Deity Worship at Home

14th September 2014 • Srila Prabhupāda

Srila Prabhupāda, Lecture SB 02.03.22 - Los Angeles

Pradyumna: “Especially for the householder-devotees, the path of Deity worship is strongly recommended. As far as possible, every householder, by the direction of the spiritual master, must install the Deity of Viṣṇu, forms like Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, or Sītā-Rāma especially, or any other form of the Lord, like Nṛsiṁha, Varāha, Gaura-Nitāi, Matsya, Kūrma, śālagrāma-śilā and many other forms of Viṣṇu, like Trivikrama, Keśava, Acyuta, Vāsudeva, Nārāyaṇa, Dāmodara, etc., as they are recommended in the Vaiṣṇava tantras or purāṇas, and one’s family should worship strictly, following the directions and regulation of arcanā-vidhi.”

Prabhupāda: Hm. Now, this is the important point. I understand that some of our householder devotees are ordering for Deities in India. But here is the point. The point is that they “worship strictly, following the direction and regulation of arcanā-vidhi.” Don’t make a play. If you follow strictly the Deity worship method, then you establish; otherwise, don’t establish. It will be offense. One who is able to manage… Just like we are showing the example, how to worship Deity in the temple. In the same way, if one can… The idea is, as here, our devotees are engaged in the worship of the Deity, similarly, a householder, when all the family members are trained up how to worship the Deity, then they can establish. Not that make a farce. Cleanliness, and the rules and regulation, that must be… That is the duty of every… Actually, the higher castes in India still, everyone— brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya —they must have Deity worship at home. Therefore, in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo ‘bhijāyate BG 6.41 .

Anyone who is rich in India still, they have got Deity worship at home. Very nicely. A separate house, a small house attached to their big buildings, and there is Deity worship, and the all the members should go there, offer prayers. Just like we are doing, the similar, same thing there. In Kanpur there is one temple, Dvārakādhīśa. The temple belongs to a very rich man, Singhania. The, all the members… It is order of the lady, the mother of Mr. Singhania, that “You all of you, you must visit the Deity…” Very rich men, always busy in business. But still, they have to come to the temple and offer respect, take caraṇāmṛta and prasādam. Then go to office. If one misses one day, then he will be fined. Still. The head man will be fined ten dollars, and the next man five dollars, like that, according to position. So if one day somebody misses, immediately the priest will go with the bill of fine: “Sir, you have to pay this fine.” “Yes. You take immediately.”

Still there are such rules and regulations. So Deity worship, it is the duty of all householders, Deity worship. That means automatically all the members become devotees. But it must be done according… there are sixty-four kinds of offenses. In The Nectar of Devotion you’ll find. Deity worship… For chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, there are ten kinds of offenses. But Deity worship, there are so many offenses. These are described. “You cannot sit down before the Deity like this, you cannot yawn before the Deity, you cannot talk nonsense before the Deity.” So many things are there. So therefore it is said that “strictly following the direction and regulation of arcanā-vidhi.” So you are being trained up. In India they are trained up since centuries. Their culture is different. They automatically can adopt, immediately. They’re trained up. You are not trained up as yet. You are being trained. So unless you are fully trained, don’t establish Deity to make a farce. Better learn it perfectly in the temple, and when you think that the members of the household are also now as good as the devotees in the temple, then you must establish the Deity. That is required.