“We may find some mailboxes on the street, and if we post our letters in those boxes, they will naturally go to their destination without difficulty. But any old box, or an imitation, which we may find somewhere, which is not authorized by the post office, will not do the work. Similarly, God has an authorized representation in the Deity form, which is called archa-vigraha. This archa-vigraha is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. God will accept service through that form.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 12.5 Purport)
The objects of worship in a temple are often referred to as idols. While to some this classification is harmless, Vaishnavas are not comfortable using it. This is because “idol” connotes something imaginary. Indeed, the school of impersonalism urges the practitioner to choose from one of five objects of worship known as the panchopasana.
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