"na tasya pratima asti" "There is no image of Him." Well, we know this is not the first time we see this line. There is hardly any line which is circulated more on internet than this. This one line has become the biggest tool used against Hinduism by anti Hindu forces particularly by Islamic missionaries. Incomplete Shloka: This line is used again and again, and hell lot of meaning is derived from 4 words, “Na Tasya Pratima Asti”, but the same people who use this line never mentions the whole Shloka, which contains two lines. This is the very first point to be noted, how the meaning of a phrase separated from the sentence be taken as decisive and how such meaning be considered as true.? What meaning they derive But even biggest lies in deriving the meaning of the shloka is not what it tells but how they are interpreted. Those people who derive meaning add their interpretation and try to say that these line oppose the idol worship. ? Now this is hilarious, the above words nowhere talks of any worship method or anything close to that, The linguistic analysis The meaning has been explained by many people many times, both on internet and through other media, but I have seen their some people still repeating the lies under the confusions of meaning. To understand the meaning of the words, we have to apply three methods 1. To know the linguistic meaning of words. 2. To apply the best meaning for the words which can fit with the whole meaning of the shloka. 3. Consider the meaning of preceding and succeeding shlokas to derive the final meaning of the shloka. Because it is not possible to know the context of the shlokas without knowing the context of whole Suktam, as we know, “Sukta” stands for a collection of shlokas on one particular subject. Sanskrit meaning of the words. “न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति” न: No अस्ति: is; This is the helping or auxiliary verb here, This gives meaning of present indefinite tense. The root of this verb is “Bhu” to be. And this rupa(form) is the Lat Lakar(लट लकार)(present tence), Anya purusha(अन्य पुरुष), ek vachana(एकवचन)(singular number) which in three numbers goes like this: अस्ति स्तः सन्ति तस्य-> Means:His, of his possession, his property etc. The meaning of this particular word is the key to understand the meaning of the phrase and then the shloka. The root word of this word is “He - तद् – tad” This word has 21 forms(general nouns have 24 forms) This word is the pronoun(Sarvnama) and hence it does not have the 3 forms of vocative caseसंबोधन कारक) Now first let us see all the forms of this word: He - तद् - tad (दकारान्त सर्वनाम पुंलिङ्ग - dakaaraanta sarvanaama pu.nliN^ga) Case विभक्ति - एकवचन(singular) - द्विवचन (dual) बहुवचन (plural) Nominative =प्रथमासः saH तौ tau ते te Accusativeद्वितीयातम् tam तौ tau ताम् taam Instrumentalतृतीयातेन tena ताभ्याम् taabhyaam तैः taiH Dative चर्तुथी - तस्मै tasmai ताभ्याम् taabhyaam तेभ्यः tebhyaH Ablative पन्चमी - तस्मात् tasmaat ताभ्याम् taabhyaam तेभ्यः tebhyaH Genitive षष्ठी - ShaShThii तस्य tasya ,तयोः tayoH ,तेषाम् teShaam Locative सप्तमी - saptamii तस्मिन् tasmin तयोः tayoH तेषु teShu Now take out the word from the above table: Genitive(Possesive) षष्ठी – ShaShThii तस्य tasya ,तयोः tayoH,तेषाम् teShaam Genetive case or possessive case is case which denotes one noun possessing other noun. For those who may not be knowing possessive case can find it like this: In grammar, genitive (abbreviated GEN; also called the possessive case or second case) is the grammatical case that marks a noun /pronoun as modifying another noun/pronoun. It often marks a noun as being the possessor of another noun; however, it can also indicate various other relationships than possession: certain verbs may take arguments in the genitive case, and it may have adverbial uses (see Adverbial genitive). Well all cases of Sanskrit does not match exactly with English but few matches, like Objective, nominative and Possessive cases. There are some additions though, both in Sanskrit and Hindi the possessive case can also be used to posses the attributes, which in grammatical sense be considered as adjective. He the noun/pronoun is “He - तद् - tad “ so if any meaning it takes indicate that noun/pronoun “He” is going to possess some other noun. Well so meaning of “तस्य” : his, of his possession, he possesses etc. What is the second noun in this sentence/phrase: प्रतिमा, well obviously, this is the word which is the centre of the whole controversy. Meaning of the phrase without adding meaning of प्रतिमा I am not giving the meaning of this word, but try to get the meaning of the phrase by using this word प्रतिमा as it is. “न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति” Hence would take following meaning: He does not have प्रतिमा. So this sentence gives the meaning of the phrase saying that the entity which is denoted by “He” does not have प्रतिमा. Similar usage