Deity Worship Manual from Krishna Balarama Temple |

Deity Worship Diety Worship Book Front

Published on August 6th, 2015 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image


Deity Worship Manual from Krishna Balarama Temple

This book fully documents the actual current Deity Worship standards, mantras and prayers used in the worship of Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktsiddhanta, Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai, Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama and Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundar and the Gopis Lalita and Vishaka. It also documents the worship of the Srimati Tulsi Devi, the Salagrama Sila puja and the standards for worship of Srila Prabhupada in his Samadhi Mandir.

The mantras and procedures appear to be correct and in accordance with the teachings of Srila Prabhupada except for one very important mistake in the procedures for making offerings to the Deities.

Srila Prabhupada warned us:

“From now on unless I order you do something change or in addition, go on with the usual standard way. You manufacture ideas and then I have to waste my time. I have given you everything already, there is no need for you to add anything or change anything. Why you are asking these things? Who has given you such freedom?”

In 1975 at Srila Bhaksiddhanta’s appearance day festival in Gorakhpur Prabhupada confirmed the process of offering prasadam to the Deities which we must follow:

“The process is that whatever we offer to the Deity, that is offered to guru. And guru offers to his guru. In this way goes to Kṛṣṇa. We don’t directly offer Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. No. We have no right. Neither He accepts in that way. The pictures of the ācāryas, why there are? Actually, one has to offer the plate to his guru, and he’ll offer his guru, he offers his guru, his guru. In this way it will go to Kṛṣṇa. That is the process. You cannot directly approach Kṛṣṇa or other subordinates to Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible.”

This is the system Srila Prabhupada teaches us for offering bhoga to the Deities. We are to first offer it to Srila Prabhupada and he will offer it to his spiritual master and in this way it will go to Krishna through the disciplic succession. When Srila Prabhupada disappeared ISKCON changed the system and started offering to the new 11 zonal acharyas instead of to Srila Prabhupada. This system was still in place in ISKCON up till the mid 90’s but after so many of the “acharyas” fell down the ISKCON devotees no longer wanted to accept “prasadam” that was offered to ISKCON gurus as it was obvious many were not pure devotees and also the guru of the pujari was not the guru of many of the devotees in the temple and they did not like the idea of accepting prasadam offered to someone else’s guru. So the GBC came up with a new system for offering prasadam to the Deities. And this new system is described in this book on page 30 which reads:

Note: It should be understood that by the mercy of the spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, we are able to engage in the service of the Lord in His arch-vigraha, like offering bhoga and therefore we ask his permission first in order to be able to serve. Then at the end, after the offering, we meditate that Srila Prabhupada and your spiritual master, where appropriate, are taking taking the remnants both in Krishna-lila and Gaura-lila after all the associates have taken.”

This is unfortunately completely bogus, a complete concoction. Srila Prabhupada warned us in a 1973 letter to Dhruvananda:

“The greatest danger to our movement will come when we manufacture and create our own process for worshiping the deities. So don’t ask any more new questions, whatever is going on, follow it just to the exact standard as I have given you, that’s all.”

The most essential part of worshiping the Deities is the process of making offerings to Them and unfortunately this change by ISKCON turns the whole Deity Worship process Srila Prabhupada gave us on its head. It is very unlikely that the bhoga is being accepted by the Deities when offered in this concocted way.

So please replace the last paragraph on page 30 of the Deity Worship Manual with:

“The process is that whatever we offer to the Deity, that is offered to guru. And guru offers to his guru. In this way goes to Kṛṣṇa. We don’t directly offer Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. No. We have no right. Neither He accepts in that way. The pictures of the ācāryas, why there are? Actually, one has to offer the plate to his guru, and he’ll offer his guru, he offers his guru, his guru. In this way it will go to Kṛṣṇa. That is the process. You cannot directly approach Kṛṣṇa or other subordinates to Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible.”

Otherwise this book appears to be a very valuable guide to the process of Deity Worship as established by Srila Prabhupada.

You can get more information and purchase this book (for just $4.95!) at:

If you Love Me Distribute My Books -- Srila Prabhupada

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15 Responses to Deity Worship Manual from Krishna Balarama Temple

  1. jonathan says:

    “Published on June 5th, 2014 | by Madhudvisa dasa ”
    “Otherwise this book appears to be a very valuable guide to the process of Deity Worship as established by Srila Prabhupada.”

