Japanga seva and Bhaktyanga seva
Japanaga seva (Regulated Temple Deity Worship)
Bhaktyanga seva (Deity Worship performed at home)
last updated 12th July 2006

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Japanga – Bhaktyanga seva from HBV


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 8/503 from SKANDA PURANA Yamaraja instructs his messengers)

 "When someone worships the Supreme Lord in the temple, he must follow rules and regulations properly,
but when he worships the Lord in his house, he can worship as he likes, but he should not break his vows."

 Srila Sanatana Gosvami gives his Digdarsani commentary on this verse saying that when somebody worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the temple he has to observe special rules of worship such as instructions laid down for worship, the proper time, ingredients, and the worshipper (the worshipper should be a twice born person). It is stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.11.41, (see this verse and accompanying verses)

One should offer the proper ingredients to the Supreme Lord punctually, daily, according to the rules and regulations, and offer the Lord his respectful obeisances at least three times a day according to the rules and regulations, from the front, from the back, from the left side of the Lord. A devotee should not see Krsna in forbidden moments, his eating time etc. Lord Varaha has spoken regarding making offenses in the temple, if someone avoids these offenses, then he will attain the positive perfection.

He also said that even on fasting days he should offer food to the Supreme Lord and on the day after Ekadasi (the Dvadasi day), he should put the Lord to sleep in the daytime as well. (On the day after Ekadasi, sleeping is not allowed). But in his own house, he can worship the Lord as he likes. Whatever ingredients, according to rules and regulations which he can get and according to his ability to afford to worship the Lord, that much he should use for worshipping. In the temple, he must concern himself with following many rules, but in his own house, he has his family to support, he has his business, and above that he has is own servants, and respectable guests and relatives. Therefore the temple rules and regulations do not govern. Due to his own family and unexpected Vaisnava guests, sometimes in the house, the quantity of food offering to the Lord is reduced and sometimes it is increased. (In the temple, there is a fixed amount of food cooked every day regardless of extra guests or otherwise.)

Whatever vows he is following, these rules should be added to them, such as eating of eggplants and pink dahl should be given up daily, not shaving on dasami day (the day before Ekadasi). In Caturmasya he should give up eating green leafy vegetables and uprooted plants, etc. and on dvadasi day he should give up sleeping in the daytime, etc. One should protect himself from breaking these rules and to follow proper rules. One should not offer food grains to anybody on fasting days. Whatever ingredients he uses to please himself, all of these should be offered to the Lord. Due to specific devotional laws, whatever is offered to the Lord due to not breaking his fasting vows, he should not use it for himself. He should give them to other Vaisnavas or throw it in the water. (Like on Ekadasi, he may offer grains but not eat them himself. He may give them to Vaisnavas because they will save them until the next day or he may throw them in the water).

One should try to engage himself in unalloyed devotion to the Lord. If there are some laws which he fails to follow according to his vows, the fault of offence is decreased. Sometimes while worshiping, some specific devotional rules of temple worship can be used. Traditional service to the Supreme Lord should be properly executed although one should protect the breaking of his own vows, sometimes somebody's special devotion should be accepted without caring for his own vows, but one should not act against Lord Krsna etc. One should fast during Karttika. One should not speak about his own fasting vows to others. By doing so one becomes greatly offensive. Furthermore, although even in the house many offenses of worship are forgiven yet, one should not talk too loudly, engage in idle talks, etc. Such offences should be generally given up. These rules should be known properly. At least once or twice a day, worship of the Lord should be done within the house and pay obeisances to the Lord. One can eat sitting near the Lord. There are many other laws which are difficult to follow in the house which are forgiven. Otherwise, there are thirty-two offenses. One should avoid eating in front of the Lord. One should not offer food without Tulasi leaves, etc. which can be avoided because it is worship within the house.

