I am not a worshiper of idols by faith, although being a Hindu by birth. Yet I keep pictures of the popular Lord Krishna and Goddess Parvati, also called Devi Annapurna, which surprises those visitors to my residence who are aware of the nature of my beliefs. They also question me about the apparent contradiction between what I profess and what I display in practice. Hence I feel the need to explain the seeming discrepancy as follows.
The Simple Reason is that one tends to just revere a deity as a godhead who is uncomparably superior to oneself, and to idolise him or her as a divine entity for worship and turning to for passive receipt of boons or blessings. On the other hand, one tries actively to emulate the superior being whom one regards as one’s Ego- ideal or Role Model for Self-improvement.
For example, the Lord Krishna is more than a God to me. I consider Him rather as my Friend, Guide and Philosopher, to get inspiration and solutions to any dilemmas or problems that I may face from time to time. What I like about Him is that His character combines the virtue of being Good and ‘Bhaktavatsal’, that is, ‘He Who Loves His Devotees’, along with Wisdom – both Spiritual and Worldly Wisdom, viz. Practical Cleverness, a quality which many good. and spiritual people lack, because of which their virtues are exploited by crafty and unscrupulous persons, as of Sri Rama!
Likewise, my favourite Female Icon is Devi Parvati, also addressed as Uma, Ambika and Annapoorna,’The Bountiful and Compassionate Mother’, But I regard Her as an Ideal ‘Role Model’ of Womanhood than an Object of Worship.
I have always admired the type of woman projected by the late actress Durga Khote in films, namely, an elderly woman from a prominent family, like a zamindar’s wife who is as wise as she is benevolent, concerned with the welfare of the villagers and ready to give help and advice to whoever approaches her, as well as food to needy, being a good cook herself, hence ‘Annapurna’. However, because of my father’s preference to high education above cooking and housework, which he (wrongly) believed to be so simple that it could be learned on one’s own after completion of the student years, I feel that I have succeeded in becoming the ‘Lakshmi and Saraswati’ of my family and also Durga to some extent BUT missed the opportunity to develop into a good Gruhini or Housewife, and an ‘Annapurna’ or expert cook, which I shall always regret! However, with due respect to Kaali worshippers, I dread and prefer to remain away from the fierce Maa Kaali who asks for Animal Sacrifice, as I am a follower of the Vaishnava Dharma!