    ~?~Could you please tell your connection to Srila Prabhupad`s instructions for ISKCON Deity Puja~?~

    I have asked devotees for years, and so far ,none have told me they have direct instruction from Srila Prabhupad on this subject~?~
    you can find recordings of Srila Prabhupad chastising individual devotees for changing the instructions He gave them for ISKCON Deity Puja, but where are His instructions to read or hear on record~?~
    I would be very interested in reading or hearing Srila Prabhupad`s directions for offering ISKCON Deity Puja rather than the fantasy of unconscious sufferers wandering aimlessly…….

    • Hare Krishna Jonathan

      I have had a lot of direct instruction from Srila Prabhupada on the matter of Deity Worship. You can read it for yourself. It is not in one place but spread throughout the whole teachings of Srila Prabhupada. If you read everything. All books, letters, listen to all classes, lectures, conversations, etc. Then you will get this direct instruction from Srila Prabhupada as well as Prabhupada’s instructions on everything else.

      Also I have had the direct instruction from many devotees who were performing deity worship in ISKCON in the presence of Srila Prabhupada and I joined ISKCON in 1986 and stayed in so many ISKCON temples all over the world and saw the deity worship standard that Srila Prabhupada had established in the temples.

      Basically this book, published by Krishna Balaram Temple, is the Archan Padanti which Srila Prabhupada was asking Pradyumnya to translate and simplify many times but somehow he did not do it. Later it was published by Jayatirtha. So that is the source of this book.

      The deity worship system established by Srila Prabhupada was a little simpler. But Prabhupada did want a ‘short cut’ of the Archana Paddati published. It may be not ‘short cut’ enough. But that is basically what this book is and that is what Prabhupada asked for.

      It is not that Prabhupada actually saw this book however.

      I have seen it over the years that the Deity Worship in ISKCON has been complicated and they have invented special pujaris which they seem to find necessary to import from India. It was not like this in Prabhupada’s presence. It was not even like this in the 80’s. Then deity worship was something any Brahminicaly initiated devotee could do.

      So the point is it has to be established according to the time and place and according to the devotees. When Srila Prabhupada first installed the Jagannatha Deities in San Fransisco the deity worship was just waving a candle at the Deities and gradually it developed.

      So I am not sure what is your interest in this? Is it that you want to do deity worship yourself in your own house? Or what is is that you want to know.

      If you ask specific questions about what you want to actually know I can answer for you.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  2. Harry E Poindextet jahrah says:

    I have a original occasion arcana paddhari it’s turning to gold an white dust what do I have to format to save it if it can be I got it can1984 it’s in a zip lock plastic where no air can get to it . I don’t open the bag now for 12 years help me please I know I’m holding a miraculous document I’ve been.dealing with you devotees since 1973 when I wad a junior in highschool I a a Vegas for forty five years and master electronic flutist it’s in sage keeping ever nano second and beyond I live in Chicago call me please7738929090

  3. Jaya Gopal Dasa says:

    Dear Mataji,

    Thank you for your input.

    I am only a neophyte devotee having been given second initiation in 1980 and have never known any method than the one I am using now. That includes asking my Gurudev to basically allow me to be his hands and showing him each upacara before it is offered.

    We have some pujaris here at New Talavana who have much more and longer experience than I do and I will ask them about this as well.

    Dear devotees of our Lord Krishna, please forgive me if, in this conversation I have committed any offense. It is only because of my own sinfulness and my desire to become a real devotee that I sometimes become over zealous.

    your unworthy servant,

    Jaya Gopal Dasa Adhikari

  4. Madhavi dasi says:

    Just a little more input to Gaura Keshava’s comments about “standardizing the deity worship in ISKCON way back in the 80’s”. I’ve been around since 1977 and a pujari all this time (in Detroit, Dallas, and Alachua). He may not know it, but the devotees in Alachua where I now reside, resisted this CHANGE (from Srila Prabhupada’s originally “standardized” method of offering)for years. It wasn’t until this past decade that unfrotunately the GBC got it’s way and forced the change. Until then the arotikas and offerings were done the way Srila Prabhupada wanted.

    I also travelled to several temples in NA last summer…and guess what? I found that two of the three temples I visited Detroit and Toronto, were STILL doing the arotikas the “old way”! I’ve also been told that in Mayapur, the arotikas are done the old way! I’ll confirm this soon as I know someone who’s taking the Deity worship course there now. I guess there are a lot of devotees around the world who still prefer to follow Srila Prabhupada’s directions as well as the “sastric” directions for approaching the Supreme Lord through His pure representative.

