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Zakir Naik and Idol worship

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The field of consciousness as we know has originated from the Indian sciences, expounded further by Sri Aurobindo and further propagated by westerners like Ken Wilber. It is a science which revolves around the art of detachment to free the mind from attachment to name, fame, power, lust, greed, anger etc which blinds the person from perceiving the truth and obstructs the psychological evolution.

“tvamev matach pitach tvamev,
tvamev bandhuch sakhasch tvamev,
tvamev vidya dravidam tvamev,
tvamev sarvam mam devdev”

1: You Truly are my Mother And You Truly are my Father .
2: You Truly are my Relative And You Truly are my Friend.
3: You Truly are my Knowledge and You Truly are my Wealth.
4: You Truly are my All, My God of Gods.

The Indian thought perceives mother as divine (matri devo bhava), father as divine (pitri devo bhava), guests as divine (athiti devo bhava). Such praise and respect can only come when there is an absence of ego, greed, arrogance etc i.e the factors which obstruct the spiritual evolution. Some offer respect by forming idols, some by visualising their loved ones and some by offering their service (seva). Therefore, such worshipping may take naturally with or without idols. It is nothing but a form of visual symbol used not only to refer to a higher consciousness but also for respect for a loved one. People have celebrated Buddha by forming his idols, the statue of liberty connotes to the history of United States, the famous Sun Temple in Konark has the sundial which works according to the movement of sun. Therefore, some people built idols for respect and some to concentrate and raise their will power and consciousness to know the higher trancedental nature of the ultimate reality. Some people built temples for research, while some create paintings and sketches to express love.

But then, there exist some fanatics who because of their religious biases and outlooks promote an extreme antagonism for idol worshipping. One of the staunchest adversaries of idol worship is Zakir Naik often citing verses from Vedas, Gita and Upanishads to show that the “Hindu scriptures” themselves deny idol worshipping. He typically uses verses like ” Na Tasya Pratima asti ” (Vedas), chapter 7 verse 20 of Bhagvada-Gita and upanishads to conclude the rebuttal of idol worship. He typically mocks the concept of consciousness by stating that Muslims are already at a higher level of consciousness because there is no materialism or idol worshipping in Islam.

“He who is neither inward-wise, nor outward-wise, nor both inward and outward wise, nor wisdom self-gathered, nor possessed of wisdom, nor unpossessed of wisdom, He Who is unseen and incommunicable, unseizable, featureless, unthinkable, and unnameable, Whose essentiality is awareness of the Self in its single existence, in Whom all phenomena dissolve, Who is Calm, Who is Good, Who is the One than Whom there is no other, Him they deem the fourth; He is the Self, He is the object of Knowledge.” (Mandukya Upanishad)

Those deprived of discrimination by various desires impelled by their particular natures worship the lesser demigods adapting to the applicable rites and rituals. Whichever demigod a particular devotee desires with faith to worship, I surely sustain firmly that faith in him. Endowed with that firm faith the devotee executes worship of this demigod and sanctioned by me solely; obtains that which he desired from that demigod. The result of those of insufficient understanding is temporary; the votaries of the demigods obtain the demigod; but My devotees obtains Me. (Gita 7.20-23)

“Na Tasya Pratima Asti” (There is no image of him), The Vedic verse refers to the ultimate reality which cannot be comprehended. It is supported by the Upanishads (e.g above verse from mandukya upanishad) and Gita which teach that the ultimate reality is nameless, formless, unmanifest, omnipresent, omnipotent etc. But the texts do not say that there is no presence of that ultimate reality in an animal or a stone.

“All of the universes are pervaded by Me, in an imperceptibly subtle manifestation and all living entities find their support in Me; but I am not supported in them.” (Gita 9.4)

The whole chapter 7 and 10 of Bhagvada Gita outlines the various manifestations of the ultimate reality e.g surya, agni, vayu, rudra, intellect, knowledge etc. Because of the workings of the mind and the various senses it controls, which are again a part of the same reality, we are able to perceive various forms and shapes. Thus, the ultimate reality manifests itself into various ways even though it is unmanifested, projects various forms and shapes even though it is formless and shapeless, called by various names by different people even though it is nameless.

Therefore, if idols are visual symbols to express the ultimate reality, then so are the linguistic words used to express the same. In this regard, there is no moral judgement passed by Hindu scriptures on the use of a word or idol to denote ultimate reality. On the contrary, the scriptures allude to the ultimate reality by expressing the limitations of the human senses (Refer Kena Upanishad). Adversaries like Zakir naik who shun idol worshipping do not realise that even sitting in a particular direction in this directionless and infinite universe while praying for namaz is kind of symbology. Moreover, if he thinks it is inappropriate to practice idol worshipping, then he fails to realise on the same grounds and reasoning that the use of the very word Allah (to address the nameless as per Indian scriptures) is again absurd as Allah is nothing but a symbology borrowed from a book. If one further explores, then he’ll surely realise that the verse, “La Iaha Ill Allah Muhammudur Rasool Aallah”( God according to Islam is Allah and there is no other name except Allah and Mohammed is his prophet), preaches attachment to a name and indoctrinates about a prophet who lived his life in a desert land preaching about the judgement day, jizziya and disrespect for Jews, Christians and infidels.

O you who believe, take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends of each other. And whoever amongst you takes them for friends he is indeed one of them. Surely Allåh guides not the unjust people. (Quran 5.51)

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger [i.e., Muhammad], and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter. ( Quran 5.33)”

Fight those who believe not in Allåh, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which Allåh and His Messenger have forbidden, nor follow the Religion of Truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgement of superiority and they are in a state of s subjection (9.29)

When Mr.Zakir Naik speaks about Chapter 7 of Gita, he forgets that the divine song proceeds with chapter 9 verse 23,

“O Arjuna, those who worship devotedly different demigods, although faithfully; they also worship me only; but in an unauthorised manner”.

The demigods are nothing but the physical or mental manifestations of the ultimate reality which are divine. Material manifestations include Sun, Earth, Water etc. Whereas, mental manifestations include knowledge, consciousness, thought etc. If we treat a human body as a whole, then how can a whole body be complete without a hand, leg or a brain? If, for analogy, these individual components of a human body are treated separately and compared to demigods, then it is only natural that the whole body ( analogous to ultimate reality here) should be cleansed. Does it make any sense to clean the individual body parts (analogous to worshipping or revering the demi-gods individually)? If a business man worships Laxmi (wealth) and cuts the trees for generation of wealth, then it means that for the generation of wealth, he is abusing the nature. Thus, according to BG-9.23, this is inappropriate.

In many of the lectures, he presents demi-gods (devas) as “false god”, dharma as “religion”, sanatan dharma as ‘polytheistic’ etc without even understanding the basic riddle like nature of the shrutis to converge or allude to the ultimate reality, why the elements of the nature are called as “devas” or that the ultimate reality or the truth (satchitananda) expounded by sanatan dharma is beyond any kind of theism be it monotheism, polytheism or atheism.  If one understands the flow of the Indian scriptures and the art of detachment, he is sure to understand that Zakir Naik doesn’t have any basic understanding of the Indian shrutis. He simply mugs up verses and presents improper verses (the translations and the context), to prove his points. Moreover he views the Vedic wisdom from his Quranic conditioning where the creator is isolated from the creation and where the Quran preaches about a male centric god. On the contrary, the Indian scriptures teach about the ultimate reality where the various manifestations are a part of the same truth or ultimate reality, where the different manifestations are presented in both masculine (devas) and feminine names like ila, saraswati, maya etc (devis). The whole of Bhagvada-Gita expounds on the ultimate reality through the context of “I and Me”. Unfortunately, Mr. Naik due to his Quranic conditioning thinks that the chapter 7 of Gita is speaking about different isolated gods, unable to understand that the “devas” are a part of the same truth.

Indian shrutis state, “ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanati” (Truth is one, but sages call it by different names). It speaks volumes about detachment and tolerance to incorporate the subjectivity of the others. It is true that the ancient seers never needed temples or idols to understand the ultimate reality. The consciousness, as it evolves, frees the mind from attachment to name and forms. Therefore, contrary to Mr.Naik’s gross assumptions, the first signs of an elevated consciousness in muslims will indeed be freedom and detachment from the Quranic doctrines and the name Allah itself.

References:
http://micheldanino.voiceofdharma.com/kaliyuga.html
http://veda.wikidot.com/dharma-and-religion
http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/
http://www.muslim.org/english-quran/ch005-100.pdf
http://www.muslim.org/english-quran/ch009-66.pdf

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12 Responses to "Zakir Naik and Idol worship"

  1. Girdhar says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jYUL7eBdHg

    Zakir Naik is a cartoon and all the human rationality fails on him. But he is true on one thing that “Quran is a book of signs and not science” lol.

