Examples of Pujas using various Upacharas
last updated 21st September 2005

While there are standard amounts of upacharas offered, the actual pujas performed by various devotees vary in many ways. Some devotees lean toward the Pancharatrik style, some towards the Tantrik style and some are mixed, this is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam 11th canto chapter 5.

Here you may see different devotees using different styles, and below you will find a few examples of different possible prayogs for the seva pujan.

Here you will find more details on the actual upacharas:

Sri Purusha Shukta Mantra Bhagavat Puja Vidhi - Gaudiya Math Archana Paddhati 1935

16 upachara seva prayog utilizing the verses of Purusha suktam - downloadable pdf

Laghu Aradhanam by Sundar Kidambi of the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya - translated by Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP

5 upacharas:

Usually the VERY first day of beginning the seva puja is a big thing, you make a huge fuss of Him, offer Him as many items as you can and feed Him with wonderful sattvik foodstuffs (no onion or garlic).

Asumming that you have some prior knowledge of proper standard of taking bath prior to the puja, dress in dhoti and anga-vaastra, performing Bhuta-suddhi and achamana before beginning.

Choki for performing puja on.
Kusha grass mat for you to sit on
Achaman cup and spoon - panchapatra.
Snan-vedi - patra for bathing the Shalagram
Valmuri - Laxmi conch - right handed conch shell for bathing
Lohta for bathing
Tulasi leaves
Sandal wood paste (can be mixed with kapoor and or keshar)
Fresh flowers
Two sticks of Agarbhatti
Ghee or Camphor lamp
Naivedya - food offering on a nice plate exclusively for that puja, and covered with a cloth
Blowing conch shell
Bell with Garuda or Hanuman or Shank and Chakras on (not Nandi, not with no emblem)
Attar - fragrant oils - Sandalwood, Champa, Rose, etc.

Then with the Salagram seated on a nice asana seat and having a choki specially for the puja, make a clapping sound to warn the Lord that you are about to bring Him from the altar to the choki which is the place where you will do the seva pujan.

Needless to say that choki should be cleaned with water before and ideally with a clean towel placed on top is nice to cover it.

You will also need a new hankie or face flannel towel for use in drying the Sila after His bath.

Offer pranams and swagatam

Remove any old flower petels and sadalwood from previous day.

Make a clapping noise to warn the Lord that you are about to move Him into the snan vedi just in front of His asan on the choki.

Blow the conch-shell three times

Pour water from the lohta into the Laxmi conch and place one Tulasi leaf in the water

Hold the Laxmi conch in your right hand, and while ringing the bell with your left hand bathe the Shaligram while chanting the maha-mantra

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

Bath Him three times like this.

Put down the conch and bell, make a clapping noise with your hands

and respectfully move Him onto the towel covering the table and with the small hand towel dry Him.

Place a little oil onto His body

Replace Him back onto His Asana

Offer one stick of Agarbhatti
Offer Ghee lamp or Camphor lamp
Offer Naivedyam

Offering system is to offer foodstuffs through the agency of Guru. Can use pranahutis also.
Recite Sandhyavandanam - Gayatri mantra

Offer prayers for attainment of forgiveness of any offences

mantra-hinam kriya-hinam
bhakti-hinam janardana
yat pujitam maya deva
paripurnam tad astu me

"O my Lord, O Janardana, whatever little puja or worship that has been performed by me, although it is without devotion, without proper mantras and without the proper performance, please let that become complete."

yad-dattam bhakti-matrena
patram puspam phalam jalam
aveditam nivedyan tu
tan grhananukampaya

"What has been offered with devotion, the leaf, the flower, the water, the fruit, the foodstuff, which has been offered, please, out of Your causeless mercy, accept it."

vidhi-hinam mantra-hinam
yat kincid upapaditam
kriya-mantra-vihinam va
tat sarvam ksantum arhasi

"Whatever has happened without the proper chanting of the mantra, or without following the proper procedure, kindly forgive all that."

ajnanad athava jnanad
asubham yan maya krtam
ksantum arhasi tat sarvam
dasyenaiva grhana mam

sthitih seva gatir yatra
smrtis cinta stutir vacah
bhuyat sarvatmana visno
madiyam tvayi cestitam

"Whatever inauspicious things I have done out of ignorance or unknowingly, please forgive that and accept me as Your insignificant servant.  Let my normal condition be service;  let my movement be holy pilgrimage; let my thought be remembrance of You;  let my words be glorification of You.  O Vishnu, let my activities, with my whole mind and body and soul, be engaged in You."

Offer pranams

Put Shaligram back on altar, and offer dandavats

16 upacharas

The PujA PrAyogam:

Perform Achaman:   oM keshavaya nama, oM narayana namah, oM madhavaya namah.

Perform Asan suddhi:

Spreading out the asana or seat on the floor and performing the sadharana acamana, one should place his right hand on the asana and chant:
om asana-mantrasya meru-prstha-rsih sutalam chandah kurmo devata asanopavesane viniyogah
Then one should chant:
om adhara-saktaye namah, om anantaya namah, om kurmaya namah.
Then one should chant the following mantra with folded hands:
prthvi tvaya dhrta loka
devi tvam visnuna dhrta
tvam ca dharaya mam nityam
pavitram casanam kuru

"O Mother Earth, the worlds are maintained by you and, O goddess, you are held up by Lord Visnu.  Therefore please daily maintain me and please purify this asana."
1/. Guru pranams taking permission to worship the Lord
offer a flower at gurus feet and say:

Sri guru paramananda
Premananda pralaprada
Brajananda pradananda
Sevayam ma niyojaya

Oh spiritual master giver of the highest love please allow me to render service unto the Lord of Braja

mukam karoti vacalam
pangum langhayate girim
yat-krpa tam aham vande
sri-gurum dina-taranam

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, the deliverer of the fallen souls.  His mercy turns the dumb into eloquent speakers and enables the lame to cross mountains."
om ajnana-timirandhasya
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge."
tvam aham satatam vande

"Oh spiritual master, I continually offer my obeisances unto you, who are always in the presence of Srimati Radharani and very much devoted to Her.  You always reside in the association of Her confidantes, the gopis, and you are the abode of loving devotion to Krsna."
Harih om
saha navavatu / saha nau bhunaktu / saha viryankaravavahai /
tejasvi navadhitamastu / mavidvi sa vahai /
om santih(s) santih(s) santih(s)

om jaya sri krsna caitanya
prabhu nityananda
sri advaita gadadhara
srivasadi gaura-bhakta vrnda

hare krsna hare krsna
krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama
rama rama hare hare

2/. Mangal archanam:

om apavitra pavitro va
sarvavastham gato 'pi va
yah smaret pundarikaksam
sa bahyabhyantara sucih
sri vishnu sri vishnu sri vishnu

Whether purified or unpurified, or been through all walks of life if one remebers Pundarikaksham one is immediately purified

(om) yam brahma vedanta-vido vadanti
pare pradhanam purusam tathanye
visvodgateh karanam isvaram va
tasmai namo vighna-vinasaya

"Obeisances unto Him who is the destroyer of all obstacles, who the knowers of Vedanta describe as the Supreme Brahman and who others describe as the pradhana, or totality of mundane elements.  Some describe Him as the supreme male person, or purusa, while others describe Him as the Supreme Lord and the cause of the creation of the universe."     (Visnu Purana)
om tad visnoh paramam padagm sada
pasyanti surayo diviva caksur-atatam
tad vipraso vipanyavo jagrvamsah
samindhate visnor yat paramam padagm

"Just as the sun's rays in the sky are extended to the mundane vision, so in the same way the wise and learned devotees always see the supreme abode of Lord Visnu.  Because those highly praiseworthy and spiritually awake brahmanas are able to see the spiritual world, they are also able to reveal that supreme abode of Lord Visnu."  (Rg Veda 1.22.20)
(om) madhavo madhavo vaci
madhavo madhavo hrdi
smaranti sadhavah sarve
sarva-karyesu madhavam

"Lord Madhava is in one's words and Lord Madhava is in one's heart.  All the saintly persons remember Lord Madhava, the husband of the goddess of fortune, in all their undertakings".      (Narasimha Purana)
om krsno vai sac-cid-ananda-ghanah krsna adi-purusah
   krsnah purusottamah krsno ha u karmadi-mulam krsnah sa
   ha sarvaih karyah krsnah kasam-krd-adisa-mukha-prabhu-
   pujyah krsno 'nadis tasminn ajandantar-bahye yan
   mangalam tal labhate krti

"Lord Krsna is the colour of a new rain cloud, therefore He is compared to a transcendental cloud full of eternity, bliss and cognizance.  He is the original and supreme person.  He is the origin of all activities and the one and only Lord of all.  He is the worshipful Lord of the best of demigods, the controller of Brahma, Visnu and Siva.  Krsna is without any beginning.  Whatever auspiciousness is found within or beyond this universe the devotee obtains in Krsna alone."
(Krsna Upanisad, Rg Veda)

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

3/. Swasti Vachan:
    taking some flower petals between ones fingers
om svasti no govindah
svasti no acyutanantau
svasti no vasudevo visnur dadhatu
svasti no narayana naro vai
svasti na padmanabha purusottama dadhatu
svasti no visvakseno visvaresvarah
svasti no hrsikeso harir dadhatu
svasti no vainateyo harih
svasti no anjana suto hanur bhagavato dadhatu
svasti svasti sumangalaih keso mahan
sri krsna sac-cid ananda ganah sarvesvaresvaro dadhatu
    and throwing over right shoulder
4/. Bhuta suddhi:
Before performing the worship of the Supreme Lord, the bhuta-suddhi is necessary.  Bhuta-suddhi means a particular meditation for purifying one's existence and consciousness.  This meditation should be as follows:
"I am by nature the eternal servant of Krsna, but by misfortune, due to being inimical towards Him from time immemorial, I have been identifying with this body and have been wandering in the cycle of birth and death again and again in this material existence, being burnt by the threefold miseries.  Now, as a result of some unimaginable good fortune, by the mercy of my spiritual master, I know that I am the eternal servant of Krsna, that I am an infinitesimal spiritual being, completely apart from the gross and subtle body.  Now, by the order of my spiritual master, following in his footsteps, I have obtained the good fortune of being able to serve his lotus feet as well as the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Syamasundara."
Thinking in this way, the pujari should recite the following mantra and meditate upon himself as follows:
naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na ca grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
kintu prodyan nikhila paramananda-purnamrtabdher
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah

"I am not a brahmana;  I am not a ksatriya;  nor am I a vaisya or a sudra.  Neither am I a brahmacari, nor a grhastha, nor a vanaprastha, nor a sannyasi, but I am simply the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of the eternally self-manifesting ocean of nectar of the highest bliss, the master of the gopis, Sri Krsna."(Padyavali 74)

4b/. Dhyana:
Dhyana  means  concentration of the mind in  one  direction.   In Deity  worship  the  object  of meditation is the  deity  one  is worshipping.   The mind is purified though  bhuta suddhi and pranayama and  it attains spiritualality by concentration of  the form and activities of the Lord. The form of the Lord in the mind is  considered a murti of the Lord,  non-different from  himself, and ones own body is a pitha, or sacred altar for the Lord.

