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Bankim Chandra Chatterji Explains On Idol Worship In Hindu Religion

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838 – 1894) explains the importance of idol (murti) worship in Hindu religion. He was the composer of Vande Mataram personifying India as Mother Goddess and inspiring freedom fighters during the Indian Independence Movement.

The true explanation consists of the ever true relations of the subjective Ideal and to its objective Reality. Man is by instinct a poet and an artist. The passionate yearnings of heart for the Ideal in beauty, in power, and in purity, must find an expression in the world of the Real. Hence proceed all poetry and all art.

Exactly in the same way the ideal of the Divine in man receives a form from him, and the form is an image. The existence of Idols is as justifiable as that of the tragedy of Hamlet or of that of Prometheus. The religious worship of idols is a justifiable as the intellectual worship of Hamlet or Prometheus.

The homage we owe to the ideal of the human realized in art is admiration.

The homage we owe to the ideal of the Divine realized in idolatry is worship.