing to do in your case about Sri Chakram is to consult the place/person who had originally suggested or given the same for performing puja. The guilt feeling in us would manifest in several ways and make us think what all trials and tribulations we go through is due to our negligence. This is my view. All may not agree.
 

sangom

Well-known member
What is Idol represents to you? If you have faith the God only resides in the Idol, then I can not give you any alternatives. If Idol is symbol, and is used for focusing your thoughts, then the defect will be on your mind and you will be distracted. If you are above all that the defect does not matter. I like Nacchi's, and anant1948's comment. I too do not believe in punishments. I do believe that all our actions have karma due to our attachments to the result.

A flag represents of the country, it is respected and displayed. If it gets torn out of respect you get a new flag. If it gets dirty, you wash it and display it again.

Shri Prasad,

Re. the portion in bold font above.

When a parent punishes a child, or teacher punishes a student (both these are now illegal in foreign countries, I am given to understand!) usually the child/student is made to know what his/her mistake was, for which the punishment is being given. Our judiciary also faithfully follows this principle only. But Karma simply does not believe in this system. It prefers complete mystery, so that the sufferers (as well as enjoyers) do not ever understand why and what for they are enjoying/suffering. Learned religious scholars justify this on the basis that this is at the very root of this whole samsaara; if people were made to know the exact cause of their sufferings, the whole humanity will amend their ways quickly and in a few generations may be we will only have jeevanmuktas here.:)

Though I gave the example of national flag and idols worshipped, on the basis of importance conferred by the people, there is some difference in the basic approach, I believe. In the case of the NF the whole approach is purely secular. There is no "pooja" in the ritualistic sense, involving aavaahanam, abhishekam etc., etc. and no divinity (like Bharatha matha) is supposed to have graced the flag. The case of a pooja idol is different in this sense as may be easily evident to most. Hence, the care to be bestowed on the pooja idol is very much more. You will notice that although Ramakrishna repaired the leg of the Krishna idol, the Pundits nicely placed it in a separate sannidhi and replaced it with a non-broken complete, new idol. Don't you think Ramakrishna could have insisted on the broken idol being not so shifted? Why he did not insist? Point to introspect and come to your own conclusion.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Before my father passed away, he had given the Siva puja to one temple and we gave money too for doing pujas for that daily. However, one siddhar told me sevenl years after my father passed away that the Siva puja should never be given to a temple as in a temple the puja/naivedyam are done to the main deity and the puja does not get cared. We then decided to get the puja back and we had a shock of our life to find the puja in a condition which I cannot describe. We were aghast. From then on I am doing the puja We also understand that the puja cannot be consigned to a river. The best thing to do in your case about Sri Chakram is to consult the place/person who had originally suggested or given the same for performing puja. The guilt feeling in us would manifest in several ways and make us think what all trials and tribulations we go through is due to our negligence. This is my view. All may not agree.

Shri Anant,

Whenever we donate pooja, idol, sreechakrm, etc., to some temple we must first satisfy ourselves that they will do a neat pooja and will not just dump it in some corner. That is why I wrote "some temple where they are prepared to take proper care of it and make payment for that".

We should also make best efforts to visit at least once a year or so and verify the condition. Once they realize that we have not given it as good riddance, they will be at least a bit more careful.
 

anant1948

New member
Well, that temple was doing it properly till it started attracting more devotees. The temple is in a remote place which my father visited and after making sure the puja would be well taken care of, he gave it and we opened an FD for Rs. 5,000 or Rs. 6,000/- (In those days it was a decent sum and the interest would have taken care of daily puja needs). However, as mentioned above, some film stars came and started patronising and the gurukkal's attention totally changed direction. Till we took a decision to take back the puja, we had no other alternative. I am now happy since from the day we brought the puja, I have been able to do abhishekam chanting rudram, chamakam, sUktams followed by puja. It was providential as I never had any intention of taking the puja back from temple when I started learning rudram etc. from one person here. Perhaps, god wanted me first to learn that and then take the puja from the temple. That is how I take it and I am quite happy and satisfied. What is to be done once I pass away is something about which I will think in the next few years. As long as God gives me strength, I will continue to do nitya puja.
 

