Published on April 9th, 2023 | by Madhudvisa dasa31
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: