as in Advaitha philosophy, describe the Supreme formless
God as Nirguna Brahmam. He manifests with His veil of Maya as Saguna
Brahmam, in the hundreds of forms that are worshipped in our Temples
and houses, so that the common man can understand. Each individual
is allowed to pray to any of the manifestations explained in our
Agamas, Ithihasas and Puranas.
who worships these forms knows very well this truth that all these
forms lead to the One Divine Force and the various Images used in
the worship are only for the sake of concentration to a figure for
rituals. "Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudhah Vadhanthi"
-- Truth (The Supreme Reality) is One but the Sages call It
(Him) by many names. They all know that God in His true form or
nature is far beyond comprehension. The Vaishnavites refer to "Him"
as Savisesha Brahmam, as the supreme God who is not without form
but without attributes and beyond our understanding.
is allowed to pray to any form after accepting that form as their
personal Deity, Ishta Devatha. They develop all the devotion
and love to God in that form. They get the rights to perform the
rituals after getting trained in the rules by "Adhikaras".
Each one gets these training from a guru, teacher, a parent or an
elder member in the family. When Hindus pray to their Deities at
home or in Temples, they pray to images, statues or pictures. They
are often criticized by the ignorant outsiders as senseless "Idol
for the Hindu, it makes all the sense as they worship the formless
Divine as Vigrahas. It may be a human figurine, a lamp,
fire, water, Sun, a stone or clay shaped like a cone or Linga or
just the formless space. It is no different from National Flag for
a soldier in war, Cross for a Christian, Kaba for a Muslim or the
Holy book for any religion. They are all just various forms of representation
of a faith, to respect and worship.