Lord Kåñëa’s Instructions on the Process of Deity Worship

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Lord Kåñëa’s Instructions on the Process of Deity Worship

Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 11.27th chapter Summary

In this chapter the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains the process of kriyä-yoga, or Deity worship.

Worshiping the Deity form of the Supreme Lord automatically brings purity and satisfaction to the mind. Thus it is the source of all desirable gains. If a person has no engagement in Deity service he will simply remain attracted to material sense gratification, and he will have no hope of giving up bad association. The Personality of Godhead has given instruction, among the regulations of the Sätvata scriptures, on the process of worshiping Him as the bona fide Deity. Brahmä, Çiva, Närada, Vyäsa and all other sages have recommended this process described by the Lord as most perfectly beneficial for all the occupational classes and spiritual orders of human society, including even the women and çüdras.

There are three varieties of arcana, Deity worship, based on either the original Vedas, the secondary tantras, or a combination of these. The Deity image, the ground, the fire, the sun, the water and the heart of the worshiper are all true locations of the Deity’s presence. The Deity form to be worshiped may be constructed of any one of eight substances—stone, wood, metal, clay, paint, sand (drawn upon the ground), the mind or jewels. These categories are further subdivided into two: temporary and permanent.

The details of the worshiping process are as follows: The devotee should bathe both physically and by chanting mantras, and then he should perform the utterance of Gäyatré at the prescribed juncture of the day. He should arrange a seat facing either east or north, or else directly facing the Deity, and should bathe and clean the Deity. Then he should present clothing and ornaments, sprinkle water on the vessels and other paraphernalia to be used in the worship, and offer water for bathing the Deity’s feet, arghya, water for washing His mouth, fragrant oils, incense, lamps, flowers and food preparations. After this, one should worship the Lord’s personal servants and bodyguards, His consort energies, and the spiritual masters by chanting their respective müla-mantras. The worshiper should recite prayers from the Puräëas and other sources, offer obeisances flat on the ground, beg for benediction, and place on himself the remnants of the Lord’s garlands.

Included in this method of Deity worship are the proper installation of the transcendental Deity by constructing a fine temple, and also the conducting of processions and other festivals. By worshiping Lord Çré Hari with unconditional devotion in this manner, one gains access to pure loving service to His lotus feet. But if one steals property that has been given as charity to the Deity or the brähmaëas, whether given by himself or by others, he will have to take his next birth as a stool-eating worm.

SB 11.27.1
çré-uddhava uväca
kriyä-yogaà samäcakñva
bhavad-ärädhanaà prabho
yasmät tväà ye yathärcanti
sätvatäù sätvatarñabha

çré-uddhavaù uväca—Çré Uddhava said; kriyä-yogam—the prescribed method of activity; samäcakñva—please explain; bhavat—of You; ärädhanam—the Deity worship; prabho—O Lord; yasmät—based on what kind of form; tväm—You; ye—who; yathä—in what manner; arcanti—they worship; sätvatäù—the devotees; sätvata-åñabha—O master of the devotees.

Çré Uddhava said: My dear Lord, O master of the devotees, please explain to me the prescribed method of worshiping You in Your Deity form. What are the qualifications of those devotees who worship the Deity, on what basis is such worship established, and what is the specific method of worship?

In addition to performing their prescribed duties, devotees of the Lord engage in regulated worship of the Lord in His Deity form in the temple. Such worship acts powerfully to cleanse the heart of both the lust to enjoy one’s material body and the material family attachment that results directly from this lust. To be effective, however, the process of Deity worship must be performed in the authorized way. Therefore Uddhava now inquires from the Lord about this subject.

SB 11.27.2
etad vadanti munayo
muhur niùçreyasaà nåëäm
närado bhagavän vyäsa
äcäryo ’ìgirasaù sutaù

etat—this; vadanti—they say; munayaù—the great sages; muhuù—repeatedly; niùçreyasam—the highest goal of life; nåëäm—for men; näradaù—Närada Muni; bhagavän vyäsaù—Çréla Vedavyäsa; äcäryaù—my spiritual master; aìgirasaù—of Aìgirä; sutaù—the son.

All the great sages repeatedly declare that such worship brings the greatest benefit possible in human life. This is the opinion of Närada Muni, the great Vyäsadeva and my own spiritual master, Båhaspati.

SB 11.27.3-4
niùsåtaà te mukhämbhojäd
yad äha bhagavän ajaù
putrebhyo bhågu-mukhyebhyo
devyai ca bhagavän bhavaù
etad vai sarva-varëänäm
äçramäëäà ca sammatam
çreyasäm uttamaà manye
stré-çüdräëäà ca mäna-da

niùsåtam—emanated; te—Your; mukha-ambhojät—from the lotus mouth; yat—which; äha—spoke; bhagavän—the great lord; ajaù—self-born Brahmä; putrebhyaù—to his sons; bhågu-mukhyebhyaù—headed by Bhågu; devyai—to the goddess Pärvaté; ca—and; bhagavän bhavaù—Lord Çiva; etat—this (process of Deity worship); vai—indeed; sarva-varëänäm—by all the occupational classes of society; äçramäëäm—and spiritual orders; ca—also; sammatam—approved; çreyasäm—of different kinds of benefit in life; uttamam—the topmost; manye—I think; stré—for women; çüdräëäm—and low-class workers; ca—also; mäna-da—O magnanimous Lord.

O most magnanimous Lord, the instructions on this process of Deity worship first emanated from Your lotus mouth. Then they were spoken by the great Lord Brahmä to his sons, headed by Bhågu, and by Lord Çiva to his wife, Pärvaté. This process is accepted by and appropriate for all the occupational and spiritual orders of society. Therefore I consider worship of You in Your Deity form to be the most beneficial of all spiritual practices, even for women and çüdras.

SB 11.27.5
etat kamala-paträkña
bhaktäya cänuraktäya
brühi viçveçvareçvara

etat—this; kamala-patra-akña—O lotus-eyed Lord; karma-bandha—from the bondage of material work; vimocanam—the means of liberation; bhaktäya—to Your devotee; anuraktäya—who is very attached; brühi—please speak; viçva-éçvara—of all the lords of the universe; éçvara—O Supreme Lord.

O lotus-eyed one, O Supreme Lord of all lords of the universe, please explain to Your devoted servant this means of liberation from the bondage of work.

SB 11.27.6
çré-bhagavän uväca
na hy anto ’nanta-pärasya
karma-käëòasya coddhava
saìkñiptaà varëayiñyämi
yathävad anupürvaçaù

çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; na—there is not; hi—indeed; antaù—any end; ananta-pärasya—of the boundless; karma-käëòasya—Vedic prescriptions for the execution of worship; ca—and; uddhava—O Uddhava; saìkñiptam—in brief; varëayiñyämi—I shall explain; yathä-vat—in a suitable manner; anupürvaçaù—in the appropriate order.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, there is no end to the innumerable Vedic prescriptions for executing Deity worship; so I shall explain this topic to you briefly, one step at a time.

