Category Archives: Deity Worship

Deity Worship in Bhagavad-gita

Q. Please explain me if deity worship is authorized in Bhagavad-gita?

A. This question is to be considered by referring to certain concepts.  

Generally people do not accept anything unless they are given proof of the facts upon which they have to base their consideration. Of course it is a common sense that everyone wants to examine the facts and only when he is convinced about their authenticity he may accept them.
But when people demand proof they have their own concept of proof and evidence in their mind as per their logic. Most of the people demand proof in writing or many of them rely upon words of superiors and so on.

It is to be understood that the method of proving many things is not by direct reference but by our proper understanding of the concept of particular topic. For example, every liquid contains base of water. But do we find on any bottle of liquid, words or caption that ‘this liquid contains water base’. Of course not always. Then how can we understand this?
If one has properly studied chemistry he would undoubtedly accept this contention and would never demand any written caption on bottle of liquid as stated above.
Similarly people study Bhagavad-gita, but they don’t know how to take words of Krishna in appropriate manner. Because they may not study Bhagavad-gita under direction of spiritual master.

Lord Krishna states in Bhagavad-gita (9.34) ‘Always think of Me, become My devotee, pay obeisances to Me, and surely you will come to me.’

Now when one desires to remember Lord Krishna, how can one know how Krishna looks like? How can one know how to pay obeisances to Krishna?

Now these things are not possible unless one is given an opportunity to know how Krishna looks like and what is the process of paying obeisances to Krishna. For example when we have never seen our forefathers, how can we know about how they looked like? Of course when we see their photo or image. And accordingly we can know about their personality and we can bow before them to pay them honor.

Similarly, as Lord is sat-cit-anand and His body is completely transcendental, it is not possible for us to know and see Him by our imperfect senses.

Therefore, in order to give us a facility to see Him Lord Himself has instructed in Srimad-Bhagavatam that He can be perceived in His icon or image form (shaili darumayi……).
This is the concept of Deity worship. So even though the actual reference of Deity worship is found in Srimad-Bhagavatam, it’s original concept is found in Bhagavad-gita (9.34).
Only what is required is a proper understanding of the verse under guidance of a spiritual master who is the representative of Krishna.

The purpose, need and scientific aspect of Deity worship can be explained by following example;

Why do we need a clock? What is scientific aspect of a telephone or television?

The answer is that all these things enable us to develop contact with those objects which are out of reach of our senses.

We need a clock because clock gives us an opportunity to understand what is the time (time factor) irrespective whether it is a watch clock or digital clock or any old-styled clock. Unless we use clock we have no chance to understand and develop connection with the time factor.

Similarly television and telephone enable us to develop contact with those objects and personalities which are beyond our jurisdiction.

Same is the concept of Deity worship. When Deity of Krishna is installed,  Krishna gives us an opportunity to reciprocate with Him through His Deity. Accordingly, we can systematically revive and develop our lost connection or relation with Him and pay obeisances to Him.

As such Krishna shows His mercy upon us by allowing us to see Him through His Deity form. This is the scientific aspect of Deity worship and its root is found in Bhagavad-gita (9.34) as already stated above.

Caranamrita: Water from the Feet of the Lord

Caranamrita is obtained in the morning while the Lord is being washed before dressing. Scented with perfumes and flowers, the water comes gliding down through His lotus feet and is collected and mixed with yogurt. In this way this caranamrita not only becomes very tastefully flavored, but also has tremendous spiritual value.

As described in Padma Purana, even a person who has never been able to give in charity, who has never been able to perform a great sacrifice, who has never been able to study the Vedas, who has never been able to worship the Lord – or, in other words, even one who has never done any pious activities – will become eligible to enter into the kingdom of God if he simply drinks the caranamrita which is kept in the temple. Continue reading Caranamrita: Water from the Feet of the Lord

Worshipping Tulasi Plant

Q. Why do you worship Tulasi plant?

A. Worshiping Krishna’s devotees is an essential feature of devotion to Him. Sometimes great devotees appear in forms other than the human form. One such devotee, whose worship is central to the worship of Krishna, is Tulasi. She serves Krishna in the form of a plant, and devotees worship her in that form. Full of love for Krishna, she can give it to others.

Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.15.19) explains the special position of the Tulasi plant: “Although there are numerous flowering plants full of transcendental fragrance in the spiritual realm, they are aware that Tulasi is given special preference by the Lord, who garlands Himself with Tulasi leaves.”

In her form as a plant, Tulasi always stays at the Lord’s feet and around His neck. (Her leaves and flowers decorate His feet and are strung into garlands to be worn around His neck.) The Vedic scriptures say, “Krishna gives Himself to a devotee who offers Him merely a Tulasi leaf and a palmful of water.”

The wood of dead Tulasi plants is used to carve sacred beads devotees wear around their necks and use for chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.

Deity Worship

Q. Can a devotee of Lord Krsna who has not been initiated yet but has been following all the instruction from HDG Prabhupada is allowed to worship Lord Krsna’s Archa Vigraha form in his house?

A. Yes. Yet that devotee should know that, in course of time, the injunctions of scripture indicate that each sincere devotee should become initiated in the line of disciplic succession. Certainly Srila Prabhupada’s teachings reflect this fact. Historically, Srila Prabhupada authorized that his traveling sankirtan devotees in India could take Gaura Nitai deities with them for distribution to newcomers; non-initiated devotees were expected to become Their worshipers. For a sincere follower of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, aspiring to achieve the standards for initiation is essential, particularly for one who has taken to the arcana process. Worship of Gaura Nitai would be the preferable initial deity forms to be worshiped by uninitiated devotees, because Gaura Nitai are so merciful.