The  form  of the Lord used for meditation should  correspond  to authorized  descriptions from scripture.  Some puja manuals  give suitable descriptive verses of the deity being worshipped,  which may  be recited at this time.   The important element however  is not the recitation, but the form of the Lord that the description invokes in the mind.

A  sample dhyana for Krsna worship,  as given in the Hari  Bhakti Vilasas,  is given as follows:

The  pure  land of Vrndavana is cooled by the presence  of  trees whose tender branches are laden with clusters of new buds and the most  attractive  flowers,  which  are  flowing  with  honey  and saturated  with heavenly fragrances,  and whose trunks are twined with vines decorated with clusters of fresh flowers.

The heart of Vrndavana resounds with the humming of swarming bees who  have  come to taste the nectar from the blossoming  flowers, and with the cries of the doves,  parrots,  sarikas and  cuckoos.  Everywhere the peacocks perform their dances.

Vrndavana is served by the soft,  soothing breeze,  which carries fine  drops of water from the lapping waves of the yamuna  river, and  that  breeze,  dusted with the pollen from the interiors  of fully blown lotuses,  playfully shakes the garments of the gopis, whose minds then become agitated with desire for their Lord.

In the midst of Vrndavana stands a towering kalpa vrksa, bestower of  all  desires,  whose branches are  coral,  whose  leaves  are emeralds,  whose  bouquets of buds are diamonds and  pearls,  and whose fruits are rubies.  Being served by the seasons personified it produces all types of flowers simultaneously.

At  the base of the nectar-showering kalpa vrksa tree is an  open space  of ground,  shining as brilliant as the sun rising over  a range  of solid gold mountains and sparkling with  inlaid  jewels and  glowing  with  heaps  of  golden  pollen.    This  place  is completely  freed from the waves of  lamentation,  illusion,  old age, death, hunger and thirst.

On the jewel-inlaid floor is an exquisite asana in the form of an eight-petalled lotus tinted  the color of  the  dawn.   In  the center,  resplendent  as  the  rising  sun,  sits  Mukunda in a comfortable pose.

He  shines  like  a  brilliant, dark  sapphire,  deep black as lampblack,  dark  as a mountain of monsoon clouds,  delicate as a blue lotus.   On his black mass of hair, which is thick,  glossy and curled, sits a luminous peacock feather.

On  his head are ornaments of parijata blossoms served eagerly by swarms of bees,  and on his ears are fresh flowers.   On the flat surface  of  his forehead,  surrounded by stray  locks  of  hair, shines vertical tilaka, bright yellow in color, between a pair of long,  creeper-like eye brows.  His face shines like the flawless moon  of  the  autumn season,  and his eyes are wide  like  lotus petals.  His  mirror-like cheeks glitter with the rays  from  his jewelled  shark  earrings.   His  beautiful nose  points  upwards gracefully and his tender smile,  similar to the moon,  a jasmine flower or the mandara flower, illuminates all his features.

Around  his  conch neck is a string of coral  flowers  and  young leaves,  and  from his shoulders to his feet extends a garland of kalpa vrksa flowers swarming with intoxicated bees.   On his full chest sparkles a string of pearls, like a constellation of stars, and  there shines the kaustubha jewel,  like the sun in the  sky, and his distinguishing mark, the Shrivatsa.

His shoulders are high;  his well-formed thick arms reach to  his knees; his stomach is slightly indented and raised; in its center is a handsome,  deep navel.  Extending  upwards from his navel is a  delicate line of black hair.   He is decorated with arm bands, bracelets,  necklaces,  anklets,  cords and a golden belt studded with jewels.  On different parts of his body are painted different designs.  Around his waist is a yellow cloth.

He has beautiful thighs and knees,  charming ankles and feet more lusterous than polished turtle shells.  His toe nails shine  like ruby mirrors, and his toes are like jewelled leaves.  On his pink hands and feet are the pleasing signs of the fish, elephant goad, chakra,  conch,  flag,  lotus,  thunder bolt and barley grain. His body,  composed  of the topmost elements of beauty,  conquers the bodily attraction of Cupid, the god of love.

Sri Krsna is an ocean of unlimited bliss.   From his flute,  made perfect  by  conjunction  with  his lotus  face,  by  the  simple movements of his fingers,  arises  transcendental ragas.  Hearing those  ragas,  all  the  creatures  and  their  offspring  become attracted  and  stunned,  their hearts being   in  a  perpetually melted state.

Sri  Krsna is surrounded by cows with long,  slender tails.  They move towards him with unsteady gait, for their udders are swollen with  milk.   Their large eyes become glued to the lotus face  of the Lord,  while half-chewed tender grass shoots remain poised on the ends of their teeth.   The newborn calves, enhanced in beauty by the milk foam flowing form their small lips and  teeth,  which had so eagerly sucked at the full udders,  now remain motionless.  They  prick  up their little ears to hear  the  deep,  enchanting notes from his flute.   The older calves,  with colorful blankets around  their  throats and little horns emerging from their  soft head,  raise their tails,  butt each other,  and playfully gallop this  way  and that,  and finally gather around  the  Lord.   The massive bulls,  laden with the burden of their huge humps, lowing in deep voices,  approach in a lazy manner.   But when the liquid nectar from the flute enters their raised ears,  they widen their nostrils fully and tilt up their heads.

The cowherd boys,  similar in character,  blissful  nature,  age,  activities  and dress as Krsna,  play sweet, low melodies on  their flutes  and  vinas.   They  sing graceful tunes,  and  with  arms extended,  dance very expertly.   The babies, with little lisping words in their mouths,  tiger claws hanging from their necks, and jingling  bells attached to their ankles and  fat  bellies,  also approach the Lord. The attractive cowherd girls, marked with three lines  on  their waists, come forward, eager to serve  him.    They sway with the weight of their broad,  heavy hips, and their heads bow  beneath their piles of abundant hair.  The desire  trees  of their  bodies,  being  drenched with the nectar from  his  flute, sprout goose bumps like flowers blooming on a vine.  The ocean of prema  in  the gopis' hearts increases by the moon beam smile  of the  Nanda's son,  and the splashing from those rushing waves  of prema appear as sweat drops on the bodies of the laboring gopis.

From  his long,  bowed eyebrows,  by sharp glances,  he shoots  a shower  of  deadly arrows of love,  which  break  the  vulnerable points   in   the  composure  of  the   gopies.   Disturbed   but unsubmitting,  they  try to suppress the painful tremblings  which begin  to afflict all parts of their bodies.   But eager to drink the nectar of the incomparable form of Krsna, through half-closed bashful eyes,  they furtively glance upon him,  and thus continue to float in the streams of prema.

  Swarms  of  bees,  eager to drink the honey  flowing  from  the flowers  which  have fallen from their loosened tresses of  hair, surround the standing forms of the gopis.  Out of intense frenzy, they utter inaudible,  tender words, and their waist bells jingle from  their  uncontrollable trembling.  Their fine silk  clothes, loosened  by  their  heavy  breathing,  reveal  parts  of  their lusterous  bodies.  The soft sound of their  hesitant  footsteps mixes with the sound from their jeweled anklets and echoes in all directions.  Their lips quiver, their earrings glitter, and their eyes, rimmed with graceful eyelashes, stay half-closed in shyness. Due  to the agitation of their deep breathing,  their  pink  lips darken.    In their  delicate,   sportive  hands  are various presentations for their Lord, whom they constantly attend.

The Lord,  a reservoir of pleasure, is decorated with a garland of full-blown  blue lotuses in the form of the gopies' dark restless eyes,  which  fix  themselves on his  form.   Those  eyes, like a garland of love-hungry bees, madly drink the liquid  honey of his all-attractive face.

The  gopas,  gopis  and cows remain at some distance,  while  the devatas  stand  in front with brahma,  siva and  indra  in  lead, reciting verses to attain material wealth (artha).   To the right side  stand the assembly of munis intent on fulfilling the  codes of dharma with vedic knowledge.   Behind, the yogindras headed by Sanaka,  being desirous of liberation (moksa),  remain in a state of  samadhi.   To  the  left  side  stand  the  yaksas,  siddhas, gandharvas,  vidyadharas and charanas with their wives, along with the  kinnaras and the best of the apsaras.   In pursuit of  kama, pleasure, they sing, dance  and play musical instruments White as a conch,  shining like the moon,  like a jasmine flower, like a lightening bolt,  appears Narada Muni in the sky.   He  is decorated with matted locks of reddish hair.  Conversant with the conclusion  of all scriptures,  he serves the lotus feet of Krsna with  undeviating devotion,  having given up all  attachments  to material pleasures.

5/. Shaligram mantra:

om dhyeyah sada savitr mandala madhya varti
narayanah sarasijasana sannivistah
keyuravan kanaka kundalavan kiriti
harir hiranmaya vapur dhrta sankha chakrah

Lord Narayana is seated on a lotus flower asana within the sun globe. He is beautifully decorated and wears a crown, golden earrings and arm bands of silver on His golden body, and in His hands He holds a white conchshell and a Sudarshana disc weapon. Because of all this He is ever enchanting and captivating to the mind. One should always meditate on the supremely effulgent Lord within the sun globe in this way being the source of the Suns effulgence.

6/. Asan suddhi offer seat:
idam Asanam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

7/. Swagatam Greetings greeting with anjali mudra:
swagatam tu swagatam te kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

8/. Padyam offering to Lords feet - footwash:
etat pAdyam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

9/. Sugandham Tailam anointing with oils:
idam sugandam tailam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

10/. Snaniyam - bathing:
idam snaniyam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

11/. Sotariya Vaastram offering cloth change set:
idam sotAriya vAstram kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

12/. Tilakam marking the Deity with auspicious signs and symbols:
idam tilakam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

13/. Upavatam sacred thread:
idam upAvatam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

14/. Abharanam Alankaram:
idam abhAranam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

15/. Malyam - garland:
idam malyam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

16/. Gandam sandalwood paste:
esha gandhah kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

17/.  Sugandham Pushpam flower petals dipped in sandalwod paste:
idam sugandham pushpam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

18/. Tulasi Patram Tulasi leaves:
etAt TulAsi pAtram kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

19/. Dhupa - incense:
esha dhupah kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

20/. Deepa - lamps:
esha deepah kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

21/. Naivedyam - Paniyam:
idam naivedyAm kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi
idam pAniyam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

om pranaya svaha   (prana mudra)
om apanaya svaha  (apana mudra)
om vyanaya svaha   (vyana mudra)
om udanaya svaha  (udana mudra)
om samanaya svaha (samana mudra)
om brahmane svaha

om Amrito pAstrAnamAsi kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

chant mantras to guru:
nama om vishnu padaya..
namo mahavadanaya
namo brahmanya devaya
jaya sri krishna chaitanya
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare, hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

First line of the Gayatri mantra: Om bhur bhuvah swah tat

om Amrito peedAnamAsi kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

22/. Tambulam betal, cloves, cardamom, rock candy, churnas, suparis:
idam tambulam kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

23/. Sarvam conclusion whilst ringing the bell:
idam sarvAm kliM krishnAya namah om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya samArpayAmi

show mirror if you have one

24/. Namam offering with Harer Nama:
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rAma hare rAma rAma rAma hare hare

recite three times whilst offering a flower or petals each time in loving surrender

25/. Aparadha Kshamasva:
All the rules of puja are formed to prevent one from committing offense to the Lord. If one breaks a rule and commits offense the first remedial measure is to beg forgiveness for the offense with a sincere heart.

