SB 11.27: Lord Kṛṣṇa’s Instructions on the Process of Deity Worship

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

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

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

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

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

SB 11.27.1

śrī-uddhava uvāca
kriyā-yogaṁ samācakṣva
 bhavad-ārādhanaṁ prabho
yasmāt tvāṁ ye yathārcanti
 sātvatāḥ sātvatarṣabha
śrī-uddhavaḥ uvāca — Śrī Uddhava said; kriyā-yogam — the prescribed method of activity; samācakṣva — please explain; bhavat — of You; ārādhanam — the Deity worship; prabho — O Lord; yasmāt — based on what kind of form; tvām — You; ye — who; yathā — in what manner; arcanti — they worship; sātvatāḥ — the devotees; sātvata-ṛṣabha — O master of the devotees.
Śrī Uddhava said: My dear Lord, O master of the devotees, please explain to me the prescribed method of worshiping You in Your Deity form. What are the qualifications of those devotees who worship the Deity, on what basis is such worship established, and what is the specific method of worship?

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

SB 11.27.2

etad vadanti munayo
 muhur niḥśreyasaṁ nṛṇām
nārado bhagavān vyāsa
 ācāryo ’ṅgirasaḥ sutaḥ
etat — this; vadanti — they say; munayaḥ — the great sages; muhuḥ — repeatedly; niḥśreyasam — the highest goal of life; nṛṇām — for men; nāradaḥ — Nārada Muni; bhagavān vyāsaḥ — Śrīla Vedavyāsa; ācāryaḥ — my spiritual master; aṅgirasaḥ — of Aṅgirā; sutaḥ — the son.
All the great sages repeatedly declare that such worship brings the greatest benefit possible in human life. This is the opinion of Nārada Muni, the great Vyāsadeva and my own spiritual master, Bṛhaspati.

SB 11.27.3-4

niḥsṛtaṁ te mukhāmbhojād
 yad āha bhagavān ajaḥ
putrebhyo bhṛgu-mukhyebhyo
 devyai ca bhagavān bhavaḥ
etad vai sarva-varṇānām
 āśramāṇāṁ ca sammatam
śreyasām uttamaṁ manye
 strī-śūdrāṇāṁ ca māna-da
niḥsṛtam — emanated; te — Your; mukha-ambhojāt — from the lotus mouth; yat — which; āha — spoke; bhagavān — the great lord; ajaḥ — self-born Brahmā; putrebhyaḥ — to his sons; bhṛgu-mukhyebhyaḥ — headed by Bhṛgu; devyai — to the goddess Pārvatī; ca — and; bhagavān bhavaḥ — Lord Śiva; etat — this (process of Deity worship); vai — indeed; sarva-varṇānām — by all the occupational classes of society; āśramāṇām — and spiritual orders; ca — also; sammatam — approved; śreyasām — of different kinds of benefit in life; uttamam — the topmost; manye — I think; strī — for women; śūdrāṇām — and low-class workers; ca — also; māna-da — O magnanimous Lord.
O most magnanimous Lord, the instructions on this process of Deity worship first emanated from Your lotus mouth. Then they were spoken by the great Lord Brahmā to his sons, headed by Bhṛgu, and by Lord Śiva to his wife, Pārvatī. 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 śūdras.

SB 11.27.5

etat kamala-patrākṣa
bhaktāya cānuraktāya
 brūhi viśveśvareśvara
etat — this; kamala-patra-akṣa — O lotus-eyed Lord; karma-bandha — from the bondage of material work; vimocanam — the means of liberation; bhaktāya — to Your devotee; anuraktāya — who is very attached; brūhi — please speak; viśva-īśvara — of all the lords of the universe; īśvara — O Supreme Lord.
O lotus-eyed one, O Supreme Lord of all lords of the universe, please explain to Your devoted servant this means of liberation from the bondage of work.

SB 11.27.6

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
na hy anto ’nanta-pārasya
 karma-kāṇḍasya coddhava
saṅkṣiptaṁ varṇayiṣyāmi
 yathāvad anupūrvaśaḥ
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; na — there is not; hi — indeed; antaḥ — any end; ananta-pārasya — of the boundless; karma-kāṇḍasya — Vedic prescriptions for the execution of worship; ca — and; uddhava — O Uddhava; saṅkṣiptam — in brief; varṇayiṣyāmi — I shall explain; yathā-vat — in a suitable manner; anupūrvaśaḥ — in the appropriate order.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, there is no end to the innumerable Vedic prescriptions for executing Deity worship; so I shall explain this topic to you briefly, one step at a time.

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

SB 11.27.7

vaidikas tāntriko miśra
 iti me tri-vidho makhaḥ
trayāṇām īpsitenaiva
 vidhinā māṁ samarcaret
vaidikaḥ — according to the four Vedas; tāntrikaḥ — according to practical, explanatory literatures; miśraḥ — mixed; iti — thus; me — of Me; tri-vidhaḥ — of three kinds; makhaḥ — sacrifice; trayāṇām — of the three; īpsitena — that which one feels to be most suitable; eva — certainly; vidhinā — by the process; mām — Me; samarcaret — one should properly worship.
One should carefully worship Me by selecting one of the three methods by which I receive sacrifice: Vedic, tantric or mixed.

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

SB 11.27.8

yadā sva-nigamenoktaṁ
 dvijatvaṁ prāpya pūruṣaḥ
yathā yajeta māṁ bhaktyā
 śraddhayā tan nibodha me
yadā — when; sva — specified according to one’s qualification; nigamena — by the Vedas; uktam — enjoined; dvijatvam — the status of becoming twice-born; prāpya — achieving; pūruṣaḥ — a person; yathā — in which way; yajeta — he should execute worship; mām — unto Me; bhaktyā — with devotion; śraddhayā — with faith; tat — that; nibodha — please hear; me — from Me.
Now please listen faithfully as I explain exactly how a person who has achieved twice-born status through the relevant Vedic prescriptions should worship Me with devotion.

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

SB 11.27.9

arcāyāṁ sthaṇḍile ’gnau vā
 sūrye vāpsu hṛdi dvijaḥ
dravyeṇa bhakti-yukto ’rcet
 sva-guruṁ mām amāyayā
arcāyām — within the Deity form; sthaṇḍile — in the earth; agnau — in fire; — or; sūrye — in the sun; — or; apsu — in water; hṛdi — in the heart; dvijaḥ — the brāhmaṇa; dravyeṇa — by various paraphernalia; bhakti-yuktaḥ — endowed with devotion; arcet — he should worship; sva-gurum — his worshipable Lord; mām — Me; amāyayā — without any deception.
A twice-born person should worship Me, his worshipable Lord, without duplicity, offering appropriate paraphernalia in loving devotion to My Deity form or to a form of Me appearing upon the ground, in fire, in the sun, in water or within the worshiper’s own heart.

SB 11.27.10

pūrvaṁ snānaṁ prakurvīta
 dhauta-danto ’ṅga-śuddhaye
ubhayair api ca snānaṁ
 mantrair mṛd-grahaṇādinā
pūrvam — first; snānam — bath; prakurvīta — one should perform; dhauta — having cleaned; dantaḥ — his teeth; aṅga — of the body; śuddhaye — for purification; ubhayaiḥ — with both kinds; api ca — also; snānam — bathing; mantraiḥ — with mantras; mṛt-grahaṇa-ādinā — by smearing with earth and so on.
One should first purify his body by cleansing his teeth and bathing. Then one should perform a second cleansing by smearing the body with earth and chanting both Vedic and tantric mantras.

SB 11.27.11

 vedenācoditāni me
pūjāṁ taiḥ kalpayet samyak-
 saṅkalpaḥ karma-pāvanīm
sandhyā — at the three junctures of the day (dawn, noon and sunset); upāsti — worship (by chanting the Gāyatrī mantra); ādi — and so on; karmāṇi — prescribed duties; vedena — by the Vedas; ācoditāni — recommended; me — My; pūjām — worship; taiḥ — by these activities; kalpayet — one should perform; samyak-saṅkalpaḥ — who has perfectly fixed his determination (that the object of his endeavor will be the Personality of Godhead); karma — the reaction of fruitive work; pāvanīm — which eradicates.
Fixing the mind on Me, one should worship Me by his various prescribed duties, such as chanting the Gāyatrī mantra at the three junctures of the day. Such performances are enjoined by the Vedas and purify the worshiper of reactions to fruitive activities.

SB 11.27.12

śailī dāru-mayī lauhī
 lepyā lekhyā ca saikatī
mano-mayī maṇi-mayī
 pratimāṣṭa-vidhā smṛtā
śailī — made of stone; dāru-mayī — made of wood; lauhī — made of metal; lepyā — made of clay, sandalwood and other substances laid down as a paste; lekhyā — painted; ca — and; saikatī — made of sand; manaḥ-mayī — conceived of in the mind; maṇi-mayī — made of jewels; pratimā — the Deity; aṣṭa-vidhā — in eight varieties; smṛtā — it is remembered.
The Deity form of the Lord is said to appear in eight varieties — stone, wood, metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind or jewels.

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

SB 11.27.13

calācaleti dvi-vidhā
 pratiṣṭhā jīva-mandiram
udvāsāvāhane na staḥ
 sthirāyām uddhavārcane
calā — movable; acalā — immovable; iti — thus; dvi-vidhā — of two varieties; pratiṣṭhā — the installation; jīva-mandiram — of the Deity, who is the shelter of all living entities; udvāsa — sending away; āvāhane — and calling forth; na staḥ — are not done; sthirāyām — for the permanently established Deity; uddhava — My dear Uddhava; arcane — in His worship.
The Deity form of the Lord, who is the shelter of all living entities, can be established in two ways: temporarily or permanently. But a permanent Deity, having been called, can never be sent away, My dear Uddhava.

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

SB 11.27.14

asthirāyāṁ vikalpaḥ syāt
 sthaṇḍile tu bhaved dvayam
snapanaṁ tv avilepyāyām
 anyatra parimārjanam
asthirāyām — in the case of the temporarily installed Deity; vikalpaḥ — an option (as to whether the Deity is to be called and sent away); syāt — there is; sthaṇḍile — in the case of the Deity traced upon the ground; tu — but; bhavet — do occur; dvayam — these two rituals; snapanam — the bathing; tu — but; avilepyāyām — in the case when the Deity is not made out of clay (or paint or wood); anyatra — in the other cases; parimārjanam — thorough cleansing, but without water.
The Deity that is temporarily established can optionally be called forth and sent away, but these two rituals should always be performed when the Deity is traced upon the ground. Bathing should be done with water except if the Deity is made of clay, paint or wood, in which cases a thorough cleansing without water is enjoined.

Various classes of devotees worship the Deity of the Personality of Godhead according to their various stages of faith in the Lord. An advanced devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa understands his eternal loving relationship with the Lord and, seeing the Deity as the Lord Himself, establishes an eternal relationship with the Deity based on loving servitude to Him. Understanding Lord Kṛṣṇa to be the eternal form of bliss and knowledge, a faithful devotee makes a permanent arrangement for Deity worship, installing the Lord’s form made of, for example, stone, wood or marble.

The śālagrāma-śilā is considered to be automatically installed even without the formal ceremony, and so it is forbidden to call the Deity with mantras or ask the Deity to leave. On the other hand, if one prepares a Deity form by drawing on sanctified ground or by constructing a sand image, one must call the Deity with mantras and then ask the Deity to leave the external form, which will soon be demolished by the natural elements.

The general principle is that a pure devotee of the Lord understands his relationship with the Deity to be eternal. The more one surrenders in loving devotion to the Deity, the more one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Kṛṣṇa is a person, but He is the Supreme Person, possessing His own unique feelings. One can easily please the Lord by devotional service offered to His Deity form. By pleasing the Lord one can gradually progress in the mission of human life and eventually go back home, back to Godhead, where the Deity personally appears before the devotee and welcomes the devotee to His personal abode, known throughout the world as the kingdom of God.

SB 11.27.15

dravyaiḥ prasiddhair mad-yāgaḥ
 pratimādiṣv amāyinaḥ
bhaktasya ca yathā-labdhair
 hṛdi bhāvena caiva hi
dravyaiḥ — with items of paraphernalia; prasiddhaiḥ — excellent; mat-yāgaḥ — My worship; pratimā-ādiṣu — in the different Deity forms; amāyinaḥ — who has no material desire; bhaktasya — of a devotee; ca — and; yathā-labdhaiḥ — by whatever paraphernalia he can easily obtain; hṛdi — in the heart; bhāvena — by mental conception; ca — and; eva hi — certainly.
One should worship Me in My Deity forms by offering the most excellent paraphernalia. But a devotee completely freed from material desire may worship Me with whatever he is able to obtain, and may even worship Me within his heart with mental paraphernalia.

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

SB 11.27.16-17

snānālaṅkaraṇaṁ preṣṭham
 arcāyām eva tūddhava
sthaṇḍile tattva-vinyāso
 vahnāv ājya-plutaṁ haviḥ
sūrye cābhyarhaṇaṁ preṣṭhaṁ
 salile salilādibhiḥ
śraddhayopāhṛtaṁ preṣṭhaṁ
 bhaktena mama vāry api
snāna — bathing; alaṅkaraṇam — and decorating with clothing and ornaments; preṣṭham — is most appreciated; arcāyām — for the Deity form; eva — certainly; tu — and; uddhava — O Uddhava; sthaṇḍile — for the Deity drawn upon the ground; tattva-vinyāsaḥ — establishing the expansions and potencies of the Lord within the various limbs of the Deity by chanting the respective mantras; vahnau — for the sacrificial fire; ājya — in ghee; plutam — drenched; haviḥ — the oblations of sesame, barley and so on; sūrye — for the sun; ca — and; abhyarhaṇam — the yoga meditation of twelve āsanas and offerings of arghya; preṣṭham — most dear; salile — for the water; salila-ādibhiḥ — by offerings of water and so on; śraddhayā — with faith; upāhṛtam — presented; preṣṭham — most dear; bhaktena — by the devotee; mama — My; vāri — water; api — even.
In worshiping the temple Deity, my dear Uddhava, bathing and decoration are the most pleasing offerings. For the Deity traced on sacred ground, the process of tattva-vinyāsa is most dear. Oblations of sesame and barley soaked in ghee are the preferred offering to the sacrificial fire, whereas worship consisting of upasthāna and arghya is preferred for the sun. One should worship Me in the form of water by offering water itself. Actually, whatever is offered to Me with faith by My devotee — even if only a little water — is most dear to Me.

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

SB 11.27.18

bhūry apy abhaktopāhṛtaṁ
 na me toṣāya kalpate
gandho dhūpaḥ sumanaso
 dīpo ’nnādyaṁ ca kiṁ punaḥ
bhūri — opulent; api — even; abhakta — by a nondevotee; upāhṛtam — offered; na — does not; me — My; toṣāya — satisfaction; kalpate — create; gandhaḥ — fragrance; dhūpaḥ — incense; sumanasaḥ — flowers; dīpaḥ — lamps; anna-ādyam — foodstuffs; ca — and; kim punaḥ — what to speak of.
Even very opulent presentations do not satisfy Me if they are offered by nondevotees. But I am pleased by any insignificant offering made by My loving devotees, and I am certainly most pleased when nice presentations of fragrant oil, incense, flowers and palatable foods are offered with love.

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

SB 11.27.19

śuciḥ sambhṛta-sambhāraḥ
 prāg-darbhaiḥ kalpitāsanaḥ
āsīnaḥ prāg udag vārced
 arcāyāṁ tv atha sammukhaḥ
śuciḥ — clean; sambhṛta — having collected; sambhāraḥ — the paraphernalia; prāk — their tips facing the east; darbhaiḥ — with blades of kuśa grass; kalpita — having arranged; āsanaḥ — his own seat; āsīnaḥ — sitting; prāk — facing the east; udak — facing the north; — or; arcet — he should perform the worship; arcāyām — of the Deity; tu — but; atha — or else; sammukhaḥ — directly facing.
After cleansing himself and collecting all the paraphernalia, the worshiper should arrange his own seat with blades of kuśa grass whose tips point eastward. He should then sit facing either east or north, or else, if the Deity is fixed in one place, he should sit directly facing the Deity.

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

SB 11.27.20

kṛta-nyāsaḥ kṛta-nyāsāṁ
 mad-arcāṁ pāṇināmṛjet
kalaśaṁ prokṣaṇīyaṁ ca
 yathāvad upasādhayet
kṛta-nyāsaḥ — having sanctified his own body (by touching various parts and chanting appropriate mantras while meditating on the corresponding forms of the Supreme Lord); kṛta-nyāsām — (the Deity) upon which the same process has been applied; mat-arcām — My Deity manifestation; pāṇinā — with his hand; āmṛjet — should clean (by removing remnants of old offerings); kalaśam — the ritual pot filled with auspicious substances; prokṣaṇīyam — the vessel containing water for sprinkling; ca — and; yathā-vat — appropriately; upasādhayet — he should prepare.
The devotee should sanctify the various parts of his body by touching them and chanting mantras. He should do the same for My Deity form, and then with his hands he should clean the Deity of old flowers and the remnants of previous offerings. He should properly prepare the sacred pot and the vessel containing water for sprinkling.

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

SB 11.27.21

tad-adbhir deva-yajanaṁ
 dravyāṇy ātmānam eva ca
prokṣya pātrāṇi trīṇy adbhis
 tais tair dravyaiś ca sādhayet
tat — of the vessel for sprinkling; adbhiḥ — with the water; deva-yajanam — the place where the Deity is worshiped; dravyāṇi — the paraphernalia; ātmānam — one’s own body; eva — indeed; ca — also; prokṣya — sprinkling; pātrāṇi — the vessels; trīṇi — three; adbhiḥ — with water; taiḥ taiḥ — with those available; dravyaiḥ — auspicious items; ca — and; sādhayet — he should arrange.
Then, with the water of that prokṣaṇīya 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.

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

SB 11.27.22

 trīṇi pātrāṇi deśikaḥ
hṛdā śīrṣṇātha śikhayā
 gāyatryā cābhimantrayet
pādya — of the water offered to the Lord for bathing His feet; arghya — the water offered to the Lord as a token of respectful greeting; ācamanīya — and the water offered to the Lord for washing His mouth; artham — placed there for the purpose; trīṇi — three; pātrāṇi — the vessels; deśikaḥ — the worshiper; hṛdā — by the “heart” mantra; śīrṣṇā — by the “head” mantra; atha — and; śikhayā — by the “crown” mantra; gāyatryā — and by the Gāyatrī mantra; ca — also; abhimantrayet — he should perform purification by chanting.
The worshiper should then purify those three vessels. He should sanctify the vessel holding water for washing the Lord’s feet by chanting hṛdayāya namaḥ, the vessel containing water for arghya by chanting śirase svāhā, and the vessel containing water for washing the Lord’s mouth by chanting śikhāyai vaṣaṭ. Also, the Gāyatrī mantra should be chanted for all three vessels.

SB 11.27.23

piṇḍe vāyv-agni-saṁśuddhe
 hṛt-padma-sthāṁ parāṁ mama
aṇvīṁ jīva-kalāṁ dhyāyen
 nādānte siddha-bhāvitām
piṇḍe — within the body; vāyu — by air; agni — and by fire; saṁśuddhe — which has become completely purified; hṛt — of the heart; padma — upon the lotus; sthām — situated; parām — the transcendental form; mama — of Mine; aṇvīm — very subtle; jīva-kalām — the Personality of Godhead, from whom all living entities expand; dhyāyet — he should meditate upon; nāda-ante — at the end of the vibration of om; siddha — by perfected sages; bhāvitām — experienced.
The worshiper should meditate upon My subtle form — which is situated within the worshiper’s own body, now purified by air and fire — as the source of all living entities. This form of the Lord is experienced by self-realized sages in the last part of the vibration of the sacred syllable om.

According to Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, the praṇava, or oṁkāra, has five parts: A, U, M, the nasal bindu and the reverberation (nāda). Liberated souls meditate upon the Lord at the end of that reverberation.

SB 11.27.24

tayātma-bhūtayā piṇḍe
 vyāpte sampūjya tan-mayaḥ
āvāhyārcādiṣu sthāpya
 nyastāṅgaṁ māṁ prapūjayet
tayā — by that form meditated upon; ātma-bhūtayā — conceived of according to one’s own realization; piṇḍe — in the physical body; vyāpte — which has become pervaded; sampūjya — perfectly worshiping that form; tat-mayaḥ — surcharged by His presence; āvāhya — inviting; arcā-ādiṣu — within the various Deities being worshiped; sthāpya — establishing Him; nyasta-aṅgam — having touched the Deity’s various limbs with the chanting of appropriate mantras; mām — to Me; prapūjayet — he should carry out all the details of worship.
The devotee conceives of the Supersoul, whose presence surcharges the devotee’s body, in the form corresponding to his realization. Thus the devotee worships the Lord to his full capacity and becomes fully absorbed in Him. By touching the various limbs of the Deity and chanting appropriate mantras, the devotee should invite the Supersoul to join the Deity’s form, and then the devotee should worship Me.

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

SB 11.27.25-26

 upacārān prakalpayet
dharmādibhiś ca navabhiḥ
 kalpayitvāsanaṁ mama
padmam aṣṭa-dalaṁ tatra
ubhābhyāṁ veda-tantrābhyāṁ
 mahyaṁ tūbhaya-siddhaye
pādya — water for washing the Lord’s feet; upasparśa — water for washing the Lord’s mouth; arhaṇa — water presented as arghya; ādīn — and other paraphernalia; upacārān — the offerings; prakalpayet — one should make; dharma-ādibhiḥ — with the personifications of religion, knowledge, renunciation and opulence; ca — and; navabhiḥ — with the nine (energies of the Lord); kalpayitvā — having imagined; āsanam — the seat; mama — My; padmam — a lotus; aṣṭa-dalam — having eight petals; tatra — therein; karṇikā — in the whorl; kesara — with saffron filaments; ujjvalam — effulgent; ubhābhyām — by both means; veda-tantrābhyām — of the Vedas and tantras; mahyam — to Me; tu — and; ubhaya — of both (enjoyment and liberation); siddhaye — for the achievement.
The worshiper should first imagine My seat as decorated with the personified deities of religion, knowledge, renunciation and opulence and with My nine spiritual energies. He should think of the Lord’s sitting place as an eight-petaled lotus, effulgent on account of the saffron filaments within its whorl. Then, following the regulations of both the Vedas and the tantras, he should offer Me water for washing the feet, water for washing the mouth, arghya and other items of worship. By this process he achieves both material enjoyment and liberation.

According to Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, religion, knowledge, renunciation and opulence are the legs of the Lord’s sitting platform and occupy the four corners, beginning with the southeast. Irreligion, ignorance, attachment and wretchedness are the intermediate legs, standing in the four directions beginning with the east. The nine śaktis, or potencies, of the Lord are Vimalā, Utkarṣiṇī, Jñānā, Kriyā, Yogā, Prahvī, Satyā, Īśānā and Anugrahā.

SB 11.27.27

sudarśanaṁ pāñcajanyaṁ
muṣalaṁ kaustubhaṁ mālāṁ
 śrīvatsaṁ cānupūjayet
sudarśanam — the Lord’s disc; pāñcajanyam — the Lord’s conchshell; gadā — His club; asi — sword; iṣu — arrows; dhanuḥ — bow; halān — and plow; muṣalam — His muṣala weapon; kaustubham — the Kaustubha gem; mālām — His garland; śrīvatsam — the decoration of Śrīvatsa on His chest; ca — and; anupūjayet — one should worship one after another.
One should worship, in order, the Lord’s Sudarśana disc, His Pāñcajanya conchshell, His club, sword, bow, arrows and plow, His muṣala weapon, His Kaustubha gem, His flower garland and the Śrīvatsa curl of hair on His chest.

SB 11.27.28

nandaṁ sunandaṁ garuḍaṁ
 pracaṇḍaṁ caṇḍam eva ca
mahābalaṁ balaṁ caiva
 kumudaṁ kumudekṣaṇam
nandam sunandam garuḍam — named Nanda, Sunanda and Garuḍa; pracaṇḍam caṇḍam — Pracaṇḍa and Caṇḍa; eva — indeed; ca — also; mahā-balam balam — Mahābala and Bala; ca — and; eva — indeed; kumudam kumuda-īkṣaṇam — Kumuda and Kumudekṣaṇa.
One should worship the Lord’s associates Nanda and Sunanda, Garuḍa, Pracaṇḍa and Caṇḍa, Mahābala and Bala, and Kumuda and Kumudekṣaṇa.

SB 11.27.29

durgāṁ vināyakaṁ vyāsaṁ
 viṣvaksenaṁ gurūn surān
sve sve sthāne tv abhimukhān
 pūjayet prokṣaṇādibhiḥ
durgām — the Lord’s spiritual energy; vināyakam — the original Gaṇeśa; vyāsam — the compiler of the Vedas; viṣvaksenam — Viṣvaksena; gurūn — one’s spiritual masters; surān — the demigods; sve sve — each in his own; sthāne — place; tu — and; abhimukhān — all facing the Deity; pūjayet — one should worship; prokṣaṇa-ādibhiḥ — by the various prescriptions beginning with sprinkling of water for purification.
With offerings such as prokṣaṇa one should worship Durgā, Vināyaka, Vyāsa, Viṣvaksena, the spiritual masters and the various demigods. All these personalities should be in their proper places facing the Deity of the Lord.

