Disposing used Puja materials, God Pictures, flowers, Incense sticks, etc!
Two devotees asked like this:
“Hare Krishna Prabhu , please can you advise me what to do with the Thulsi leave we offer Krishna daily at the end of the day what to do with it and every year we get new calendars , what should i do with the past year calendars of Krishna ., also when do Aarti the wick sometimes does not burn out completely , what should i do with the burnt out wick . please help me as i would like to follow the correct process .”
Hare Krsna Prabhuji, May I know, how best can we dispose/ deal with the nirmalyam (flowers offered to God) The elders in the house say, we take it to Juhu beach and dispose there, but we hardly go to Juhu. So the pile keeps increasing and rotting. We don’t have a garden, where we could dig a pit and place nirmalyam there. What should I do? Please guide.
First we should know why these conditions have been given for disposing used Puja materials, God Pictures, flowers, Incense sticks, etc! Anything used for Lord becomes Lord Himself. If the food is offered to Lord, the food itself becomes Prasadam that is equal to Krishna Himself.
The books about Krishna also should be treated very respectfully and should not be kept on the floor without a base cloth or paper because the books on Krishna are the literary avatars of Krishna Himself.
(Should Krishna devotees perform Puja for new house or vehicle? READ HERE!)
In the same way, the flowers offered to Krishna should be treated as we treat Krishna. We should not dispose them as we wish along with other wastes.
We should have a separate system of disposal for the flowers offered to Lord. If we throw them in the road side dustbin, it may be spread everywhere in the street and the people may walk on these flowers. This will be a great disrespect for the flowers offered to Lord.
One method is to keep a separate dustbin-like basket or a carry-bag to collect the used flowers. Use this basket or bag only for these flowers.
I have three dust bins in my home.
Two bins for the other waste materials – One for dry waste, another for wet waste. I have a separate third bin for putting only the used Puja materials.
(HOW TO PERFORM TULASI PUJA (WORSHIP)? READ HERE!)
In the separate bin for Krishna’s used materials, I put only the things used in Puja. For example, offered flowers that are removed every day or every week. The ashes remaining in the incense sticks are removed every week and put into this separate bin. The remnants of fruits (epidermal portions) offered to Krishna and honoured by us are also put into this bin. The dried tulasi plants are taken out of the soil and put into this separate bin.
I never put any other materials or wastes used in day to day process in home into this separate bin.
(Worship of Radha Krishna or other forms of Krishna – How to select? READ HERE)
HOW TO DISPOSE COLLECTED PUJA MATERIALS?
Once in a fortnight or month, You may throw them into the river respectfully.
If you are not able to find a sea or river nearby, you may throw them into a well. Or, into a pond or lake.
I some times clear the dustbin every month or two and put all the contents into a carry bag and then dispose them by burying them without the plastic bag.
If this is not possible in flats, you can bury them atleast every 3 months or 6 months.
Or, you may also throw that contents into a river or pond or well.
If this too is not possible, just place all the contents into a carry bag, tie the bag tightly so that the contents are not unpacked and hand it over to the corporation lorry that comes to accept wastes.
As far as tulasi leaves are concerned, there is no wastes in tulasi leaf. You may dispose dried / dead plant, but, you can consume all the leaves every day after offering to Lord. Do not throw the offered tulasi leaves. You can take even the dried leaf of tulasi after offering.
The calenders or mutilated pictures of Lord can be cut into pieces and disposed through any one of the processes mentioned above.
In case all these options are not possible for you for disposing used Puja materials, as an unavoidable option though it is inferior to other methods, you may keep all these dry flowers and burn them.
In case you are unable to burn the flowers, no other way than to keep all these flowers in a bag, tie it tightly so that these flowers do not fall out, and dispose this bag along with other wastes of our home. But, the condition is that these flowers should not be openly mixed with other wastes. Thats all.
So, in this flat culture of residences, we should try all the dignified options first sincerely. Usually, there will be atleast a well or lake or pond in every town. Find them one and use them regularly.
Only sincere following of devotion is required important. In case there are any innocent mistakes in disposal of wastes, it will not add you offense. Krishna is so merciful and He will understand today’s difficulties of devotees.
Problem solved in disposing used Puja materials, I hope.
(Why Deity Worship is not recommended at Home For all? READ HERE!)