Idol worship/Temple worship
This is a continuation from Psychology of Hinduism - Part I
Everyone in this world is unique. Each one of us have various degree of ability to focus our minds, and majority would find it very difficult.
If you consider the process of worship itself , its normally a combination of praising god and asking for favors (which I do find bizarre for, since god is all knowing, we don't need to ask, he knows what to give and when to give, also the idea of praising god, somehow conjures up an image of a egoistic personality - perhaps a different topic).
In this context, I find that for an average person like me having an external object to focus my attention on, in an environment where multiple senses are engaged - eg colorful decorations drawing my eyes, pleasant smells induced by camphor, incense sticks engaging my olfactory sense, and ringing of bell, and drums engaging my ears, and reciting rhyming mantras helps me focus, makes me feel good and connected to the divine.
At that moment, and with a folded hand, I tell myself, there is god, and he will take care of me, and I surrender to his will. I externalize my troubles, I take comfort in the fact that I have highlighted my troubles (In theory, god being all knowing, should already know my issues, that's a different topic), and issues that plague my life to someone more powerful than me. This to some extent, makes me less anxious, reduces my stress a little bit, and I am filled with positive feeling.
A similar feeling I would get when I discuss my problems with some of my friends who listen and perhaps help me see the positive in the situation at hand and I know I have some way of dealing with the issue.
To me the feeling I get is hope. A hope that things will be all right, I need a support structure to have hope. That at a subconscious level makes me react in certain way, that helps me make things alright or adjust to what is happening.
A similar thing happens, when I keep asking for something or the other in front of a holy shrine. I keep asking "god give me this" "give me that" - This and that can be, Strength to deal with things, Strength to do the difficult task, Love, happiness, money, job etc....etc....If I keep asking for it day in and day out and deep within me want it badly, it happens. Try this for a month, in front of a mirror, Say out the words " I am happy, I am successful, I feel very good", and believe in what you are saying, you will feel a difference in the way you feel. What happens here is a form of auto suggestion. The more you say it, the more you will believe it, and it gets embedded in subconscious level, and at a conscious level you will do things differently, and therefore see better results.
In the next part, I will explore "donating money to god".