By London College of Vedic Studies
The London College of Vedic Studies (www.facebook.com/londoncvs) recently organised a 2-day seminar on ‘Home Deity Worship’. The College serves as the educational department of ISKCON-London, offering a wide range of educational, spiritual and practical courses, seminars and workshops aimed at developing character, personal fulfilment and spiritual progression.
This workshop was facilitated by the Head Priest of tISKCON-London, HG Murli Manohara dasa. It was structured in a way to serve all devotees, whether initiated or not, who are currently practising deity worship at home, or who are new to deity worship and want to know more about it.
We covered fundamental topics such as:
Introduction to home rituals
Acamana & cleanliness
Making ghee lamps
Offering Arati and bhoga
Setting up home altar
Standards of worship
Waking up and putting deities to rest
Bathing & dressing the deities
Srila Prabhupada on deity worship
The course materials adhered to the current standards and guidelines of the ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry. The facilitator clearly explained the different rituals, practices and protocols associated with deity workshop at home. This seminar gave the attendees an introduction to the knowledge, skills and values of deity worship to help them understand and develop an appreciation for the process of deity worship and assist them in confidently carrying out home worship. The participants learnt that deity worship is a key means to develop a personal conception of the Lord and the mood of service. In the home, it can help to make the Lord the centre of the household and purify the existence of the worshippers. Ultimately it is the training ground for the spiritual world, and thus a fundamental aspect of one’s development in Krishna consciousness.
The seminar concluded with a live demonstration of bathing and dressing small Gaura-Nitai deities. Undoubtedly, this part of the seminar was greatly appreciated by the attendees, who asked several questions pertaining to their specific life situations that affect their home worship and also on general, desirable guidelines of worship.
All the devotees who attended later provided very positive feedback, highlighting how important it is to organise such informative and instructive workshops regularly. They revealed that they had various questions and doubts regarding the standards and processes of home deity worship, which were satisfactorily clarified in this practical seminar. Here is the feedback from one of our attendees:
‘’The Home Deity Worship seminars were probably the most immersive experience I’ve had, regarding the entire process of taking care of one’s home deities. From thinking of where to place one’s altar, to the detailed how-to demonstrations, the seminars gave me a wonderful insight into how to bring the Lord’s form home and take care of the Lord in one’s home. The course leader, Murli Manohara Das, really brought his experience as the London Temple’s Head Pujari to the table, teaching us tips and tricks to help facilitate our personal home worship. All in all, I can say that I had a great experience meeting people and learning so much about the culture and practice of home deity worship and I strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in either establishing an altar at home, or even anyone looking for a little more inspiration to be able to serve their own deities at home more!’’
This Deity worship – this is training. The same thing will continue when you go to Vaikuntha or Vrindavana.” – Srila Prabhupada