Here the word karma-käëòa refers to the various Vedic methods of worship, culminating in Deity worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just as the means of sense gratification and material renunciation are innumerable, the transcendental pastimes and qualities the Supreme Personality of Godhead enjoys in His own abode, called Vaikuëöha, are also innumerable. The various concepts of piety and methods of purification in the material world ultimately cannot be reconciled amongst themselves without accepting the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, since without appreciation of Him there is no definitive understanding of what is actually obligatory for a human being. Even though almost all human beings are engaged in various processes of worship, the Lord will now summarize this topic, describing how one should worship Him in His Deity form.

SB 11.27.7
vaidikas täntriko miçra
iti me tri-vidho makhaù
trayäëäm épsitenaiva
vidhinä mäà samarcaret

vaidikaù—according to the four Vedas; täntrikaù—according to practical, explanatory literatures; miçraù—mixed; iti—thus; me—of Me; tri-vidhaù—of three kinds; makhaù—sacrifice; trayäëäm—of the three; épsitena—that which one feels to be most suitable; eva—certainly; vidhinä—by the process; mäm—Me; samarcaret—one should properly worship.

One should carefully worship Me by selecting one of the three methods by which I receive sacrifice: Vedic, tantric or mixed.

Vaidika refers to sacrifice performed with mantras from the four Vedas and auxiliary Vedic literature. Täntrika refers to such literatures as the Païcarätra and the Gautaméya-tantra. And “mixed” indicates utilization of both literatures. It should be remembered that superficial imitation of elaborate Vedic sacrifices will not bring one the actual perfection of life. One must perform sacrifice according to the prescription of the Supreme Lord, who recommends for this age the chanting of His holy names: Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare.

SB 11.27.8
yadä sva-nigamenoktaà
dvijatvaà präpya püruñaù
yathä yajeta mäà bhaktyä
çraddhayä tan nibodha me

yadä—when; sva—specified according to one’s qualification; nigamena—by the Vedas; uktam—enjoined; dvijatvam—the status of becoming twice-born; präpya—achieving; püruñaù—a person; yathä—in which way; yajeta—he should execute worship; mäm—unto Me; bhaktyä—with devotion; çraddhayä—with faith; tat—that; nibodha—please hear; me—from Me.

Now please listen faithfully as I explain exactly how a person who has achieved twice-born status through the relevant Vedic prescriptions should worship Me with devotion.

The word sva-nigamena refers to the particular Vedic injunctions relevant to one’s social and occupational status. Members of the brähmaëa, kñatriya and vaiçya communities all achieve dvijatvam, twice-born status, by initiation into the Gäyatré mantra. Traditionally, fully qualified brähmaëa boys may be initiated at age eight, kñatriyas at eleven and vaiçyas at twelve, provided the proper conditions are met. Having achieved twice-born status, one should faithfully worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His form of the Deity, as the Lord Himself will describe.

SB 11.27.9
arcäyäà sthaëòile ’gnau vä
sürye väpsu hådi dvijaù
dravyeëa bhakti-yukto ’rcet
sva-guruà mäm amäyayä

arcäyäm—within the Deity form; sthaëòile—in the earth; agnau—in fire; vä—or; sürye—in the sun; vä—or; apsu—in water; hådi—in the heart; dvijaù—the brähmaëa; dravyeëa—by various paraphernalia; bhakti-yuktaù—endowed with devotion; arcet—he should worship; sva-gurum—his worshipable Lord; mäm—Me; amäyayä—without any deception.

A twice-born person should worship Me, his worshipable Lord, without duplicity, offering appropriate paraphernalia in loving devotion to My Deity form or to a form of Me appearing upon the ground, in fire, in the sun, in water or within the worshiper’s own heart.

SB 11.27.10
pürvaà snänaà prakurvéta
dhauta-danto ’ìga-çuddhaye
ubhayair api ca snänaà
mantrair måd-grahaëädinä

pürvam—first; snänam—bath; prakurvéta—one should perform; dhauta—having cleaned; dantaù—his teeth; aìga—of the body; çuddhaye—for purification; ubhayaiù—with both kinds; api ca—also; snänam—bathing; mantraiù—with mantras; måt-grahaëa-ädinä—by smearing with earth and so on.

One should first purify his body by cleansing his teeth and bathing. Then one should perform a second cleansing by smearing the body with earth and chanting both Vedic and tantric mantras.

SB 11.27.11
vedenäcoditäni me
püjäà taiù kalpayet samyak-
saìkalpaù karma-pävaném

sandhyä—at the three junctures of the day (dawn, noon and sunset); upästi—worship (by chanting the Gäyatré mantra); ädi—and so on; karmäëi—prescribed duties; vedena—by the Vedas; äcoditäni—recommended; me—My; püjäm—worship; taiù—by these activities; kalpayet—one should perform; samyak-saìkalpaù—who has perfectly fixed his determination (that the object of his endeavor will be the Personality of Godhead); karma—the reaction of fruitive work; pävaném—which eradicates.

Fixing the mind on Me, one should worship Me by his various prescribed duties, such as chanting the Gäyatré mantra at the three junctures of the day. Such performances are enjoined by the Vedas and purify the worshiper of reactions to fruitive activities.

SB 11.27.12
çailé däru-mayé lauhé
lepyä lekhyä ca saikaté
mano-mayé maëi-mayé
pratimäñöa-vidhä småtä

çailé—made of stone; däru-mayé—made of wood; lauhé—made of metal; lepyä—made of clay, sandalwood and other substances laid down as a paste; lekhyä—painted; ca—and; saikaté—made of sand; manaù-mayé—conceived of in the mind; maëi-mayé—made of jewels; pratimä—the Deity; añöa-vidhä—in eight varieties; småtä—it is remembered.

The Deity form of the Lord is said to appear in eight varieties—stone, wood, metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind or jewels.

Çréla Jéva Gosvämé explains that certain Deity forms, such as those made of sand, are manifested for a brief time to fulfill a personal desire of the worshiper. Those, however, who desire to attain pure love of God should worship the permanent form of the Deity (made, for instance, of marble, gold or brass), and they should maintain continual worship. In Kåñëa consciousness there is no scope for neglecting the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

SB 11.27.13
caläcaleti dvi-vidhä
pratiñöhä jéva-mandiram
udväsävähane na staù
sthiräyäm uddhavärcane

calä—movable; acalä—immovable; iti—thus; dvi-vidhä—of two varieties; pratiñöä—the installation; jéva-mandiram—of the Deity, who is the shelter of all living entities; udväsa—sending away; ävähane—and calling forth; na staù—are not done; sthiräyäm—for the permanently established Deity; uddhava—My dear Uddhava; arcane—in His worship.

The Deity form of the Lord, who is the shelter of all living entities, can be established in two ways: temporarily or permanently. But a permanent Deity, having been called, can never be sent away, My dear Uddhava.

The devotees of the Lord understand themselves to be the Lord’s eternal servitors; recognizing the Deity to be the Lord Himself, they permanently install the Deity and engage in perpetual worship. The impersonalists, however, regard the eternal form of the Lord as a temporary manifestation of illusion. In fact, they regard the Deity form as a mere stepping-stone in their ambitious program to become God. Materialistic persons of whatever stripe consider the Lord to be their order supplier, and so they make temporary arrangements for religious ceremonies to achieve temporary material sense gratification. This temporary mode of worship is favored by those desiring to exploit the Personality of Godhead for their personal ends, whereas the loving devotees in Kåñëa consciousness eternally engage in worship of the Personality of Godhead. They install permanent Deities meant to be worshiped perpetually.