Excerpt of Archana Paddhati Introduction

Deity worship is divided into two types.  One is called japanga-arcana and the other is called bhaktyanga-arcana. Deity worship which aims at the attainment of some end by means of regular recital of mantras or prescribed prayers is called japanga-arcana.  Japanga-arcana is not strictly a branch of pure devotional service.  It falls within the realm of fruitive activities, being typified by such activities as the worship of the materialistic smarta-brahmanas.  But worship performed purely for the purpose of pleasing the Lord is considered pure devotional service.  The worship of the pure devotees, following the footsteps of Srila Rupa Gosvami, is in this category.  The use of mudras, or the performance of nyasa, pranayama (breathing exercises), or the methods of calling of the Lord which are part of the japanaga-arcana, are not required in the worship of the Supreme Lord.
Bhaktyanga-arcana, or worship of the Supreme Lord in the realm of devotional service, is of two varieties.  The worship of salagrama-sila, Govardhana-sila or other forms of the Lord which is performed by householders within their homes is one variety, and that found in the temples of formally installed Deities of the Lord is the second.  The first kind is performed with ingredients according to the means of the householder and is therefore reduced or shortened service.  The second type is the worship of the Supreme Lord as a king, in awe and reverence.  In such kingly service, regular worship is a necessity;  if it is otherwise, sinful reaction is incurred.  Everything must be sacrificed for the satisfaction of the Lord.  The strictness of the rules and regulations involved in such service must, in all respects, be protected.  The rules and regulations established according to place, time and circumstances must be strictly kept without deviation, with firm faith.  Householders, and those who have given up their homes but are carrying on simple Deity worship, are able to offer foodstuffs to the Lord more or less according to the needs of their own families, of associate Vaisnavas, or of guests who come to them.  But in kingly service of the Deity everything must be regulated.  On days when there is fasting, such as Ekadasi, food grains must be offered to the Lord.  On those days, the offered food grains should not be taken as maha-prasada, but saved for the next day or given to others.  One should be sure to offer the Lord fruits and vegetables when they come into season and to offer the service which may be relevant to that season (e.g. in the month of Damodara, etc.)

Beginning with the awakening of the Lord in the brahma-muhurta until the offering of flowers when He takes rest, there are different types of services to be performed and these are generally grouped in five divisions as follows:
1.  Abhigamana.  This means cleansing the temple and taking away the items of prasada, such as garlands.

2.  Upadana.  This is the collecting of flowers and Tulasi-devi and gathering together different scents and other ingredients for Deity worship.

3.  Yoga.  This is contemplation of oneself in one's pure spiritual form, above the dead body and mind, as the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord in Vrndavana or Vaikuntha.

4.  Svadhyaya.  This means the chanting of the holy name and one's guru-given mantra (after considering its meaning), loud chanting of the holy name, reciting prayers, congregational chanting and studying of the scriptures which establish pure devotional service and follow the conclusions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, such as Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Caitanya-caritamrta.

5.  Ijya.  This is the service of one's own worshipful Deity in the varieties relevant to that Deity.

This Pancanga, or five-branched Deity worship, is not of the nature of non-eternal, fruitive activity, but is eternal and pure, and is a branch of pure devotional service which helps one attain the direct association of the Supreme Lord.  Therefore, for those devotees who accept the principles of Srimad-Bhagavatam, this shortened Arcana-paddhati, which is in complete accordance with the followers of Srila Rupa Gosvami, has been compiled from the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, written by Srila Sanatana Gosvami and from the books, instructions and treatises of the other mahajanas.
Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja
     (Srila A.C. Bnaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's sannyasa-guru)

paricaryä stutiù prahva-

mat-kathä-çravaëe çraddhä
mad-anudhyänam uddhava

mama parvänumodanam
goñöhébhir mad-gåhotsavaù

yäträ bali-vidhänaà ca
vaidiké täntriké dékñä

mamärcä-sthäpane çraddhä
svataù saàhatya codyamaù

gåha-çuçrüñaëaà mahyaà
däsa-vad yad amäyayä

amänitvam adambhitvaà
api dépävalokaà me
nopayuïjyän niveditam

yad yad iñöatamaà loke
yac cäti-priyam ätmanaù
tat tan nivedayen mahyaà
tad änantyäya kalpate

