"Deity Worship--Not Idol Worship"
Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad
Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.47-48
Vrndavana, October 5, 1976

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Pradyumna dasa reads: "He (Dronacarya) is certainly still existing, being represented by his son. His wife Krpi did not undergo a sati with him because she had a son. O most fortunate one who knows the principles of religion, it is not good for you to cause grief to glorious family members who are always respectable and worshipful."


sa esa bhagavan dronah
praja-rupena vartate
tasyatmano 'rdham patny aste
nanvagad virasuh krpi

tad dharmajna maha-bhaga
bhavadbhir gauravam kulam
vrjinam narhati praptum
pujyam vandyam abhiksnasah

So, in continuation of the Pandavas' position in relationship with Dronacarya, the guru, so many things are being explained by Draupadi. So she is not ordinary woman. She knows everything of the religious principles, and therefore she is teaching the assembly of respectable, learned persons how the spiritual master should be respected. Drona is also, I mean to say, qualified as bhagavan. Bhagavan Drona. Anyone who is extraordinarily powerful, he is addressed sometimes as bhagavan. Narada Muni is also sometimes addressed as bhagavan. Lord Siva is also sometimes addressed as bhagavan. We have explained the different features of bhagavan many times. Aisvaryasya samagrasya viryasya yasasah sriyah. So the Supreme Bhagavan is Krsna. Nanyat paratara... Mattah parataram nanyat [Bg. 7.7]. There may be so many bhagavans, but the absolute bhagavan is Krsna. Aisvaryasya samagrasya viryasya. Not samagra, but the Supreme Personality, He is samagra. The others, they have got to certain extent the qualities of bhagavan. In that sense they can be addressed as bhagavan. But they are not samagra. Samagra is, samagra means the complete. That is only attributed to Krsna. Nobody else.

Sa esa bhagavan dronah praja-rupena vartate. Praja means offspring, son, daughter also. Prajayate. One who is born of the father. Without father, there is no possibility, son or daughter. Therefore prajayate. One who gives birth. And the praja... Praja is the product of the body of the father. A son or daughter, they may be different persons, but they belong to the body of the father. Yatha yoni yatha bijam. Father is the bijam. Just like bijam, the seed. The seed is the tree later on. Similarly, the bijam, the seed, is put by the father in the womb of the mother, and as the seed implanted in the earth and taken care of with watering, sprinkling, it grows to a big tree, similarly, the seed is sown in the womb of the mother, and the mother takes care of the seed, and it comes to a big body later on and comes out. This is the process of birth. So in one sense, between the seed and the tree there is no difference. Similarly, the seed of the father and the father, there is no difference. Here it is, praja-rupena vartate.

So according to Vedic culture, if one woman has got son, she is not considered to be widow. Widow means one who hasn't got husband or husband is dead. So if the husband's representative is there, so, strictly speaking, she is not widow. So praja-rupena vartate. Again the wife is considered ardhangini. I think in English also it is said, "better half." Wife is considered half the body. The left hand side half... Perhaps you have seen the picture that Krsna and Radharani, one body. The left-hand side is Radharani, right-hand side is Krsna. Srila Jiva Gosvami has explained this, radha krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini-saktir asmad ekatmanav api [Cc. Adi 1.5]. Radha and Krsna, They are one, but for pastimes they have become two. Ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau. Again Radha-Krsna united, caitanyakhyam prakatam adhuna tad-dvayam caikyam aptam. So these things are there. So wife is considered better half. Ardhangini. So the ardhangini is there, and the son is there. In so many ways they are convincing that "Do not think that Dronacarya is dead and gone." He's (She's) convincing this point. "Dronacarya is still existing. So killing the son of Dronacarya means killing Dronacarya. So do not do this." He's (She's) putting so many arguments.

