(public domain photo www.pixabay.com)
Many yoga studios and all Hindu temples display stone or metal deity images. These are referred to disparagingly by Christians who accuse yogis of idol worship. This is, of course, a fraudulent accusation. Hindus and yogis do not worship and venerate a human crafted “idol.” Rather the image is used to feel divine energies such as love, compassion, generosity as well as awakening reverence, deepening spirituality and generating wisdom.
Sivaya Subramuniyaswami explains that the “idols” or images of the Gods “are the form through which their love, power and blessings flood forth into this world. We may liken this to our ability to communicate with others through a phone. We do not talk to the phone itself: rather we use it as a means of communication with another person. With the telephone, we could not converse across long distances; without the sanctified icon in the temple, we cannot easily commune with the Deity.”