THE origin of image worship in India appears to be very ancient and its causes are not exactly known. Many believe it to be the result of the followers of Gautama Buddha adoring their master and worshipping him in the form of images on his apotheosis after death. However, there are indications of the prevalence of image worship among the Hindus long before the time of Gautama Buddha. The employment of an external object to concentrate the mind upon in the act of meditation in carrying on the practice of Yōga is in India quite as old as Yōga itself. Patañjali defines dhāraṇa or fixity of attention as "the process of fixing the mind on some object well defined in space." This process is, as he says, "of two kinds, in consequence of this defined space being internal or external. The external object, defined in space consists of the circle of the navel (the
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Publication information: Book title: Elements of Hindu Iconography. Volume: 1 pt. 1. Contributors: T. A. Gopinatha Rao - Author. Publisher: Law Printing House. Place of publication: Madras. Publication year: 1914. Page number: 1.
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