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Words To Be Used Instead Of Idol In Hinduism

Majority of Hindus find it difficult digest the word idol when it is used to mean the images of Gods and Goddesses worshipped in Hinduism. The Sanskrit language has a treasure trove of lexicon when referring to icons or idols –

  1. Archa, the entity of adulation
  2. Vigraham, or Murti , the one that has fixed shape
  3. Bimba, sample of the original
  4. Pratima, resemblance
  5. Roopa, form

All these words indicate the significance or popularity of the worship of form in Hinduism.

The main concept in Hinduism is that Nirakara – without form. Brahman, the ultimate reality which is devoid of attributes. Bhagavan who is nishkala, or transcendent, takes a form and becomes sakala, or the material.

Murtis or Archa are for those who have not attained realization. There are also some who love form even when they have attained realization.