As a safeguard, one should in conclusion beg pardon for any unintentional offense (intentional offense is out of the question for one who is initiated) as the final means of accruing success from the puja.

To free oneself from offense one can also bath in the Yamuna at Mathura and serve the Lord there;  study a chapter of Bhagavad Gita every day; worship Shalagrama sila with Tulasi leaves, read verses glorifying Tulasi on dvadasi while staying awake all night; and mark oneself with the weapons of Visnu and then worship the Lord.


mantra-hinam kriya-hinam
bhakti-hinam janardana
yat pujitam maya deva
paripurnam tad astu me

"O my Lord, O Janardana, whatever little puja or worship that has been performed by me, although it is without devotion, without proper mantras and without the proper performance, please let that become complete."

yad-dattam bhakti-matrena
patram puspam phalam jalam
aveditam nivedyan tu
tan grhananukampaya

"What has been offered with devotion, the leaf, the flower, the water, the fruit, the foodstuff, which has been offered, please, out of Your causeless mercy, accept it."

vidhi-hinam mantra-hinam
yat kincid upapaditam
kriya-mantra-vihinam va
tat sarvam ksantum arhasi

"Whatever has happened without the proper chanting of the mantra, or without following the proper procedure, kindly forgive all that."

ajnanad athava jnanad
asubham yan maya krtam
ksantum arhasi tat sarvam
dasyenaiva grhana mam

sthitih seva gatir yatra
smrtis cinta stutir vacah
bhuyat sarvatmana visno
madiyam tvayi cestitam

"Whatever inauspicious things I have done out of ignorance or unknowingly, please forgive that and accept me as Your insignificant servant.  Let my normal condition be service;  let my movement be holy pilgrimage; let my thought be remembrance of You;  let my words be glorification of You.  O Vishnu, let my activities, with my whole mind and body and soul, be engaged in You."

26/. Vandanam additional prayers:

27/. SarAngathi Atma Nivedanam:
offering prostrated obeisances like a stick

28/. Suchinam:
cleaning paraphernalia and putting away

29/. Charanamrita prasadam:

visnoh padodakam pitva
sirasa dharayamy aham

"Having drunk the water from the lotus feet of Lord Visnu, which destroys all disease and takes away the chance of dying untimely, I hold that water on my head."
30/. Prasad Seva distribute and honour prasadams

31/. SwAdyAya Seva preaching the glories of the Deity
This includes all of the  processes of cultivation, such as reading scripture, hearing and chanting the names and glories of the Lord etc., and giving those to others through festivals programs etc.

64 upachars:

The Sixty-four Upac€ras
The list of sixty-four upac€ras begins with early-morning services to the Deity, including waking Him, offering obeisances, and offering magala-€rat. These activities are called j€graa-sev€. What follows is a list of the sixty-four items of worship, with appropriate explanations:

Waking the Lord (j€graa-sev€)

Traditionally, in large temples devotees chant Vedic verses to awaken the Lord in the temple. In the Vekae?vara temple in South India, devotees chant the Vekae?vara-suprabhat€, a hymn specifically meant for waking the Lord. The worshiper should at least ring a bell to draw the Lord's attention and indicate that he would like to offer service.
In the Caitanya-carit€m?ta ®rla Prabhup€da stresses the importance of having a bell also in the temple room for the visitors to ring as they enter the Lord's house, enabling them to offer the first item of worship as well:
There must be a big bell hanging in front of the temple room so that whoever comes in the room can ring the bell. This item is called prabodhana, or offering oneself submissively to the Lord. This is the first item [in Deity worship]. [Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport]
®rla Prabhup€da writes:
The visitor must chant jaya ®r R€dh€-Govinda or jaya ®r R€dh€-M€dhava when he rings the bell. In either case, the word jaya must be uttered. One should immediately offer obeisances to the Lord, falling down like a stick. [Caitanya-c€rit€m?ta, Madhya 4.334, purport]
In the early morning you should offer obeisances specifically to the Deities only after waking Them, because it is enjoined in ?€stra that one should not disturb the Lord by offering obeisances when He is resting or bathing. (Nor should one circumambulate the Lord at these times.) Also, offer obeisances just outside the Deity room, never inside, since it is enjoined to offer obeisances from a respectful distance.  Within the Deity room, offer pra€mas with joined palms (pra€ma-mudr€), by mantra and with the mind.
A?aga-pra€ma and Pañc€ga-pra€ma
®rla Prabhup€da writes,
The word da?a means rod or pole. A rod or pole falls straight; similarly, when a devotee offers obeisances to his superior with all eight agas (parts) of the body, he performs what is called da?avat. Sometimes we only speak of da?avats but actually do not fall down. In any case, da?avat means falling down like a rod before one's superior. [Cc. Madhya 1.67, purport]
The Hari-bhakti-vilasa tells how to offer da?avat-pra€ma: Offer obeisances with eight agas - your feet, knees, chest, hands, head, sight, mind, and words. With your two feet, knees, chest, hands* and head touching the ground, and with your eyes downcast and half open, recite a suitable prayer while meditating that your head is under the Lord's lotus feet.
To make Pañc€ga-pra€ma, offer obeisances with five agas - knees, arms, head, intellect, and words. (The chest does not touch the ground.) It is an offense to offer obeisances with only one hand--that is, with one hand extended in front of the head while the other holds a beadbag or other sacred item off the floor. Before offering obeisances, set down anything you are holding.
Men may perform either type of pra€ma, but women traditionally perform only pañc€ga-pra€ma, since their breasts should not touch the earth. The Hari-bhakti-vil€sa, emphasizing the importance of pra€ma, states that whenever offering pra€ma, one should prostrate at least four times.
Specific injunctions regarding direction to face when offering pra€ma in varying circumstances are minimal. The general rule is to point your head in the direction of the person you are respecting. In the temple, where it is understood that Garu?a stands opposite the Deity, ?€stra enjoins offering pra€ma with your left side facing the Deity so that your feet are not in the direction of Garu?a (or, in the case of many ISKCON temples, ®rla Prabhu€da). While offering obeisances, first recite your own spiritual master's pra€ma-mantra, then ®rla Prabhup€da's (if it is different), and then the pra€ma mantras for the Deities present on the altar.
®€stra states that one should enter the Deity room in a humble mood, slightly crouching and stepping inside with the right foot first. Whenever entering the Deity room to begin services, make some sound -- either knocking, clapping the hands, or ringing a bell. It is not necessary to make a sound each and every time you enter in the course of service, but in the beginning this should be done.

* Your hands should be extended out in front of your head, not next to your head or tucked in next to your chest.

®rla Prabhup€da writes,
There must be regular magala-€rat in the temple during the early morning, an hour and a half before the sun rises.** [Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport]
®rla Prabhup€da further emphasizes in his Nectar of Devotion (a summary study of the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu) the benefit of seeing the €rat performed. He writes,
In the Skanda Pur€a there is the following description of the result of seeing €rat (worship) of the Deity: 'If someone sees the face of the Lord while €rat is going on, he can be relieved of all sinful reactions coming from many, many thousands and millions of years past. He is even excused from the killing of a br€hmaa or similar prohibited activities.' [The Nectar of Devotion, Ch.9]
*Throughout this manual we will use the more common Bengali and Hindi word €rat instead of the Sanskrit aratrka.

**Considering variations in time zones, geography, and seasons, temples should begin magala-€rat no earlier than 4:00 a.m. and generally no later than 5:00 a.m.--provided, of course, the neighbors do not complain about the sound!

rat is also called nr€jana, which means waving auspicious items before a person in order to dispel inauspicious influences or elements. All €rat ceremonies offered to the Lord are auspicious (magala), but the first €rat of the day, in the early morning, is considered particularly auspicious for all who participate.
The magala-€rat (the first €rat of the day) should be a full €rat, with incense, lamp, water, cloth, flowers, and c€mara.
In warm weather, you may also offer the fan at this time.
One should make an offering of milk sweets before magala-€rat. For more details on preparing and offering food, see the first naivedya upac€ra (number 32), page <?>.
You will find a description of how to offer €rat on page <?>

Preliminary Activities of Purification (prv€ga-karma)
Before performing the main worship of the main Deity with the sixteen basic upac€ras, one should perform certain preliminary activities of purification and preliminary worship. After describing these we will continue with number 5 of the sixty-four upac€ras, which corresponds to number 1 of the sixteen basic upac€ras.

Consecrating Water for Purification (sam€nya-arghya and vi?e?a-arghya)
Water is an important element in worship. Not only does it physically purify many items, but when consecrated by Deity mantra, which is nondifferent from the Deity, it gains spiritual potency. The water thus consecrated will be used for prok?aa (sprinkling for purification) on the place, the articles, and oneself. This process is common to all types of pj€, and the various pj€ manuals give similar methods for making the sam€nya-arghya, or pure water prepared in a simple way for general use. One will usually establish sam€nya-arghya at the start of the worship for use at that time. <see pg. ? >
Before full worship of the main Deity begins, you may establish another arghya, called vi?e?a-arghya (special arghya). Vi?e?a-arghya, into which the Deity is invoked and worshiped, is used for the final spiritualization of place, articles, and self. This arghya is also placed into a separate vessel that may contain various other auspicious ingredients and offered to the Lord as the arghya upac€ra. The vi?e?a-arghya is generally established in a conch shell, so the process of establishing it is often called ?akha-sth€pana. In simple worship one may use the sam€nya-arghya as both sam€nya- and vi?e?a-arghya.

Establishing One's Seat (sana-sth€pana)
sana means "sitting posture," as well as "a seat." For performing pj€ (other than €rat) you must sit, for in that attitude you can concentrate. The recommended sitting postures are padma-€sana and svastik€-asana, with the feet and legs covered by cloth. (See <pg. ?> for a description of these €sanas.) Whenever you perform pj€, you should sit on an €sana. To sit on the bare floor while performing pj€ is a sev€-apar€dha, an offense in Deity worship. ®€stra notes that €sanas made of wood, stone, earth, bamboo, and grasses other than ku?a may cause sickness, poverty, and sorrow. Ku?a grass, silk, or wool €sanas are the most suitable for Vai?ava arcana.

Arranging Utensils and Articles of Worship (p€tra-sth€pana)
Arrange the articles to be offered and the various containers and other items so that you need not move from your €sana and thus disturb your meditation and interrupt the worship. Also take care that offered items will not touch unoffered ones. If they do, the unoffered items become unfit to offer to the Lord.

Requesting the Spiritual Master's and Previous c€ryas' Blessings (guru-punkti-namask€ra)
Before beginning worship, we must always invoke the blessings of our spiritual master and the samprad€ya; we should always remember that we are simply assisting our spiritual master and the disciplic succession in worshiping the Lord. Therefore before proceding, with joined palms (pra€ma-mudr€) mentally prostrate before your guru and the guru-parampar€, chanting pra€ma-mantras.

