Mother Sri Sarada Devi’s words about Image Worship
Mother Sri Sarada Devi was then in Kolkata. She was staying at the Udbodhan house.
One day, Mother was receiving devotees. A few women devotees were in the adjacent room. Two of them wore ochre robes. They prostrated themselves before Mother. They brought some sweets for the offering. Their teacher was just then engaged in a huge sacrifice. One of the nuns asked Mother, “Is there any truth in image worship? Our teacher does not approve of it. He instructs people in the worship of the fire and the sun.”
Mother : You should not doubt the words of your own teacher. Why do you ask me about it when you have heard the opinion of your Guru in the matter ?
The nun : We want to know your opinion.
Mother refused to give any opinion. But the nun was stubborn and began to press for a reply.
Mother said at last: ‘If your teacher be omniscient, pardon me for the remark, then he would not have made such a statement. From time immemorial innumerable people have worshipped images and thereby attained spiritual knowledge. Do you want to deny this fact? Sri Ramakrishna never cherished any such parochial and one-sided view. Brahman exists everywhere. The prophets and incarnations are born to show the way to benighted humanity. They give different instructions according to different temperaments. There are many ways to realise truth. Therefore all these instructions have their relative value. Take, for instance, a tree. There are many birds perched on its branches. They have different colours, white, black, yellow, red, etc. Their sounds are also different. But we say that these are the sounds of the birds. We never designate a particular sound as that of birds and refuse to acknowledge other sounds as such.”
The nuns desisted from argument after some time. They then inquired about the Calcutta address of Holy Mother and said that they would like to see her again. After they had left, the Mother said, “It does not become a woman to argue like that. Even the wise could hardly realise the nature of Brahman by argument. Is Brahman an object of discussion? ’’