Originally Posted by lotusmind
The Vedas do not permit the mind to concoct a deity. The Godhead is the object of worship in bhakti. The matrix of linguistic constructs the mind generates are not real. Bhakti is only attained by the eightfold path of yoga and an enlightened Guru
I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Vedas does not permit the mind to concoct a Deity, it doesn't really say anything at ALL about that, which to some, means that it is inconsequential and irrelevant, while to others, it simply means that the Vedas just didn't address it and that's that.
Of course the practitioner of Bhakti Yoga realises the Deity is just as "real" as everything ELSE is. :P
I follow the path of Bhakti Yoga, but I choose to worship my Ishta Devata, who is Lord Shiva, not Lord Krishna...even though I realise there is no difference between them when it comes to Brahman...it is all about what the heart resonates with, to bring down the energies from the thinking, rational mind into the heart space for surrender - Ishwara Pranidhana
according to Patanjali's eight-fold path. =)
Being a devotee of Lord Shiva, in accordance with Shaiva Siddhanta or Pashupati Shaivism, means to incorporate the notion of Vishishtadvaita, or Achintya Bhedabheda Tattwa...the universal difference of indifference.
This was promulgated and codified by Ramanuja and Madhava of the Vaishnava tradition, and by Sambandhar and Basavanna of the Shaivite tradition, which gave rise to the Alvars and Nayanars respectively.
It is not about worshiping a Deity in stone or wood, but connecting with the energies represented BY the form and not the form in and of itself. This is a very common misunderstanding about Bhakti Yoga.
Some may say it is wrong to "concoct a Deity", but the ones who "concoct the Deity" don't see it that way, so who is correct? Well, that all depends on who you talk to, doesn't it? Which really means nothing whatsoever in the grander scheme of things. Each will do whatever it is they personally NEED to do, to get to wherever it is they need to be.
....and Grace just does the rest.