Purification of Hands, Flowers, and Materials (kara-?uddhi, pu?pa-?uddhi, and dravya-?uddhi)
Once seated on your €sana with all the paraphernalia assembled, you should purify your hands. If one performs sacred acts with impure hands, everything will become impure. You may purify your hands by rinsing them with water or by rubbing candana on them. When your hands are purified, you may purify other items.
Flowers are purified by prok?aa (sprinkling with sam€nya-arghya), mudr€s,* and mantra.
Articles are spiritualized by chanting the Deity mla-mantra over them, by prok?aa with sam€nya-arghya (which is also infused with the Deity mantra), and by mudr€s.

*In elaborate worship, mudr€s may optionally be employed. Mudr€ refers to hand positions that give the Lord joy. For the worshiper, they serve to help fix his mind on the Lord. There are twenty-four mudr€s prescribed for Vi?u worship. Some represent His weapons and accoutrements, while others are functional, such as the cakra-mudr€, for protection, and the dhenu-mudr€, for making am?ta. Five mudr€s are especially dear to K??a--namely, veu, vana-m€l€, bilva, ?rvatsa, and kaustubha; the pj€r may display these before the Lord before starting the worship. There are also mudr€s for each of the sixteen upac€ras; while offering each upac€ra, the worshiper may show the appropriate mudr€. (Showing upac€ra-mudr€s is not done in R€dh€-K??a worship, but could be done in ?€lagr€ma-?il€ or N?siha worship.) For diagrams and explanations of mudr€s, see <Volume II, page <??>.

Purification of the Elements of the Material Body (bhta-?uddhi)
Bhta-?uddhi means "purification of the bodily elements (bhtas)." The material body is filled with sinful desire. Indeed, the very origin of the material body is sinful desire. A person cannot worship the Lord or even approach the Lord in such a condition. As it is said in the ?€stra, n€devo deva arcayet: "Without being on the level of a deva [i.e., pure], one cannot worship the Lord."
The procedure that purifies us of material consciousness and awakens us to awareness our spiritual body, is called bhta-?uddhi. As the Hari-bhakti-vil€sa states:
The process of purifying one's body made up of the bhtas [earth, water, fire, air, and ether] through association with the transcendental Lord is called bhta-?uddhi.
Bhta-?uddhi is a necessary step mentioned in all pj€ manuals. Utilized in all types of pj€, japa, and meditation, it is performed by devotees on all levels of advancement.
Bhta-?uddhi is accomplished in one of two ways: the first is the elaborate, systematic method of purging the gross material elements from the body and reconstituting the body with new, revitalized elements, ultimately arriving at purified consciousness; the second method, which devotees of K??a favor, entails remembering that one is an eternal servant of K??a and thus completely spiritual and pure. If one is established in such consciousness, the elements of the body automatically become purified.
In the Bhagavad-gt€ (18.54), Lord K??a sums up the characteristics of one who is situated in spiritual (brahma-bhta) consciousness:

brahma-bhta prasann€tm€ na ?ocati na k€k?ati
sama sarve?u bhte?u mad-bhakti labhate par€m
One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me. [Bg. 18.54]

Preliminary Pj€

Worship of the Spiritual Master (guru-pj€)
One must begin each session of worship by worshiping the spiritual master. By this worship the devotee gains the mercy (k?pa-?€kti) of the spiritual master which is the first and most essential step in approaching the Lord. Only by pleasing the spiritual master and gaining his mercy, and only by approaching him as the via medium, can one offer anything to the Lord. Pañcar€trika scripture strongly emphasizes this:
He who first worships the spiritual master and then worships Me [Bhagav€n] attains perfection. Otherwise one's worship is fruitless. [Hari-bhakti-vil€sa 4.344]
He who worships someone else before worshiping the guru attains simply misfortune. His worship is useless. [Hari-bhakti-vil€sa 4.345]
One should first come before one's spiritual master, pay obeisances to him, present him with some offering, and worship him with devotion. Having gained his grace, one should then worship the Supreme Lord. [Hari-bhakti-vil€sa <?>]
You may worship the spiritual master in a picture, a mrti, a yantra (a diagram with inscribed mantras), a ghaa (installed waterpot), or you may worship the spiritual master's shoes, which are nondifferent from him. Generally worship of the spiritual master is done to his picture or mrti. The picture of the spiritual master should include his complete form.
®rla Bhaktivinoda µh€kura recommends worshiping the spiritual master with sixteen upac€ras, but if this is not practical one may worship him with twelve, ten, or five upac€ras, depending on ability and circumstances. If possible you should perform the worship with the actual articles; if not, you may offer flowers with candana and/or pure water as substitutes for the articles while saying the appropriate mantras <(see Part II, Appendix xx regarding upac€ra substitution). If this is not possible, then you should at least worship the spiritual master by m€nasa-pj€ (worship in the mind).* Conclude the worship with pra€ma and a request to the spiritual master to permit you to serve the Lord. <For guru-pj€ procedure, see page ?>

*These recommendations also apply to the preliminary worship of Lord Caitanya.

Worship of Lord Caitanya (gaur€ga-pj€)
Before worshiping R€dh€ and K??a, the followers of Lord Caitanya first worship Him, for only through Him can we hope to approach the service of R€dh€-K??a.* You may perform pj€ with sixteen, twelve, ten, or five items (as in guru-pj€), or with as many items as possible plus substitute items <(see Part II, Appendix xx)>. You should conclude the worship of Lord Caitanya with pra€ma, begging His mercy to perform R€dh€-K??a worship.
®rla Prabhup€da writes of the importance of worshiping Gaura-Nitai:
By serving Gaura-Nity€nanda one is freed from the entanglements of material existence and thus becomes qualified to worship the R€dh€-K??a Deity. [Cc. di 8.31, purport]
* Of course, in temples where Gaura-Nit€i are the main Deities, it is unnecessary to perform this preliminary worship of Lord Caitanya, since He will be worshiped in full along with Lord Nity€nanda. In temples where there are Gaura-Nit€i Deities and where the main Deities are R€dh€-K??a or Jagann€tha, the pj€r worshiping R€dh€-K??a or Jagann€tha should do preliminary worship to Lord Caitanya (or Gaura-Nitai, or the full Pañca-tattva) in a picture. If one pj€r is worshiping all sets of Deities, he should worship Gaura-Nit€i before worshiping R€dh€-K??a. If the main Deities are accepting worship through the ?€lagr€ma-?il€ (as explained further on page <?>), the pj€r should do preliminary worship of Lord Caitanya in a picture before worshiping the ?€lagr€ma-?il€.

Meditation (dhy€na)
In the ®rmad-Bh€gavatam (3.28.18) Lord Kapiladeva instructs His mother on meditation:
One should therefore meditate upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead and upon His devotees. One should meditate on the eternal form of the Lord until the mind becomes fixed.
Dhy€na means concentration of the mind on the Lord and His associates, paraphernalia, pastimes, and abode. In Deity worship the object of meditation is the Deity being worshiped. The mind is purified through bhta-?uddhi and becomes spiritualized by concentrating on the Lord's form and pastimes. The form of the Lord in the mind is considered a mrti (Deity) of the Lord, nondifferent from the Lord Himself, and the worshiper's mind is a pha, or sacred altar for the Lord.
The form of the Lord one meditates on should correspond to authorized descriptions from bona fide ?€stra. Some pj€ manuals contain verses describing the Deity being worshiped, and one may recite these at this time. The important element, however, is not the recitation of the Sanskrit verses but the form of the Lord that the description evokes in the mind. Thus if you find that reciting a translation of the original Sanskrit verses in your mother language is more conducive to visualization of the Lord's form in the mind, you should follow this practice.

Internal Worship (m€nasa-pj€)
After meditating on the form of the Lord, you should engage your mind in worshiping that form. Dhy€na is the prep€raton for m€nasa-pj€; whereas dhy€na is passive, m€nasa-pj€ is active. Whatever items you offer externally you should first offer internally with full devotion and attention.* Also, whereas the items offered in external worship may be simple due to modest means, in the course of m€nasa-pj€ one may perform very opulent worship of the Lord. (See The Nectar of Devotion, Ch.10, for the story of the br€hmaa devotee who burned his finger on m€nasa-pj€ sweet rice.) M€nasa-pj€ is the culmination of dhy€na. The ?€stra points out that for one performing s€dhana-bhakti, the pj€ with paraphernalia is ineffective without m€nasa-pj€. Pj€ performed with paraphernalia but without m€nasa-pj€ may be the cause of offense for the neophyte, for he will tend to see the Deity as a material object. Thus m€nasa-pj€, or antar-yoga, is essential in all types of Deity worship. Elevated souls (especially sanny€ss, who are always traveling) often perform only this type of worship, as exemplified in the following passage from the Caitanya-carit€m?ta:

* M€nasa-pj€ should include the same number or more items as the external worship will include, not less. Thus, if worshiping with sixteen items in the external worship, the m€nasa-pj€ should also include sixteen items.

N?sih€nanda Brahmac€r's M€nasa-pj€
"When ®r N?sih€nanda Brahmac€r heard that Lord Caitanya Mah€prabhu would go to V?nd€vana, he became very pleased and mentally began decorating the way there. First [he] contemplated a broad road starting from the city of Kuliy€. He bedecked the road with jewels, upon which he then laid a bed of stemless flowers. He mentally decorated both sides of the road with bakula flower trees, and at intervals on both sides he placed lakes of a transcendental nature. These lakes had bathing places constructed with jewels, and they were filled with blossoming lotus flowers. There were various birds chirping, and the water was exactly like nectar. The entire road was surcharged with many cool breezes, which carried the fragrances from various flowers. He carried the construction of this road as far as K€n€i N€a?€l€. Within the mind of N?sih€nanda Brahmac€r the road could not be constructed beyond K€n€i N€a?€l€. He could not understand why the road's construction could not be completed, and thus he was astonished. With great assurance he then told the devotees that Lord Caitanya would not go to V?nd€vana at that time" (Cc., Madhya 1.155---161).

Both dhy€na and m€nasa-pj€ are performed not only for the main Deity, but also for the spiritual master and Lord Caitanya in preliminary worship.

Beginning the Main Worship: Receiving the Lord (?o?a?opac€ra-pj€)

€sana means the situation or setting in which the Lord is being offered a certain type of worship. The Lord is surrounded by His associates, who offer Him various services, and among these associates is one's own spiritual master. Since it is through him that the disciple gains admittance into the Lord's service, the disciple should understand the principal €sana to be the seat or position where the spiritual master performs his services to the Lord, as ®rla Prabhup€da explains in Caitanya-carit€m?ta (Madhya 24.334, purport):
There must be an €sana, a sitting place before the altar. This €sana is for the spiritual master. The disciple brings everything before the spiritual master, and the spiritual master offers everything to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
As part of ?o?a?opac€ra-pj€ you should also offer an €sana to the Lord; a common way is to place flowers or flower petals where He will stand to receive padya, arghya, etc., before the bath.

