a)An idol is a material object. It is by its nature incapable of punishing the wicked and protecting the virtuous devotees why then to worship and show devotion to an inaminate idol?

b) According to Jain Faith God is not the creator or a destroyer. He neither rewards nor punishes nor does meddle in human and celestial affairs why then of all others should the Jains adore a deity or instal His image in a temple?
Exhuming the body of his beloved at midnight a youth of the village of Dendore tehsil of the Mandla Disttt. Was caught, according to reports recently received here.
It started that some villagers spotted a white figure moving about in the nearby buried ground. Suspecting it to be a ghost they called for more persons & all of them approached the figure with sticks and spears in hand. But as they came near the ghost, it turned out to be a man digging out a corpse of a woman who was buried recently and was loved by him. He was handed over to the police.

(Indian Express News Service 22-3-1962.)

Some natural counter-questions arise was the youth mad? Did he not know that the departed woman won’t come back to life? That she won’t embrace the lover? That taking pity on his miserable plight she won’t even console him? Yes he knew this. Was he then a necrophule probably not. But still the man disturbed the poor woman in her eternal slumber. Why?

Presume that his lover is released from police, he goes out home and lays his hand on the picture and clasps it nearest to his heart and even talks to it. The fool knows fully well that the representation would neither wake nor rise and marry him, but still he hankers after it. He does it because it gives him a certain amount of satisfaction.
The lover in his imagination feels that the beloved is responding to his acts of caresses even though the latter is not even aware of his doing. From this we conclude that a lusty man or woman feels enamoured at seeing the picture of a person of other sex; while a godly person would bow his head in reverence; if the same picture is marked with the name of some saint or martyr, what is there, after all, in a picture or an image? Nothing but a piece of paper with certain lines, straight or curved, some shades, thick or light, or a piece of stone. A man endowed with an ordinary sense knows well that an idol is no more than an idol that the mute image, not to say serving another, cannot even save itself, if a mischief-monger inflicts an injury to it. The fact is that it is no one’s own heart that reacts one way or the other.

Even today the English assemble in thousands in Trafalgar Square in London to honour a statue of stone that stands there. They illuminate the whole neighbourhood and place garlands of flowers on the object of adoration. Is it idolatry they practice?

Surely not, such thing is simply impossible. They do not worship the block of stone; they ask nothing from it; they offer no food; nor do they pray to it. Look closely, you will find it to be an adoration of something of which the figure in stone id a symbol. It is not the statue of Nelson they assemble to worship but the spirit of the brave man who made England what she was, the acknowledged Queen of Seas. The nation that placed the statue of this great man in a conspicuous place of the capital of their country, knew that they were not nearly erecting a statue to the memory of a dead man, but laying the foundation stone of their own greatness.

By worshipping an idol of a Diety as one worships a hero and by meditating upon his attributes, the same attributes tend to become manifest in him. It is a rule that man’s thoughts take the tinge of the things towards his thoughts; are directed and by thinking of the attributes of Deity, man’s spiritual nature is developed and he u;timately reaches the stage where he begins to realise that the attributes latent in man but that owing to worldly attachments and aversions those qualities are obscured in him so that while the external Deity neither gives anything to anybody nor takes away anything from anybody still the worship of Deity or say his image is a means whereby one’s spiritual nature can be developed.

Eklavya, a Bhil boy, fired with zeal to learn the use of bow and arrow, approached Dronacharya of Mahabharata fame and requested him as the disciple. But since the poor man belonged to the so-called low caste the proud archery-defeat. He had to encounter, Eklavya chiselled out an image methods and ultimately acquired mastery in the art through constant practice and perseverance. Once, while the Guru was testing other pupils, the discarded disciple appeared on the scene and offered to complete with others. And lo! He proved even better than Arjuna who was till then considered the best of the pupils. At this Dronacharya asked Eklavya as to who taught him shooting? Being told that his Guru was clear beyond a shadow of doubt that the boy had never been under his tutorship. “Well, how did you acquire the art?” was the next question and Eklavya explained in detail all that he had done. The lesson is clear. Eklavya could not have gained if he had considered the image. He had, in his imagination, presumed that he had sitting in the presence of the teacher and learning the art from him. All knowledge is latent in man.
“For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifest, neither was anything kept secret but that it would come abroad.”
(Mark IV, 21-23) There is nothing new which a teacher or textbook can teach, the man existed sincerely and true knowledge revealed itself to him.

The fact is that people who cannot concentrate their minds on an abstract God need something to revit their minds on. For them the shastras (Holy-books) are like small-scale maps. The scriptures and the images are so to say, books on Mathematics which state general principles and give some solved examples, the rest to be done by ourselves. No benefit can, however, accrue to a layman if he continues to argue that a statue is a piece of stone. He can gain only if he, in his imagination, considers that the statue of deity is actually God.