SB 11.27.14
asthiräyäà vikalpaù syät
sthaëòile tu bhaved dvayam
snapanaà tv avilepyäyäm
anyatra parimärjanam

asthiräyäm—in the case of the temporarily installed Deity; vikalpaù—an option (as to whether the Deity is to be called and sent away); syät—there is; sthaëòile—in the case of the Deity traced upon the ground; tu—but; bhavet—do occur; dvayam—these two rituals; snapanam—the bathing; tu—but; avilepyäyäm—in the case when the Deity is not made out of clay (or paint or wood); anyatra—in the other cases; parimärjanam—thorough cleansing, but without water.

The Deity that is temporarily established can optionally be called forth and sent away, but these two rituals should always be performed when the Deity is traced upon the ground. Bathing should be done with water except if the Deity is made of clay, paint or wood, in which cases a thorough cleansing without water is enjoined.

Various classes of devotees worship the Deity of the Personality of Godhead according to their various stages of faith in the Lord. An advanced devotee of Lord Kåñëa understands his eternal loving relationship with the Lord and, seeing the Deity as the Lord Himself, establishes an eternal relationship with the Deity based on loving servitude to Him. Understanding Lord Kåñëa to be the eternal form of bliss and knowledge, a faithful devotee makes a permanent arrangement for Deity worship, installing the Lord’s form made of, for example, stone, wood or marble.
The çälagräma-çilä is considered to be automatically installed even without the formal ceremony, and so it is forbidden to call the Deity with mantras or ask the Deity to leave. On the other hand, if one prepares a Deity form by drawing on sanctified ground or by constructing a sand image, one must call the Deity with mantras and then ask the Deity to leave the external form, which will soon be demolished by the natural elements.
The general principle is that a pure devotee of the Lord understands his relationship with the Deity to be eternal. The more one surrenders in loving devotion to the Deity, the more one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Kåñëa is a person, but He is the Supreme Person, possessing His own unique feelings. One can easily please the Lord by devotional service offered to His Deity form. By pleasing the Lord one can gradually progress in the mission of human life and eventually go back home, back to Godhead, where the Deity personally appears before the devotee and welcomes the devotee to His personal abode, known throughout the world as the kingdom of God.

SB 11.27.15
dravyaiù prasiddhair mad-yägaù
pratimädiñv amäyinaù
bhaktasya ca yathä-labdhair
hådi bhävena caiva hi

dravyaiù—with items of paraphernalia; prasiddhaiù—excellent; mat-yägaù—My worship; pratimä-ädiñu—in the different Deity forms; amäyinaù—who has no material desire; bhaktasya—of a devotee; ca—and; yathä-labdhaiù—by whatever paraphernalia he can easily obtain; hådi—in the heart; bhävena—by mental conception; ca—and; eva hi—certainly.

One should worship Me in My Deity forms by offering the most excellent paraphernalia. But a devotee completely freed from material desire may worship Me with whatever he is able to obtain, and may even worship Me within his heart with mental paraphernalia.

A devotee still troubled by material desire tends to see the world as an object of sense gratification. Such a neophyte devotee may misunderstand the Lord’s supreme position and may even consider the Lord an object of his own enjoyment. Hence the neophyte must offer opulent paraphernalia to the Deity so that he may constantly remember that the Deity is the supreme enjoyer and that he, the neophyte, is simply the worshiper and is actually meant for the Deity’s pleasure. In contrast, an advanced devotee, one fixed in Kåñëa consciousness, never forgets that the Supreme Lord is the actual enjoyer and controller of everything. The pure devotee offers his unalloyed love to the Personality of Godhead along with whatever paraphernalia is easily obtained. A Kåñëa conscious devotee does not waver in his devotion to Lord Kåñëa, and even with the simplest offering he completely satisfies the Personality of Godhead.

SB 11.27.16-17
TEXTS 16–17
snänälaìkaraëaà preñöham
arcäyäm eva tüddhava
sthaëòile tattva-vinyäso
vahnäv äjya-plutaà haviù
sürye cäbhyarhaëaà preñöhaà
salile salilädibhiù
çraddhayopähåtaà preñöhaà
bhaktena mama väry api

snäna—bathing; alaìkaraëam—and decorating with clothing and ornaments; preñöham—is most appreciated; arcäyäm—for the Deity form; eva—certainly; tu—and; uddhava—O Uddhava; sthaëòile—for the Deity drawn upon the ground; tattva-vinyäsaù—establishing the expansions and potencies of the Lord within the various limbs of the Deity by chanting the respective mantras; vahnau—for the sacrificial fire; äjya—in ghee; plutam—drenched; haviù—the oblations of sesame, barley and so on; sürye—for the sun; ca—and; abhyarhaëam—the yoga meditation of twelve äsanas and offerings of arghya; preñöham—most dear; salile—for the water; salila-ädibhiù—by offerings of water and so on; çraddhayä—with faith; upähåtam—presented; preñöham—most dear; bhaktena—by the devotee; mama—My; väri—water; api—even.

In worshiping the temple Deity, my dear Uddhava, bathing and decoration are the most pleasing offerings. For the Deity traced on sacred ground, the process of tattva-vinyäsa is most dear. Oblations of sesame and barley soaked in ghee are the preferred offering to the sacrificial fire, whereas worship consisting of upasthäna and arghya is preferred for the sun. One should worship Me in the form of water by offering water itself. Actually, whatever is offered to Me with faith by My devotee—even if only a little water—is most dear to Me.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is present everywhere, and Vedic culture prescribes various ritualistic methods for worshiping the Lord in His various manifestations. The principal item is the faith and devotion of the worshiper, without which everything else is useless, as the Lord describes in the next verse.

SB 11.27.18
bhüry apy abhaktopähåtaà
na me toñäya kalpate
gandho dhüpaù sumanaso
dépo ’nnädyaà ca kià punaù

bhüri—opulent; api—even; abhakta—by a nondevotee; upähåtam—offered; na—does not; me—My; toñäya—satisfaction; kalpate—create; gandhaù—fragrance; dhüpaù—incense; sumanasaù—flowers; dépaù—lamps; anna-ädyam—foodstuffs; ca—and; kim punaù—what to speak of.

Even very opulent presentations do not satisfy Me if they are offered by nondevotees. But I am pleased by any insignificant offering made by My loving devotees, and I am certainly most pleased when nice presentations of fragrant oil, incense, flowers and palatable foods are offered with love.