  2. gaurav says:

    The main problem is that when the tv programme or live session of mr naik or any person is telecasted the audience is full of people who have simply no idea of anything and they start asking foolish questions to the speaker which can be easily butchered by anyone who even read a manual of do’s and dont’s because 95% of people have never understood anything in original text and they just recite it like parrots during prayers or yagya.
    islam as a religion is a religion of propoganda and exploiting weakness of human beings of lowest degree by alluring them towards materialistic gains and we all know 90/100 people love to have material happiness as opposed to spiritual bliss.islam has been very successful in propogating arrogance , guarantees after life,etc. and they have spent lot of resources in propogating their religion in original text because that can be used as a shield if someone tries to counter koran or hadis by saying that you should first learn arabic to comment correctly.
    it would not be wrong to say that islam as such is not a religion perse but a political movement which is striving hard to counter western powers by outnumbering them financed by arab countries which will secure their kingdoms as people will keep worshipping the holy land of mecca madina forever.
    i think muslims of subcontinent and africa will be biggest loser in this political conspiracy.
    and regarding what mr naik etc. have said about hindu religion ,will be a debate forever because few things have to happen before hindus will stop lamenting.
    1.hindu’s combined wealth can easily buy out half of muslim world but hindus should learn from zakat and try to donate some money for holy cause before blabbering from mouth alone.
    2.hindus should manage their institutions run by world class teachers and not by acharya ji or dubey ji of next street who have done nothing in life but adoring a chutiya on head so first do something constructive before just citing scriptures and giving lip service alone.
    3.caste system has to go away by hook or by crook , brahmans and rajputs will have to give away their self defined social role before you can even think of competing with muslims.
    4.telecast speakers of knowledge and wisdom on tv with correct meaning of scriptures rather than allowing babas and devis whose wholesole objective is to gain money fame and political power.
    5.stop glamourising scriptures like ramayana and mahabharat and popularise vedas.
    6.be ready from muslim backlash as they will start to find faults in your scriptures and translations so be prepared for that by saam daam danda bheda ,and then only you can hope to see a revival of hinduism

  3. Sandeep says:


    “One of the staunchest adversaries of idol worship is Zakir Naik often citing verses from Vedas, Gita and Upanishads to show that the “Hindu scriptures” themselves deny idol worshipping. ”

    One could also argue that the Vedas and the Upanishads were meant for the serious yogic practitioners so it is not their realm to discourse on idol worship.

    To keep the common man on the path of Dharma, the Puranas, Brahmanas, Tantric scriptures were written and they provide elaborate instructions on idol worship. For example, the Linga Purana details the worship of the Shiva Linga. The Chandogya Upanishad asserts that the Puranas are to be treated as the fifth Veda(“itihasapuranam panchamam vedanam vedam” – 7.1.2)

    I have collected quotes by various sages on this subject on my blog

    See
    http://auromere.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/the-purpose-of-idolatry-and-its-limitations-2/
    and
    http://auromere.wordpress.com/techniques/concentration-on-mothers-photograph/

  4. Raju Peddada says:

    At least our idols are beautiful to look at, they actually symbolize imagination, pluralism, and the wisdom of inclusion… but the Muslims ignorants ran to a meteor that fell in the desert, proclaiming it as a blessing from their god, and today go to mecca, like mindless sheep, to touch this stone, actually a glob of iron, that you can touch in any museum in the U.S. Also, their whole religion is centered around that Kabba in Mecca, which is supposedly a grave after a sacrifice, hence their culture of death, intolerence and ignorance. Most Muslims are ignorant because their faith has rendered them so… throughout history, they have destroyed libraries across the world. The first one was the one in Alexandria established by Ptolemy I as the center for learning, them that bastard Bhaktiar Khilji demolished the great library of the Nalanda University in the 11th century, where original Vedic and Buddhist manuscripts burned for three months. Is there anything that the Muslims do that surprises us? Can they ever generate anybody, with their bloody doctrines, a sympathetic and compassionate thinker like Vivekananda or Aurobindo? NO!!! Hence, the Hellfire missiles from predator drones…

  5. Nikhil says:

    La Iaha Ill Allah Muhammudur Rasool Aallah…

    The fight starts the moment a person imposes his beliefs on others or cannot respect other’s point of views. Monotheism is not only stupid, but mindless, disrespectful to other’s viewpoints and it is boring to the core.