    One other thing, and I may be wrong here, but I’ve checked with several devotees in the Narayana Maharaja sanga. I’ve been told by them that they completely support and adhere to Srila Prabhupada’s original method of worship and NOT this new concoction. I’d understood that GK had learned his methods from South Indian “brahmanas”…I may be wrong…

    My empathy to Jaya Gopala Prabhu. Yes, it is indeed disconcerting to see this kind of discussion going on. Unfortunately because the GBC will not openly and honestly discuss issues with senior devotees (who are not in their ranks) but simply “give orders”, this kind of avenue for discussion is the only means of addressing things…and it sometimes does not look very pleasant.

    Hare Krsna! And please forgive me for any errors or ommissions.

    Madhavi dasi

  5. Jaya Gopal Dasa says:

    Dear Gaura Keshava and Madhudvisa Prabhus,

    Please accept my most humble obeisance!

    I am not a scholar or an advanced devotee but a neophyte so I speak with straw in my mouth.

    I don’t know the origins of taking permission of guru to offer both bhoga and arotik to the Lord, but it could not have been in the 1990’s because that is the way it was done when I was initiated a full decade before it is ascribed to the GBC.

    Again, with bales of straw in my mouth, I must wonder if the tenor of this dispute is appropriate among vaishnavas? Surely we can be loving and civil even if we don’t agree on some point. I am a great sinner and constantly caught up in sense gratification so I and many devotees who are trying to become Krishna’s servants look to senior devotees like you to be our role models. Please accept that statement from a well meaning sinner.

    All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

    your unworthy servant,

    Jaya Gopal Dasa Adikhari

    • Hare Krishna Jaya Gopal Prabhu

      Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

      I know where this system came from. It is the Gaudiya-matha system and it was unauthorizedly introduced into ISKCON against the direct orders of Srila Prabhupada.

      The system of Deity Worship now being followed in ISKCON is fundamentally different from the system of deity worship Srila Prabhupada is teaching us. Prabhupada has warned us that if the deity worship system he established in ISKCON is changed then everything will be spoiled. And ISKCON have so fundamentally altered the Deity worship system to something quite different from what Srila Prabhupada established.

      Srila Prabhupada clearly teaches that we offer everything to him and then he offers to Srila Bhaktsiddhanta and so on and in this way the offering goes to Krisha through the disciplic succession. This is the very fundamental heart of the understanding of how offerings are made to the Deities in ISKCON temples and the GBC has completely changed this system.

      Srila Prabhupada clearly says that Krishna does not accept the offerings if they are offered directly to Krishna as they are in today’s ISKCON. That is not the way. So ISKCON’s offerings are not being accepted, it is remaining as bhoga… Because they have rejected the system of deity worship as taught by Srila Prabhupada.

      That is the sad situation and people have to know about it.

      Chant Hare Krishna and and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  6. lex says:

    wow. Very strong in prabhupada orders but I have been looking on how to worship Lord Jagannath deities as well as Prabhupada murti (the murti already has clothes painted on). I have looked all over and its all iskcon manual stuff written in the 1990s and on and the few things I do find from prabhupada letters he states the deities should be bathed in mantras (which I do not understand) and etc. Please can someone help me with: How do I bathe the deities and murti? If I even do bathe them? 2: How do I put them to rest and wake them? 3:How to do achaman and what do I chant while installing them? I am getting my deities and murti in a few days. I am scared to commit an a offense and want to do the best I can in worshiping. please someone help me.

    • Get the deity worship manual… The principle is the same for all the different deities, only the mula mantra is different.

      But Lord Jagannatha is very merciful so you can start with simple worship. The most important thing is that you have to be strictly following the four regulative principles and chanting at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours per day. Without these basic things you can not expect to do anything successfully in Krishna consciousness. And if you are sincerely doing these basic things Lord Jagannatha will accept whatever service you can offer. You have to at least have some kirtan in front of the deities daily and make some nice offering and offer some simple aroti. And if you start with this you can increase as time goes on…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  7. Gaura Keshava das says:

    Unfortunately you know little about deity worship and even less about ISKCON history. Srila Prabhupada wanted the deity worship in ISKCON standardized by following the manual Arcana Paddhati his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta used for standardizing it in his Gaudiya Maths. You misunderstand the system of offering and you should actually go to India and see the way traditional Vaisnavas perform sastra authorized deity worship. Plus it is not true that the system of taking permission from the guru and then offering everything first to the Lord arose in the 1990 from the GBC. Actually I personally standardized this sastric system which is what Srila Prabhupada wanted across both north and south europe and in other parts of the ISKCON world back in the 80’s. Srila Prabhupada in fact saw and approved of the Arcana Paddhati in 1977 in Mumbai before his departure. Please read your Vedabase. Educate yourself on Srila Prabhupada’s desires and also the sastras prescriptions on deity worship then you will delete the nonsense you have written above.

    • Hare Krishna Gaura Kesava Prabhu

      You are mistaken Prabhu. I know a great deal about ISKCON history and I know what Srila Prabhupada has taught us about Deity Worship. The changes you have made to the ISKCON Deity Worship system COMPLETELY DESTROY the whole principle Srila Prabhupada teaches us for making offerings to the Deities. This destruction of the Deity Worship system is one of the greatest problems in ISKCON and it is essential that this issue be resolved otherwise we can not even eat the bhoga that is offered to the Deities in the ISKCON temples in this bogus way you have concocted.

      You know Prabhu that Prabhupada teaches us that all offerings are to be made to the spiritual master as it is the position of the spiritual master to accept the offerings from the disciples and in turn he will offer the same to his spiritual master and in this way the offerings go from the disciples to Krishna via the disciplic succession. This is the fundamental principle that ISKCON is built on and you have completely destroyed this fundamental principle in the Deity Worship process.

      What makes you think that you are more intelligent than Srila Prabhupada? You have tried to “standardize” the Deity Worship in ISKCON and bring it in line with what they do in the Gaudiya Matha. But Prabhu we are not the Gaudiya Matha, we are Prabhupada’s movement and he has forbidden us from even visiting the Gaudiya Matha temples and from reading their books and has declared that they have disconnected themselves from the disciplic succession and called them ‘asara’, useless, even in writing in his purports to Sri Caitanya Caritamrta… And you have gone to the Gaudiya Matha to learn about Deity Worship and you are so bold as to throw Srila Prabhupada’s Deity Worship system out the window and install the Gaudiya Matha Deity Worship system in ISKCON.

      We are servants of Srila Prabhupada and we accept his orders and his instructions on how to worship the Deities. You think you are so intelligent and know so much more than Srila Prabhupada and you think the he gets it completely wrong when he teaches us about Deity Worship so you “fixed it.”

      And whoever in ISKCON approved of this is just as much to blame.

      You believe that you have the power to directly offer the bhoga to Krishna and Krishna will accept it directly from you and then you will offer that “Krishna prasadam” to Srila Prabhupada. Even though Srila Prabhupada repetitively explains that Krishna does not accept like this. We offer to our spiritual master and he offers through the disciplic succession and then everything goes to Krishna. Not that you can directly offer to Krishna.

      You have no idea about the history yourself Prabhu. Prabhupada wanted Pradumnya to make a ‘short cut’ version of Arcana Paddhati before 1977 and a number of letters about this. So he wanted this book in his physical presence, but a very short-cut version. Somehow it seems Pradyumna did not do it, or at least did not complete it, and the service was later done by Jaya Tirtha and that ‘Arcana Paddhati’ was accepted as the standard deity worship manual in ISKCON from that point on. So this original ISKCON ‘Arcana Paddhati’ describes the Deity Worship process as Srila Prabhupada teaches it.

      You openly admit that your teachings oppose the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. You are effectively claiming that you have corrected Prabhupada’s mistakes and brought the ISKCON Deity Worship System in line with the Gaudiya Matha. In your mind the Gaudiya Matha is right and Prabhupada is wrong. I am also sure that you do not agree with Srila Prabhupada when he says the Gaudiya Matha is disconnected from the parampara and is useless… Srila Prabhupada informs us that the Gaudiya Matha changed Bhaktsiddhanta’s books after his departure and I am sure they also encountered this ‘problem’ with offering bhoga to so many bogus gurus so they changed the Deity Worship system also. You can be sure that what Srila Prabhupada is teaching is bona fide and in line with the actual teachings of Srila Bhaktsiddhanta and what the Gaudiya Math is teaching is not.

