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Deity Worship

There is alot I don't understand about Deity worship. I remember the nice analogy Srila Prabhupada used about the authorized mail boxes being just as good as the post office. So my first question is: what makes the Deity of Krsna (or His many other forms) "authorized"? Is any picture or statue of Krsna worshipable, just like the Deity? Are the scriptures equally worshipable? Understanding that everything is coming from Krsna and everything is part of Krsna, "vasudevah sarvam iti", isn't everything worshipable? If someone attempts to steal or harm the Deity, should one be prepared to kill or be killed to protect the Deity? It's not that I doubt the authenticity of Deity worship. I just want to broaden my understanding for preaching purposes.

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  • Volunteer

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 77. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 78. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 79. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 80. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 81. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 82. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 83. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

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    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 85. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 86. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

    QUESTIONS ASKED TO SRILA PRABHUPADA. PART 87. ON THE DEITY AND DEITY WORSHIP- INSTRUCTIONS.‏

    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/group/krishnaconsciousness/forum/to...

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  • Deity worship is a larger subject to my knowledge, but from the baktha class conducted by bahrain ISCKON, I understand it is a form of worship, authorised by ISCKON, archa vigraha, the lord manifests on the request by the acharyas.

    Deity Installation has to be done on a sampradaya method, the installing acharya or the brahmna priest requests,
    for the lord to manifest in the archa vigraha form.

    The lord's potency is immeasurable, he accepts the request and bestow his mercy from that archa vigraha form.

    The devotee has to take care of the deity in the rasa, to which he belongs to as described in the book Nectar of Devotion, this book has 54 chapters, and describes the process very nicely.

    Radhe radhe, shree radhe!
    • Hare Krsna. Thank you for your reply. Yes, it was my understanding that a pure devotee has to request Krsna to appear in the form of the deity to accept our service. Not that anyone can create a sculpture in the likeness of Krsna and begin worship. Wouldn't that be like an ordinary citizen creating a box that looked just like the post office boxes, but without the authorization of the postal service? Letters mailed in this way will never arrive at their destination.
      Another thing is that back in the '70s, as a former member of the Radha Damodara traveling sankirtan party, sometimes ignorant people would harass devotees and even threaten the Deities. There was an incident in New Orleans when the Radha Damodara bus was parked on the street with the Deities inside, and a car was circling the block and throwing things at the bus. Eventually, Visnujana Maharaja and a few devotees, including my old late friend, Sanjaya, attacked the offenders with rocks and they sped away with their car damaged. Should devotees be prepared to fight and even die to protect the Deities?
      I have pictures of Deities and Srila Prabhupada all over my home and often bow down to offer obeisances. Is there any difference between offering obeisances to a picture and offering obeisances to the Deity in the temple?
      • Today I was reading the Srimad Bhagavatam, 4th canto. Narada was instructing Dhruva Maharaja how to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the purport of 4.8.54 Srila Prabhupada says, "When we make a form of the Lord - whether of wood or stone or metal or jewels or paint, or even a form within the mind - it is a bona fide, spiritual, transcendental form of the Lord."
        • Volunteer
          Srila Prabhupada had that kind of faith both in the books and in the devotees. If someone is reading his book, Srila Prabhupada is satisfied that he's also spiritually advanced enough to worship deities. More than once when Srila Prabhupada installed deities in a temple he would pray to Them and ask Their forgiveness. He'd say that he knew he'd put Them into the hands of mlecchas and yavanas in places like America and Australia but he'd go on to say that he had full faith that by Their extreme mercy and transcendental potencies the devotees would become qualified to worship Them.
  • Volunteer
    There is nothing more sublime than beauty and there is no one more beautiful than the Supreme Being. If we ask people whether or not they believe in God most will say yes. If, however, we ask people whether or not they love God that may elicit another kind of response. For many people the idea that God has friends, pastimes, eats, wears clothes, has a sense of humor and an eternal consort is simply unbelievable and may even sound crazy. But what if I say I love my wife and then someone asks me what color her eyes are and I draw a blank. Some people say the devil is in the details. I say while there may be some truth to that, it's even more accurate to say that you really need to know someone before you can be expected to actually develop any love for them. I think Dipti Naik puts it very nicely when she says, "Our relation with Krishna in deity form becomes much more intimate .The deities become a part of the family." That's all about love and that's where real happiness comes from. Hare Krishna!
    • Hari bol Sarvopama Prabhu!
      Thanks for replying. I need help in understanding deity worship. I've always been too worried about committing offenses to bring Krsna's deity form into my home. If I'm not strictly following all the scriptural rules regarding deity worship, am I not doing more harm than good?
      • Volunteer
        Hey, hari bol, Bhagavan Acharya, prabhu. Nice to see you here. My wife and I are lucky, we are the pujaris for the Rath Yatra Jagannatha deities here in ISKCON Vallabh Vidyanagar. They were out at the goshala and lizards and rats were causing trouble so they brought Them in here and gave us an apartment near the temple where we serve Them in Their own altar room which is next to our room. Because They are not in the regular temple, They don't require the same demanding standard. It's considered that a householder standard doesn't have to be quite so rigorous. For instance we only dress Them once a week on Sunday and They get three offerings and four artiks each day. You probably know the story of how Malati devi dasi found the first Jagannatha deities at the Cost Plus store in San Francisco and the devotees were all surprised when Srila Prabhupada bowed down to Them. The rest is ISKCON history. I personally love Lord Jagannatha and especially Balarama the most. I served the really big Jagannatha deities with Dharma prabhu in Miami for six months back in 2005. Here we have four sets of Jagannatha murtis on the altar. There are teeny tiny ones that are less than an inch high, three inch ones, five inch ones and then the big meter high Rath deities. So I guess I'm recommending Lord Jagannatha worship. When I first got to India three years ago I spent six months in Vrindavan on Aindra's 24 hour kirtan and Bhagavat Purana found out I was going up to Kathmandu and asked me to bring him back some Shalagram Silas. I was able to get fifteen and ended up giving them all to more advanced or maybe braver? devotees because. like you, I'm a little hesitant to stick my neck out and risk the likelihood that I will commit offenses. Gaura Nitai and Jagannatha don't accept offenses so they are the best ones for someone like me to worship. So I don't know if I'm really giving much help. To make a long story short, yes, I think it would be wonderful for you to do deity worship. Based on my experience and what you said, though, it sounds like you might want to hold off on the Radha-Krishna or Shalagram Shila worship and start with Gaura Nitai and/or Lord Jagannatha deities.
        • Hari bol Sarvopama Prabhu,
          Thank you very much for your recent reply. I wasn't notified that anyone had replied until this morning, when Ash replied. So, thank you too, Ash.
          Your comments have helped and inspired me, Sarvo. Now, I want to learn as much as I can about Lord Jaganatha. Any suggestions?
          • Volunteer
            You may remember him as Bhakta Steve who got on the bus in Berkeley in '74 but now Dhruva Maharaja Das lives in Jagannatha Puri and has become a real expert and authority on Lord Jagannatha. We have his book, Jaya Jagannatha! and find it to be very inspiring and helpful. Also you could consider the example of Srila Prabhupada. More than once after installing deities he offered an additional prayer by saying to Their Lordships, "I've put you in the hands of these offensive mllechas but by Your mercy they can become qualified to serve You." So I would say go ahead and get deities as soon as possible. When I got to India three years ago one of the first things I did was rush to Aindra in Vrindavan and thank him for encouraging me to do deity worship in '80. Looking back over the years I really feel like when things got rough for me in devotional service here and there along the way, the deities protected me and gave me shelter in subtle but very powerful ways.
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