The process of chemical coating was adopted for restoration of the idol of Shri Mahalakshmi Devi from 23rd July 2015 and the process was completed on 6th August.
It is the law of nature that everything goes through ‘Utpatti (creation)’, Sthiti (present condition) and ‘Laya (destruction)’. It is natural that with the ‘sanskars’ carried on the idol, it is likely to face wear and tear, resulting in erosion of the stone. As per the Principle of spiritual science, energies related to sound, touch, form, taste and smell are always together; thus the idol of a Deity is like actual presence of the Deity. It is an insult of the Deity if broken idol of that Deity is not immersed as per the rituals. Also a damaged or broken idol can emit distressing vibrations causing distress to devotees and devotee may fall prey to the wrath of such Deity. As per Dharmashastra, a broken idol has to be immersed and new idol has to be installed. The omniscient Sages have therefore, explained in ‘Dharma-granthas’, rituals for re-consecration of an idol.
Guidance on installation of new idol is available in ‘Pratishthakauktikam’ and ‘Nirnayasindhu’ books. Therefore, by performing ‘Tattvotaran’ ritual as prescribed in Dharma-shastra, the Principle of that Deity is removed from the old idol with installation of new idol in its place.
In 1961, a lunatic had entered the temple of Shri Bhagavati Devi at Alpuza in Kerala and embraced idol of the Goddess when renovation of that temple was going on; leading to breaking of the idol. In the advice sought from the Goddess, she favoured installation of a new idol. As a result, a new idol was consecrated in the temple in the year 1962. Also idol damaged by Tipu Sultan in attack was also not re-installed but new idol was consecrated. At Puri in Odisha, the wooden idols of Shri Jagannath dev, Shri Balbhadra, Devi Subhadra and Sudarshan are replaced with new idols once in 12 years and new idols are consecrated. In this case also, it is done as per Dharma-shastra as an eroded idol should not be worshipped.
Archaeology Department is concerned only about preservation of old things but it lacks knowledge of spiritual science; therefore, they think only about how to preserve a 500 years-old idol for next 500 years. It is not concerned about the ‘sattvikata’ of the idol.
An idol of Deity is the Deity Herself /Himself; therefore, its preservation like some antique show-piece is an act done at emotional level. In spirituality, ‘bhav’ towards Dharma-shastra (God realization) is superior; therefore, what is expected by Dharma (God) should be followed rather than what any person would feel.