Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, there are two points to understand in this context:
1. The field of spirituality where one speaks of God as the eternal all-pervading Divinity. In Spirituality we lay importance upon the spirit, and on the One Divinity, so there is no talk about idols as such
2. At another level, which is called Adidaivik (the realm of various gods, goddesses and celestial beings), we do give importance to various gods and goddesses. For example, when the Ganesh festival time comes, we all install a new idol of Lord Ganesha in our homes
Then there is another level called as Adibhautik (the realm of the material or gross Creation), where we perform all our actions, such as eating and drinking, doing seva, etc. So the Adidaivik level is far more subtle than the Adibhautik or the material one where one is concerned with materialistic prosperity and abundance.
When one abandons the spiritual realm, then one cannot experience fulfilment in the other two realms. That is why when we chant the peace mantra, we say Shanti (Peace) three times, to indicate peace and fulfilment at all the three levels. When you move ahead in life with spirituality, then it also contributes to progress in the other two realms.
For example, one way is to see everything as made up of the same thing. So you can say that everything is ultimately made of wood, so you can burn anything and it is ultimately wood that is being burnt (here implying an underlying oneness of Consciousness in all Creation). At another level there is a difference between every object. Even though they are made of wood, a chair cannot be considered as a table, a table cannot be considered as a door, a door is not the same as a bed, and so on. Do you get what I’m saying?