An image, despite all the above arguments, is, it cannot be gainsaid, no more than a mere mark for a novice marksman to learn shooting just as a learner gives up practising at a point on the wall as soon as the quires sufficient practice so does a Jain Saint give up idol worship; if and when he attains sufficient practice in meditations. No change is required for one, entangled in the curly tresses of the beloved. There is hardly any need of a picture when one has got a complete idea in the imagination.

Jainism does not make idol worship obligatory. Idol worship is only a means not an end itself. Though concentration on an abstract God is, particularly for a novice, difficult to achieve, there is nothing bad, if one can do without it. The institution of idolatry is, it appears very old, nay it was in the words of Dayananda , started by Jains, nut the worship of idols by means of asht-darvya* or eight things, is one of later development.

*The form of Jain worship is also quite unique. No attempt is made to feed the idols with sweets or fruits. Worship is not got done by a priest, who has his own interest to serve, it is so as far as possible done by an aspirant of moksha himself. Puja is of two kinds ---- Idealistic Puja (Hkko iwtk) and Materialistic Puja (nzO; iwtk). While the layman does the Puja with things, emphasis is laid on ultimate ideal. The eight things used and the object in view which they symbolise as also the substance of the recitation is as under :

1. Water(ty)=Water cleans and symbolises the cleansing of heart of all sorts of passions viz lust, anger etc.

2. Sandal wood (pUnu) = This symbolises attainment of peace of mind.

3. Rice ( v{kr) = The husk-covered rice represents the karma-laiden physical being while using material things we should not be oblivious of the ultimate ideal—liberation.

4. Flowers (iq"i) = Flowers are actually not used bui only dried flowers saffron-coloured coconut pieces are named as such. Flowers represent lust and avoiding of lust is implied.

5. Coconut without any colouring (uSos|) = This directs us that we are not to crave for hunger, thirst or other physical needs.

6. Incense (/wi) = It represents the burning of eight karmas.

7. Light (nhi) = It removes the darkness of ignorance.

8. Fruit (iQy)= The idea is that we want the fruit of salvation.

The Sthanak Vasi Jains, it should be known, are non-idolators. While in Sanatan Dharma the practice of touching sweets on the mouths of the idols is dictated by the priestly creed, in Jainism, in Jainism there is no such practice at all, The asht-darvya used in worship are not meant for feeding the images, the Jains or at least those amongst them who do idol worship, simply seek inspiration for strength to give up the various things represented by asht-darvya. Jainism, in fact, goes further and its followers should understand that the great ones, the twenty for Tirthankaras are, in fact, not the objects of worshipin any sense but only the living Models of Perfecton which every soul is aspiring for salvation must constantly keep before its mind. Also since the Saviours are not the doers or givers it is in fact wrong for the layman to ask them to grant prayers. They should simply sit Eklavya-like and rely on their own strength. The Jains are truly speaking not idolators but idealators. Passage of time and perhaps the perversion of the layman has made them to exceed the limit of idealatory.

As for the subject of concentration is concerned it is neither the name, nor the form, nor the size of the idol, but it is the significance of the ideal or the principle involved in it which is in view. Also so far as the portraits of the Holiest are concerned they are sure to produce chastening effect, and we may have them as models for ourselves to emaluate the virtues of those who have both by percept and practice shown us the way to salvation.

In the end what is worshipped, better say, meditated upon, is the pirprast-the worshipper of Tirthankaras himself becomes Narain or attains Tirthankarahood (fl¼koLFkk )or Godhood. In short what was hitherto virtually a dog ultimately becomes a God.

Question: State in what manner the Jain idols differ from those of non-Jains.

Answer: The images of the blessed ones possess three great and priceless virtues which are not to be found in any non-Jain image:-

1) They at once inspire the mind with the fire of selfless Vairagya (R;kx) or renunciation and exclude the idea of begging and bargaining with God.

2) They constitute the true ideal and point to the certainity of its its attachment, thus removing and destroying doubt each time that the worshipper’s eye fall on Them.

3) They teach us the correct posture for the meditation and self-contemplation.

Question: Whom do the Jains worship?

Answer: The Jains worship Sarvagya Bitragra (loZK Chrjkx) i.e., an all knowing God, Who is free from the defilement of Raga (jkx Love) Devesha (}s"k ,hatred ) and Moha (eksg] ignorance). The Jains adore and do obeisance to that condition of Chetan Atman (conscious self) in which the Atman attains to infinite knowledge, infinite seeing, infinite happiness, and infinite power.