As you may be knowing that Hinduism is a majority religion in India; yet Hinduism is divided into numerous castes sects and sub sects. Idol worship is the form of worship across all sects and sub sects. Each sect and sub sect has its own tradition of worship. Even temples are built in accordance with the particular tradition of the sect or sub sect. If devotees are allowed inside sanctum sanctorium in one tradition, nobody except the purohit (the one who performs the pooja - worship, every time taking a head bath of cold water before entering). I am born and brought up in one of the Brahman sub sects.
Having born in a family residing very next to the town temple, I had good opportunity to observe the intricacies of the temple tradition, especially the happenings behind the scene. As a school going boy, I was an active participant in all the temple celebrations and rituals. Yet I had no access to the sanctum sanctorium, which in local parlance is called the 'Garbhagudi'. There is a path round the rectangular garbhagudi for the devotees to go round which is called 'Pradaksina'. These pradakshinas are taken in odd numbers - 1, 3, 5 etc., before they finally pray standing in front of the garbhagudi entrance and then prostrate. During special occasions there is a special pooja - worship called 'Utsav'. Apart from the regular sandal prasadam, a few particular types of sweets and sometimes fruits also are distributed to the gathering at the end of the utsav. I have seen purohits secretly setting aside a portion of the fruits to take home later.
I have also seen rats, lizards and cockroaches freely moving inside the sanctum sanctorium when there was nobody inside. I have also heard the grumblings of purohits about cleaning the excreta of these dark room creatures.
Now I have given so long a prelude to tell you that we humans also have a sanctum senctorium deep inside our conscience with perhaps a reigning deity well established at the center. I am now asking you whether you have discovered this garbhagudi inside you; I have! I have not only discovered but also entered, a thing physically I could not do in the outside world. The first time I entered the sanctum sanctorium, I was terrified by the pitch darkness; disgusted with the stink it had accumulated over the years. I could not see or feel the Idol of worship in that total darkness. But I could feel the debris everywhere in that small place. There were stolen fruits still decaying and stinking. There were roaches and rats roaming all over the debris.
Once I had the access to my inner sanctum sanctorium, I visited it over and again. I have not yet cleared all the accumulated debris, but I have reason to believe that I have scared away the creatures. Recently a very narrow beam of very weak light has started showing me a portion of the space I am exploring. I still have a mountain of cleaning work before, perhaps, I find the idol of worship if at all it is established there!
You can show me a million temples; a million paths to reach God, a million ways of worship. But can you show me the place inside me if and where the idol is placed? I have to do it all alone, without external light or help. I should become the source of light for myself. I have to guide and find my path myself. Can anybody including God Himself help me find my path? No external force however great is of any help to me in this matter. And the moment I realise this fact, I am instantly at the right place at the right time. Do I need to experience the bliss defined by somebody else? from some scriptures? through some teachings? The only requirement in this mission is the courage to stand alone and by courage I do not mean anything ordinary, it is a great courage to jump into the unknown abyss!
"So far as this outer 'aakaasha' - space - extends, thus far extends my 'antarhr'dayaakaasha' - inner space - ......." The Upanishads