Deity is not hedonism or idol worship. No. Deity is as good as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. He's absolute. His form and He is not different

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"Deity is not hedonism or idol worship. No. Deity is as good as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. He's absolute. His form and He is not different"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Deity is not hedonism or idol worship. No. Deity is as good as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. He's absolute. His form and He is not different. Abhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ (CC Madhya 17.133). Abhinna, identical. We are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, not that like gramophone. No. We are associating with Kṛṣṇa.
Lecture on BG 2.32 -- London, September 2, 1973:

If you cannot see Kṛṣṇa physically... Although Kṛṣṇa is present everywhere, but we have no eyes to see Him. Therefore this Deity worship... Deity is not hedonism or idol worship. No. Deity is as good as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. He's absolute. His form and He is not different. Abhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ (CC Madhya 17.133). Abhinna, identical. We are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, not that like gramophone.(?) No. We are associating with Kṛṣṇa. Abhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ. By chanting Kṛṣṇa's name, Kṛṣṇa is present on your tongue. Unless we realize in that way, then it is the period of nāma-aparādha or nāmābhāsa. Not nāmābhāsa—nāma-aparādha. This is nāma-aparādha, to consider that the name is different from the person. As we have got experience in the material world that the name is different from the substance. If you want to drink water, simply if you chant "water, water, water," your thirst will not be satisfied. But in spiritual world, the absolute world, the name and the person is the same. Otherwise, why we stress so much on chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa name? Not we, it is in the śāstra. Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā (CC Adi 17.21). This is shastric. But there are many rascals. They give the example, that "Chanting, what is the benefit? I can chant 'soda water, soda water,' like that." But they do not know, rascals, what is the śāstra's injunction. And actually, it is happening. But they are blind. How these European, American boys and girls, simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra they are becoming purified? How? Unless there is spiritual potency in chanting, how they are becoming so purified? Even in..., so-called Hindus they are surprised that "How these Europeans and Americans they have become so nice devotees." The chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra has got the power, has got the potency.

ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ
śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṁ vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam
(CC Antya 20.12)

Everything is there, formula. If we follow the regulative principles, the injunction of the ācāryas or the śāstra, then we get success. Otherwise we may simply labor unnecessarily, wasting time. Yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ (BG 16.23). That is said in the Bhagavad-gītā. One who does not follow the regulative principle mentioned in the śāstras, śāstra-vidhim..., vidhim means regulative principle. Yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ, and lives whimsically, as he, whatever he likes, and that is sanctioned by some rascal swami, that, "Oh, yes, you can do whatever you like..." Yato mata tato patha. "You can manufacture your way of religious principle." These things are going on. But actually that will not help us. Śāstra-vidhim, śāstra-vidhim, that must be observed. Yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ na sa siddhim avāpnoti. If one violates the regulative principle mentioned in the śāstra, he'll never get success. Na sa siddhim avāpnoti na sukham, neither happiness. Na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim: Then what to speak of going back to home, back to...? He'll rot in this material world.