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God Should Be Accepted As A Family Member Not Merely As An Image

One day the priest of the Radhakanta temple, in the Dakshineswar Kali Temple complex where Sri Ramakrishna was also a priest, accidentally dropped the image of Krishna, breaking one of its legs. The pundits advised Rani Rasmani, who built the temple, to install a new image, since the worship of an image with a broken limb was against the scriptural injunctions.

But the Rani asked Sri Ramakrishna for his opinion. He said: “This solution is ridiculous. If a son-in-law of the Rani broke his leg, would she discard him and put another in his place? Wouldn’t she rather arrange for his treatment? Why should she not do the same thing in this case too? Let the image be repaired and worshipped as before.”

One notices in this solution that God is to be accepted as one of the members of the family and not merely as an image. A question arises here whether the fracture in the leg of the image implies a fracture in the leg of the deity represented by the image. The explanation for this is that the deity is Consciousness and akhanda, without parts, and hence cannot be broken. In this regard he said, “Can the One, who is an indivisible Whole, be broken?”

It is the all-pervading Consciousness seen through the senses as the material image that is worshipped, and not the material image. All the articles used in the worship are also that Consciousness. It pains a devotee to see a defective image of his chosen deity and therefore the mending of the image is essential.