I am a beginner in Krishna Consciousness,i have a couple of questions which needs to be answered to start up with my devotional service efficiently.
I want to set up an altar at my new place, does direction matters(east, west, north or south)? Is there any directions where the deity should face? (Some says yes some says no)
Secondly, i have Ladoo Gopal at my home which was given to me by my cousin a year back. Now somebody asked me have you got the "Praan Pratishtha" for your deity. I have no idea what it is all about. If anybody can explain me the procedure reagrding this.
Thirdly, how to offer Bhoga to the Deity? Is there any set Mantra for doing so? i do it only by reciting the Mahamantra.
Please forgive me if i have offended anyone.
I am sorry for late response. As Manoj Pr rightly said, it is better if we can have a East facing room according to Vasthu Shastra. But Krishna is the remover of all in-auspiciousness so we need not worry much about the direction of your alter.
What is more important is the love and devotion to Krishna than anything else. So please keep this in mind. Also I would like to share some more important things about alter maintenance.
Alter is a place where Krishna is residing. So it must be very clean and tidy. If you have a temple room or pooja room where you have the alter set up, we need to make sure we clean it daily in the morning. If we have the alter in a room as a shelf or a wooden alter placed in a corner or a alter that can be hanged on the wall, then we need to clean the room before opening the alter.
Before we open the alter for dharshan, we need to clean the alter first. Ring the bell softly and put on the light in the alter. Offer obeisances and enter the alter if you have a room or get inside the curtain without opening it fully. Remove the flowers from previous day. Wipe the laminations with a soft cloth. Also clean the platform on the alter with another cloth. Decorate the deities with fresh flowers. When every thing is done, then before opening the alter for everyone's dharshan, ring the bell and glorify the lordships by saying Jay Sri Sri Radha Madhava ki (all says Jay), JAy Sri Sri Gaur Nitai Bhagavan Ki (all says jay), Srila Prabhupada ki (all say Jay) and all have to offer their obeisance.
HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj says that we have to take good care of Deities and try to avoid committing offense to them. And the biggest offense id to neglect them. As a matter of fact we have no qualification at all to do any service to the deities. But for our purification, we have to do it. So we have to do it the mood of servant of servant - dasanudas. If you have accepted a Spiritual Master, then we do all service through him or else we can do it through Srila Prabhupada until we accept a Guru. Next and most important point is to have a picture of Gaur-Nitai in the Alter. I was told by a senior devotee that they both will take care of the deities and will reduce half of our responsibilities.
There are a lot of things in this subject when we go into details of each of the activities. but this is more than enough for a beginner.
Very good advice..
thanks for sharing
Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept our humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada andSrila Gurudev ,
you can get a book named "A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS " , from any nearest iskcon temple ,
hope you will get help .
Please accept our humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada and
mataji , you can have a book
Hare krishna mataji.
You can get all the details of Alter in this link --- http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/page/altar-1
When ever devotees decide to have deities at their home, we have a ceremony called welcoming of the deities. In this ceremony, a pure devotee will come to your home and request Lord to reside in the deity form. Also, there will be a name given to the deity at this time. This is called prana pratishtha. This is also called as Deity Installation.
regarding Offering bhoga, you can follow below steps.
1) We need to have a separate set of plates, cups, tumblers, spoons etc for Lord that is not used by any one. We also need to have a scrubber and soap for washing them kept separate.
2) Serve the plate with all the preparations and add Ghee on top for anything that is hot. Do not serve very hot burning preparations. It has to be moderately hot. Generally, Rice, dal, chapatti, poori, etc must be hot and sweets must be cold especially milk sweets like kheer etc.
3) We need to put one tulasi leaf on each of the preparations. Krishna will not accept if it is offered without tulasi. Tulasi should not be plucked on Ekadasi days and during affternoons and after sun set. Ideally, pluck them in the morning around 8-10 AM.
4)We have to treat the Deities very personally. With all the preparation, we must offer water or any other liquid like juice etc.
5) once the plate is prepared take it to the alter covered. It is said that only the person cooking the bhooga and offering the bhooga should see the preparations. No one else should see it before offering.
6) ring the bell and place the plate in the alter. In my home, we have a small temple room. If it is open, I just take the plate inside and close the door. Some places, they have the alter inside the kitchen itself in a wooden shelf or something. in such cases, we need to have a curtain to close during offering.
7) After placing the plate inside the alter, sprinkle some water from the aachaman cup on the preparations and then while ringing the bell softly chant following mantras.
While ringing a bell, chant the pranama prayer(s) to your spiritual master three times, begging permission to assist him in serving the deities:
nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale srimate [your spiritual master's name] iti namine
I offer my respectful obeisances unto [your spiritual master's name], who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.
Chant the following two prayers to Srila Prabhupada one after the other, three times, requesting his mercy:
nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine
Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.
Chant the following prayer to Lord Caitanya three times, requesting His mercy:
namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah
O most munificent incarnation! You are Krsna Himself appearing as Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krsna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
Chant the following prayer three times, offering respect to Lord Krsna:
namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca jagad-dhitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah
I offer my obeisances again and again to Lord Krsna, who is always worshiped by qualified brahmanas and is very dear to them. He is always concerned with the welfare of the cows, the brahmanas, and the whole universe, and He gives pleasure to the cows, land, and senses.
8) Leave the area, offer obeisances praying for the Lord to accept the offering then chant the Gayatri mantras. Meditate on the Lord eating.
9) You have to set a standard and stick on to it. In temples they leave the offering for 15 min. At home it can be 10 min or even less some times.
10) After 10 min (or what ever u have set) clap your hand 3 times softly or ring the bell and take out the offering plate.
11) offer your obeisances and beg for forgiveness for any mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly.
12) Close the alter and take the plate back to Krichen. remove all the mahaprasad into another plate and wash the deity plates nicely. WE CANNOT EAT THE PRASADAM UNTIL THE PLATES ARE WASHED. IF WE EAT THEN WE CAN NOT REUSE THE PLATE FOR OFFERING AGAIN.
I hope I this information was useful.
Thanks for the beautiful explanation Prabhuji.
Thanks to Natasha mataji for asking the questions on behalf of beginners like me.
Awaiting answers for the rest of the queries as well.
Hare Krishna Prabhu Ji
Thanks a ton for your valuable information. Its very informative and useful for me. Also, is the direction(east,west,north,south) for the altar or the deity matters or no???
Jai Shri Krishna..
Truly a beautifully set out instructions by Sudheendra Prabhuji, regarding direction.. should always be in the East but I feel directions should not really matter if cannot be helped. Where ever Krishna is, all directions and place becomes auspicious.