Sv€gata* means "welcome" and "comfort." You should ask the Lord if He is comfortable, and then with affection meditate on welcoming Him and satisfying Him nicely. ®rla Prabhup€da explains:
V?ndavana means everyone is engaged how to keep K??a in comfort. This is V?ndavana. Not for personal comfort. The whole V?ndavana is engaged, beginning with Mother Y€?od€, N€nda M€h€r€ja, the young gops, and the young cowherd boys; that is V?ndavana. K??a is the center. So the more we become engaged with the view to giving K??a the comfortable position, that is our aim of life. Then we can be liberated. [A Transcendental Diary, by Hari-?auri D€sa]
After offering the Lord a seat and welcoming Him, remove His nightclothes and then wrap the Lord in a g€mch€. Ideally, the g€mch€ should remain on the Deity throughout the cleaning, polishing (if the Deity is metal), and bathing, and should be removed when the Lord is being dried. At that time offer Him a dry g€mch€. (The towel for drying and the dry g€mch€ are both called aga-vastra, the twenty-second upac€ra.)

*Sv€gata, the second item in the list of sixteen upac€ras, is not mentioned as a separate upac€ra in the list of sixty-four.

®rla Prabhup€da writes:
After magala-€rat, the Deity is supposed to wash His teeth by using a twig; therefore a twig must be offered.* [Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport]
The same type of twig you use for brushing your own teeth you may offer to the Lord (see pg. <?>). You may also offer a tongue scraper at this time.

*Alternatively, you may offer danta-k€?h€ just after waking the Lord, before performing magala-€rat.

Padya, arghya, €camana, and madhuparka are all traditional Vedic ways of welcoming a king or other distinguished guest. Pure water is often offered in place of any or all these items. One may put flowers or tulas leaves into water and offer it, thinking of the absent items.
You may offer padya before and after the Lord eats, as a reception after €sana, after waking the Lord, and before putting Him to rest.

Arghya is a mixture of auspicious items offered above or touched to the head of an honored guest as part of reception. To literally offer a person arghya entails either sprinkling it on his head or offering it into his hands so he can sprinkle it over his own head. Therefore it is said an offering of arghya is made "to the hands." Either way is acceptable, although offering to the hands is better because it is considered more respectful. You should ring a bell in your left hand while offering arghya.

camana may be offered before and after offering food, after bathing or dressing the Lord, and after putting on the Lord's up€vita.

According to the G?hya-stras (?val€yana and P€raskara), the way one would accept madhuparka is as follows: While being held in a cup by the worshiper, the recipient of worship would stir it with his thumb and middle finger, sprinkle it in the four directions with the same fingers, take a few drops of it in his mouth three times from the middle of the cup (again with those fingers) and leave the rest.
After madhuparka, again offer €camana. (In the standard list of sixteen upac€ras, €camana offered after madhuparka is counted as a separate upac€ra.)

Bathing the Lord (sn€nya)

®rla Prabhup€da writes:
One should place wooden slippers before the Lord. [Caitanya-c€rit€m?ta, Madhya 24.334, purport]
Shoes may be offered whenever the Lord moves from one position to another by showing them briefly prior to moving the Deity. After the reception (consisting of items 5 through 10) the Lord is invited to a special bathing area.

Clean away all the old flowers, candana, and so on before cleaning the Lord's body with water and a soft cloth. Metal Deities may now be polished with a paste made of ground gop-candana and fresh lemon juice* or water, and then wiped off with a damp cloth prior to bathing. (If the Deity is not waterproof, simply wipe the Lord with a dry cloth.)

*Bottled lemon juice contains impurities and is therefore unacceptable. Some devotees use unblanched almond paste to polish metal Deities.

Fragrant oils may be rubbed on the Lord's body before His bath.* This is an especially auspicious offering on Ek€da?.
San€tana Gosv€m mentions that one should especially rub the Lord's head with oil.

*The appropriate time to offer the Lord oils or perfumes is just before His bath (not immediately following magala-€rat during the N?siha prayers). Additionally, you can offer oils after dressing, for scenting the Lord's face and hands. You may also scent His clothing and bedding.

Pras€da scents that have been offered on a cotton swab can be distributed after the greeting of the Deity.

In his Caitanya-carit€m?ta (Madhya 24.334, purport) ®rla Prabhup€da mentions using a wet sponge to wipe the excess oil off the Deity. It may be preferable to use a soft cotton towel for this purpose, since real sponge is a sea animal and synthetic sponge is plastic. The oil massage prior to bathing acts cosmetically, purifying the pores of a person's skin. After massage, before the bath, the excess oil is removed.

As stated in the Caitanya-carit€m?ta,
One should bathe the Lord with water in which nicely scented flowers have been soaking for some time. [Caitanya-c€rit€m?ta, Madhya 24.33, purport]
Pañc€m?ta-sn€na is generally not offered daily to the Deity, but should be offered daily to the ?alagr€ma-?il€, at least in the temple. It is best to pour each item of pañc€m?ta from a conch over the Deity. The liquids should be neither too cold nor too hot. The following five items (16 to 20) comprise pañc€m?ta-sn€na.

Heat the milk slightly if the weather is cool.

Whip the yogurt so that it will flow smoothly.

Heat the ghee so that it is fluid but not too hot.

The honey may be diluted with water to make it more fluid.

Dissolve sugar or gu?a in water and then pour the sweetened water over the Deity.

After bathing the Lord in pañc€m?ta, you can remove the ghee by rubbing the Lord's body with powdered barley or wheat flour and then washing Him with warm water. A brush made from the hairs of a cow's tail or from coconut husks may be used to remove dirt from hard-to-reach parts of the Deity's body. After bathing the Deity in warm water, bathe Him in cool water (weather permitting).

Bathing the Lord with Water (j€la-sn€na)

Technically, water into which one has chanted certain Vedic hymns and Deity bja-mantras is what is meant by 'water consecrated with mantras.' One can also chant mantras during the bathing. ®rla Prabhup€da writes in his Caitanya-carit€m?ta (Madhya 24.334, purport),
Wash the Deity with water and chant this mantra:
cint€mai-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-v?k?a-
  laks€v?te?u surabhr abhip€layantam
  govindam €di-puru?a tam aha bhaj€mi

While bathing the Deity, you should chant verses from the Brahma-sahit€; additionally you may chant verses from ®rmad-Bh€gavatam, Bhagavad-gt€, Vi?u-sahasra-n€ma, Puru?a-skta, or other appropriate scriptures. It is appropriate at this time, especially in elaborate worship, for assisting devotees to play musical instruments, perform krtana, ring bells, blow conch shells, or play appropriate recorded music or mantra chanting.

As stated in the Caitanya-carit€m?ta (Madhya 24.334, purport), "One should dry the entire body [of the Deity] with a towel."
 All cloths used for drying and offering in €rat should be washed after each use and dried in a clean place, away from any possible contamination.

Dressing and Worshiping the Lord
In his description of M€dhavendra Pur's installation of the Gop€la Deity, ®rla K??ad€sa Kavir€ja writes, "After the body of the Deity was cleansed, He was dressed very nicely with new garments. Then sandalwood pulp, tulas garlands, and other fragrant flower garlands were placed upon the body of the Deity" (Cc. Madhya 4.63).

General Dressing Guidelines Given by ®rla Prabhup€da
®rla Prabhup€da has given many guidelines for Deity worship and temple decoration. The following are some of them:
The decoration should be so attractive that people when seeing Jagannath will forget all attractiveness of Maya. . . This is the process of decorating Jagannath. Our eyes are attracted by the beauty of Maya, but if our eyes are attracted by the beauty of Krishna, the Jagannatha, then there is no more chance of our being attracted by Maya. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 7 June 1968]
Krishna as He is appearing in our Temples is in the kaishore age, and the dress which I have introduced is His dress of kaishore age. In our Temples the Deities Radha and Krishna are worshiped as Lakshmi Narayana, with all the opulence of Their Majestic Lordship in Dwarka. The worship of Radha-Krishna as They appear in Vrindavan is a very advanced stage. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 16 January 1970]
The proper method of dressing Jagannath is as a Ksatriya King, and there is no limit to the opulence you can give him. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 19 Febrary 1973]
[The] peacock feather must be there on Krishna.* [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 8 June 1975]
*Devotees sometimes put peacock feathers on the crown of Lord Caitanya, as well as on Nityananda and Balarama, worshiping Them as expansions of Krsna. Srila Prabhupada approved this practice, although he did not make it a rule. Lord Caitanya may either be offered a peacock feather, honoring His position and occasional mood as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or decorated without a peacock feather, honoring His mood as a devotee (as we do by not offering Him grains on Ek€dasi). Lord Nityananda, being an avadhta and being nondifferent from Lord Balarama, might also wear a peacock feather, although not always. As for Lord Balar€ma, ?€stra relates that He sometimes wears a peacock feather but more often a white feather. ®rmat R€dh€r€n is sometimes described as wearing peahen feathers in her hair.

All [the members of the Panca-tattva] should wear tulasi kanthi beads, not less than two strands, three, four strands or, my Guru Maharaj had five strands. . . . Only Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda wear crowns and nosepins. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 20 November 1971]
Shall Srimati Radharani's feet be showing? The answer is no, they should never be seen. Krishna's feet, however, should be showing. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 4 January 1975]
Devotees commonly use pins to fix the Lord's clothing in place. But this must be done carefully, so as not to cause the Lord pain.* Thin thread is often used to suspend the clothing outward from the Deity; such thread should be used as sparingly as possible: the Lord should not look like a puppet on strings. Also, loose threads hanging from the sih€sana should not show.

* Do not use ®rmat R€dh€r€n's outstretched hand to hold pins while dressing the Deities!

Obviously, you should offer the Lord His sacred thread before putting on His upper garments. The thread should consist of nine strands of white or yellow cotton or silk. Alternatively it may contain three strands of cotton or silk, three of silver, and three of gold. Now you may decorate the Lord's forehead with vertical urdhva-pu?ra tilaka.* You may also mark the Deity's arms, sides, and throat with urdhva-pu?ra tilaka. In addition, you may now apply decorative tilaka designs to the Lord's forehead, cheeks, arms, hands, and feet. The tilaka may be mixed with natural coloring agents such as turmeric or kukuma, and applied with a blunt gold or silver stick, or with a twig from a tulas plant.

*The word tilaka is generic, referring to all kinds of auspicious decorations painted on the body, one of which is the urdhva-pu?ra mark worn by the Lord and His devotees. As Gau?ya Vai?avas, we decorate K??a with Gau?ya Vai?ava rdhva-pu?ra, namely two thin vertical lines joined at the base with a tulas leaf shape. Traditionally, ®rmati R€dh€r€ wears only the red sindra dot on Her forehead, not the urdhva-pu?ra mark (see conversation with ®rla Prabhup€da, Tokyo, 22 April 1972).


®rla Prabhup€da writes, "Nicely scented oils like liquid sandalwood pulp should be smeared all over the body [of the Deity]" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).
Gandha refers to sandalwood paste, which may be mixed with other ingredients. You may apply it to the Lord's whole body or to His feet, heart, and forehead. After applying gandha, you may fan the Lord to increase the cooling effect. Gandha may be applied with the middle and ring fingers or with the thumb and little finger joined.
Do not smear sandalwood, camphor, or any other cooling item when the weather is cool on the Lord's forehead, although you may draw designs with sandalwood paste and use it to apply tulasi leaves to His lotus feet.