    Whereas, India has plurality, creativity, science where the Satya is expounded by different upanishads and schools of thoughts differently. Zakir Naik is not only a joker, but a true face of Islam indeed, trying to convince continuously as to how boring and useless Islam is….not a dharmic teaching anyhow, but a political organisation where every believer/muslim has to obey Quran…like Congressies obeying the words of the Italian cook/crook!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdzusekB8cg

  6. Girdhar says:

    Haha, consciousness in Muslims. Quran teaches about 72 harems even in heaven. Therefore, even heaven is materialistic in Islam and Life an aim to destroy the kafirs, Jews, christians and spread the Shariah Law. The concept of consciousness includes moving beyond time and space where moving beyond (or detachment from) name, fame, greed, lust becomes only a subset.

    The Muslims cannot even detach from the name Allah and hopelessly dependent on a book called Quran enforced on their fragile minds from their birth. Such Muslims become so happy when they hear someone “accepted” Islam as if Islam was some undernourished, immature, outcasted and banished child which had to be accepted for the sake of humanity.

    The very first step towards the rise of consciousness in Muslims will itself be to detach from the verse ” La Illaha Ilalaha Mohammed ur-rasool Allah”. But the irony is that those who abandon such attachment to a name and childish indoctrination are to be killed as per Quran. E.g Wafa Sultan, Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Sina etc.

    Anyways, now the Abrahamic cults have plagiarising the Yoga as well with their own political survival tactics with terms like Muslims Yoga, Christian Yoga! The moment one uses the word Yoga, it destroys the very basis of Abrahamic nature i.e Isolation, where the male chavinist controller is isolated from the nature and preaches attachment to name.

    Yoga itself is rise of consciousness, to move beyond time and space, to unite.

    When a man liberated, free from attachment, with his mind, heart and spirit firmly founded in self-knowledge, does works as sacrifice, all his work i
    s dissolved. Brahman is the giving, Brahman is the food-offering, by Brahman it is offered into the Brahman fire, Brahman is that which is to be attained by samadhi in Brahman-action. ( BG 4.23-24)

  7. Dheeraj Kumar says:

    lol, Joker Naik still alive? Great! Its not America who is abusing Islam I feel but this Joker Naik!

  8. Freething says:

    If any of you have guts then why not go and challange him in his lectures where a lot of hindus revert back to Islaminstead of making silly remarks about him!

  9. Read says:

    Islam is perfect and will remain perfect whether one likes it or not. Allah send down the Quran and will be protected till end of times. Islam gives respect and justice to all HIS creations (man, woman, children, orphans, widows, poor, and more and more). Islam is the cleanest of all faiths on the face of this Earth. Islam is the ONLY faith thay actually practises/worhships ONE God.

    Allah is not a he nor a she. Allah has NO partners (Allah has NO son, NO dad, NO mum, NO daughter, NO wife, NO partners whatsoeverrr). Allah is self-sufficent. Allah is NOT in need of anyones prayers. It is the human beings who are in need of Allah. Allah is Nothing like any of HIS creations. Allah is UNIQUE, Allah is PERFECT and beyond anyone’s imagination. Allah is Greater than GREAT!

    May Allah swt guide those who are genuinely seeking to get close to HIM , ameen.

  10. shameem says:

    joker naik, ha ha good name.., dis only proves your failiure, when you cant win one, dn make fun of him. I want u ask some thing if shiva is a god and creator of dis world why he choped ganeshs head widout the knwledge ganesh is his son?(god dnt even knw whats happening in the world he created?) very sad. If i quotes dr is thousand like dis in ur scriptures. So look own ur self before laughing at islam.

  11. andy says:

    What about the verses in Qur@n that say that all those who don’t believe in !slam should be converted to !slam or killed?
    Killing kafirs is a good deed according to your Qur@n.
    Is this how your religion judges people?

    If someone doesn’t share your faith, kill him. That’s what you are taught by your religion. With this attitude, you cannot co-exist with any other community, and that is why !slam is the most violent and intolerant religions of all.

  12. servant of God says:

    Assalaam Walaikum brothers and sisters….

    If you have some sense, then think that “how can an idol help you if you worship it?”

    “If an idol falls down, it cant stand up on its own. Then, how can it help you in your life?”

    So, idol worship is wrong.

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