Probably 4 years ago I found a ceramic Krishna murti in a second-hand store. I took it home and it has ever since had a central place on my home mandir. Some time later I found it laying down for no apparent reason and upon further examination found that the feet – Bhagavan Krishna’s Lotus Feet! – had broken off.
I glued it back together and put it back where it belonged. And by “where it belonged” I mean right back where it was on my mandir. From time to time I come across a passage in this book or that one about the taboo of worshiping through a murti that is damaged. I even Googled and asked around a bit on proper procedure for giving a broken murti a water burial. All I was able to find is that it really should be a river rather than a pond or lake. I suppose that has to do with the river, symbolically merging with the Oneness that is representative of the Ocean.
Fine. But I wasn’t able to find anything on the actual burial. Sometimes I still find it difficult to find specifics like that living in the U.S.A. Are there mantras that should be uttered beforehand or after? Is there a Sanskrit word for this “ceremony” if there even is a “ceremony” for it beyond the dropping of the now-vacated statuary into the water? That it itself would have been most helpful in finding more information, I am sure. But nothing.
The ceramic Krishna murti has held up since the one incident. And though my life has had ups and downs since, I certainly see no reason to attribute them to the worship through this damaged murti. Surely my sadhana has not been empty. And for that matter, let’s go back to what I said in the last paragraph about how the statue was “now-vacated”. I am not even sure that is true just because it was damaged. For one thing I am sure that a crack does not result in all of the godstuff falling out of it. For another thing, I am sure that a murti, when it comes down to it, little more than a focal point. It contains no more godstuff than the copy of “The Gospel of Ramakrishna sitting to my left as I write this. God is where you find it.
If you tear up a $100 bill and then tape it back together it is still worth $100. And I once read that there is a baseball card from 1909, the Honus Wagner card that could be thrown into the street and run over by a car and it would still be worth more than that car. I am getting off topic and I hate to use such analogies in relation to the murti, but I insist that if God has just once been invited to be present during sadhana that included this murti, and the murti subsequently turned to dust, that pile of dust would be every bit as sacred as it was while in the form of the Gopāla.
Currently I plan to leave the murti where it is.
Jai Sri Krishna!