DISCIPLE: Well the next one states that we should not make any images of anything created, whether in heaven or on earth. And if there are any images created then there shall be no worshipping of these images because God is a jealous god. Well, I am guilty of this in a big way, as are most artists, not to mention a whole host of religions. From what you said about not seeing God as outside my Self, then I can understand that I should not worship any image outside of me. Yet, what of the first part of the rule?
|"... worship the Infinte the finite is ...included."|
St. Francis Veil Painting, Janaka Stagnaro
YAMA: This was an edict specific for the followers of Moses to counter the traditions of the other religions in the region who worshiped images of gods, and who even sacrificed to them. These idol worshipers actually believed that these gods were separate from themselves and not an aspect of the one Mind of Consciousness. Buddhists, for instance, use statues of the Buddha, or of various deities, not to propitiate but to meditate upon to bring such qualities through them. They are viewed as qualities of Mind. To see the stillness of the statue of a Buddha reminds one to find the calmness within. Another point is that no matter how one paints the world one can never show the truth of what anything is. To place an image of a man on the cross can only convey a small fraction of who Jesus is or what he did. But if someone says that one must worship that image to worship Jesus, than that is just ignorance. The Navaho and Tibetan Buddhists will create sand paintings, spending a long time with each piece. And when it is done either they wipe it away with a stroke of the hand as with the latter, or let the wind blow it away. In this way there is no grasping of the image as real, but only as a means of focus. Nothing more than a beautiful thought.
The Truth is jealous. You can only worship the Infinite or the finite. If you focus on one the other goes to the background. If you worship the Infinite than all the finite is naturally included. God or mammon.
--excerpt from The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with Death, Addendum I