Bhagat Namdev and Idol Worship

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Bhagat Namdev rejects idol worship in his hymns, such as the following.



Bhagat Namdev Ji once met an old friend who questioned him on his spiritual progress. Bhagat Namdev Ji spoke freely himself and described his mission to Vadval.

His friend wondered that a man from whose hands his god had taken food, could put himself under a human guru inferior beyond all comparison to the much worshipped and much beloved Vitthal.

Bhagat Namdev Ji replied as follows: 'Gods made of stone never speak. How can they heal worldly sorrows? People suppose that idols of stone are God, but He is a real divinity and altogether different. If gods of stone can fulfil man's desires why should he suffer sorrow and affliction? They who worship gods of stone are absolute idiots.

Both they who preach and they who believe that gods of stone hold converse with saints have perverted intellects. They who call such gods great beings and style their priests saints are really degraded creatures unworthy of credence. Let not their words enter your ears. How can men be saved who cause gods to be carved out of stone, and reverently regard them during the years of their mortal lives? Have you never reflected on this? You have no gods except water and stones. Go visit all the places of pilgrimage small and great and see for yourself. I have learned in Vadval that God is everywhere contained, Khechar conferred the favour on me of showing me God in my own heart.'

ਏਕੈ ਪਾਥਰ ਕੀਜੈ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਪਾਥਰ ਧਰੀਐ ਪਾਉ ॥ ਜੇ ਓਹੁ ਦੇਉ ਤ ਓਹੁ ਭੀ ਦੇਵਾ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਹਮ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ॥੪॥੧॥

एकै पाथर कीजै भाउ ॥ दूजै पाथर धरीऐ पाउ ॥ जे ओहु देउ त ओहु भी देवा ॥ कहि नामदेउ हम हरि की सेवा ॥४॥१॥

One stone is lovingly decorated, while another stone is walked upon. If former is a god, then the other must also be a god. Says Naam Dayv, I serve the Lord. ||4||1|| (525, Guru Granth Sahib)