of possessive case can be as follows: He does not have a cycle. He does not have a pen He does not have a car. So one can now clearly understand the entity pointed by “He” possesses other noun or adjective denoted by word “प्रतिमा” Is Image the meaning of प्रतिमा ? No image is not the meaning of word प्रतिमा (Pratima”), the Sanskrit equivalent of Image is “चित्रम” and not प्रतिमा (Pratima”). Pratima never gives the same meaning of image, which is a two dimensional drawing, printing or paint, where as प्रतिमा (Pratima”), when used gives the meaning of a three dimentional structure, so image cannot be the meaning of प्रतिमा (Pratima”),, Meaning of the phrase with adding meaning of प्रतिमा The word प्रतिमा (Pratima), is used in two ways 1. As a three dimentional replica of something. 2. As the metaphor of some attributes There is no confusion in the first meaning as Statue or three dimensional replica of something. But the second usage of ‘प्रतिमा (Pratima”), can be as follows: 1. युधिथिर धर्म के प्रतिमा है(Yudhisthira is the pratima of the Dharma) २. कर्ण दान की प्रतिमा है(Karna is the pratima of the Dana(charity) ) ३. महाराणा प्रताप साहस और सौर्य की प्रतिमा हैं(Maharana pratap is the Pratima of bravery) In all above sentence one can see the usage of word प्रतिमा (Pratima”),which is used as the ideal, or epitome or perfect example. So the other meaning which is most commonly used is the perfect example ro metaphor for some attribute. The word meaning of word प्रतिमा (Pratima”),based on the Upsarga: I think all of us who know Sankrit or Hindi know what upsarga means? This in English is like predecessor. A character or group of characters which are added in the beginning of the word to give a meaning of particular kind. Here one can notice the upasarga “प्रति”,means the copy, the replica, This is used in words like प्रति-लिपि,प्रति-स्पर्धा, प्रति-निष्ठा, प्रति-बिम्ब etc In all of above words it gives the meaning of replica, or repetition of something in above case लिपि,स्पर्धा, निष्ठा, बिम्ब etc. The nearest meaning of प्रतिमा (Pratima”), Considering all of the above, the nearest meaning of the word प्रतिमा (Pratima”), can be as follows; -- The Statue --The replica --The likeliness --The equivalence --The example --The reflection Etc. Possible meaning of “न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति” 1. He does not have a statue 2. He does not have a replica 3. He does not have an example 4. He does not have a reflection 5. He does not follow any fixed pattern. 6. He does not have likeliness. 7. There is none parallel to Him. 8. He does not have equivalence(comparison). If we add the misquoted meaning in the line it might be like 9. He does not have image. The best meaning of “न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति” If we try to consider the above meaning in possessive case, it does not make any sense to take any meaning of “प्रतिमा” pratima as an object. As it is just foolish to assume that God is going to posses the image, statue or replica of something. The only possiblitiy which remains when it is used in case of God who is the supreme is the comparison to emphasizing the glory of Lord; So the perfect meaning would go like this He does not have equivalence or He does not have likeliness. Considering the whole meaning of shloka: We cannot reach to the correct meaning of any phrase or words unless we know the very context of the whole Shloka. Let put the the selected meaning in the 32:3 न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति यस्य नाम महाद्यशः | हिरण्यगर्भऽ इत्येष मा मा हिंन्सिदितेषा यस्मान्न जातऽ इत्येषः || He has no equivalence, (because) he is verily vast or his glory is verily great (नाम महाद्यशः), and is praised as Hiranyagarva, yasmann jata, and as Maa Maa Hinsit. Hiranayagarbha is Karya Brahman. So here it is declared that the Brahman, whom we praise in the name of Hiranyagarbha (YV 25:10), or yasmann jat (YV 8:36), or Maa Maa Hinsit (YV 12:102) is very vast. Because of his vastness, there is no equivalence of Him/ there is none parallel to Him/ there is none compared to Him. Trying to put any other meaning than given above can not make any sense and would distort the whole meaning of not only shloka but whole Sukta. Meaning of other shlokas: Finally analysing the meaning of the shloka with the meaning of others shlokas, it does not make any sense why any mention of "Image" should be there in shloka. The meaning of other shlokas has been given already which can be found on the links given at the bottom. No mention of the worship Even worse is if one takes the meaning of the above shloka in any sense of worship. Making statue is the process of worship. Devotees make statue to offer their reverence to Lord. No matter how one can conclude the above shloka never gives any meaning against Idol worship. This shloka does not mention any kind of worship at all. "Om Shanti Shanti Shanti"