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
Shri Prasad,

Re. the portion in bold font above.

When a parent punishes a child, or teacher punishes a student (both these are now illegal in foreign countries, I am given to understand!) usually the child/student is made to know what his/her mistake was, for which the punishment is being given. Our judiciary also faithfully follows this principle only. But Karma simply does not believe in this system. It prefers complete mystery, so that the sufferers (as well as enjoyers) do not ever understand why and what for they are enjoying/suffering. Learned religious scholars justify this on the basis that this is at the very root of this whole samsaara; if people were made to know the exact cause of their sufferings, the whole humanity will amend their ways quickly and in a few generations may be we will only have jeevanmuktas here.:)

Though I gave the example of national flag and idols worshipped, on the basis of importance conferred by the people, there is some difference in the basic approach, I believe. In the case of the NF the whole approach is purely secular. There is no "pooja" in the ritualistic sense, involving aavaahanam, abhishekam etc., etc. and no divinity (like Bharatha matha) is supposed to have graced the flag. The case of a pooja idol is different in this sense as may be easily evident to most. Hence, the care to be bestowed on the pooja idol is very much more. You will notice that although Ramakrishna repaired the leg of the Krishna idol, the Pundits nicely placed it in a separate sannidhi and replaced it with a non-broken complete, new idol. Don't you think Ramakrishna could have insisted on the broken idol being not so shifted? Why he did not insist? Point to introspect and come to your own conclusion.

I have made a promise not to argue with you sir on that topic. We will agree to differ.
 

Subhalakshmi

Active member
Smt. Bushu,

The Sree Chakram, whether etched on copper/silver/gold foil or drawn on paper and framed, if it has been worshipped in a particular way for years, needs to be continued in the very same fashion without any change in the important details like the moolamantra, number of times it is repeated, the naivedyams offered, and so on. Usually what used to happen in many a tabra family was that one male will start this SreeChakra pooja for getting certain desires fulfilled - may be material things, or esoteric powers - and on his demise, the rest of the people don't know how to do that pooja (mostly the original upaasaka will like to keep this secret because in all these tantric worships, secrecy is supposed to bestow more powers/results in shorter time) and will not like to reveal to anyone whom he finds unsuitable. Since our community people took to rapid changes in ways of life during the last 60 or 70 years, most of the old generation upaasakas died without giving the upadesam to anyone.

Keeping the Sree chakram without the prescribed worship will definitely bring troubles and difficulties of all sorts to the entire family. But who will suffer, in which way and how badly will depend on their own Karma; just as in the time of an epidemic some people will suffer horribly and die while at the other extreme some people will escape completely unaffected.

The best way to dispose of the Sree Chakram is to donate it to some temple where they are prepared to take proper care of it and make payment for that, if such a thing is required.

Sangom sir,

Thank you very much for your advice, I have to say that it has brought a lot of problems, due to keeping it at home.. I know my children's father does the puja but not exactly like my FIL and MIL used to do.. a lot has happened in the family which is totally unfortunate, and you were right in saying things happen according to their karma and that too I have realized ..

In fact I had asked him to give it to the venkateswara temple, since I know that the Sri Chakram would be taken care of but, he did not heed my advice.. Well I guess it is vidhi.. I am only worried what might happen much later when we are not there.. I think I should advice my children to hand it over to the temple or to someone who will continue with the puja..

I am highly spiritual and as much I believe in all the rituals and tradition, I don't follow diligently, I can sit anywhere and forget everything while meditating.. I always pray that nobody should get hurt and the ultimate spirit in everyone should protect them.. :)

Thank you once again for your input.. :) Best Wishes!

Subhalakshmi :)
 
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