DEITY CARE: BATHING & CARING DEITIES OF KRISHNA AT HOME!
(Based on the DEITY CARE system followed in the ISKCON Temples)
IF YOU KEEP A DEITY WHOSE SIZE IS 3 INCHES OR BELOW, IT CAN BE CONSIDERED EQUAL TO THE PICTURE WORSHIP AND NO SERIOUS DEITY CARE RULES APPLY IN THE CASE OF SUCH A SMALL DEITY.
But, if the deity’s size is above 3 inches, the following care should be taken:
If you like to have a deity at home, you must follow all the rules and regulations properly, because, they are not just deities. They are Krishna Himself. They are ARCHA AVATAR of Krishna. So, if you find the following procedure difficult, keep the photos of Krishna.
(PERFORMING ARATI TO KRISHNA AT HOME – COMPLETE STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE! READ HERE!)
Usually, AS ONE OF THE IMPORTANT DEITY CARE, you must bath and offer bhoga (food) to Him daily, since He is Krishna Himself and one of our family member, in fact, the first member of our family. If you miss giving food just one day, He will be expecting your food. So, if you keep the deities of Krishna, you must treat as if He is your prime family member, eg: as your child.
You usually would offer bhoga and bath your child daily. Similarly, take care of Krishna (or, Bal Gopal) also. You may change the schedule of bathing either as daily, or weekly, or fortnightly as per your convenience, but offering bhoga should be done daily. Bathing should be done atleast once a fortnight.
FIVE STEPS OF CARING THE DEITIES OF KRISHNA
Dressing and Offering flowers
Offering food to them
Giving rest to them.
Let us see one by one:
BATHING THE DEITY OF KRISHNA
Generally, bathe and dress deities daily. If not possible then on weekends, or every ekadashi. Metal deities ideally should be polished daily & if that is not possible then on weekends, or every ekdashi.
Before bathing the deity, Perform acamana (achamana, ie, a process of drinking drops of water) and offer obeisances to your spiritual master requesting his blessings to assist him in the worship.
Sit on the mat or a wooden seat.
(MATHURA VASA & MURTHY SEVA OF 8 DEITY TYPES – GREATNESS! READ HERE!)
Clean yourself and surroundings by lightly sprinkling (i) on your head, (ii) the area around you and (iii) the things kept there with water from the acamana cup, while chanting the Hare Krisna maha-mantra.
Offer worship to your Spiritual Master and Srila Prabhupada as follows while ringing the bell with your left hand, offer flowers (if possible, dipped in sandalwood paste) at their lotus feet.
Pray for their blessings to perform the worship of the deities.
Show your hands towards the deities as if you are inviting the deities for bathing.
Gently remove The clothes of the deities.
Prepare a mix of the Tilaka powder and lemon juice and polish the deity using a cotton cloth. While polishing, avoid eyes.
After polishing, clean the deity using more water using a conch to remove the deposits of lemon on the body of the deity. While pouring the water, you may ring the bell if possible.
(15 RULES FOR OFFERING OBEISANCES INSIDE THE TEMPLES! READ HERE!
PRAYERS TO BE SUNG WHILE BATHING THE DEITIES
(1) Sing “ govinda jaya jaya, gopala jaya jaya Radha Ramana hari Govindha jaya Jaya”
(2) Hare Krsna maha-mantra
(3) Both the following prayers:
laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
(Meaning: I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending cows yielding all desires among abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of desire trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of Laksmis, or Gopis.)
venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
(Meaning: I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept at playing on His flute, who has eyes like the petals of a blooming lotus, whose head is bedecked with a peacock feather, who has a figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and whose unique loveliness is charming millions of Cupids.)
DRESSING THE DEITIES & OFFERING FLOWERS
(1) Use soft towels to dry the deities.
(2) Dress the deity with a fresh (washed) garment. If it is a special day like Janmashtami, dress the deity with a new dress.
(3) Offer ornaments if you have. It is good to use artificial jewellary to avoid the risk of getting stolen. You may wore golden ornaments only during festivals like Janmashtami.
(4) Offer fresh flower garlands of the right length matching the size of the deity.
(5) Offer Flowers and tulasi leaves with sandalwood pieces (if possible) to Their Lordship’s lotus feet.
(6) Apply some tilak on the forhead of the deity using sandalwood paste.
(Who will take care of my Krishna deities after my death? READ HERE!)
OFFERING WORSHIP TO DEITIES
(1) Light the A ghee or camphor lamp near the altar.
(2) Offer some fruit and/or sweets and drinking water while ringing the bell.
(3) Offer obeisances and beg forgiveness for any offenses you may have committed in the worship.
(4) Light atleast three incense sticks and show in front of the deity and recite the following regular manthras:
(i) Pancha Thatva Manthra :
“Jaya Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityanandha Sri Advaita gadhadhara Sri Vasadhi Gaura baktha Vrindha.”
(ii) Hare Krishna maha Manthra.
OFFERING FOOD TO DEITIES
First prepare the food using separate vessels and without tasting them and without onion , garlic.
Keep separate cups and plate for Krishna to offer food.
Place each item on the cups, place a tulasi leaf on each item (important) and keep the cups on the plate and bring the plate before the deities and recite the following manthras three times:
(How to prepare food and offer the same to Lord! READ HERE!)
(A) Guru Pranam Manthra if you have a diksha guru, or, recite Srila Prabhupada Pranam Manthra as given below:
Nama Om Vishnu padaya Krishna prashtaya Butale
Srimate Bakthi vedanta Swamin Iti Namine
Namaste Sarasvati Deve Gaura Vani Pratayine
Nirvishesha Sunyavati Baschatya desa darine
(B) Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityanandha Sri Advaita gadhadhara Sri Vasadi Gaura Bakthaq Vrinda.
(C) Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
(D) Om Namo Maha Vadhanyaya Krishna prema Prathayade Krishnaya Krishna Caitanya Namne Gaura tviche Nama
(E) Namo Brahmanya Devaya Go Brahmana Hitayaca Jagat Hitaya Krishnaya Govindaya Namo Namah.
Repeat these manthras three times. Then, allow the food for about 10 minutes and then, thank Krishna and remove them and mix these Prasadam with the cooked foods and then serve to others or honour them.
Whatever you cook daily, cook it for Krishna, not for you and offer the food to Him using the above steps and then honur daily.
GIVING REST TO DEITIES OF KRISHNA
After these procedures, close the door of Puja room or screen the deities and give them rest.
Try to do all these steps. If impossible, try to follow as much as possible. Only the love is essential in serving Krishna.
Hope you are clear about Deity Care.
(QUALIFICATIONS TO FOLLOW DEITY WORSHIP AT HOME – READ HERE)