Of Lord Narayana’s forms, it is the archa form that is of huge importance to us, for in this form He can be seen by us and it is this form that facilitates concentrated worship by us. When we see Him in idol form in a temple, it is easier for us to focus on Him, said Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse. Bhakti towards Him becomes simple when we observe His form. We also worship in the form of salagramas at home. How simple He is in archa form is seen in how quietly He accepts our humble offerings, when the whole world is at His disposal.
If there is a flood or a fire in a person’s home, his first thought is to save his possessions. Thoughts about any murthy of God or Salagrama that he has, come to him later. But Bhagavan waits patiently for his bhakta to take Him away. He is very much like a parent. A son may go abroad and not visit for many years. Even phone calls from him may be few and far between. When the son finally does come after many years, do the parents ask why he has turned up now when he never bothered to come all these years? They do not. They are glad to see him. In the same way, we may not go to a temple to worship for a long time. But when one day we make up our minds to go to the temple, does the Lord ask why we have come now, when all these years we did not?
So, He is loving, like a parent. He can be Rama, or Krishna, or Narasimha in His archa form. He takes the form which pleases His devotees. A person visiting a Narasimha temple may be from Srirangam, in which case, when he comes to the temple, regardless of the fact that it is Narasimha who is enshrined there, he may say, “Pranaams to you, Ranga.” The Lord does not question him why he said Ranga, when He has taken the form of Narasimha in the temple.