Salagram Sila

Q. Can not initiated devotees have salagram sila at home? Is it favorable? What are the consequences?

A. The worship of salagram sila at home is possible for brahman initiated devotees but the standard is very high. Srila Prabhupada generally recommended that we worship Gaura Nitai as they are most merciful and thus suitable for us fallen souls of the Kali Yuga.

Deity Worship,not idol Worship.

Q. Why do you worship idols?

A. We don’t worship idols. Idolatry is the worship of an imagined form of God.

Deity worship is not idol worship but is worship of the Lord according to His instructions.It is an incarnation of the Lord just like many other incarnations like Lord Nrisimhadev,Lord Vamana & Lord Ramchandra.

God is spirit but as Krishna reveals in the Bhagavad-gita, matter is His energy. Because we cannot perceive spirit in our present condition, Krishna allows us to see Him in His Deity form made of material elements. He tells us that the Deity installed according to the directions of the scriptures is identical to Him.Whatever service we offer to the deity,Krishna directly accepts it.There are several instances in the past where Krishna in His deity form has reciprocrated with His loving devotees.

But to realize that there is no difference between Krishna and His deity form,we need to purify our senses.We need to have a pure heart.And the most powerful way to do this ,according to the scriptures, is to chant and attentively hear the holy name of the Lord:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Q. It is already mentioned in the scriptures that if a person demolishes a Deity ,he will have to suffer a lot in the hell.So I want to ask that if a Deity is demolished by a devotee by mistake,then what…? I mean after a lot of care.-

A. Krishna is a person.He knows why we do what we do.He sees the internals not the externals.He sees our heart.If by mistake,the deity is harmed,please beg forgiveness from the Lord.Srila Prabhupada says Krishna by nature is a very simple person.And He is very kind.He will forgive.

That whoever destroys a deity will go to hell…this is applicable for those who do it out hatred and envy.

But still we should be careful.We should repent that we do not let that happen again.Krishna puts Himself under our care out of His causeless mercy.Only when we feed Him,He eats.Only when we dress Him,He gets dressed.So He should be looked after as one’s own child.That protective mood should always be there.

Mula mantras

Q. I worship Radha-Krishna deities at my place. The other day I found ISKCON site which laid rules for deity worship. I would like to know the importance of the mula mantra as it is stated in the site that those who have been initiated should only chant the mantra. I would be obliged if u can throw some light on it.


A. Mula-mantra is that part of a mantra that is chanted when invoking the deities for a specific action. For example, while putting the deities to rest, a particular mula-mantra is chanted along with the specific deity name. The mula-mantra remains constant while only the deity name changes. (This applies only if you have more than one deity on your altar, say Gaura-Nitai, Radha-Krishna, Jagannath-Baladev-Subhadra, etc.) The mula-mantra is different when waking up the deities after rest.

Since worship of Radha-Krishna Deities is very complex and elaborate and needs great care and attention, Srila Prabhupada established that only devotees who have received brahminical initiation (second initiation) can be qualified to worship Them. For regular devotees, Prabhupada recommended worship of Gaura-Nitai Deities, which can be done simply by the congregational chanting of the holy names.

Demolition of deities by atheists

Q. Kindly educate me why dieties of the Lord had been demolished sometimes by the atheists or by others from different religion inspite of the fact that the Lord is present in the form of His Dieties. Why He allows the atheist to do so if He is present there?

A. Just as the Lord manifests as diety, He can also unmanifest himself from it. When dieties are destroyed, it does’nt mean the Lord is destroyed. He unmanifests himself from it. The lord is manifested as the deity and also is indepependent of the deity. When deities are destroyed, It does’nt mean Supreme Lord is destroyed.

The Lord manifest himself as the deity to reciprocate with his devotees and accept service from them. In that form, the Lord expects to be protected by his devotees. There are cases when devotees have even dropped the deities while cleaning or worshipping. This is a serious offence on their part. It may indicate negligence and a lack of Krsna consciousness. Sometimes, the deities even break. Devotees should be very careful and devotional and never be negligent. Dharma must strictly be followed. Most Hindus are grossly neglecting their religious principles. As a result, they are seeing the deities being destroyed in front of their eyes. In fact, many have become very very sinful. Thus, Hindus are paying the heavy price. If one neglects dharma, dharma itself will ruin one.

It does’nt mean that if some wicked invader demolishes a deity, he will get away with it. He will incurr undescribable suffering in Hell for a very long time.

Demons attacking the Lord is not a new thing. Even Hiranyaksha attacked Varahdev. On the battle of Kurukshetra, Sri Krsna was pierced with so many arrows that he was bleeding. (This was his pastime because no material weapon can touch him because he is pure spirit.)
Krishna’s disappearance pastime took place when Jara (A hunter) shot the arrow at his feet thinking it to be bird. Krishna ascended to the spritual abode. So, Krishna allowed it. Didn’t he?

With love and devotion

Q. It is mentioned in a book by ISKCON that red hibiscus flower is not offered to Krishna. When He has created this beautiful flower then why not offer it to Him?

A. Krishna is Bhava Grahi Janardhana. He has even accepted a banana peel from Vidura’s wife. Without the basic principle of bhakti or devotion, nothing can induce the Lord to agree to accept anything from anyone. Make sure you offer everything to the Lord with love and devotion. Usually these general rules are mentioned in the scriptures to guide us. We hope this is alright with you.