The Lord has stated in the previous verse that even a little water offered with love and devotion gives Him great pleasure. Therefore the words kià punaù indicate the Lord’s complete happiness when a suitably opulent offering is made with love and devotion. But an opulent offering made by a nondevotee cannot please the Lord. As Çréla Jéva Gosvämé explains, the rules and regulations concerning Deity worship and the listing of offenses against the Deities are all meant for helping one avoid precisely this kind of disrespectful or neglectful attitude toward the Personality of Godhead in His Deity form. In fact, all offenses against the Deity are based upon irreverence and disregard for the Lord’s position as master, and thus upon disobedience to His orders. Since one must worship the Deity with reverence, one should offer opulent presentations to the Deity with love, for such presentations both enhance the respectfulness of the worshiper and help him avoid offenses in his worship.

SB 11.27.19
çuciù sambhåta-sambhäraù
präg-darbhaiù kalpitäsanaù
äsénaù präg udag värced
arcäyäà tv atha sammukhaù

çuciù—clean; sambhåta—having collected; sambhäraù—the paraphernalia; präk—their tips facing the east; darbhaiù—with blades of kuça grass; kalpita—having arranged; äsanaù—his own seat; äsénaù—sitting; präk—facing the east; udak—facing the north; vä—or; arcet—he should perform the worship; arcäyäm—of the Deity; tu—but; atha—or else; sammukhaù—directly facing.

After cleansing himself and collecting all the paraphernalia, the worshiper should arrange his own seat with blades of kuça grass whose tips point eastward. He should then sit facing either east or north, or else, if the Deity is fixed in one place, he should sit directly facing the Deity.

The word sambhåta-sambhära means that before beginning the Deity worship one should place all necessary paraphernalia nearby. In this way one will not have to get up continually to search for different items. If the Deity has been permanently installed, then one should sit facing the Deity.

SB 11.27.20
kåta-nyäsaù kåta-nyäsäà
mad-arcäà päëinämåjet
kalaçaà prokñaëéyaà ca
yathävad upasädhayet

kåta-nyäsaù—having sanctified his own body (by touching various parts and chanting appropriate mantras while meditating on the corresponding forms of the Supreme Lord); kåta-nyäsäm—(the Deity) upon which the same process has been applied; mat-arcäm—My Deity manifestation; päëinä—with his hand; ämåjet—should clean (by removing remnants of old offerings); kalaçam—the ritual pot filled with auspicious substances; prokñaëéyam—the vessel containing water for sprinkling; ca—and; yathä-vat—appropriately; upasädhayet—he should prepare.

The devotee should sanctify the various parts of his body by touching them and chanting mantras. He should do the same for My Deity forms and then with his hands he should clean the Deity of old flowers and the remnants of previous offerings. He should properly prepare the sacred pot and the vessel containing water for sprinkling.

Before beginning the process of worship mentioned here, one should offer obeisances to one’s spiritual master, the Deity and other worshipable personalities.

SB 11.27.21
tad-adbhir deva-yajanaà
dravyäëy ätmänam eva ca
prokñya päträëi tréëy adbhis
tais tair dravyaiç ca sädhayet

tat—of the vessel for sprinkling; adbhiù—with the water; deva-yajanam—the place where the Deity is worshiped; dravyäëi—the paraphernalia; ätmänam—one’s own body; eva—indeed; ca—also; prokñya—sprinkling; päträëi—the vessels; tréëi—three; adbhiù—with water; taiù taiù—with those available; dravyaiù—auspicious items; ca—and; sädhayet—he should arrange.

Then, with the water of that prokñaëéya vessel he should sprinkle the area where the Deity is being worshiped, the offerings that are going to be presented, and his own body. Next he should decorate with various auspicious substances three vessels filled with water.

Çréla Çrédhara Svämé gives references from Vedic literature stating that the water meant for bathing the feet should be combined with millet seeds, dürvä grass mixed in water, viñëukränta flowers and other items. The water used for arghya should include the following eight items: fragrant oil, flowers, unbroken barleycorns, husked barleycorns, the tips of kuça grass, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and dürvä grass. The water for sipping should include jasmine flowers, ground cloves and kakkola berries.

SB 11.27.22
tréëi päträëi deçikaù
hådä çérñëätha çikhayä
gäyatryä cäbhimantrayet

pädya—of the water offered to the Lord for bathing His feet; arghya—the water offered to the Lord as a token of respectful greeting; äcamanéya—and the water offered to the Lord for washing His mouth; artham—placed there for the purpose; tréëi—three; päträëi—the vessels; deçikaù—the worshiper; hådä—by the “heart” mantra; çérñëä—by the “head” mantra; atha—and; çikhayä—by the “crown” mantra; gäyatryä—and by the Gäyatré mantra; ca—also; abhimantrayet—he should perform purification by chanting.

The worshiper should then purify those three vessels. He should sanctify the vessel holding water for washing the Lord’s feet by chanting hådayäya namaù, the vessel containing water for arghya by chanting çirase svähä, and the vessel containing water for washing the Lord’s mouth by chanting çikhäyai vañaö. Also, the Gäyatré mantra should be chanted for all three vessels.

SB 11.27.23
piëòe väyv-agni-saàçuddhe
håt-padma-sthäà paräà mama
aëvéà jéva-kaläà dhyäyen
nädänte siddha-bhävitäm

piëòe—within the body; väyu—by air; agni—and by fire; saàçuddhe—which has become completely purified; håt—of the heart; padma—upon the lotus; sthäm—situated; paräm—the transcendental form; mama—of Mine; aëvém—very subtle; jéva-kaläm—the Personality of Godhead, from whom all living entities expand; dhyäyet—he should meditate upon; näda-ante—at the end of the vibration of oà; siddha—by perfected sages; bhävitäm—experienced.

The worshiper should meditate upon My subtle form—which is situated within the worshiper’s own body, now purified by air and fire—as the source of all living entities. This form of the Lord is experienced by self-realized sages in the last part of the vibration of the sacred syllable oà.

According to Çréla Çrédhara Svämé, the praëava, or oàkära, has five parts: A, U, M, the nasal bindu and the reverberation (näda). Liberated souls meditate upon the Lord at the end of that reverberation.

SB 11.27.24
tayätma-bhütayä piëòe
vyäpte sampüjya tan-mayaù
ävähyärcädiñu sthäpya
nyastäìgaà mäà prapüjayet

tayä—by that form meditated upon; ätma-bhütayä—conceived of according to one’s own realization; piëòe—in the physical body; vyäpte—which has become pervaded; sampüjya—perfectly worshiping that form; tat-mayaù—surcharged by His presence; ävähya—inviting; arcä-ädiñu—within the various Deities being worshiped; sthäpya—establishing Him; nyasta-aìgam—having touched the Deity’s various limbs with the chanting of appropriate mantras; mäm—to Me; prapüjayet—he should carry out all the details of worship.

The devotee conceives of the Supersoul, whose presence surcharges the devotee’s body, in the form corresponding to his realization. Thus the devotee worships the Lord to his full capacity and becomes fully absorbed in Him. By touching the various limbs of the Deity and chanting appropriate mantras, the devotee should invite the Supersoul to join the Deity’s form, and then the devotee should worship Me.

The body of a devotee is pervaded by the Supreme Lord just as a house is pervaded by the glow of a lamp. Just as one gestures in a friendly way to indicate that a guest should enter one’s house, one touches the body of the Deity, chants appropriate mantras, and enthusiastically invites the Supersoul to enter the form of the Deity. Since both the Deity and the Supersoul are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are not different. One form of the Lord can immediately become manifest in another.