Then, tad dharmajna maha-bhaga bhavadbhir gauravam kulam. One should act in such a way that it should be glorified in the family. The family consideration is very important in Vedic culture. A family does not mean that only a husband, wife, or a few children. No. Family means the generation. That is Vedic conception. So if something is wrong done by any member of the family, that becomes a scar to the whole family. So she is, from family-wise, she is warning that "Do not do anything which will be a discredit to the whole Pandava family." Vrjinam narhati praptum pujyam vandyam abhiksnasah. So the guru and the guru's family, they do not require to be chastised or punished. It has been misused in so many ways. In Bengal... Just like they say nityananda-vamsa. Coming from Nityananda. So Nityananda had one son, Virabhadra. But Virabhadra did not marry. So there is no dynasty by semina. By nityananda-vamsa means by disciplic succession. So sometimes extra advantage was taken as nityananda-vamsa. But people have got respect for such thing, dynasty. So not only it is now, from time immemorial, guru, guru's dynasty... Even in Mohammedan religion there is such sentiment, Mohammed and his dynasty, Hussain, they are taken very respectfully. So considering all points, the guru's respect must be maintained. This is the sum and substance of the instruction. But there is other opposite instruction also.

If the guru is not in his proper way according to sastra... Guru means he must be abiding by the rules and regulation of the sastra. Sadhu-guru-sastra. Sadhu means one who is obeying the rules and regulation of sastra. Sastra must be the medium. Without sastra nothing is acceptable. That is spoken by Krsna. Tasmad sastra-vidhanoktah. Yah sastra-vidhim utsrjya vartate kama-karatah. So nobody can transgress the rules and regulation of sastra, and what to speak of a guru. Guru is acarya. Acinoti yah sastrani. One who knows the rules and regulation of the sastra and he teaches his disciple according to the sastra, he is called acarya. So acaryam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhicit [SB 11.17.27]. Acarya should be respected, as Krsna says, as good as Krsna. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura also said, saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih **. Acarya, guru, is as good as God. Saksad-dharitvena. Acarya should be respected as Krsna. Therefore acaryam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhicit [SB 11.17.27]. If somebody foolishly thinks that "They are worshiping a man. He's like me, and he has taken the seat, and he's taking worship, respect, from disciples." Sometimes they question like that. But they do not know that how acarya should be respected. Acarya should be respected saksad-dharitvena, just like God. It is not exaggeration. It is according to the sastra. And acarya also accepts all these respectful obeisances to carry to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the process. As we receive knowledge from the acarya, similarly, our activities, the result of activities, is carried by the acarya to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Acarya does not accept anything on his own account. Acarya accepts everything on Krsna's account. That is the principle. And because he is representative of Krsna, he is dealing on behalf of Krsna.

We have got in practical experience. Formerly, in British government, there was viceroy. Vice means in place of and roy means royal king. Viceroy. So this viceroy was respected as the king, as the emperor. That is the process. When he's no longer a viceroy, then he's not respected. But so long he is acting as viceroy... And the rule was that whatever presentation was given to the viceroy he did not accept it personally. It was kept in the state. So these are the process. So guru, acarya, being representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he should be worshiped. Navamanyeta... Na martya-buddhyasuyeta. Never think of envying. As soon as we become envious of the acarya, there is falldown, immediately. Yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah **. This is the teaching of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. He's also acarya. Acarya-parampara.