Tulas Leaves and Buds
Now you should offer tulas leaves to the Lord's lotus feet.
Among all the articles offered to the Lord, tulas is the most highly praised. Indeed, a devotee may worship the Lord perfectly simply by offering Him pure water and tulas leaves.
You may offer tulas leaves only to vi?u-tattva Deities, but you may place tulas leaves in the spiritual master's and ®rmati R€dh€r€'s right hands so they may offer them to the Lord. You may also place them on food offerings on the spiritual master's and ®rmati R€dh€r€'s plates, with the understanding that they will offer the food to K??a before taking it themselves.
Both the Garu?a Pur€a and the B?han-n€radya Pur€a state that tulas leaves must always be placed on the naivedya, the food being offered: "Without tulas, anything done in the way of pj€, bathing, and offering of food and drink to the Lord cannot be considered real pj€, bathing, or offering. The Lord does not accept any worship or eat or drink anything that is without tulas."
If tulas leaves are abundant, you may offer the Lord a tulas garland. Alternatively, tulas leaves or mañj€rs (buds) may be woven into the Lord's flower garlands.

The Caitanya-carit€m?ta states, "All kinds of ornaments and crowns should be placed on the body" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).
Take care, when removing any ornaments which are held with adhesive material such as putty or beeswax to also remove all of the adhesive from the Deity.

One should offer flowers face up when offering them singly, but this rule does not apply when offering many flowers. Whenever the Deity moves from one position to another, first offer Him His shoes and then, as an act of submission, offer pu?pۖjali (flowers offered between joined palms). Pu?pۖjali may be offered to the Deity's head, heart, navel, lotus feet, and entire body.
You can offer garlands either now or during dressing and ornamenting -- whichever is convenient. Fresh flower garlands are very pleasing to the Lord. ®rla Prabhup€da writes in his Nectar of Devotion,
K??a used to put a vaijayant garland around His neck. This vaijayant garland is made of flowers of at least five different colors. Such a garland was always long enough to touch K??a's knees or feet. Besides this garland of flowers, there were other kinds of flower garlands too -- sometimes decorating His head, sometimes hanging around His neck and chest . . . K??a is sometimes called vana-m€l. Vana means 'forest,' and m€l means 'gardener,' so vana-m€l refers to one who extensively uses flowers and garlands on different parts of His body. K??a was dressed like this not only in V?nd€vana but also on the Battlefield of Kuruk?etra. [The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 26]

®rla Prabhup€da writes in his Nectar of Devotion,
'When the devotees smell the good fragrance of the incense which is offered to the Deity, they thus become cured of the poisonous effects of material contamination, as much as one becomes cured of a snakebite by smelling the prescribed medicinal herbs.' [The Nectar of Devotion, Ch.9, quoted from the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya]
In addition to the scheduled €rats, incense can be offered at any time of the day. However, do not light incense when offering bhoga: since the aroma of food is an important element in its enjoyment, it should not be cancelled by the incense aroma. After the Lord has taken His meal you may offer incense (especially as part of the €rat). You may offer varied types of incense at different times of the day.

Offering lamps to the Deity is highly auspicious both for the one who offers and for those observing. The lamp is considered the main offering of the arat ceremony.
 A camphor lamp may be offered as a single dpa before the ghee lamp, especially at the noon €rat. Generally, synthetic camphor is used, since natural camphor is very expensive.

®rla Prabhup€da writes in the Caitanya-carit€m?ta, "Precautions should always be taken so that demons and atheists cannot harm the body of the Lord" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).
To dispel inauspicious influences, the Hari-bhakti-vil€sa recommends waving the conch three times above the head of the Deity. Alternatively (especially in special ceremonies such as abhi?eka) you may wave a small dish containing mustard seeds, salt and nm leaves before the Deity
More generally, as ®rla Prabhup€da mentions, we should undertake all kinds of precautions to protect the Deities. In particular, metal gates should be installed to protect Them from harm during times when They are unattended.

Food Preparation
Preparing food for the Lord and partaking of the pras€dam are very important aspects of K??a consciousness, as the following quotations indicate:
®r Caitanya Mah€prabhu was pleased because He saw how nicely so many varieties of food were prepared for K??a. Actually, all kinds of pras€da are prepared for K??a, not for the people, but the devotees partake of the pras€da with great pleasure. [Cc. Madhya 3.64, purport]
®r Caitanya Mah€prabhu approved of all the methods employed in cooking and offering food to K??a. Indeed, He was so pleased that He said, 'Frankly, I will personally take the lotus feet of anyone who can offer K??a such nice food and place those lotus feet on My head birth after birth.' [Cc. Madhya 3.65]
From the excellence of the arrangements, M€dhavendra Pur understood by deduction that only the best food was offered. [Cc. Madhya 4.114]
Devotees should become expert cooks so that only first-class prep€ratons are offered to the Deity. "If in doubt, don't offer." The simple test is to ask yourself, "Would I offer this to my spiritual master if he were personally present?" If you know a preparation is unofferable due to being burned or over-salted, for example, you should not offer it to the Deities or the spiritual master.

Method of Offering
The following excerpt from Caitanya-carit€m?ta describes an arrangement for a feast for the Lord:
All the prepared foods were divided into three equal parts. One part was arranged on a metal plate for offering to Lord K??a. Of the three divisions, one was arranged on a metal plate, and the other two were arranged on plantain leaves. These leaves were not bifurcated, and they were taken from a banana tree that held at least thirty-two bunches of bananas. The two plates were filled very nicely with the kinds of food described below. [Cc. Madhya 3.42---43]
®rla Prabhup€da further writes,
It is advisable that food being offered to the Deity be covered when taken from the kitchen to the Deity room. In that way, others may not see it. Those who are not accustomed to following the advanced regulative devotional principles may desire to eat the food, and that is an offense. Therefore no one should be given a chance to even see it. However, when it is brought before the Deity, it must be uncovered.* [Cc. Madhya 4.124, purport]
*While offering the bhoga, you should be careful not to think of enjoying the food yourself. The ideal example of feeling repentance for having such thoughts is ®rla M€dhavendra Pur, in relation to K?ra-cor€ Gopn€tha: "A paramahasa like M€dhavendra Pur is always satisfied in the loving service of the Lord. Material hunger and thirst cannot impede his activities. When he desired to taste a little sweet rice offered to the Deity, he considered that he had committed an offense by desiring to eat what was being offered to the Deity" (Cc. Madhya 4.124).

The essential position of the spiritual master in the Deity offering is illustrated by the following quotes:
For offering prasadam simply prayers to the Spiritual Master is sufficient. The process is that everything is offered to the Spiritual Master, and the Spiritual Master is supposed to offer the same foodstuff to the Lord. When a thing is offered to the Spiritual Master, he immediately offers to the Lord. That is the system, and as we come by parampara system, it is our duty to go through the right channel - namely, first the Spiritual Master, then Lord Caitanya, and then Krishna. So when we chant prayers, we do this, Bande ham Sri Guru . . . and gradually to the Goswamis, then to Lord Caitanya, and then to Radha Krishna. That is the praying system. But offering the prasadam to present everything before the Spiritual Master whose picture is also in the altar, means that the Spiritual Master will take care of offering the foodstuff to the Lord. Therefore simply by chanting the prayer to the Spiritual Master, everything will be complete. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 28 May 1968.
Yes, you may say the prayer to the spiritual master 3 times, and also the Namo Brahmanya. . . prayer 3 times. Also, you may, after offering to spiritual master, offer to Lord Caitanya by saying the prayer "namo maha-vadanyaya . . ." 3 times, and then offer to K??a thrice [namo brahmanya-devaya]. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 22 March 1968]
Whatever is offered to the Deity actually goes through the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master offers to Lord Caitanya, and Lord Caitanya offers it to Krishna. Then Radha Krishna eats or Jagannath eats, then Caitanya Mahaprabhu eats, then the Spiritual Master eats, and it becomes Mahaprasadam. So when you offer something, you think like that and chant the Gayatri Mantra, and then everything is complete. At last, ring the bell, take out the plate, and wipe the place where the plate was kept. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 16 June 1969]
In the process of offering food, you may reinforce your awareness of being the spiritual master's servant by offering the Lord additional services. For example, since impurities may arise due to subtle entities in the atmosphere or faults in the prep€raton or the cook, you may follow certain procedures to purify, spiritualize, and protect the food before offering it to the Lord. This is accomplished by prok?aa (sprinkling with water), mantra, mudr€, and meditation. It is also customary to call the Lord from His throne to His eating place and offer Him a seat and water for washing His feet, hands, and mouth. You may then present the naivedya to the Lord while chanting His mla-mantra. After the meal, you may again offer water for the Lord to wash His feet, hands, and mouth.

Duration of Offering
®rla Prabhup€da instructs us in detail on how to please the Lord. He writes,
Leave Krishna's plate for 15-20 minutes or more, not more than half an hour. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 25 January 1968]
Unlike other offerings, naivedya, as the fifteenth upac€ra offered in morning worship, is usually left very briefly for the Lord to enjoy. You should remain in the Lord's presence, chanting (with closed eyes) the G€yatr mantras while the Lord eats.

You may offer aromatic seeds, such as anise, fennel, cardamom, or clove, as well as candied ginger, rock candy and dried rose petals, in various mixtures.

In the Caitanya-carit€m?ta, ®rla K??ad€sa Kavir€ja describes the wonderful way in which the Gop€la Deity was served:
The Deity was first offered many varieties of food, then scented drinking water in new pots, and then water for washing the mouth. Finally p€n mixed with a variety of spices was offered. After the last offering of t€mbla and p€n, bhoga-€rat was performed. Finally everyone offered various prayers and then obeisances, falling flat before the Deity in full surrender. [Cc. Madhya 4.65---66.
T€mbla is a mixture of betel nuts and p€n. There are many recipes for preparing it. Unfortunately, in most Western countries the right kind of betel leaves are unavailable. One can usually find the other ingredients at Indian groceries, which may also provide the leaves on special order.
Now you should offer the Lord's pras€da to His associates, beginning with your own spiritual master.

You may offer the Lord a comfortable couch or bed to relax on, as ®rla Prabhup€da describes: "At the proper time, there should be arrangements so that the Lord may take rest in bed" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).

Items 35 through 38 apply to both afternoon worship and morning pj€ before the dar?ana-€rat. In the afternoon, in addition to the items mentioned, you may offer fresh clothes and additional ornaments. The couch mentioned here can also refer to the paryak€sana, or the €sana from which the Lord gives dar?ana during the day.* At such times it is understood that the Lord is lounging on a couch, or paryaka.

* See <Volume Two, pg xxx for an explanation of the various €sanas.

®rla Prabhup€da writes in his Caitanya-carit€m?ta, "The Lord's hair should be combed and decorated" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).
®rmat R€dh€r€'s and other sakhs' hair should be braided, never loose. Occasionally the braid(s) may show in the front.

There are many descriptions of the Krsna and His way of dressing. You can take advantage of such descriptions as well as styles from different temples for dressing and ornamenting the Deities. Dress and ornament design for Deities is of course an art in itself, best learned from experts.