SB 11.27.25-26
TEXTS 25–26
upacärän prakalpayet
dharmädibhiç ca navabhiù
kalpayitväsanaà mama
padmam añöa-dalaà tatra
ubhäbhyäà veda-tanträbhyäà
mahyaà tübhaya-siddhaye

pädya—water for washing the Lord’s feet; upasparça—water for washing the Lord’s mouth; arhaëa—water presented as arghya; ädén—and other paraphernalia; upacärän—the offerings; prakalpayet—one should make; dharma-ädibhiù—with the personifications of religion, knowledge, renunciation and opulence; ca—and; navabhiù—with the nine (energies of the Lord); kalpayitvä—having imagined; äsanam—the seat; mama—My; padmam—a lotus; añöa-dalam—having eight petals; tatra—therein; karëikä—in the whorl; kesara—with saffron filaments; ujjvalam—effulgent; ubhäbhyäm—by both means; veda-tanträbhyäm—of the Vedas and tantras; mahyam—to Me; tu—and; ubhaya—of both (enjoyment and liberation); siddhaye—for the achievement.

The worshiper should first imagine My seat as decorated with the personified deities of religion, knowledge, renunciation and opulence and with My nine spiritual energies. He should think of the Lord’s sitting place as an eight-petaled lotus, effulgent on account of the saffron filaments within its whorl. Then, following the regulations of both the Vedas and the tantras, he should offer Me water for washing the feet, water for washing the mouth, arghya and other items of worship. By this process he achieves both material enjoyment and liberation.

According to Çréla Çrédhara Svämé, religion, knowledge, renunciation and opulence are the legs of the Lord’s sitting platform and occupy the four corners, beginning with the southeast. Irreligion, ignorance, attachment and wretchedness are the intermediate legs, standing in the four directions beginning with the east. The nine çaktis, or potencies, of the Lord are Vimalä, Utkarñiëé, Jïäna, Kriyä, Yogä, Prahvé, Satyä, Éçänä and Anugrahä.

SB 11.27.27
sudarçanaà päïcajanyaà
muñalaà kaustubhaà mäläà
çrévatsaà cänupüjayet

sudarçanam—the Lord’s disc; päïcajanyam—the Lord’s conchshell; gadä—His club; asi—sword; iñu—arrows; dhanuù—bow; halän—and plow; muñalam—His muñala weapon; kaustubham—the Kaustubha gem; mäläm—His garland; çrévatsam—the decoration of Çrévatsa on His chest; ca—and; anupüjayet—one should worship one after another.

One should worship, in order, the Lord’s Sudarçana disc, His Päïcajanya conchshell, His club, sword, bow, arrows and plow, His muñala weapon, His Kaustubha gem, His flower garland and the Çrévatsa curl of hair on His chest.

SB 11.27.28
nandaà sunandaà garuòaà
pracaëòaà caëòaà eva ca
mahäbalaà balaà caiva
kumudaà kamudekñaëam

nandam sunandam garuòam—named Nanda, Sunanda and Garuòa; pracaëòam caëòam—Pracaëòa and Caëòa; eva—indeed; ca—also; mahä-balam balam—Mahäbala and Bala; ca—and; eva—indeed; kumudam kumuda-ékñaëam—Kumuda and Kumudekñaëa.

One should worship the Lord’s associates Nanda and Sunanda, Garuòa, Pracaëòa and Caëòa, Mahäbala and Bala, and Kumuda and Kumudekñaëa.

SB 11.27.29
durgäà vinäyakaà vyäsaà
viñvakñenaà gurün surän
sve sve sthäne tv abhimukhän
püjayet prokñaëädibhiù

durgäm—the Lord’s spiritual energy; vinäyakam—the original Gaëeça; vyäsam—the compiler of the Vedas; viñvaksenam—Viñvaksena; gurün—one’s spiritual masters; surän—the demigods; sve sve—each in his own; sthäne—place; tu—and; abhimukhän—all facing the Deity; püjayet—one should worship; prokñaëa-ädibhiù—by the various prescriptions beginning with sprinkling of water for purification.

With offerings such as prokñaëa one should worship Durgä, Vinäyaka, Vyäsa, Viñvaksena, the spiritual masters and the various demigods. All these personalities should be in their proper places facing the Deity of the Lord.

According to Çréla Jéva Gosvämé, the Gaëeça and Durgä mentioned in this verse are not the same personalities present within the material world; rather, they are eternal associates of the Lord in Vaikuëöha. In this world Gaëeça, the son of Lord Çiva, is famous for awarding financial success, and the goddess Durgä, the wife of Lord Çiva, is famous as the external, illusory potency of the Supreme Lord. The personalities mentioned here, however, are eternally liberated associates of the Lord who reside in the spiritual sky, beyond the material manifestation. Çréla Jéva Gosvämé quotes from various Vedic literatures to prove that the name Durgä may also indicate the internal potency of the Lord, who is nondifferent from Him. The external, or covering, potency of the Lord expands from this original Durgä. The Durgä of the material world, called Mahä-mäyä, assumes the function of bewildering the living entities. Thus a devotee should not fear becoming polluted by worshiping the Durgä mentioned here, who has the same name as illusion, but rather the devotee must show respect to these eternal servitors of the Supreme Lord in Vaikuëöha.

SB 11.27.30-31
TEXTS 30–31
salilaiù snäpayen mantrair
nityadä vibhave sati
pauruñeëäpi süktena
sämabhé räjanädibhiù

candana—with sandalwood paste; uçéra—the fragrant uçéra root; karpüra—camphor; kuìkuma—vermilion; aguru—aloes wood; väsitaiù—which are perfumed; salilaiù—by different kinds of water; snäpayet—one should bathe the Deity; mantraiù—with mantras; nityadä—every day; vibhave—assets; sati—to the extent that there are; svarëa-gharma-anuväkena—by the chapter of the Vedas known as Svarëa-gharma; mahä-puruña-vidyayä—by the incantation called Mahäpuruña; pauruñeëa—by the Puruña-sükta; api—also; süktena—the Vedic hymn; sämabhiù—by songs from the Säma Veda; räjana-ädibhiù—known as Räjana and so on.

The worshiper should bathe the Deity every day, as opulently as his assets permit, using waters scented with sandalwood, uçéra root, camphor, kuìkuma and aguru. He should also chant various Vedic hymns, such as the anuväka known as Svarëa-gharma, the Mahäpuruña-vidyä, the Puruña-sükta and various songs of the Säma Veda, such as the Räjana and the Rohiëya.

The Puruña-sükta prayer, beginning oà sahasra-çérñä-puruñaù sahasräkñaù sahasra-pät, is contained within the Åg Veda.

SB 11.27.32
alaìkurvéta sa-prema
mad-bhakto mäà yathocitam

vastra—with clothing; upavéta—a brähmaëa thread; äbharaëa—ornaments; patra—decorations drawn on various parts of the body with tilaka; srak—garlands; gandha-lepanaiù—and smearing of fragrant oils; alaìkurvéta—he should decorate; sa-prema—with love; mat-bhaktaù—My devotee; mäm—Me; yathä ucitam—as is enjoined.