mat-liìga—My appearance in this world as the Deity, etc.; mat-bhakta jana—My devotees; darçana—seeing; sparçana—touching; arcanam—and worshiping; paricaryä—rendering personal service; stutiù—offering prayers of glorification; prahva—obeisances; guëa—My qualities; karma—and activities; anukértanam—constantly glorifying; mat-kathä—topics about Me; çravaëe—in hearing; çraddhä—faith due to love; mat-anudhyänam—always meditating on Me; uddhava—O Uddhava; sarva-läbha—all that one acquires; upaharaëam—offering; däsyena—by accepting oneself as My servant; ätma-nivedanam—self-surrender; mat-janma-karma-kathanam—glorifying My birth and activities; mama—My; parva—in festivals such as Janmäñöamé; anumodanam—taking great pleasure; géta—by songs; täëòava—dancing; väditra—musical instruments; goñöhébhiù—and discussions among devotees; mat-gåha—in My temple; utsavaù—festivals; yäträ—celebrations; bali-vidhänam—making offerings; ca—also; sarva—in all; värñika—annual; parvasu—in the celebrations; vaidiké—mentioned in the Vedas; täntriké—mentioned in literatures such as the Païcarätra; dékñä—initiation; madéya—in relation to Me; vrata—vows; dhäraëam—observing; mama—My; arcä—of the Deity form; sthäpane—in the installation; çraddhä—being faithfully attached; svataù—by oneself; saàhatya—with others; ca—also; udyamaù—endeavor; udyäna—of flower gardens; upavana—orchards; äkréòa—places of pastimes; pura—devotional cities; mandira—and temples; karmaëi—in the construction; sammärjana—by thoroughly sweeping and dusting; upalepäbhyäm—then by smearing water and cow dung; seka—by sprinkling scented water; maëòala-vartanaiù—by construction of maëòalas; gåha-of the temple, which is My home; çuçrüñaëam—service; mahyam—for My sake; däsa-vat—being like a servant; yat—which; amäyayä—without duplicity; amänitvam—being without false prestige; adambhitvam—being prideless; kåtasya—one's devotional activities; aparikértanam—not advertising; api—moreover; dépa—of lamps; avalokam—the light; me—which belong to Me; na—not; upayuïjyät—one should engage; niveditam—things already offered to others; yat yat—anything; iñöa-tamam—most desired; loke—in the material world; yat ca—and anything; ati-priyam—most dear; ätmanaù—of oneself; tat tat—that very thing; nivedayet—one should offer; mahyam—unto Me; tat—that offering; änantyäya—for immortality; kalpate-qualifies one.

My dear Uddhava, one can give up false pride and prestige by engaging in the following devotional activities. One may purify oneself by seeing, touching, worshiping, serving, and offering prayers of glorification and obeisances to My form as the Deity and to My pure devotees. One should also glorify My transcendental qualities and activities, hear with love and faith the narrations of My glories and constantly meditate on Me. One should offer to Me whatever one acquires, and accepting oneself as My eternal servant, one should give oneself completely to Me. One should always discuss My birth and activities and enjoy life by participating in festivals, such as Janmäñöamé, which glorify My pastimes. In My temple, one should also participate in festivals and ceremonies by singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and discussing Me with other Vaiñëavas. One should observe all the regularly celebrated annual festivals by attending ceremonies, pilgrimages and making offerings. One should also observe religious vows such as Ekädaçé and take initiation by the procedures mentioned in the Vedas, Païcarätra and other, similar literatures. One should faithfully and lovingly support the installation of My Deity, and individually or in cooperation with others one should work for the construction of Kåñëa conscious temples and cities as well as flower gardens, fruit gardens and special areas to celebrate My pastimes. One should consider oneself to be My humble servant, without duplicity, and thus should help to clean the temple, which is My home. First one should sweep and dust thoroughly, and then one should further cleanse with water and cow dung. Having dried the temple, one should sprinkle scented water and decorate the temple with mandalas. One should thus act just like My servant. A devotee should never advertise his devotional activities; therefore his service will not be the cause of false pride. One should never use lamps that are offered to Me for other purposes simply because there is need of illumination, and similarly, one should never offer to Me anything that has been offered to or used by others. Whatever is most desired by one within this material world, and whatever is most dear to oneself—one should offer that very thing to Me. Such an offering qualifies one for eternal life. (Srimad Bhagavatam 11:11:34-41)

"While located in the mayic world man must live peacefully with the object of cultivating the spirit. In his society he must lead a pure life, avoid sins and do as much good as he can to his brother man. He must be himself humble bearing difficulties of life with heroism, must not brag of any goodness or grandeur he has and must treat everyone with the respect due to him. Marriage with a view to peaceful and virtuous life and with a view to procreate servants of the Lord is a good institution for a Vaishnava. Spiritual cultivation is the main object of life. Do everything that helps it and abstain from doing anything which thwarts the cultivation of the spirit. Have a strong faith that Krishna alone protects you and NO ONE ELSE. Admit Him as your only guardian. Do everything which you know Krishna wishes you to do and never think that you do a thing independent of the holy wish of Krishna. Do all that you do with humility. Always remember that you are a sojourner is this world and you must be prepared for your own home. Do your duties and cultivate bhakti as a means to obtain the great end of life, Krishna-priti. Employ your body, mind and spirit in the service of the Deity. In all your actions, worship the Great Lord. Do these with your heart, mind and strength in the company of spiritual people alone, and you will see Krishna in no time."

Srila Sac-Cid Ananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur Prabhupad 1896