Swami Dayanand on idol worship


1. “Virtuous acts, the worship of one true God and correct knowledge lead to Emancipation, whilst an immoral life, the worship of idols (or other things or persons in place of God), and false knowledge are the cause of the Bondage of the soul.” [English Satyarth Prakash, Light of Truth Page 274] Swami calls Idol worship IMMORAL.

2. Thus the practice of worshipping idols originated with the Jains (in this country). The belief in God decline and the people took to idolatry instead. [ibid Page 345]

3. The denial of the freedom of will and a belief in the efficacy of tilaka (making specific mark on the forehead) and of wearing rosary, and in idol worship, and other evil doctrines and practices are found in the Chakrankit faith. [ibid Page 370]. Again, according to the Swami idol worship is an evil doctrine.

4. Idol worship is a fraud. The Jaiinees were the authors of this mode of worship. [ibid Page 370]

5. If you resort to practices like idol worship which have been interdicted by the Vedas why then are you not a sinner? [ibid Page 377] Implying that idolaters are sinners.

6. All the sages from Brahma down to Jaimini have held that righteous conduct consists solely in rejecting all that is opposed to the Vedas and in practicing whatever has been enjoined by them, the reason being that the Vedas expound truth and nothing but truth, while all books like the Tantraa and Puranas that are replete with anti-Vedic teachings are false and, therefore, the worship of idols which they inculcate is likewise a sin. People never gain knowledge by the worship of material objects, on the contrary they forget even what they have previously acquired. Knowledge is increased by serving the learned and by associating with them – not by image worship. Can God ever be contemplated through the worship of stalks and stones? Certainly not! Idol worship cannot be compared with a staircase. It may more appropriately be looked upon as deep ditch, whoever falls into it is hacked pieces, can never come out of it and even dies there. [ibid Pages 378-379]

7. A few evils of idol worship. [Satyarth Prakash Pages 380-381]

Hence idol worship is a sin.(This is the first argument against idol worship).

• Millions of rupees are spent in constructing temples for idol worship. This leads to poverty and indolence.

• Free and promiscuous mixing together of the sexes in the temples leas to adultery, internecine quarrels and the spread of disease (contagious).

• The idol worshippers regard this mode of worship as the sole means of the practice of righteousness, the acquisition of wealth, the fulfillment of legitimate desires and he attainment of salvation. They, therefore, give up all active work and waste away their precious lives.

• Since people worship idols with different names, forms and characteristics, they have not unity of faith and their mutually antagonistic beliefs and practices create bad blood in the country and lead it to its ruin.

• They depend upon the idols for the defeat of their enemies and the triumph of their arms, and, therefore, do not exert themselves. The result is that they are defeated, and government of he country, independence and wealth with its attendant pleasures, fall to the lot of their enemies. They are themselves robbed of their independence and reduced to the condition of a subject race, suffer in a hundred different way like the pony of an in keeper and the donkey of the potter.

• If some one were to say to another person that he would put a stone in his name or place, he will feel angry and will most likely abuse him or hit him back. In like manner the ignorant people who take a stone to be the symbol of the Deity and worship idols in place of God will surely have the Divine wrath visited upon them.

• Laboring under mistaken notions, they peregrinate from temple to temple and from one country to another, endure untold misery, lay ace at the root of their worldly and spiritual welfare, suffer at the hands of thieves and are duped by thugs.

• Money is given away to wicked priests who spend it on debauchery and the gratification of the bestial appetites on flesh and wine and in fomenting quarrels and in promoting litigation. Thereby the donor forfeits its happiness and is pained beyond measure.

• These people lay themselves open to the charge of ingratitude by not showing due respect to their parents and other persons worthy of esteem and worshipping idols instead.

• When these idols are stolen by thieves or are dashed into pieces (by some iconoclast), they set up loud lamentation.

• The priestesses and priests are corrupted on account of illicit intercourse with other men and women and thus forfeit their connubial felicity.

• The servants do not properly obey their masters and they turn against each other and are thereby ruined.

• The soul by constant contemplation of dead and inert matter loses the power of sound judgment, because the material properties of the object contemplated (such as a stone) are transmitted to the soul through the manas.

• God has created fragrant substances like the flowers to purify air and water and to prevent disease. If the priests were not to pluck the followers, the purificatory process would go on for an indefinitely long period, air and water would be purified and the flowers would continue shedding fragrance till the time of their natural decay. They cut off their useful career in the prime of their life. The flowers get mixed with mud, are decomposed and emit stench instead of sweet odor. Has God created flowers and other odoriferous substances for making an offering of them to the idols.

• Sandal wood, unhooked grain and the like offerings get mixed with water and mud, and are then thrown into a drain or a cistern where they rot and give off such offensive odors as issue from human excrement. Thousands of tiny creatures are constantly produced and die and cause it to stink still more.

These are few evils caused by the worship of idols. It should, therefore, be given up by all righteous men. Whoever worshipped idols. Worships it, or will do so in future could not have, nor can he now or will in future escape from the effects of these evils.

8. It is
evil practices like idol worship
that are responsible for the existence of millions of idle, lazy, indolent, and beggarly priests in India, who are mainly answerable for this wide-spread ignorance, fraud and mendacity in the country. [ibid 384] What an insult to the priests of India!

9. One fool follows another and both fall into the ditch of idol-worship and remain therein and suffer. [ibid Page 385] Implies that Idolaters are fools.

10. Idol-worship is bad – no matter whether that form of worship is Jain, etc., or Vaishnavite. [ibid Page 555]

11. The fact is that idol-worship with all its attendant evils originated with the Jainees and, therefore, the Jain religion is at the root of all fraud. [ibid Page 561]

It is a beastly act to keep idols representing human beings in a state of primitive nudity exposed to the public view
. [ibid Page 563] So according to the Swami, Jainees are beasts.

13. Again, if you take to idol-worship, instead of keeping company with learned men,
you will become greater dunces than you were before
. [ibid Page 564]

These were some of the quotes of Swami Dayanand condemning idol worship and idolaters. According to him, idol worship is the cause of numerous evils. Indeed that is true. But modern Arya Samajis are supporting idol worship again in order to somehow keep Hindus away from the pure influence of Islam. What a tragedy?

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