My devotee should then lovingly decorate Me with clothing, a brähmaëa thread, various ornaments, marks of tilaka and garlands, and he should anoint My body with fragrant oils, all in the prescribed manner.

Çréla Çrédhara Svämé quotes Lord Çré Viñëu’s instructions to Ambaréña Mahäräja in the Viñëu-dharma Upapuräëa as follows: “Absorbing your mind completely in the Deity, you should give up all other shelter and consider the Deity your intimate well-wisher. You should mentally worship Him and meditate upon Him while you walk, while you stand, while you sleep and eat. You should see the Deity in front of you, behind, above, below and on both sides. In this way you should constantly remember My Deity form.” In the Gautaméya-tantra one is enjoined to give the Deity of the Lord a brähmaëa thread, if possible one made of gold. In the Nåsiàha Puräëa it is stated, “If one offers to Lord Govinda a yellow sacred thread containing three strands of silk, he will become an expert in Vedänta.”

SB 11.27.33
pädyam äcamanéyaà ca
gandhaà sumanaso ’kñatän
dadyän me çraddhayärcakaù

pädyam—water for washing the feet; äcamanéyam—water for washing the mouth; ca—and; gandham—fragrances; sumanasaù—flowers; akñatän—unbroken grains; dhüpa—incense; dépa—lamps; upahäryäëi—such items of paraphernalia; dadyät—he should present; me—to Me; çraddhayä—with faith; arcakaù—the worshiper.

The worshiper should faithfully present Me with water for washing My feet and mouth, fragrant oils, flowers and unbroken grains, along with incense, lamps and other offerings.

SB 11.27.34
saàyäva-dadhi-süpäàç ca
naivedyaà sati kalpayet

guòa—sugar candy; päyasa—sweet rice; sarpéàñi—and ghee; çañkulé—a kind of large, ear-shaped cake made of rice flour, sugar and sesame and fried in ghee; äpüpa—various kinds of sweet cakes; modakän—small conical steamed dumplings made of rice flour and filled with sweet coconut and sugar; saàyäva—an oblong cake made of wheat, ghee and milk and covered with sugar and spices; dadhi—yogurt; süpän—vegetable soups; ca—and; naivedyam—offerings of food; sati—if he has sufficient means; kalpayet—the devotee should arrange.

Within his means, the devotee should arrange to offer Me sugar candy, sweet rice, ghee, çañkulé [rice-flour cakes], äpüpa [various sweet cakes], modaka [steamed rice-flour dumplings filled with sweet coconut and sugar], saàyäva [wheat cakes made with ghee and milk and covered with sugar and spices], yogurt, vegetable soups and other palatable foods.

One can acquire detailed information of proper and improper foods to offer in Deity worship by consulting Çré Hari-bhakti-viläsa, Eighth viläsa, verses 152–164.

SB 11.27.35
parvaëi syur utänv-aham

abhyaìga—with ointment; unmardana—massaging; ädarça—offering a mirror; danta-dhäva—washing the teeth; abhiñecanam—bathing; anna—offering food that can be eaten without chewing; ädya—offering food that is chewed; gétä—singing; nåtyäni—and dancing; parvaëi—on special holidays; syuù—these offerings should be made; uta—or else (if it is within one’s means); anu-aham—every day.

On special occasions, and daily if possible, the Deity should be massaged with ointment, shown a mirror, offered a eucalyptus stick for brushing His teeth, bathed with the five kinds of nectar, offered all kinds of opulent foods, and entertained with singing and dancing.

Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura describes the process of Deity worship as follows: “First the Deity’s teeth should be cleaned and His body massaged with fragrant oil and rubbed with vermilion, camphor powder and so forth. Then He should be bathed with fragrant water and the five kinds of nectar. Next one should offer valuable silk garments and jeweled ornaments to the Deity, smear His body with sandalwood paste, and offer Him garlands and other gifts. After this, one should hold a mirror in front of the Deity and then offer fragrant oil, flowers, incense, lamps and scented water for refreshing the mouth. One should offer all types of palatable foods, fragrant water, betel nuts, garlands, ärati lamps, a bed to rest on, and so on. One should also fan the Deity and perform instrumental music, singing and dancing. This Deity worship must be performed on special occasions like religious holidays or else, if one can afford it, daily.” According to Çréla Çrédhara Svämé, Ekädaçé is an appropriate day for performing special Deity worship.

SB 11.27.36
vidhinä vihite kuëòe
agnim ädhäya paritaù
samühet päëinoditam

vidhinä—according to scriptural injunctions; vihite—constructed; kuëòe—in the sacrificial arena; mekhalä—with the paraphernalia of the sacred belt; garta—the sacrificial pit; vedibhiù—and the altar mound; agnim—the fire; ädhäya—establishing; paritaù—on all sides; samühet—one should build up; päëinä—with his hands; uditam—blazing.

In an arena constructed according to scriptural injunctions, the devotee should perform a fire sacrifice, utilizing the sacred belt, the sacrificial pit and the altar mound. When igniting the sacrificial fire, the devotee should bring it to a blaze with wood piled up by his own hands.

SB 11.27.37
paristéryätha paryukñed
anvädhäya yathä-vidhi
prokñaëyäsädya dravyäëi
prokñyägnau bhävayeta mäm

paristérya—scattering (kuça grass); atha—then; paryukñet—he should sprinkle with water; anvädhäya—performing the ritual of anvädhäna (placing wood into the fire with recitations of oà bhür bhuvaù svaù); yathä-vidhi—according to the standard prescription; prokñaëyä—by the water in the äcamana vessel; äsädya—having arranged; dravyäëi—the items to be offered as oblations; prokñya—sprinkling them; agnau—within the fire; bhävayeta—he should meditate; mäm—on Me.

After spreading kuça grass on the ground and sprinkling it with water, one should perform the anvädhäna ritual according to the prescribed rules. Then one should arrange the items to be offered as oblations and should sanctify them with water from the sprinkling vessel. The worshiper should next meditate upon Me within the fire.

Çréla Jéva Gosvämé mentions that one should meditate upon the Lord as the Supersoul within the sacrificial fire.

