symbols and icons, name and the named one
the only gain the pictures or idols placed in workplace or even at home..except the panchayatana( the traditional stones and gems representing Sun, Devi, Vishnu, Shiva and Ganesha... properly invoked and worshiped according to vedic rituals in brahmin houses.. morning and evening) and other properly empowered deities is that the sight of them can stimulate on any of the occupant or visitor the thought of God, which in turn should encourage him to chant the names or engage in mind with sincere prayers..
Such icons are only stimulants and cannot be termed as divinity as such according to our traditional beliefs..
Even in Navarathri Golus if my understanding is not wrong, Ambal is invoked in a pot of water and some mangala dravyas and the bommai(dolls and mannequins ) and the artwork are only for happy exhibition..
In letters and art forms we see divinity .. but again only symbolically..
But mantras and vedas Itihasams and Purnas are treated as Gods themselves and this idea is taken up in greater reverence by Sikhs.. for whom Granth Saheb is Guru and God..
In Islam the holy Quran is respected with the same reverence as the presence of God Almighty...
Naama(the divine name) and Naami ( God the possesor of the divine name) both are powerful.. Rama namam and Rama himself.. both are believed to be equally potent..
The story where Anjaneyaswamy had to protect a Vassal king of Rama from Rama's arrows is a great and enlightening example .. The vassal king offended sage Visvamitra and Rama was directed by the sage to ensure that the head of the offending king should be placed at the sage's feet by the end of the day..
The frightened king went and took refuge with mother Anjana the blessed mother of Hanuman.. Hanuman was directed by the mother to protect the beleaguered king and thus was caught between the two loyalties, one to his mother and the other towards his lord.
He created an imposing cylindrical fortress with the curls of his huge tail and hid himself along with the king inside that and started chanting the name of Rama incessantly... Rama found out the ploy and started sending all his arrows and weapons,, but the weapons all went in pradakshinam and came back and fell at the feet of the Lord himself..
Finally sage Narada told Rama to go near the fortress and see what magic was happening inside.. and Rama saw that his holy name was incessantly streaming out of the place and it was impossible to break that citadel..
.Of course, when Anjaneyaswamy saw his master, he brought the king to the Royal presence and since Visvamitras directions was that the kings head should fall at his feet, the King, Rama and Hanuman all fell at the feet of Visvamitra and the grave situation was diffused..
Here, the potency of the name.. is the point for consideration..
we know the panchaksharam, shadaksharam astaksharam and navaaksharam.. how they are important to Lord shiva, skandha, vishnu and ambal..