We step on one stone and worship another stone: Odd indeed: The stone we step on has not been purified or sanctified. The stone in the sanctum sanatorium is shaped by a sculptor. He has stripped the rock of the unwanted portion which concealed the beauty and did not add anything to heighten the beauty. This shaped stone is brought into the temple area where it has to be purified with some mantras and then sanctified with some more mantras. Mantrapootam is the term used in Sanskrit to mean sanctify. All of you may be knowing that a type of stone has to be melted to a very high temperature to become transparent glass. Then this transparent glass has to be coated with mercury to become a mirror. Pootam means sanctifying or coating. Glass to become a mirror and to reflect our face needs a coating. The stone to become a deity (Aprakruta Divya mangala Vigraham) has to be coated with mantras.
This deity after sanctifying reflects like mirror. Mirror reflects what is on our face or body depending on physical appearance-good, bad or indifferent. The deity also reflects what is on our mind, depending on one’s own thinking. If we visualize it with unswerving and uninterrupted love, manifold love is returned, if we have faith, then faith is multiplied.
Unlike the regular mirror which reflects as it is, this deity or vigraham has multiplying effect prior its capacity to reflect. This reflection is not objective as our mind cannot be seen outside. This reflection is subjectively visualized inside us. Deity does not talk to us in the literal sense but talks to us in the figurative sense. This deity makes our minds move in the right direction and makes our thoughts flow in the correct way.
When we go to the temple we have to realize that Sriman Narayana who is far from being finite has chosen to confine Himself in a finite object and thus idol has become an embodiment of Narayana in the Sanctum Sanctorum.