SB 11.27.38-41
TEXTS 38–41
lasac-catur-bhujaà çäntaà
çrévatsa-vakñasaà bhräjat-
kaustubhaà vana-mälinam
dhyäyann abhyarcya därüëi
haviñäbhighåtäni ca
präsyäjya-bhägäv äghärau
dattvä cäjya-plutaà haviù
juhuyän müla-mantreëa
dharmädibhyo yathä-nyäyaà
mantraiù sviñöi-kåtaà budhaù

tapta—molten; jämbü-nada—of gold; prakhyam—the color; çaìkha—with His conchshell; cakra—disc; gadä—club; ambujaiù—and lotus flower; lasat—brilliant; catuù-bhujam—having four arms; çäntam—peaceful; padma—of a lotus; kiïjalka—colored like the filaments; väsasam—His garment; sphurat—shining; kiréöa—helmet; kaöaka—bracelets; kati-sütra—belt; vara-aìgadam—fine ornaments on the arms; çré-vatsa—the emblem of the goddess of fortune; vakñasam—upon His chest; bhräjat—effulgent; kaustubham—the Kaustubha gem; vana-mälinam—wearing a flower garland; dhyäyan—meditating upon Him; abhyarcya—performing worship of Him; därüëi—pieces of dry wood; haviñä—with the purified butter; abhighåtäni—soaked; ca—and; präsya—throwing into the fire; äjya—of the ghee; bhägau—the two designated portions; äghärau—in the course of performing the äghära ritual; dattvä—offering; ca—and; äjya—with ghee; plutam—drenched; haviù—various oblations; juhuyät—one should offer into the fire; müla-mantreëa—with the primary mantras naming each deity; ñoòaça-åcä—with the hymn Puruña-sükta, consisting of sixteen lines of verse; avadänataù—pouring an oblation after each line; dharma-ädibhyaù—to the demigods, beginning with Yamaräja; yathä-nyäyam—in the proper order; mantraiù—with the specific mantras naming each demigod; sviñöi-kåtam—the ritual of this name; budhaù—the intelligent devotee.

The intelligent devotee should meditate upon that form of the Lord whose color is like molten gold, whose four arms are resplendent with the conchshell, disc, club and lotus flower, and who is always peaceful and dressed in a garment colored like the filaments within a lotus flower. His helmet, bracelets, belt and fine arm ornaments shine brilliantly. The symbol of Çrévatsa is on His chest, along with the glowing Kaustubha gem and a garland of forest flowers. The devotee should then worship that Lord by taking pieces of firewood soaked in the sacrificial ghee and throwing them into the fire. He should perform the ritual of äghära, presenting into the fire the various items of oblation drenched in ghee. He should then offer to sixteen demigods, beginning with Yamaräja, the oblation called sviñöi-kåt, reciting the basic mantras of each deity and the sixteen-line Puruña-sükta hymn. Pouring one oblation after each line of the Puruña-sükta, he should utter the particular mantra naming each deity.

SB 11.27.42
abhyarcyätha namaskåtya
pärñadebhyo balià haret
müla-mantraà japed brahma
smaran näräyaëätmakam

abhyarcya—having thus worshiped; atha—then; namaskåtya—offering his obeisances by bowing down; pärñadebhyaù—unto the Lord’s personal associates; balim—offerings; haret—he should present; müla-mantram—the basic mantra for the Deity; japet—he should chant quietly; brahma—the Absolute Truth; smaran—remembering; näräyaëa-ätmakam—as the Supreme Personality, Lord Näräyaëa.

Having thus worshiped the Lord in the sacrificial fire, the devotee should offer his obeisances to the Lord’s personal associates by bowing down and should then present offerings to them. He should then chant quietly the müla-mantra of the Deity of the Lord, remembering the Absolute Truth as the Supreme Personality, Näräyaëa.

SB 11.27.43
dattväcamanam uccheñaà
viñvakñenäya kalpayet
mukha-väsaà surabhimat
tämbülädyam athärhayet

dattvä—offering; äcamanam—water for washing the Lord’s mouth; uccheñam—the remnants of His food; viñvaksenäya—to the personal associate of Lord Viñëu, Viñvaksena; kalpayet—one should give; mukha-väsam—cologne for the mouth; surabhi-mat—fragrant; tämbüla-ädyam—betel-nut preparation; atha—then; arhayet—one should present.

Once again he should offer the Deity water for washing His mouth, and he should give the remnants of the Lord’s food to Viñvaksena. Then he should present the Deity with fragrant perfume for the mouth and prepared betel nut.

SB 11.27.44
upagäyan gåëan nåtyan
karmäëy abhinayan mama
mat-kathäù çrävayan çåëvan
muhürtaà kñaëiko bhavet

upagäyan—singing along; gåëan—loudly vibrating; nåtyan—dancing; karmäëi—transcendental activities; abhinayan—imitating by acting out; mama—My; mat-kathäù—stories about Me; çrävayan—causing others to hear; çåëvan—hearing himself; muhürtam—for some time; kñaëikaù—absorbed in the celebration; bhavet—he should become.

Singing along with others, chanting loudly and dancing, acting out My transcendental pastimes, and hearing and telling stories about Me, the devotee should for some time absorb himself in such festivity.

A devotee engaged in regulative worship of the Supreme Lord should sometimes become ecstatically absorbed in chanting and hearing the pastimes of the Lord, dancing, and other festivities. The word muhürtam, “for some time,” indicates that a devotee should be careful not to neglect his regulative principles and service to the Lord in the name of so-called ecstasy. Although one may be ecstatically engaged in chanting, hearing and dancing, he cannot give up the formality of regulated service to the Lord.

SB 11.27.45
stavair uccävacaiù stotraiù
pauräëaiù präkåtair api
stutvä praséda bhagavann
iti vandeta daëòa-vat

stavaiù—with prayers from the scriptures; ucca-avacaiù—of greater and lesser varieties; stotraiù—and with prayers written by human authors; pauräëaiù—from the Puräëas; präkåtaiù—from ordinary sources; api—also; stutvä—thus praying to the Lord; praséda—please show Your mercy; bhagavan—O Lord; iti—thus saying; vandeta—one should pay homage; daëòa-vat—falling down on the ground like a rod.

The devotee should offer homage to the Lord with all kinds of hymns and prayers, both from the Puräëas and from other ancient scriptures, and also from ordinary traditions. Praying, “O Lord, please be merciful to me! “he should fall down flat like a rod to offer his obeisances.

SB 11.27.46
çiro mat-pädayoù kåtvä
bähubhyäà ca parasparam
prapannaà pähi mäm éça
bhétaà måtyu-grahärëavät

çiraù—his head; mat-pädayoù—at My two feet; kåtvä—placing; bähubhyäm—with the hands; ca—and; parasparam—together (grasping the feet of the Deity); prapannam—who am surrendered; pähi—please protect; mäm—me; éça—O Lord; bhétam—afraid; måtyu—of death; graha—the mouth; arëavät—of this material ocean.

Placing his head at the feet of the Deity, he should then stand with folded hands before the Lord and pray, “O my Lord, please protect me, who am surrendered unto You. I am most fearful of this ocean of material existence, standing as I am in the mouth of death.”

SB 11.27.47
iti çeñäà mayä dattäà
çirasy ädhäya sädaram
udväsayec ced udväsyaà
jyotir jyotiñi tat punaù

iti—thus praying; çeñäm—the remnants; mayä—by Me; dattäm—given; çirasi—on one’s head; ädhäya—placing; sa-ädaram—respectfully; udväsayet—should send the Deity away; cet—if; udväsyam—if such is meant to be performed; jyotiù—the light; jyotiñi—within the light; tat—that; punaù—once again.

Praying in this way, the devotee should respectfully place upon his head the remnants I offer to him. And if the particular Deity is meant to be sent away at the end of the worship, then this should be performed, the devotee once again placing the light of the Deity’s presence inside the light of the lotus within his own heart.

