yasmät tväà ye yathärcanti
Çré Uddhava said: My dear Lord, O master of the devotees, please explain to
me the prescribed method of worshiping You in Your Deity form. What are the
qualifications of those devotees who worship the Deity, on what basis is such
worship established, and what is the specific method of worship?
2–etad vadanti munayo
muhur niùçreyasaà nåëäm
närado bhagavän vyäsa
äcäryo ‘ìgirasaù sutaù
All the great sages repeatedly declare that such worship brings the greatest
benefit possible in human life. This is the opinion of Närada Muni, the great
Vyäsadeva and my own spiritual master, Båhaspati.
3/4–niùsåtaà te mukhämbhojäd
yad äha bhagavän ajaù
devyai ca bhagavän bhavaù
etad vai sarva-varëänäm
äçramäëäà ca sammatam
çreyasäm uttamaà manye
stré-çüdräëäà ca mäna-da
O most magnanimous Lord, the instructions on this process of Deity worship
first emanated from Your lotus mouth. Then they were spoken by the great
Lord Brahmä to his sons, headed by Bhågu, and by Lord Çiva to his wife,
Pärvaté. This process is accepted by and appropriate for all the occupational and
spiritual orders of society. Therefore I consider worship of You in Your Deity
form to be the most beneficial of all spiritual practices, even for women and
O lotus-eyed one, O Supreme Lord of all lords of the universe, please explain
to Your devoted servant this means of liberation from the bondage of work.
na hy anto ‘nanta-pärasya
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, there is no
end to the innumerable Vedic prescriptions for executing Deity worship; so I
shall explain this topic to you briefly, one step at a time.
7–vaidikas täntriko miçra
iti me tri-vidho makhaù
vidhinä mäà samarcaret
One should carefully worship Me by selecting one of the three methods by
which I receive sacrifice: Vedic, tantric or mixed.
dvijatvaà präpya püruñaù
yathä yajeta mäà bhaktyä
çraddhayä tan nibodha me
Now please listen faithfully as I explain exactly how a person who has
achieved twice-born status through the relevant Vedic prescriptions should
worship Me with devotion.
9–arcäyäà sthaëòile ‘gnau vä
sürye väpsu hådi dvijaù
dravyeëa bhakti-yukto ‘rcet
sva-guruà mäm amäyayä
A twice-born person should worship Me, his worshipable Lord, without
duplicity, offering appropriate paraphernalia in loving devotion to My Deity
form or to a form of Me appearing upon the ground, in fire, in the sun, in water
or within the worshiper’s own heart.
10–pürvaà snänaà prakurvéta
ubhayair api ca snänaà
One should first purify his body by cleansing his teeth and bathing. Then
one should perform a second cleansing by smearing the body with earth and
chanting both Vedic and tantric mantras.
püjäà taiù kalpayet samyaksaìkalpaù
Fixing the mind on Me, one should worship Me by his various prescribed
duties, such as chanting the Gäyatré mantra at the three junctures of the day.
Such performances are enjoined by the Vedas and purify the worshiper of
reactions to fruitive activities.
12–çailé däru-mayé lauhé
lepyä lekhyä ca saikaté
The Deity form of the Lord is said to appear in eight varieties—stone, wood,
metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind or jewels.
udväsävähane na staù
The Deity form of the Lord, who is the shelter of all living entities, can be
established in two ways: temporarily or permanently. But a permanent Deity,
having been called, can never be sent away, My dear Uddhava.
14–asthiräyäà vikalpaù syät
sthaëòile tu bhaved dvayam
snapanaà tv avilepyäyäm
The Deity that is temporarily established can optionally be called forth and
sent away, but these two rituals should always be performed when the Deity is
traced upon the ground. Bathing should be done with water except if the Deity
is made of clay, paint or wood, in which cases a thorough cleansing without
water is enjoined.
15–dravyaiù prasiddhair mad-yägaù
bhaktasya ca yathä-labdhair
hådi bhävena caiva hi
One should worship Me in My Deity forms by offering the most excellent
paraphernalia. But a devotee completely freed from material desire may worship
Me with whatever he is able to obtain, and may even worship Me within his
heart with mental paraphernalia.
arcäyäm eva tüddhava
vahnäv äjya-plutaà haviù
sürye cäbhyarhaëaà preñöhaà
bhaktena mama väry api
In worshiping the temple Deity, my dear Uddhava, bathing and decoration
are the most pleasing offerings. For the Deity traced on sacred ground, the
process of tattva-vinyäsa is most dear. Oblations of sesame and barley soaked in
ghee are the preferred offering to the sacrificial fire, whereas worship consisting
of upasthäna and arghya is preferred for the sun. One should worship Me in the
form of water by offering water itself. Actually, whatever is offered to Me with
faith by My devotee—even if only a little water—is most dear to Me.
18–bhüry apy abhaktopähåtaà
na me toñäya kalpate
gandho dhüpaù sumanaso
dépo ‘nnädyaà ca kià punaù
Even very opulent presentations do not satisfy Me if they are offered by
nondevotees. But I am pleased by any insignificant offering made by My loving
devotees, and I am certainly most pleased when nice presentations of fragrant
oil, incense, flowers and palatable foods are offered with love.
äsénaù präg udag värced
arcäyäà tv atha sammukhaù
After cleansing himself and collecting all the paraphernalia, the worshiper
should arrange his own seat with blades of kuça grass whose tips point eastward.
He should then sit facing either east or north, or else, if the Deity is fixed in
one place, he should sit directly facing the Deity.
kalaçaà prokñaëéyaà ca
The devotee should sanctify the various parts of his body by touching them
and chanting mantras. He should do the same for My Deity forms and then
with his hands he should clean the Deity of old flowers and the remnants of
previous offerings. He should properly prepare the sacred pot and the vessel
containing water for sprinkling.
dravyäëy ätmänam eva ca
prokñya päträëi tréëy adbhis
tais tair dravyaiç ca sädhayet
Then, with the water of that prokñaëéya vessel he should sprinkle the area
where the Deity is being worshiped, the offerings that are going to be presented,
and his own body. Next he should decorate with various auspicious substances
three vessels filled with water.
tréëi päträëi deçikaù
hådä çérñëätha çikhayä
The worshiper should then purify those three vessels. He should sanctify the
vessel holding water for washing the Lord’s feet by chanting hådayäya namaù,
the vessel containing water for arghya by chanting çirase svähä, and the vessel
containing water for washing the Lord’s mouth by chanting çikhäyai vañaö. Also,
the Gäyatré mantra should be chanted for all three vessels.
håt-padma-sthäà paräà mama
aëvéà jéva-kaläà dhyäyen
The worshiper should meditate upon My subtle form—which is situated
within the worshiper’s own body, now purified by air and fire—as the source of
all living entities. This form of the Lord is experienced by self-realized sages in
the last part of the vibration of the sacred syllable oà.
vyäpte sampüjya tan-mayaù
nyastäìgaà mäà prapüjayet
The devotee conceives of the Supersoul, whose presence surcharges the
devotee’s body, in the form corresponding to his realization. Thus the devotee
worships the Lord to his full capacity and becomes fully absorbed in Him. By
touching the various limbs of the Deity and chanting appropriate mantras, the
devotee should invite the Supersoul to join the Deity’s form, and then the
devotee should worship Me.
dharmädibhiç ca navabhiù
padmam añöa-dalaà tatra
The worshiper should first imagine My seat as decorated with the
personified deities of religion, knowledge, renunciation and opulence and with
My nine spiritual energies. He should think of the Lord’s sitting place as an
eight-petaled lotus, effulgent on account of the saffron filaments within its
whorl. Then, following the regulations of both the Vedas and the tantras, he
should offer Me water for washing the feet, water for washing the mouth,
arghya and other items of worship. By this process he achieves both material
enjoyment and liberation.
muñalaà kaustubhaà mäläà
sudarçanam—the Lord’s disc; päïcajanyam—the Lord’s conchshell; gadä—His
club; asi—sword; iñu—arrows; dhanuù—bow; halän—and plow; muñalam—His
muñala weapon; kaustubham—the Kaustubha gem; mäläm—His garland;
çrévatsam—the decoration of Çrévatsa on His chest; ca—and; anupüjayet—one
should worship one after another.
One should worship, in order, the Lord’s Sudarçana disc, His Päïcajanya
conchshell, His club, sword, bow, arrows and plow, His muñala weapon, His
Kaustubha gem, His flower garland and the Çrévatsa curl of hair on His chest.
28–nandaà sunandaà garuòaà
pracaëòaà caëòaà eva ca
mahäbalaà balaà caiva
nandam sunandam garuòam—named Nanda, Sunanda and Garuòa; pracaëòam
caëòam—Pracaëòa and Caëòa; eva—indeed; ca—also; mahä-balam
balam—Mahäbala and Bala; ca—and; eva—indeed; kumudam
kumuda-ékñaëam—Kumuda and Kumudekñaëa.
One should worship the Lord’s associates Nanda and Sunanda, Garuòa,
Pracaëòa and Caëòa, Mahäbala and Bala, and Kumuda and Kumudekñaëa.
29–durgäà vinäyakaà vyäsaà
viñvakñenaà gurün surän
sve sve sthäne tv abhimukhän
With offerings such as prokñaëa one should worship Durgä, Vinäyaka,
Vyäsa, Viñvaksena, the spiritual masters and the various demigods. All these
personalities should be in their proper places facing the Deity of the Lord
salilaiù snäpayen mantrair
nityadä vibhave sati
The worshiper should bathe the Deity every day, as opulently as his assets
permit, using waters scented with sandalwood, uçéra root, camphor, kuìkuma
and aguru. He should also chant various Vedic hymns, such as the anuväka
known as Svarëa-gharma, the Mahäpuruña-vidyä, the Puruña-sükta and various
songs of the Säma Veda, such as the Räjana and the Rohiëya.
mad-bhakto mäà yathocitam
My devotee should then lovingly decorate Me with clothing, a brähmaëa
thread, various ornaments, marks of tilaka and garlands, and he should anoint
My body with fragrant oils, all in the prescribed manner.
33–pädyam äcamanéyaà ca
gandhaà sumanaso ‘kñatän
dadyän me çraddhayärcakaù
The worshiper should faithfully present Me with water for washing My feet
and mouth, fragrant oils, flowers and unbroken grains, along with incense,
lamps and other offerings.
naivedyaà sati kalpayet
guòa—sugar candy; päyasa—sweet rice; sarpéàñi—and ghee; çañkulé—a kind
of large, ear-shaped cake made of rice flour, sugar and sesame and fried in
ghee; äpüpa—various kinds of sweet cakes; modakän—small conical steamed
dumplings made of rice flour and filled with sweet coconut and sugar;
saàyäva—an oblong cake made of wheat, ghee and milk and covered with
sugar and spices; dadhi—yogurt; süpän—vegetable soups; ca—and;
naivedyam—offerings of food; sati—if he has sufficient means; kalpayet—the
devotee should arrange.
Within his means, the devotee should arrange to offer Me sugar candy, sweet
rice, ghee, çañkulé [rice-flour cakes], äpüpa [various sweet cakes], modaka
[steamed rice-flour dumplings filled with sweet coconut and sugar], saàyäva
[wheat cakes made with ghee and milk and covered with sugar and spices],
yogurt, vegetable soups and other palatable foods.
parvaëi syur utänv-aham
On special occasions, and daily if possible, the Deity should be massaged
with ointment, shown a mirror, offered a eucalyptus stick for brushing His
teeth, bathed with the five kinds of nectar, offered all kinds of opulent foods,
and entertained with singing and dancing.
36–vidhinä vihite kuëòe
agnim ädhäya paritaù
In an arena constructed according to scriptural injunctions, the devotee
should perform a fire sacrifice, utilizing the sacred belt, the sacrificial pit and
the altar mound. When igniting the sacrificial fire, the devotee should bring it
to a blaze with wood piled up by his own hands.
prokñyägnau bhävayeta mäm
After spreading kuça grass on the ground and sprinkling it with water, one
should perform the anvädhäna ritual according to the prescribed rules. Then
one should arrange the items to be offered as oblations and should sanctify them
with water from the sprinkling vessel. The worshiper should next meditate
upon Me within the fire.
dhyäyann abhyarcya därüëi
dattvä cäjya-plutaà haviù
mantraiù sviñöi-kåtaà budhaù
The intelligent devotee should meditate upon that form of the Lord whose
color is like molten gold, whose four arms are resplendent with the conchshell,
disc, club and lotus flower, and who is always peaceful and dressed in a garment
colored like the filaments within a lotus flower. His helmet, bracelets, belt and
fine arm ornaments shine brilliantly. The symbol of Çrévatsa is on His chest,
along with the glowing Kaustubha gem and a garland of forest flowers. The
devotee should then worship that Lord by taking pieces of firewood soaked in
the sacrificial ghee and throwing them into the fire. He should perform the
ritual of äghära, presenting into the fire the various items of oblation drenched
in ghee. He should then offer to sixteen demigods, beginning with Yamaräja,
the oblation called sviñöi-kåt, reciting the basic mantras of each deity and the
sixteen-line Puruña-sükta hymn. Pouring one oblation after each line of the
Puruña-sükta, he should utter the particular mantra naming each deity
pärñadebhyo balià haret
müla-mantraà japed brahma
Having thus worshiped the Lord in the sacrificial fire, the devotee should
offer his obeisances to the Lord’s personal associates by bowing down and
should then present offerings to them. He should then chant quietly the
müla-mantra of the Deity of the Lord, remembering the Absolute Truth as the
Supreme Personality, Näräyaëa
Once again he should offer the Deity water for washing His mouth, and he
should give the remnants of the Lord’s food to Viñvaksena. Then he should
present the Deity with fragrant perfume for the mouth and prepared betel nut.
44–upagäyan gåëan nåtyan
karmäëy abhinayan mama
mat-kathäù çrävayan çåëvan
muhürtaà kñaëiko bhavet
Singing along with others, chanting loudly and dancing, acting out My
transcendental pastimes, and hearing and telling stories about Me, the devotee
should for some time absorb himself in such festivity.
45–stavair uccävacaiù stotraiù
pauräëaiù präkåtair api
stutvä praséda bhagavann
iti vandeta daëòa-vat
The devotee should offer homage to the Lord with all kinds of hymns and
prayers, both from the Puräëas and from other ancient scriptures, and also from
ordinary traditions. Praying, “O Lord, please be merciful to me! “he should fall
down flat like a rod to offer his obeisances.
46–çiro mat-pädayoù kåtvä
bähubhyäà ca parasparam
prapannaà pähi mäm éça
Placing his head at the feet of the Deity, he should then stand with folded
hands before the Lord and pray, “O my Lord, please protect me, who am
surrendered unto You. I am most fearful of this ocean of material existence,
standing as I am in the mouth of death.”
47–iti çeñäà mayä dattäà
çirasy ädhäya sädaram
udväsayec ced udväsyaà
jyotir jyotiñi tat punaù
Praying in this way, the devotee should respectfully place upon his head the
remnants I offer to him. And if the particular Deity is meant to be sent away at
the end of the worship, then this should be performed, the devotee once again
placing the light of the Deity’s presence inside the light of the lotus within his
48–arcädiñu yadä yatra
çraddhä mäà tatra cärcayet
sarva-bhüteñv ätmani ca
Whenever one develops faith in Me—in My form as the Deity or in other
bona fide manifestations—one should worship Me in that form. I certainly exist
both within all created beings and also separately in My original form, since I
am the Supreme Soul of all.
arcann ubhayataù siddhià
matto vindaty abhépsitäm
By worshiping Me through the various methods prescribed in the Vedas and
tantras, one will gain from Me his desired perfection in both this life and the
mandiraà kärayed dåòham
mat-arcäm—My Deity form; sampratiñöhäpya—properly establishing;
mandiram—a temple; kärayet—he should construct; dåòham—strong;
puñpa-udyänäni—flower gardens; ramyäëi—beautiful; püjä—for regular, daily
worship; yäträ—special festivals; utsava—and yearly holidays; äçritän—set
The devotee should more fully establish My Deity by solidly constructing a
temple, along with beautiful gardens. These gardens should be set aside to
provide flowers for the regular daily worship, special Deity processions and
dattvä mat-särñöitäm iyät
One who offers the Deity gifts of land, markets, cities and villages so that
the regular daily worship and special festivals of the Deity may go on
continually will achieve opulence equal to My own.
tribhir mat-sämyatäm iyät
By installing the Deity of the Lord one becomes king of the entire earth, by
building a temple for the Lord one becomes ruler of the three worlds, by
worshiping and serving the Deity one goes to the planet of Lord Brahmä, and by
performing all three of these activities one achieves a transcendental form like
53–mäm eva nairapekñyeëa
bhakti-yogaà sa labhata
evaà yaù püjayeta mäm
But one who simply engages in devotional service with no consideration of
fruitive results attains Me. Thus whoever worships Me according to the process
I have described will ultimately attain pure devotional service unto Me.
54–yaù sva-dattäà parair dattäà
våttià sa jäyate viò-bhug
Anyone who steals the property of the demigods or the brähmaëas, whether
originally given to them by himself or someone else, must live as a worm in
stool for one hundred million years.
55–kartuç ca särather hetor
anumoditur eva ca
karmaëäà bhäginaù pretya
bhüyo bhüyasi tat-phalam
kartuù—of the performer; ca—and; säratheù—of the assistant; hetoù—of the
instigator; anumodituù—of the person who approves; eva ca—also;
karmaëäm—of the fruitive reactions; bhäginaù—of the shareholder;
pretya—in the next life; bhüyaù—more grievously; bhüyasi—to the extent that
the action is grievous; tat—(must suffer) of that; phalam—the result.
Not only the performer of the theft but also anyone who assists him,
instigates the crime, or simply approves of it must also share the reaction in the
next life. According to their degree of participation, they each must suffer a