      You clearly disagree with Srila Prabhupada’s direct instructions in regard to Deity Worship and you have replaced them with something else. This is your ticket to Hell and you will take the other ISKCON devotes with you who follow your bogus Deity Worship instructions.

      “The process is that whatever we offer to the Deity, that is offered to guru. And guru offers to his guru. In this way goes to Kṛṣṇa. We don’t directly offer Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. No. We have no right. Neither He accepts in that way. The pictures of the ācāryas, why there are? Actually, one has to offer the plate to his guru, and he’ll offer his guru, he offers his guru, his guru. In this way it will go to Kṛṣṇa. That is the process. You cannot directly approach Kṛṣṇa or other subordinates to Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible.”

      We have to follow the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. You are claiming Prabhupada’s instructions–when it comes to Deity Worship– are wrong. So where does that put you?

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • ananya says:

        pranam prabhuji

        FATHER i have one question- where can i get the complete procedure of deity worshop ???is it there in NECTAR OF DEVOTION Aby HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C BHAKTIBEDANTA SRILA PRABHUPADA.Kindly reply

        • You can get the complete deity worship manual of how they worship Sri Sri Krishna Balaram at Vrindavan here:

          It is all OK except for the place where they describe the order of offering the items to the deities. We have to offer everything first to Srila Prabhupada then through the disciplic succession to Krishna. ISKCON have turned the deity worship system upside down and offer everything directly to Krishna and then off Krishna prasadam to Srila Prabhupada. They are stupid. They purposely reject the deity worship system given by Srila Prabhupada and concoct some nonsense.

          But everything else in this book, except the order in which they offer the items to the deities, seems OK.

          I am not a great expert on deity worship. So that is all I can suggest at this time.

          There is a lot of information about deity worship in Srila Prabhupada’s books, throughout his lectures and letters, etc, but there is no one place where this information is complied together. And Srila Prabhupada instructed his disciples to make a ‘short cut’ version of Archana-paddati, which is the Gaudiya-Vaisnava text book on deity worship. This was not done in Srila Prabhupada’s personal presence although apparently it was started by Pradumnumna Prabhu. It was completed late by Jayatirtha. And this book that Krishna Balaram temple use is based on that.

          So that is the current situation in regard to the complete procedure of deity worship.

          I will write an article on this when I get time.

          That book has a fairly elaborate procedure and it can be adjusted according to the circumstances.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

  8. Madhavi dasi says:


    Thanks for sending on the enclosed. I must say I was concerned initially, that you’d be directing people to worship the Deity the way that He is being worshipped at Krsna-Balarama Mandir, as I’d assumed that the devotees there are worshipping the Deities the way they are worshipping Them in all the ISKCON temples now. I was glad to see that you clarified this ever-so-important point of offerring bhoga the way that Srila PRabhupada instructed: to Srila Prabhupada, who offers it to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta…and on up to Krsna. This is, of course, one of the disturbing aspects of visiting Srila Prabhupada’s temples anymore (just ONE of course).

    But, Prabhu, I have to tell you that the danger is just not with the offerring of bhoga. The same changes have been made to the way the arotikas are offerred! Are you not aware of that?! That is the more “visible” deviation. If you watch a pujari these days do an arotika, the procedure is the same as the way they offer the bhoga: merely “taking permission” from Srila Prabhupada (or their “guru”) and then going STRAIGHT to Krsna! Then after they “offer” the article to Krsna the “prasad” is then offerred to Srimati Radharani, then to Krsna Balarama (or Lord Jagannatha, etc.), then to Lord Chaitanya, then to Lord Nityananda, then to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, then to Srila Prabhupada! Yep, They are all so fortunate to receive the “prasad” of the offerring that the pujari has DIRECTLY made to the Supreme Lord, without being offerred through the via media of Srila Prabhupada and the parampara!

    Please look into it, if you will. I know it’s being done all over ISKCON and the “old” way is NOT tolerated! I haven’t read it, but I know it’s all outlined in their “new” Deity worship handbook…”authorized” by the GBC and it’s Deity Worship Ministry. I would suggest that you might want to make as big an issue of this too and send out another letter to that effect. As you so nicely warned people of the “bhoga” deviation, so they should be warned of this danger too.

    Your servant,

    Madhavi dasi

  9. Visvakarma dasa says:

    Here is a new unreleased film on the preaching work done in Iskcon Toronto back in 1982.

About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna."I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can.That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental!That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

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