SB 11.27.48
arcädiñu yadä yatra
çraddhä mäà tatra cärcayet
sarva-bhüteñv ätmani ca
sarvätmäham avasthitaù

arcä-ädiñu—in the Deity form and other manifestations of the Supreme Lord; yadä—whenever; yatra—in whichever form; çraddhä—faith develops; mäm—Me; tatra—there; ca—and; arcayet—he should worship; sarva-bhüteñu—within all created beings; ätmani—separately, in My original form; ca—also; sarva-ätmä—the original soul of all; aham—I am; avasthitaù—so situated.

Whenever one develops faith in Me—in My form as the Deity or in other bona fide manifestations—one should worship Me in that form. I certainly exist both within all created beings and also separately in My original form, since I am the Supreme Soul of all.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped according to the faith of a particular worshiper. The Deity form, arcä, is specifically mentioned here because Deity worship is essential for spiritual progress. Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Öhäkura mentions that inexperienced persons may think that the Deity is meant for the sense gratification of the worshiper, since superficially the Deity is made of external substances such as marble or brass. But through the process of installing the Deity by chanting of authorized mantras, one invites the Supreme Personality of Godhead to enter the Deity form. By regulated, faithful worship one gradually understands that the Deity is completely nondifferent from the Supreme Lord Himself. At that stage, on the strength of Deity worship, one rises to the second-class platform of devotional service. At this more developed stage one desires to make friendship with other devotees of the Lord, and as one becomes solidly established in the community of Vaiñëavas, one completely gives up material life and gradually becomes perfect in Kåñëa consciousness.

SB 11.27.49
evaà kriyä-yoga-pathaiù
pumän vaidika-täntrikaiù
arcann ubhayataù siddhià
matto vindaty abhépsitäm

evam—in this way; kriyä-yoga—of regulated Deity worship; pathaiù—by the processes; pumän—a person; vaidika-täntrikaiù—presented in the Vedas and tantras; arcan—worshiping; ubhayataù—in both this life and the next; siddhim—perfection; mattaù—from Me; vindati—he achieves; abhépsitäm—desired.

By worshiping Me through the various methods prescribed in the Vedas and tantras, one will gain from Me his desired perfection in both this life and the next.

SB 11.27.50
mad-arcäà sampratiñöhäpya
mandiraà kärayed dåòham
puñpodyänäni ramyäëi

mat-arcäm—My Deity form; sampratiñöhäpya—properly establishing; mandiram—a temple; kärayet—he should construct; dåòham—strong; puñpa-udyänäni—flower gardens; ramyäëi—beautiful; püjä—for regular, daily worship; yäträ—special festivals; utsava—and yearly holidays; äçritän—set aside.

The devotee should more fully establish My Deity by solidly constructing a temple, along with beautiful gardens. These gardens should be set aside to provide flowers for the regular daily worship, special Deity processions and holiday observances.

Wealthy, pious persons should be engaged in constructing temples and gardens for the pleasure of the Deity. The word dåòham indicates that the most solid means of construction should be employed.

SB 11.27.51
püjädénäà pravähärthaà
mahä-parvasv athänv-aham
dattvä mat-särñöitäm iyät

püjä-ädénäm—of the regular worship and special festivals; praväha-artham—in order to assure the continuance; mahä-parvasu—on auspicious occasions; atha—and; anu-aham—daily; kñetra—land; äpaëa—shops; pura—cities; grämän—and villages; dattvä—bestowing as a gift to the Deity; mat-särñöitäm—opulence equal to Mine; iyät—he achieves.

One who offers the Deity gifts of land, markets, cities and villages so that the regular daily worship and special festivals of the Deity may go on continually will achieve opulence equal to My own.

By placing tracts of land in the Deity’s name, there will be regular income for opulent Deity worship, both from rent and from agricultural production. A worshiper who makes the arrangements mentioned above will certainly achieve opulence like that of the Personality of Godhead.

SB 11.27.52
pratiñöhayä särvabhaumaà
sadmanä bhuvana-trayam
püjädinä brahma-lokaà
tribhir mat-sämyatäm iyät

pratiñöhayä—by having installed the Deity; särva-bhaumam—sovereignty over the entire earth; sadmanä—by building a temple for the Lord; bhuvana-trayam—rulership over the three worlds; püjä-ädinä—by worship and other service; brahma-lokam—the planet of Lord Brahmä; tribhiù—by all three; mat-sämyatäm—the status of equality with Me (by having a transcendental, spiritual body similar to Mine); iyät—he attains.

By installing the Deity of the Lord one becomes king of the entire earth, by building a temple for the Lord one becomes ruler of the three worlds, by worshiping and serving the Deity one goes to the planet of Lord Brahmä, and by performing all three of these activities one achieves a transcendental form like My own.

SB 11.27.53
mäm eva nairapekñyeëa
bhakti-yogena vindati
bhakti-yogaà sa labhata
evaà yaù püjayeta mäm

mäm—Me; eva—indeed; nairapekñyeëa—by being free from motivation; bhakti-yogena—by the performance of devotional service; vindati—achieves; bhakti-yogam—devotional service; saù—he; labhate—receives; evam—thus; yaù—whom; püjayeta—worships; mäm—Me.

But one who simply engages in devotional service with no consideration of fruitive results attains Me. Thus whoever worships Me according to the process I have described will ultimately attain pure devotional service unto Me.

The previous two verses were spoken by the Lord to attract those interested in fruitive results, and now the ultimate purpose of worshiping the Lord is described. The ultimate goal in life is Lord Kåñëa Himself. Love for the Lord is the highest bliss, although ordinary people cannot understand this.

SB 11.27.54
yaù sva-dattäà parair dattäà
hareta sura-viprayoù
våttià sa jäyate viò-bhug
varñäëäm ayutäyutam

yaù—who; sva-dattäm—given previously by himself; paraiù—by others; dattäm—given; hareta—takes away; sura-viprayoù—belonging to the demigods or brähmaëas; våttim—property; saù—he; jäyate—takes birth; viö-bhuk—as a stool-eating worm; varñäëäm—for years; ayuta—ten thousand; ayutam—times ten thousand.

Anyone who steals the property of the demigods or the brähmaëas, whether originally given to them by himself or someone else, must live as a worm in stool for one hundred million years.

SB 11.27.55
kartuç ca särather hetor
anumoditur eva ca
karmaëäà bhäginaù pretya
bhüyo bhüyasi tat-phalam

kartuù—of the performer; ca—and; säratheù—of the assistant; hetoù—of the instigator; anumodituù—of the person who approves; eva ca—also; karmaëäm—of the fruitive reactions; bhäginaù—of the shareholder; pretya—in the next life; bhüyaù—more grievously; bhüyasi—to the extent that the action is grievous; tat—(must suffer) of that; phalam—the result.

Not only the performer of the theft but also anyone who assists him, instigates the crime, or simply approves of it must also share the reaction in the next life. According to their degree of participation, they each must suffer a proportionate consequence.

Stealing paraphernalia meant for worshiping the Supreme Lord or His authorized representatives should be avoided at all costs.

Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda to the Eleventh Canto, Twenty-seventh Chapter, of the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, entitled “Lord Kåñëa’s Instructions on the Process of Deity Worship.”

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