®rla Prabhup€da writes in his Nectar of Devotion,
 His helmet, His earrings, His necklace, His four garments, the bangles on His head, the rings on His fingers, His ankle bells and His flute -- these are the different features of K??a's ornaments. [The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 26]
You may offer one crown in the morning and another in the afternoon or evening; in very elaborate worship, dressing and decoration may increase throughout the day from simple to more elaborate.
If a crown or other ornament slips out of place during dar?ana, it is best to close the curtain before making adjustments on the Deity. For any minor adjustments on the altar but not directly on the Deity, it is not necessary to close the curtain.

When convenient -- usually after offering the Lord's pras€da to His associates -- before the morning dar?ana you may draw designs on the body of the Lord with candana.

Upac€ra 38 refers mainly to metal ornaments such as armbands and crowns, while upac€ra 40 refers primarily to jewelry that includes stones, such as lockets.

Along with flower garlands, you may also offer a tulas garland to the Lord.
In the afternoon, after waking and dressing the Lord, you may decorate Him with fresh garlands and decorative flowers.

Concluding Activities
The following activities concluding the pj€ can all be considered aspects of pra€ma, the sixteenth item of ?o?a?opac€ra-pj€.

Before bathing the Lord, we offer Him magala-€rat (item 4). After the bath, we again offer Him dhpa and dpa (items 29 and 30). Now, after dressing and decorating the Lord with additional garments and ornaments, in elaborate service you may worship Him once again with €rat. In daily worship, however, one would normally perform this and items 44 through 47 by meditation.

Before the Lord gives dar?ana you should briefly hold a mirror before the Lord for His pleasure, so He can see whether He is properly dressed before appearing in public. The mirror should be held still, not waved around as if it were a ghee lamp! In elaborate worship, one may again offer a mirror during the dar?ana, just before offering €rat.

In very elaborate worship, or in a festival, one could take small Deities in a palinquin to a gazebo, where one would offer Them bhoga and €rat.

Of course, after offering the Deities bhoga and €rat in a gazebo, one would bring Them back into the temple. Both coming and going, They would be accompanied by krtana, blowing of conches, and waving of c€maras.

In elaborate worship, whenever the Lord moves from one setting to another to receive services, you may begin those services by offering padya, arghya, and €camanya. For even more elaborate worship, add madhuparka and punar-€camanya.


Prior to opening the curtain for dar?ana-€rat, make a final check to ensure that everything is in its proper place on the altar--that the guru-parampar€ pictures are in the correct order, that pin-cushions haven't been left on the altar, and so on. You can do this when offering the mirror.

Altar Arrangement
The sih€sana, or altar, may vary in shape and size, depending on the number and types of Deities and the size of the Deity room. Since the sih€sana is the Lord's €sana, or place of activity, it should be attractive and kept absolutely clean. If the sih€sana has a roof, you should regularly clean the top. It there is no roof, there should at least be an umbrella or some type of cloth canopy above the Deities.*1 There should be some arrangement for retiring the Deities from public view. If the temple room is too small to accommodate a separate Deity room with doors, you may hang a curtain to serve this purpose; if the temple room is too small even for that, the curtain may be integrated into the design of the sih€sana. In this regard ®rla Prabhup€da writes,
The altar should be so made with curtain, that it may be closed when Krishna and Radha are taking rest. [letter from ®rla Prabhup€da, 6 May 1968]
The altar should have pictures of the guru-parampar€, beginning with the Founder-c€rya, ®rla Prabhup€da, then (left to right when viewing the altar from the front) ®rla Bhaktisiddh€nta Sarasvat µh€kura, ®rla Gauraki?ora d€sa B€b€j, and ®rla Bhaktivinoda µh€kura.*2 Preferably ®rla Jagann€tha d€sa B€b€j and the six Gosv€ms should also be included. If the Deity room has more than one altar, the guru-parampar€ pictures need be on only one altar. A picture of Lord N?sihadeva and one of the Pañca-tattva should also be present.*3 A picture of the guru of the pj€r who is worshiping the Deity must be on the altar during pj€. After completing the worship the pj€r should place the picture to the side, out of public view. (This, of course, does not apply to ®rla Prabhup€da's disciples.)***
On festival days an appropriate picture commemorating the occasion may be placed on the altar or on a table arrangement next to the altar. For example, a picture of R€m€nuj€c€rya or Madhv€c€rya may be displayed on their appearance days, or a picture of Var€hadeva on Var€ha Mah€-dv€d€c.****

*1 If there is a room directly above the altar, some arrangement should be made so that at least the area above the altar is kept clear of persons and functional objects. Potted plants, fencing, or a dome-like structure should be placed in the area above the Deities. Also, bathroom facilities should be kept as far as possible from the Deity room and kitchen.
*2 This is the arrangement established by ®rla Prabhup€da.
*3 An altar with ®r ®r Gaura-Nit€i Deities may have a Pañca-tattva picture either on the altar or on the wall to one side of the altar. A temple without R€dh€-K??a Deities may have a picture of R€dh€-K??a Deities (usually from a nearby R€dh€-K??a temple) on the Gaura-Nit€i or Pañca-tattva altar. Some temples have a small Deity of Lak?m-N?siha or Prahl€da-N?siha in place of a picture of N?sihadeva.
***Pictures of gurus should show the full form, not just the head or the upper portion of the body. One should treat with all respect any pictures that receive worship on the altar, even when such pictures are off the altar. When not on the altar, pictures of the guru should be kept nicely--that is, not stacked with other pictures or stored among the clutter of miscellaneous paraphernalia. Best if they are kept in a standing position on a shelf or table in the Deity room, but out of public view.
****Such occasional additions to the altar are limited to pictures of ac€ryas belonging to the four Vai?ava samprad€yas and avat€ras listed in the ®rmad-Bh€gavatam. On appropriate days the picture of a locally respected saint could be displayed on a seperate table next to the altar or in the temple room, following the discretion of temple authorities.

You may decorate the altar with wooden, metal, or clay ornamental figurines of auspicious animals like cows, peacocks, and elephants. ***** There may be a decorative cloth or painted backdrop hanging behind the Deities, appropriate to the decorating scheme of the day. ®rla Prabhup€da's books, the literary incarnations of Godhead, may also be displayed on the altar. One or more tulas  plants should also be present, either on or next to the altar (on a stand), at least during the dar?ana-€rat. If a clock is placed on the altar for the pj€r, it should not be overly visible to the public. Near each Deity on the altar should be a cup of drinking water with a metal or cloth cover.

*****Regarding conch shells on the altar: Left-turning conch shells are not necessarily Lak?m conch shells, which are extremely rare. Even if a genuine Lak?m conch shell is present, one need not offer it any special worship, especially in temples where R€dh€-K??a Deities are worshiped. Worship of ®rmati R€dh€r€--the source of Lak?m--includes Lak?m worship. Most left-turning conch shells available today are what are known as "Lightning Whelks" which, although not strictly the conches meant to be used in worship, are recognized as legitimate substitutes for standard conches in many temples in India, at least for the purpose of bathing the Deity. There is no need, however, to put such "conch shells" on the altar.

You may place standing or hanging ghee lamps on or around the altar. Although candles may be substituted, they are not considered pure or high class. There should be at least one ghee lamp near the pj€r (on the left side of the altar), which should be kept burning throughout each €rat.* From this lamp you can light the incense and lamps you offer to the Lord. Ideally, to light the dpa and dhpa you should use a thin stick wrapped with cotton and dipped in ghee. If at all avoidable, fire used in worship should not come directly from matches or hand-held lighters.

*Traditional pañcar€trika temples have a lamp that is never allowed to go out (akha?a-dpa). This fire is installed, much as a Deity is installed, and all fire used in worship and cooking is taken from this lamp. A fire extinguisher or fire blanket should always be kept in the Deity room, out of view but easily accessible. Similarly the kitchen should be equipped with a fire-extinguisher or fire blanket.

At this time the Lord gives the main dar?ana of the morning and is again offered an €rat, usually a short one consisting of dhpa, pu?pa, and c€mara, or dpa and c€mara, or simply c€mara. Before opening the curtain for dar?ana and €rat, the pj€r should blow the conch three times from outside the Deity room, as is done for every €rat.
®rla Prabhup€da has instructed that at this time the devotees should play the recording of Govindam €di-puru?am from the Goddess of Fortune album.
As mentioned previously (under #43), before offering the €rat, as a feature of elaborate worship, you may again offer a mirror.

The ®rmad-Bh€gavatam describes the upac€ras Lord R€macandra's associates offered Him:
O King, Lord Bharata carried Lord R€macandra's wooden shoes, Sugrva and Vibh?aa carried a whisk and an excellent fan, Hanum€n carried a white umbrella, ®atrughna carried a bow and two quivers, and St€dev carried a waterpot filled with water from holy places. Agada carried a sword, and J€mbav€n, King of the Rk?as, carried a golden shield. [Bh€g. 9.10.42---43]
A yak-tail c€mara and peacock feather fan or other type of fan is offered at the conclusion of full €rat ceremonies. They are both aspects of kingly service, where the practical function of the c€mara is to keep flies away from a person and the fan is, of course, to give a cooling effect. In some temples in India there is a mechanical fan arrangement over the head of the Deity which is connected to a chord in the dar?ana hall, allowing visitors to serve the Lord by fanning Him.

[50] SINGING (GT€).
®rla Prabhup€da writes in the Caitanya-carit€m?ta, "The Hare K??a mantra and approved* songs should be sung" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).
The Nectar of Devotion describes the glories of singing the Lord's praises:
A br€hmaa who is constantly engaged in singing the glories of the Lord is surely elevated to the same planet as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord K??a appreciates this singing even more than the prayers offered by Lord ®iva. [The Nectar of Devotion, Ch.9; quoted from the Liga Pur€a]
* The <Stava section> of this book contains the standard songs for singing in the temple at various times of the day. The predominant song is the Hare K??a mah€-mantra, preceded by the Pañca-tattva mantra.

Just as one should learn to cook nicely to please the Lord, one should strive to please Him by gaining at least some basic skill in playing such musical instruments as the m?daga and karat€las. In some temples (such as R€dh€ramaa in V?nd€vana) devotee-musicians regularly play classical Indian music in the evening for the pleasure of the Lord.

®rla Prabhup€da writes,
In the Dv€rak€-m€h€tmya the importance of dancing before the Deity is stated by Lord K??a as follows: 'A person who is in a jubilant spirit, who feels profound devotional ecstasy while dancing before Me, and who manifests different features of bodily expression can burn away all the accumulated sinful reactions he has stocked up for many, many thousands of years.' [The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 9]
In the same chapter of The Nectar of Devotion is this statement by N€rada: " 'From the body of any person who claps and dances before the Deity, showing manifestations of ecstasy, all the birds of sinful activities fly away upward.' Just as by clapping the hands one can cause many birds to fly away, similarly the birds of all sinful activities which are sitting on the body can be made to fly away simply by dancing and clapping before the Deity of K??a."
Although it is not offensive to dance in a circle before the Deities, care should be taken not to keep one's back to Them. We must remember that our dancing is for Their pleasure. Especially while the €rat ceremony is in progress, devotees' attention should be mainly to the Deities. Also, enthusiastic dancing before the Deities must be tempered with discretion: Wild spinning around which might endanger the Deities must be avoided!

