When gods put on their pollution masks
Priests at a Varanasi temple do much to instigate soul-searching.
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Gods never wore masks to keep suspended particulate matter out of their system, even though smoke from oil lamps and burning incense was commonplace in their sanctum sanctorum.
पर्यावरण की भयावह स्थिति को देखते हुए वाराणसी के सिगरा स्थित मंदिर में पुजारी हरीश मिश्रा और भक्तों ने बाबा भोलेनाथ… https://t.co/TyINNOdLTW— Priya Jain | پریا جان | પ્રિયા જૈન (@VJpriyaJ) 1572931595000
But, then, do gods need protection, leave alone their images made of base element? Aren’t these metal, clay or stone idols mere representations of metaphysical verities immune to physical harm? By venturing to offer them protection, is the devotee overstepping his station visà-vis the gods? After all, if gods do need protection, and mere humans are capable of providing it, it does invert the roles of the protector and the protected.
Another way to see the matter would be as pure metaphor, since even gods themselves are illusion, or Maya, meant for the convenience of those too ignorant to grasp the truth of Brahman, the only reality that manifests itself as everything that moves or is inert and manifests as the creator or creation. Idols are metaphor, even the masks on them are metaphor, a token of human love for the divine. Masks on gods do serve to provoke reflection beyond a transactional prayer.