The religion of the Veda knows no idols
Max Müller says: - "The religion of the Veda knows no idols; the worship of idols in India is a secondary formation, a degradation of the more primitive worship of ideal gods."
In Vedas the God has been described as:-
v Sakshi (Witness)
v Chetan (conscious)
v Nirguna (Without form and properties).
v Nitya (eternal)
v Shuddha (pure)
v Buddha (omniscient)
v Mukta (unattached).
It indicates clearly all the gods with form and attributes are mere imagination based on the false self.
They enter darkness, those who worship natural things (for example air, water, sun, moon, animals, fire, stone, etc).
They sink deeper in darkness those who worship sambhuti. (Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol etc.)
"Deep into shade of blinding gloom fall asambhuti's worshippers. They sink to darkness deeper yet who on sambhuti are intent."
[Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Giffith pg 538]
"They are enveloped in darkness, in other words, are steeped in ignorance and sunk in the greatest depths of misery who worship the uncreated, eternal prakrti -- the material cause of the world -- in place of the All-pervading God, But those who worship visible things born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like) in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness, in other words, they are extremely foolish, fall into an awful hell of pain and sorrow, and suffer terribly for a long time."
[Yajur Veda 40:9.]
So, Yajur Veda indicates that:-
They sink deeper in darkness those who worship sambhuti. (Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol etc [Yajurved 40:9]
Those who worship visible things born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like) in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness, in other words, they are extremely foolish, fall into an awful hell of pain and sorrow, and suffer terribly for a long time." [Yajur Veda 40:9.]
When the religion of the Veda knows no idols then why so many gods and goddesses with different form and name are being propagated as Vedic gods. Why these conceptual gods are introduced when Vedic concept of god is free from form and attributes.
Who introduced concept of god with attributes and attributeless gods, when Yajur Veda says: - those who worship visible things, born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like), in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness. Therefore, all these add-ons proves that the form and attribute based concepts are introduced by some sages of the past with new belief system and code of conducts in the name of Vedas.
Sruti is made the final or exclusive authority in apara Vidya and that for supporting the tenet of the CAUSAL relation or creatorship of Brahman, Nirguna Brahman = the "Absolute beyond qualities," which can be defined only in a negative way. For the Shankarian school = the Ultimate Reality, higher than the Lord. i.e. of Saguna or apara Brahman ... The support of Scriptural Revelation is, therefore, absolutely necessary for this hypothesis of cosmology, this Saguna or apara (= inferior) Brahman, but not for the absolute truth of Nirguna Brahman. The Sruti itself says: "This Atma is NOT to be attained by a study of the Vedas. [Katha Upanishad I, 2, 23.]
Therefore, all the add-ons and attribute based knowledge, which are inferior, have to be bifurcated and excluded to know the ultimate truth.
Gaudapada says that:- The merciful Veda teaches karma and Upaasana to people of lower and middling intellect, while Jnana is taught to those of higher intellect.
This clearly indicates that religion, which is based on individual conduct, prescribes karma and Upaasana to people of lower and middling intellect, therefore religion is for the lower intellect. And wisdom is for those are capable of inquiring into their own existence to know and realize the ultimate truth, which is Brahman.
Brahman is considered the all-pervading consciousness, which is the basis of all the animate and inanimate entities and material. (brahmano hi pratisthaham, Bhagavad Gita 14.27)
Sri, Sankara’s notion of Maya, the cosmic illusion, which must be transcended in order to realize the truth of Brahman, which means ultimate truth.
If Brahman is considered the all-pervading consciousness then, it is necessary to realize, the consciousness as self, which pervades all the three states, to realize the fact that, there is no second thing exists other the consciousness. Thus, consciousness [Ataman] is ultimate truth [Brahman].
As indicated in ISH Upanishads: - By worshipping gods and goddesses you will go after death to the world of gods and goddesses. But will that help you? The time you spend there is wasted, because if you were not there you could have spent that time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is your goal. In the world of gods and goddesses you cannot do that, and thus you go deeper and deeper into darkness.
It clearly indicates that:-If the human goal is to acquire Self-Knowledge then why one has to indulge in rituals and glorifying the conceptual gods, goddesses and gurus to go in to deeper darkness. Instead spend that time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is one’s prime goal.
Since it is eternal and infinite, it comprises the only truth. The goal of Vedic religion, through the various yogas, is to realize that the consciousness (Atman) is actually nothing but Brahman.
The Vedic pantheon of gods is said, in the Vedas and Upanishads, to be only higher manifestations of Brahman. For this reason, "ekam sat" (all is one), and all is Brahman.
Thus, the goal is to realize Ataman [consciousness]. If Atman [consciousness] is nothing but Brahman and by realizing Ataman [consciousness] as Brahman [ultimate truth] is truth realization or Self-Realization , then there is no need to follow religion, study scriptures or glorifying gods or gurus and follow the path of doubts and confusion by losing oneself in the labyrinths of philosophy, when there is an easier path. By mentally tracing the source of the mind from where it rises and subsides one becomes aware of the fallacy of the mind, which rises as waking or dream and subsides as deep sleep. The mind raises form consciousness and subsides as consciousness.
They alone in this world are endowed with the highest wisdom who are firm in their conviction of the sameness and birthlessness of Ataman. The ordinary man does not understand their way. [Chapter IV — Alatasanti Prakarana 95-P-188 in Upanishads by Nikilanada]
Therefore, if one is seeking truth he has to know his true self is not physical but it is the Ataman, which is in the form of consciousness.
Self-knowledge cannot be attained by study of the Vedas and intellectual understanding or by bookish knowledge. Therefore there is no use of studying the Vedas and other scriptures in order to acquire the non-dual wisdom. That is why Buddha rejected the scriptures, and even Sri, Sankara indicated that, the ultimate truth lies beyond religion, concept of god and scriptures.
There is only one Reality to be known, the same for all seekers, but the ways to it, are hidden by the religion. Self-discovery is the only way, towards non-dual Absolute without any religious doctrines, which will help the seekers to unfold the mystery of the illusion in which we all are searching the truth of our true existence.
The beliefs of god, religion, yoga are based on the false self, is nothing to do with the mental [inner] journey. The religious, rituals, worships, prayers god and guru glorification may be useful in the worldly life, for those who believes in the birth, life, death and the world as reality, but they are not useful tools in realizing the ultimate truth. On the base of consciousness [soul] as self, everything other than the consciousness is mere mirage. Thus, man and his experience of the world and his belief of god and religion are part and parcel of the mirage created out of consciousness.
When Sri,Sankara says the world is illusion, it includes birth, life and death, which happens within the world. Thus seekers main aim is to mentally trace the formless substance of the illusion, which is also the witness of the illusion. The formless substance and witness of the illusion [world] is the Ataman, and this Ataman itself is Brahman. This Brahman cannot be attained by indulging in egocentric religious orthodoxies. The knower of Brahman is Brahmin not the Brahmin who indulges in priest craft, which leads one to utter darkness as per Yajur Veda.
Brahmin is the one who has realized the Brahman [ultimate truth] and helps fellow seekers towards inner path. The one who knows Brahman knows his body and his experience of the world are mere illusion and he also knows his body and his experience of the world are also as Ataman [consciousness], which is Brahman. Thus, the priest craft which are crafted on the body based theories will lead one to hallucinated moksha. But real moksha or freedom is possible only through nondual wisdom.
Thus it is necessary to follow the path of Brahman not the path of the orthodox priest- craft. Only by dropping all the accumulated priest crafted baggage, one has to move forward to reach the nondual destination in lesser time and effort.