The complete information on Idol worship
The idol worship is not wrong, but is limited to the initial stage. It serves good purpose in the initial stage by developing devotion. Even service and sacrifice is done in the idol worship. People sacrifice lot of their earnings to serve the temple containing idols. Devotees are ready for practical sacrifice to God even in the initial stage. But, the ego and jealousy to a co-human form prevents them to do sacrifice and service to human incarnation. This weak point is exploited by some bad priests to earn. This is the negative angle of the idol worship. To remove this negative angle, the idol worship is condemned by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who was also a human incarnation. He opposed the concept of human incarnation like Mohammad since there are some negative aspects of this concept. The genuine human incarnation may not be properly received by the public suffering with ego and jealousy and their violent reaction was seen in the case of Jesus. The other negative angle is that the fraud human incarnations may exploit the society.
The policy of the programme of any human incarnation depends on the psychology of the public with which it has to interact. Swami Dayananda rejected the idol worship since a rat was stealing the food offered to Shivalingam in a temple. Swami told that there is no Lord in the Shivalingam since it is only a stone. This concept arrests the exploitations of the idol worship. This does not mean that Swami is unaware of the merits of idol worship. Sometimes, the concept should be de-rooted completely in order to condemn the strong exploitation of the concept. Once the exploitation disappears, the concept can be again re-installed. Shri Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa also existed in the time of Swami Dayananda.
Shri Parama Hamsa was a priest in the temple worshipping the idol. He supported the idol worship. He said that you should view the idol as the alive form. This means that you must catch the alive form of God through the idol. Shri Parama Hamsa Himself was another human incarnation and declared that He was Rama and Krishna. This means, He never asked you to sit in the stage of the idol worship. The sense of His statement is that you should feel as if you are worshipping the alive form during the service of idol. Then only, the real devotion grows. The total story is that on onside Swami Dayananda condemned the negative sides of idol worship and on the other side Shri Parama Hamsa supported the positive sides of the idol worship. The same God spoke simultaneously through both these human forms.
The conclusion is that you should utilize any concept, accepting the positive views and avoid the negative exploitations of the same concept. Ignorant people misunderstand that Shri Parama Hamsa and Swami Dayananda opposed each other. All the preachers existing in theism should always be correlated in other concepts since the fundamental point of existence of God is not violated. The difference in Them is only due to the existing circumstances in their times, which have to be reformed.