So, navamanyeta karhicit martya-buddhya. Acarya should not be considered as ordinary human being. Vaisnave jati-buddhir gurusu nara-matih, arcye visnau sila-dhir gurusu nara-matih. These are the injunction. Naraki. Everyone knows that here is vigraha, Gaura-Nitai vigraha, Krsna-Balarama vigraha, Radha-Krsna vigraha. Everyone knows that it was, these vigrahas were ordered from Jaipur and it is now installed. But why people are coming in thousands to see the vigraha? They do not know that it is made of stone? Everyone knows. Maybe one or two may be coming, sentiment. In every temple... Just like Jagannatha Puri everyone knows that Jagannatha is made of wood. Then why lakhs of people are going there to see? Similarly, Balaji. Everyone knows He's made of stone. But thousands of people are going to see. So this is the system. This is not artificial. This is the system. One... As the vigraha... Vigraha means the form of the Lord. There are eight kinds of the forms of the Lord. They are made of stone, they are made of wood, they are made of jewels, and sometimes they are made of painting, and metal. So many. There are eight. All these vigrahas are to be worshiped. That is mentioned in the sastras. Painting also. If there is painting or even if you think of the form of the Lord within the mind, that is also vigraha. Just like dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah [SB 12.13.1]. The yogis, they think of Visnu form within the core of the heart. That is also vigraha. Don't think that is imagination. That is also vigraha. So there are eight kinds of vigrahas, and each and every one of them are as good as the other. Similarly, vigraha of guru is also... Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastraih. This is the injunction of the sastra. And... "May be in the sastra, but it is not carried." No, it is carried. Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktah **, it is said, tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih. Those who are aware of the sastras...

Just like we have installed the Deity according to sastra. There is nothing imaginary. It is not idol worship. Idol worship is different. Just like in the Western countries they put an idol on the street, on the park, as the resting place of the crows and passing stool on the head. That is idol worship. The so-called statues are installed and without any protection... No. Our worship is not idol worship. This is Deity worship. We construct temple and spend lakhs of rupees to install the Deity. It is not idol worship. Idol worship is different. Therefore it is warned, arcye visnau sila-dhih. If somebody thinks that the vigraha is idol worship... There are so many rascals, they think like that. They are... "Why you are worshiping in the temple?" Amongst the Indians also, the Arya-samajis, they protest against temple worship. But who cares for them? Here in Vrndavana, there is Arya-samaji temple. Nobody goes there. But this is a new temple recently started, and thousands of people are coming. Why? All of them are fools and rascals? This is exactly according to the sastra.

And the argument that God is everywhere, why you should go to the temple? And what is this nonsense? If God is everywhere, why not in the temple? But this is their argument, nonsense argument. God is everywhere, but not in the temple. This is their argument. So we do not care. Nobody cares. So many agitators came and gone, but the Vedic process will go on. Let the dogs bark, the caravan will pass. There is no difficulty. So on the whole, this is Vedic civilization, that the vigraha of the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepted as He is present. We should take it that Krsna... Actually, this is the fact. As you have read in the Caitanya-caritamrta, there was the Saksi-Gopala history, and the two brahmanas, they promised before the Deity, and later on there was misunderstanding, and the Deity from Vrndavana went to bear witness in Orissa more than thousands of miles away. And that Saksi-Gopala, witness Gopala -- Saksi means witness -- is still being worshiped in Jagannatha Puri, near. There is a station, Saksi-Gopala.

So as the Deity of the Lord, vigraha, should not be considered as made of stone, wood, similarly, guru also should not be accepted as ordinary human being. He should be given all respect as we give to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is being explained by even one woman. That is Vedic culture. Draupadi is explaining the importance, and she has said, sa esa bhagavan dronah. She's quite right when she's accepting Drona as bhagavan. Sa esa bhagavan dronah praja-rupena vartate. And he is present by his praja. So these things should be taken very seriously instruction. Therefore srimad-bhagavatam amalam puranam. This is pramana. Pramani-grantha. Pramani-grantha means sabda-pramana. Sabda-pramana, anumana pramana, and anumana... Just like a sound is going on. One who knows, that's all right. But we can... Hypothesis. We can think that some machine is running on. We may not know what is that machine. So this is anumana. I'm not seeing the machine, what kind of machine is running, but I can think of, imagine that it may be some machine is running on. That is also another pramana. Hypothesis, inductive, deductive. They are also... Analogy. There are so many processes. So here, Krsna and guru, they should be accepted on the same level. Therefore Draupadi has addressed Dronacarya as bhagavan. Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih **. It is accepted. We should also accept. Thank you very much. (end)
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.45-46 -- Vrndavana, October 5, 1976