I AM UNABLE TO TREAT MY HOME DEITIES PROPERLY. WHAT TO DO?
A girl devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krishna Prabhu, Thank you for all the wonderful counselling that are clearing our doubts. I have 4 questions to ask:
(1) One mataji devotee gave me a small Jagannath baldev and subadra deity long years ago. But I feel that I am not taking good care of them. since I am the only temple going person and we use onion garlic at home, Offering for the lord is difficult because the same utensils should be used to cook for Lord and also the scrub to wash the Joota plates and also the vessels for cooking are same. I tried keeping separate for joota plates and cooking vessel but my family members mix those. though I have separate plates and bowls for offering and wash them with separate dishwash and scrub. if I prepare bhoga for Lord I have to use the common utensils in which we cook food containing onion and garlic. I feel guilty that I am looking after the supreme Lord in such a bad way. Many raw groceries are being used before offering to the Lord and I am not in a position to get new groceries every day. how can I solve this problem?
(2) I have kept the deities in the common puja room in the available space without panchatatva, prabhupada, narasimha. I don’t have a complete altar. What can I do ? how can I serve them better. I am helpless or may be I am intelligent enough to think of these.
(3) These days my chanting has become very bad.. from 16 rounds I am decreasing day by day . I attend every Sunday program. My conscious keeps telling I am cheating prabhupada. I want to improve I want to be consistent in my sadhana. I feel guilty when I see Lord and prabhupada especially during guru puja. Krishna and prabhupada has done so much for us but I am cheating without chanting properly. I don’t know what disease of mind I have got to postpone chanting. please help me.
(4) One of my friend gave her Jagannath baladev subadra and prabhupada deity when she got married to look after until she takes back the deity. I took it from her because she dint have permission to keep the deities in her husband’s house since they are non devotees and she is also only temple going person in her house no body is there to take care of the deities in her house also so she decided to keep it in a box. but I din’t wanted to keep the deities in box so I received them. but I have kept the deities in my bed room book shelf since I don’t have space.
With all these issues how can I serve deities which are in my room and common prayer hall? every day I feel I am offending the lordships. I feel I am very bad who can’t serve of Lord properly. please help me I want to change I want to become good devotee I want to serve the lordships better. Hare Krishna”
You are one of the thousands of devotees who brought deities to home and unable to treat them properly.
Have you ever read in my counseling encouraging deities at home unless the devotee has all arrangements to take care of them?
I don’t write so.
The deities are comparable to living persons/ gods. They are archa avatars of gods. If you prefer keeping the deities at home and worship them, you should treat them as the main member of your family and offer food to them all the three times a day and bath them atleast once a week (daily is good in the form of abhishek).
If you are not confident that you can’t treat them as a member of your family bathing and feeding them, it is better to discontinue worshiping the deities at home.
No emotions and sentiments in this matter.
Deity worship must be very strict.
The devotee should make himself clean everyday both physically and mentally.
Physically by bathing atleast twice a day; Mentally by chanting Lord’s Names and singing the kirtans and reading the books on Krishna.
It is good if you had taken the diksha from a bonafide guru though not compulsory. Diksha may give some seriousness to take care of deities.
Deities will act as living persons once we start to worship them. They need hygienically prepared satvik food as we need. They need bathing in the form of abishek regularly. They need fresh flowers daily.
They need a systematic treatment as followed in the temples.
That is why, I am requesting the devotees to keep medium sized beautifully framed pictures in the place of deities.
In your case, your home does not seem to be a proper place to keep deities.
If you keep further, it may be offensive because your family does not follow any rules of satvik life.
Therefore, take the deities out of altar and gift them to any temple nearby. Or, respectfully put them inside the sea or pond or river or well water after praying to them to forgive you.
Ask your friend to collect her deities. If she says impossible, get her permission to gift them or put them into the water as said above.
Bring the limited number of pictures of Krishna and acharyas and guru (if you are initiated) and keep them in the altar and start to worship them every day at home.
Try your best to offer food prepared separately for them. If impossible, offer them fruits and curd rice by cooking a small cup of rice separately that takes just 10 minutes.
Or, prepare two rotis or puris using a separate container and offer the Lord daily having some simple side dish like pickles, Jaggery or sugar.
Don’t act pushed by emotions. Treat the act of worship as a show of our love to Krishna and keep them as simple as possible.
Unless the devotee is definitely able to follow the rules, I do not recommend deity worship at home.
And, in the case of women, I advise more strictly because they may have to discontinue after marriage of their husband or his family does not cooperate.
So, be satisfied with the pictures of Krishna and acharyas.
Devotion is related to heart, not the external things. You can install Krishna even within your heart.
So, do as said by me and be relieved. Ask for forgiveness from the lord in a temple for the inability to continue deity worship.
Enjoy the deities in the temples. It is enough.
As far as chanting is concerned, I don’t allow any excuse. Chanting is the NO EXCUSE sadhana for every devotee though he she is bed ridden.
I relax many things considering the practical difficulties, but, not in the following four:
I will never write relaxing in these four. If I do so, the acharyas won’t forgive me.
So, if you like to be in touch with Krishna, chant as much rounds as possible. If you are initiated/ sheltered, 16 rounds are compulsory. No reductions were allowed by the acharya Srila Prabhupada till he left this world. SO, reduce your time in any unproductive activity and chant in batches whenever you get free time.
Hope this helps.