In India, children are trained to the habit of idol-worship even when they are two or three years old. Have you not observed school-students being enjoined on by their parents to visit the Vinayaga-temple on their way to examinations? The idol-shapes are many and varied in the pantheon and the concept of idol-worship is not to be pooh-poohed, for there is a rationale behind it. What is your concept of Hanuman, the simian god, for instance? That he was a very strong person who could carry a hill on the palm of his hand and vault over the seas with ease. That is, the form has been invested with superhuman strength and stamina through constant contemplation by devoted humans through thousands of years.


            Now, here you are in the year 2006 Anno Domini, feeling weak of body and mind. You place your mind on Hanuman in worship and seek to draw from his reservoir of strength through repeated application and intense devotion. You do succeed in process of time to some extent at least. Faith or bhakti is the key-factor here.


            In like manner, you pray to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth, to Saraswathi for learning and Vinayaga for wisdom, these auspicious qualities having already been attributed to them by your forebears and by you.


            A female-child, in addition, is coached early in life to pray to all the gods for the gift of a good husband in course of time.


            Take the case of a girl, 22 or so, being united in wedlock with a young man who is ideal in every way. Moving into his household, she finds him amiable to all, respectful to elders, kind to servants, even-tempered and above all noble and generous. Each of these varied qualities she had been trained to pray for from different gods and even now the habit continues in the puja-room every morning and the temple on Friday-evenings.


            Constant observation of and association with her life-partner elevates her mind-set also, and she is led to wonder why she has to worship an array of gods when all their auspicious qualities are enshrined in one-man viz., her Lord and Master. Idol-worship, having served its purpose, withers away at this stage. Identity between husband and wife becomes total, and although for the census they are two individuals, their mind is one.


            What is the proof of this cent percent identification between the man and wife? Once when he is out of station, his sister turns up with a serious family-problem calling for his immediate decision. His wife renders her mind single-pointed and is able to divine the exact solution which he himself would have given had he been present. The husband, on his return, is all praise for her.


            At this stage of development is not the woman like a rain-cloud that would pour, the instant it is called upon to do so? It is this metaphor that Sage Tiruvalluvar had in mind when he wrote his Couplet No. 55: “A woman who has outgrown God-worship and has raised herself (to a higher level of Consciousness) is the equivalent of a rain-cloud that showers at command”.


— Excerpt from a Talk by Sage TGN on

Way of Life charted by Valluvar

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