®rla Prabhup€da writes,
A person who is circumambulating the Deity of Vi?u can counteract the circumambulation of repeated birth and death in this material world. [The Nectar of Devotion, Ch.9; quoted from the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya]
Walking clockwise around someone, and thus keeping one's right side toward him, is a way of showing respect. By circumambulating the Lord in this way, we worship Him with our whole body. One should not circumambulate someone else in front of the Deity, nor should one circumambulate the Deity only once. As part of the pj€, one should circumambulate the Lord at least three times.

®rla Prabhup€da writes,
In the N€radya Pur€a there is a statement about bowing down and offering respect to the Deity. It is said there, 'A person who has performed a great ritualistic sacrifice and a person who has simply offered his respectful obeisances by bowing down before the Lord cannot be held as equals.' The person who has executed many great sacrifices will attain the result of his pious activities, but when such results are finished, he has to take birth again on the earthly planet; however, the person who has once offered respects, bowing down before the Deity, will not come back to this world, because he will go directly to the abode of K??a. [The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 9]
The Narasiha Pur€a glorifies offering the Lord pra€mas as follows:
Among all yajñas, the pra€ma is the best. By one pra€ma the living entity becomes pure and attains the Lord.
Offering respect by lowering one's body to the floor is called pra€ma. As an expression of complete surrender to the Lord and of offering one's head beneath His lotus feet, it is an apt conclusion to the worship. In the list of sixteen upac€ras, pra€ma is counted as the sixteenth. In a broad sense, one may consider included within it the recitation of stotras, or stava, and prad€k?ia (circumambulation), the chanting of the Deity's mla-mantra and G€yatr, as well as karm€rpaa (offering one's activities) and atma-samarpaa (offering oneself). In fact, the whole section titled "Concluding Activities" may be considered an expansion of the pra€ma upac€ra. Whereas the other upac€ras (except sv€gata, the offering of welcome) are physical items, the pra€ma upac€ra is an offering of the self to the Lord. See upac€ra number 3 above (page <?>) for an explanation of how to offer a?aga-pra€ma.

In his Caitanya-carit€m?ta ®rla Prabhup€da writes, "One should offer different types of prayers and hymns at the Lord's lotus feet."
In The Nectar of Devotion ®rla Prabhup€da explains the importance of reciting selected prayers:
According to great learned scholars, the whole Bhagavad-gt€ contains many authorized prayers, especially in the Eleventh Chapter, where Arjuna prays to the universal form of the Lord. Similarly, in the Gautamya-tantra all the verses are called prayers. Again, in ®rmad-Bh€gavatam there are hundreds of prayers to the Lord. So a devotee should select some of these prayers for his recitation. In Skanda Pur€a the glories of these prayers are stated as follows: 'Devotees whose tongues are decorated always with prayers to Lord K??a are always given respect even by the great saintly persons and sages, and such devotees are actually worshipable by the demigods.' . . . In the N?siha Pur€a it is stated, 'Any person who comes before the Deity of Lord K??a and begins to chant different prayers is immediately relieved from all the reactions of sinful activities and becomes eligible, without any doubt, to enter into the Vaikuhaloka.' [The Nectar of Devotion,Ch. 9]
After engaging his body in the Lord's worship, the devotee uses the medium of sound and the instrument of his tongue to worship the Lord, first through silent japa, then loudly through krtana (glorification of the Lord's names, qualities, and activities). Japa refers to the silent chanting of mla-mantras and Deity G€yatr mantras (at least ten times each), given by the spiritual master. One should strive to realize that the mantra is non-different from the Deity one is worshiping. Sit properly on an €sana, perform €camana, and cover your right hand with your upper cloth while chanting. (The counting of mantras chanted with the fingers of the right hand should not be exposed to view.) In loud chanting (stuti) you may chant verses from the Vedas, the Pur€as, the Pañcar€tra, or other bona fide Vai?ava works praising the Deity. You may also recite works in your native language. The Hari-bhakti-vil€sa mentions the recital of the Bhagavad-gt€, Vi?u-sahasra-n€ma, and Stava-r€ja from the Gautamya-tantra. ®rla Bhaktivinoda µh€kura recommends that a devotee chant Padya-pañcaka and Vijñapti-pañcaka (See Prayoga, page <?.>). At this time you may also offer your own prayers to the Lord.

In his Caitanya-carit€m?ta, ®rla Prabhup€da writes,
One should touch the lotus feet of the Lord with one's head. This may not be possible for everyone, but at least the pj€r should do this. [Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport]
After offering all of your activities, you should offer yourself to the Lord. To completely surrender and offer ourselves to the Lord is the final act of worship and the goal we are attempting to reach through the process of pj€.
It is customary in some traditional temples, especially in South India, to touch a ?ah€ri to the head of persons taking dar?ana. The cah€ri is a bell-shaped representation of the Lord's lotus feet, usually made of copper, silver, or gold, which is worshiped along with the main Deity.

The Skanda Pur€a describes activities that will remove even the sin of killing a br€hmaa:
Receiving the water from the conch shell, devotional service to Vi?u, the Lord's flower remnants, bath water, sandalwood remnants, and incense remnants will destroy even the sin of killing a br€hmaa.
Nirm€lya refers to the garlands, flowers, candana, bath water, and tulas leaves that the pj€r has offered to the Lord during the pj€. After the the pj€ is completed, the devotees should accept these items on their heads as the Lord's mercy (pras€da).* The goal of pj€ is to satisfy the Lord; by satisfying the Lord, one receives His mercy. This mercy of the Lord in His Deity form is specifically received in the form of nirm€lya. One should not disrespect the nirm€lya by stepping on it or leaving it in an unclean place. After being properly respected, nirm€lya such as garlands and flowers can be collected and disposed of in a river, a lake or the ocean.

* Devotees accept pras€da flower garlands by touching them to the head, wearing them and smelling them. They accept Pras€da tulas garlands simply be touching them to the head and smelling them, but not wearing them. Another type of nirm€lya is old clothing from the Deity. Deity clothing which is distributed as pras€da of the Lord should be respected. We may respect pras€da cloth by keeping it with other worshipable paraphernalia, or even by keeping it in a glass frame and hanging it on a wall like a painting or photograph. One may also wear it, but strictly speaking it is best not to cut and resew the cloth, as is a widespread custom. If cutting and resewing is to be done, it should be only for devotional clothing. Beadbags and costumes for children's drama is acceptable (if the drama is for glorification of the Lord!) Avoid wearing any pras€da cloth below your waist.

Drinking the bath water of Vi?u is powerful enough to destroy the effects of one million sins such as the killing of other living entities. However, the person who lets even one drop of the sacred bath water fall on the ground must suffer eight million such sinful effects. [Hari-bhakti-vil€sa]
To avoid spillage, hold your left hand under your right when receiving mah€-pras€da, nirm€lya flowers, tulas leaves and mañj€rs, or cara€m?ta. After sipping the cara€m?ta, touch what remains in your hand to the top of your head. The hand does not require washing after sipping cara€m?ta, since cara€m?ta purifies the lips and therefore the lips do not contaminate the hand. The Agastya-sahit€ states: "The water that has washed the lotus feet of Lord Vi?u or a pure Vai?ava is equal to the combined waters of all the places of pilgrimage. After drinking such cara€m?ta, one does not need to take €camana or wash his hands and mouth." If, however, you are going to touch the ?€stra or similarly worshipable objects after taking cara€m?ta, you should rinse your hand with water.

 As is commonly practiced in many temples in India, after the dar?ana-€rat the pj€r may distribute small morsels of pras€da to devotees directly from the altar room. Devotees respect these remnants immediately, moving somewhat to the side of the temple room so as not to be directly in from of the Deities while eating.
<(See pg. ? for information on pras€da-sev€.)>

Midday, Afternoon, and Evening Worship

The offerings of bhoga and €rat at various times during the day are abbreviations of the morning ?o?a?opac€ra-pj€ (worship with sixteen items).
In elaborate worship one may offer dv€da?opac€ra (twelve upac€ras -- see chart on page <?>) or da?opac€ra-pj€ (ten upac€ras) at noon (concluding the worship with the regular bhoga and €rat), and one may dress the Lord in fresh clothes in the afternoon.

Night Services (?ayana-sev€)
If possible, one should dress the Lord in nightclothes before bringing Him to rest. It is traditional in some temples to change the dress prior to the last evening bhoga offering and €rat. ®rla Prabhup€da instructed devotees in V?nd€vana not to change the dress until after the final €rat so that the visiting public would see the Deities in full opulent decoration. This instruction is optional in temples where few if any visitors are present at that time.

®rla Prabhup€da writes, "One should sit before the Lord and think that he is massaging the Lord's legs" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).

Make a comfortable bed for the Lord, using soft cloth, flowers, and sweetly scented powders. ®rla Prabhup€da writes, "One should decorate the Lord's bed with flowers before the Lord takes His rest" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).

Whenever moving the Deity from one position to another, first make a gesture with the hands together, palms up, indicating the direction toward which you will carry Him. Only small metal or wood Deities should be moved, not marble Deities.

®rla Prabhup€da writes, "One should take the Deity to His bed" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).
One must always carry the Deity with the greatest care and reverence. In most cases it is best if you hold the body of the Deity with your right hand while you hold the base with your left hand. Prior to moving, always make sure the place where the Deity will be set is clean.

®rla Prabhup€da writes, "One should wash the feet of the Lord and then sit Him on the bed" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).
Gandha, flowers, and condensed milk are offered prior to placing the Lord in His bed. Betel and fanning are offered after placing in bed (only fanning if the weather is warm).

The Caitanya-carit€m?ta states, "One should place the Lord on the bed and then massage His feet" (Cc. Madhya 24.334, purport).
Advaita c€rya's worship of the Lord is described in the Caitanya-carit€m?ta: "After €rat was performed for the Deities in the temple, Lord K??a was made to lie down to rest" (Cc. Madhya 3.59).
®rla Prabhup€da further writes:

As far as placing the Deity in the bed is concerned, if the Deity is large and heavy, it is not possible to move Him daily. It is better that a small Deity, which is also worshiped, be taken to the bed. This mantra should be chanted: agaccha ?ayana-sth€na priy€bhi saha ke?ava. 'O Ke?ava, kindly come to Your bed along with ®rmati R€dh€r€' (Hari-bhakti-vil€sa 11.40). The Deity should be placed in bed with ®rmat R€dh€r€, and this should be indicated by bringing the wooden slippers from the altar to the bedside. When the Deity is laid down, His legs should be massaged. Before laying the Deity down, a pot of milk and sugar should be offered to Him. After taking this thick milk,* the Deity should lie down and should be offered betel nuts and spices to chew. [Cc. Madhya 24.334 purport]
Arrange pillows and bedding in such a way to compensate for the base of the Deity, so that He lies in a horizontal position, with His head on the same level as His feet.

*Remove the thick milk (ghana-dugdha) after offering it; do not leave it overnight in the Deity room. Also, the bowl of cara€m?ta which has been left in the temple during the day should be removed at night, along with water which has been used to wash hands after sipping cara€m?ta.