Please receive my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
“Rupa Gosvami has stated that five kinds of devotional activities-namely,
residing in Mathura,
worshiping the Deity of the Lord,
serving a devotee, and
chanting the Hare Krishna mantra-
are so potent that a small attachment for any one of these five items can arouse devotional ecstasy even in a neophyte.”
… if someone becomes attached to the Śrī Mūrti, or Deity of Kṛṣṇa, by worshiping at home, then he will forget his relationships of so-called friendship, love and society. Thus it is the duty of every householder to install Deities of the Lord at home and to begin the process of worshiping along with all of his family members. This will save everyone from such unwanted activities as going to clubs, cinemas, dancing parties, smoking, drinking, etc. All such nonsense will be forgotten if one stresses the worship of the Deities at home.
(Srila Prabhupada in Nectar of Devotion.)
So Deity worship is exceptionally important and I am very happy that you always showed attraction to it.
I saw the picture of your altar and everything looks very nice, cleaned, well organized and devotional. Very good.
I noticed two details that maybe you can correct.
The first is that every altar has its main Deity. Your altar has many divine personalities but there is no a main Srimurti. So, if possibile, you should have a picture of Gaura Nitai bigger respect to the others.
The other detail prompted me to make you a question: who do you offer your bhoga, arati ecc, to? Since you are initiated, you should offer to your spiritual master and I don’t see his picture.
If possibile when there are not devotees around, the altar should be behind a curtain. In the morning you open them, pay obeisances reciting Guru Pranama Mantra giving your left side to the Deities, then you clean the altar very nicely (cleaning is the main quality of a brahmana) and then you do your Arati.
On the Internet there are many nice videos on how to perform arati. Some of them contains some differences from our standards but for the time being we can overlook them and gradually correct them.
How to perform arati:
The arati depends on what you can do. If you can’t do all of that, tell me what you can do and I’ll tell you how to do it differently. If the Deities are not installed, the minimun standard is determined by the devotee himself with a sankalpa, a vote. You promise to do that and so you are not obliged to do more.
You could also go the temple, watch how they do, write it down and then do the same. Send me your notes so I can correct some of the most common mistake I observed, like for instance offering bhoga standing up, while should be sitting down.
Offering bhoga so that it becomes prasadam:
Sitting down and ringing a bell, you first perform acamana and then you recite the following mantras:
1. Your Guru Pranam-mantra,
2. Srila Prabhupada Pranama Mantra,
3. namo maha-vadanyaya
namne gaura-tvishe namah
4. namo brahmanya-devaya
govindaya namo namah
Everyone of these mantras should be repeated three times before continuing the the other mantra.
There are so many things. Keep everything simple.
Maybe next time I come to the Dominican Republic I can show how to do it.
Don’t hesitate to send me specific questions on Deity worship.
- Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
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