What is the difference between home worship and temple worship?

Srila Prabhupada expressed his desire that his householder devotees seriously take up the process of Deity worship in their houses as a practical process of advancing in Krishna consciousness, while simultaneously performing one’s householder duties:

“It is not that we have to open different centers all over the world. Whoever cares for the Krishna consciousness movement can install Deities at home and, under superior guidance, worship the Deity regularly, chanting the maha-mantra and discussing the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. We are actually teaching in our classes how to go about this… Anyone can do this at home without difficulty, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu requested all the devotees present there to do so.”


But what is the difference between worship of the Lord in the temple, and home worship? Kesava Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrother and sannyasa-guru, explains:

“The worship of the Lord which is performed by householders within their homes is one variety, and that found in the temples of formally installed Deities of the Lord is the second. The first kind is performed with ingredients according to the means of the householder, and is therefore reduced or shortened service. The second type is the worship of the Supreme Lord as a king, in awe and reverence. In such kingly service, regular worship is a necessity; if it is otherwise, sinful reaction is incurred…. Householders, and those who have given up their homes but are carrying on simple Deity worship, are able to offer foodstuffs to the Lord more or less according to the needs of their own families, of associate Vaishnavas, or of guests who come to them. But in kingly service of the Deity everything must be regulated.”


Thus in worship of the Lord in the home, there is scope for adjusting the timing and details of the worship to fit in with the needs of the family, whereas in temple worship, all other activities must fit in with the fixed schedule of worship. However, the same principles of cleanliness and regulation are the most important aspects of home worship also – only the application of these principles may be different. Whereas the temple deity may have offerings at set times, the principle of regulated service may be manifest in household worship as regular daily worship every morning before eating or other duties.

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