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

SB 11.27.30-31

salilaiḥ snāpayen mantrair
 nityadā vibhave sati
pauruṣeṇāpi sūktena
 sāmabhī rājanādibhiḥ
candana — with sandalwood paste; uśīra — the fragrant uśīra root; karpūra — camphor; kuṅkuma — vermilion; aguru — aloes wood; vāsitaiḥ — which are perfumed; salilaiḥ — by different kinds of water; snāpayet — one should bathe the Deity; mantraiḥ — with mantras; nityadā — every day; vibhave — assets; sati — to the extent that there are; svarṇa-gharma-anuvākena — by the chapter of the Vedas known as Svarṇa-gharma; mahā-puruṣa-vidyayā — by the incantation called Mahāpuruṣa; pauruṣeṇa — by the Puruṣa-sūkta; api — also; sūktena — the Vedic hymn; sāmabhiḥ — by songs from the Sāma Veda; rājana-ādibhiḥ — known as Rājana and so on.
The worshiper should bathe the Deity every day, as opulently as his assets permit, using waters scented with sandalwood, uśīra root, camphor, kuṅkuma and aguru. He should also chant various Vedic hymns, such as the anuvāka known as Svarṇa-gharma, the Mahāpuruṣa-vidyā, the Puruṣa-sūkta and various songs of the Sāma Veda, such as the Rājana and the Rohiṇya.

The Puruṣa-sūkta prayer, beginning om sahasra-śīrṣā-puruṣaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ sahasra-pāt, is contained within the Ṛg Veda.

SB 11.27.32

alaṅkurvīta sa-prema
 mad-bhakto māṁ yathocitam
vastra — with clothing; upavīta — a brāhmaṇa thread; ābharaṇa — ornaments; patra — decorations drawn on various parts of the body with tilaka; srak — garlands; gandha-lepanaiḥ — and smearing of fragrant oils; alaṅkurvīta — he should decorate; sa-prema — with love; mat-bhaktaḥ — My devotee; mām — Me; yathā ucitam — as is enjoined.
My devotee should then lovingly decorate Me with clothing, a brāhmaṇa thread, various ornaments, marks of tilaka and garlands, and he should anoint My body with fragrant oils, all in the prescribed manner.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī quotes Lord Śrī Viṣṇu’s instructions to Ambarīṣa Mahārāja in the Viṣṇu-dharma Upapurāṇa as follows: “Absorbing your mind completely in the Deity, you should give up all other shelter and consider the Deity your intimate well-wisher. You should mentally worship Him and meditate upon Him while you walk, while you stand, while you sleep and eat. You should see the Deity in front of you, behind, above, below and on both sides. In this way you should constantly remember My Deity form.” In the Gautamīya-tantra one is enjoined to give the Deity of the Lord a brāhmaṇa thread, if possible one made of gold. In the Nṛsiṁha Purāṇa it is stated, “If one offers to Lord Govinda a yellow sacred thread containing three strands of silk, he will become an expert in Vedānta.

SB 11.27.33

pādyam ācamanīyaṁ ca
 gandhaṁ sumanaso ’kṣatān
 dadyān me śraddhayārcakaḥ
pādyam — water for washing the feet; ācamanīyam — water for washing the mouth; ca — and; gandham — fragrances; sumanasaḥ — flowers; akṣatān — unbroken grains; dhūpa — incense; dīpa — lamps; upahāryāṇi — such items of paraphernalia; dadyāt — he should present; me — to Me; śraddhayā — with faith; arcakaḥ — the worshiper.
The worshiper should faithfully present Me with water for washing My feet and mouth, fragrant oils, flowers and unbroken grains, along with incense, lamps and other offerings.

SB 11.27.34

saṁyāva-dadhi-sūpāṁś ca
 naivedyaṁ sati kalpayet
guḍa — sugar candy; pāyasa — sweet rice; sarpīṁṣi — and ghee; śaṣkulī — a kind of large, ear-shaped cake made of rice flour, sugar and sesame and fried in ghee; āpūpa — various kinds of sweet cakes; modakān — small conical steamed dumplings made of rice flour and filled with sweet coconut and sugar; saṁyāva — an oblong cake made of wheat, ghee and milk and covered with sugar and spices; dadhi — yogurt; sūpān — 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, śaṣkulī [rice-flour cakes], āpūpa [various sweet cakes], modaka [steamed rice-flour dumplings filled with sweet coconut and sugar], saṁyāva [wheat cakes made with ghee and milk and covered with sugar and spices], yogurt, vegetable soups and other palatable foods.

One can acquire detailed information of proper and improper foods to offer in Deity worship by consulting Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, eighth vilāsa, verses 152-164.

