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304 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 2009
'God is inside us,' he said. 'It is from our hearts, our minds and our hands that god is formed, and revealed in the form of a metal statue......Once the eyes are opened by having their pupils chiselled in with a gold chisel, once the deity takes on the form of the idol and it becomes alive, it is no longer mine. It is full of divine power and I can no longer even touch it. Then it is no longer the creation of man, but a god only.'
'It contains the spirit of god? Or is it a god?'
'It is a god,' he replied firmly. 'At least in the eyes of the faithful.'
'What do you mean?'
'Without faith, of course, it is just a sculpture. It's the faith of devotees that turn it into a god.'
It seemed to me that Srikanda had mentioned three quite different ways in which an inanimate statue could become a god: by the channelling of divinity via the heart and hands of the sculptor; a ceremony of invocation when the eyes were chipped open; and through the faith of the devotee. I pointed this out to Srikanda, but he saw no contradiction; all that mattered was that as a certain point a miracle took place and the statue he had made became divine.