Recently, a spate of vandalizing statues has turned into a sort of epidemic across various parts of the country. The act of pulling down some statues in Tripura has set off a string of statue vandalism which triggered massive protests in various cities with clashes witnessed between students, police and political workers amidst concerns that the tit-for-tat acts may worsen.
This is precisely the bizarre situation we are witnessing at present. Being worshippers of the personal form of the Lord, we can put a question as to why people are worrying so much behind dead icons and are objecting, protesting and creating so much of turmoil.
On the one side they construct the ‘Statue of Unity’ in Ahmedabad costing Rs. 3,000 crore, another gigantic statue off Mumbai budgeted at Rs. 3,600 crore and on the other side, if we install a beautiful Deity of Lord Krishna in the temple and worship Him with full Vedic authenticity, there are iconoclasts who criticize, "These are for the fools and rascals, less intelligent." This is going on!
Contrastingly, they also worship ‘big’ leaders by keeping a statue and honoring him with the stool of crows and pigeons. Just one day in a year, the ordinary sweepers clean the statue in the morning and in the evening some ‘big’ men come and garland it with flowers. From the next morning onwards, it will be ‘gorgeously’ decorated with birds’ stool for yet another year. That is their method of worship which is very happily accepted.
And here, if we worship the Deity form of the Lord, people say "They are heathens"!
But, Krishna has kindly assumed this form just because our imperfect senses cannot see Him directly. We can see stone, wood, earth, metal, color, etc. and that is why Krishna comes before us in a form quite suitable for our vision.
Because the form of the Deity is exactly described in the authorized Vedic scriptures, it is the answer to all imaginative iconography about the form of God.
For one who's bankrupt in faith, the Deity appears as a statue, but actually this perception is hellish. As Krishna says, “For the doubting soul, there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.” But for one who is stocked up in faith hears from Krishna's pure devotee of the many stories of Deities – like how the Sakshi Gopal Deity walked thousands of miles to bear witness for the reputation of His devotee or how Gopinath stole sweet rice for Madhavendra Puri or how Alharnath burnt His fingers to enjoy food offered by a child.
Just like people worship their leader in some picture or some statue, to show respect to their leader, we worship the Deity of the Supreme Lord, Krishna. The difference is Krishna is Absolute. In the ordinary case the picture of their leader and the leader is different because it is material body. But Krishna, being Absolute, His form, Deity form, and He, there is no difference. It is Krishna's mercy that He comes before us in the Deity form.
So, we should take full advantage of this special method by having darshan of the Deity always and by getting His picture imbedded within our mind. By worshiping the Deity, we’ll learn how to love Krishna and will become purified by this process to quickly go back home, back to Godhead to see Krishna face to face very soon!