SB 11.27.35

 parvaṇi syur utānv-aham
abhyaṅga — with ointment; unmardana — massaging; ādarśa — offering a mirror; danta-dhāva — washing the teeth; abhiṣecanam — bathing; anna — offering food that can be eaten without chewing; ādya — offering food that is chewed; gītā — singing; nṛtyāni — and dancing; parvaṇi — on special holidays; syuḥ — these offerings should be made; uta — or else (if it is within one’s means); anu-aham — every day.
On special occasions, and daily if possible, the Deity should be massaged with ointment, shown a mirror, offered a eucalyptus stick for brushing His teeth, bathed with the five kinds of nectar, offered all kinds of opulent foods, and entertained with singing and dancing.

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

SB 11.27.36

vidhinā vihite kuṇḍe
agnim ādhāya paritaḥ
 samūhet pāṇinoditam
vidhinā — according to scriptural injunctions; vihite — constructed; kuṇḍe — in the sacrificial arena; mekhalā — with the paraphernalia of the sacred belt; garta — the sacrificial pit; vedibhiḥ — and the altar mound; agnim — the fire; ādhāya — establishing; paritaḥ — on all sides; samūhet — one should build up; pāṇinā — with his hands; uditam — blazing.
In an arena constructed according to scriptural injunctions, the devotee should perform a fire sacrifice, utilizing the sacred belt, the sacrificial pit and the altar mound. When igniting the sacrificial fire, the devotee should bring it to a blaze with wood piled up by his own hands.

SB 11.27.37

paristīryātha paryukṣed
 anvādhāya yathā-vidhi
prokṣaṇyāsādya dravyāṇi
 prokṣyāgnau bhāvayeta mām
paristīrya — scattering (kuśa grass); atha — then; paryukṣet — he should sprinkle with water; anvādhāya — performing the ritual of anvādhāna (placing wood into the fire with recitations of om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ); yathā-vidhi — according to the standard prescription; prokṣaṇyā — by the water in the ācamana vessel; āsādya — having arranged; dravyāṇi — the items to be offered as oblations; prokṣya — sprinkling them; agnau — within the fire; bhāvayeta — he should meditate; mām — on Me.
After spreading kuśa grass on the ground and sprinkling it with water, one should perform the anvādhāna 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.

Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī mentions that one should meditate upon the Lord as the Supersoul within the sacrificial fire.

SB 11.27.38-41

lasac-catur-bhujaṁ śāntaṁ
śrīvatsa-vakṣasaṁ bhrājat-
 kaustubhaṁ vana-mālinam
dhyāyann abhyarcya dārūṇi
 haviṣābhighṛtāni ca
prāsyājya-bhāgāv āghārau
 dattvā cājya-plutaṁ haviḥ
juhuyān mūla-mantreṇa
dharmādibhyo yathā-nyāyaṁ
 mantraiḥ sviṣṭi-kṛtaṁ budhaḥ
tapta — molten; jāmbū-nada — of gold; prakhyam — the color; śaṅkha — with His conchshell; cakra — disc; gadā — club; ambujaiḥ — and lotus flower; lasat — brilliant; catuḥ-bhujam — having four arms; śāntam — peaceful; padma — of a lotus; kiñjalka — colored like the filaments; vāsasam — His garment; sphurat — shining; kirīṭa — helmet; kaṭaka — bracelets; kaṭi-sūtra — belt; vara-aṅgadam — fine ornaments on the arms; śrī-vatsa — the emblem of the goddess of fortune; vakṣasam — upon His chest; bhrājat — effulgent; kaustubham — the Kaustubha gem; vana-mālinam — wearing a flower garland; dhyāyan — meditating upon Him; abhyarcya — performing worship of Him; dārūṇi — pieces of dry wood; haviṣā — with the purified butter; abhighṛtāni — soaked; ca — and; prāsya — throwing into the fire; ājya — of the ghee; bhāgau — the two designated portions; āghārau — in the course of performing the āghāra ritual; dattvā — offering; ca — and; ājya — with ghee; plutam — drenched; haviḥ — various oblations; juhuyāt — one should offer into the fire; mūla-mantreṇa — with the primary mantras naming each deity; ṣoḍaśa-ṛcā — with the hymn Puruṣa-sūkta, consisting of sixteen lines of verse; avadānataḥ — pouring an oblation after each line; dharma-ādibhyaḥ — to the demigods, beginning with Yamarāja; yathā-nyāyam — in the proper order; mantraiḥ — with the specific mantras naming each demigod; sviṣṭi-kṛtam — the ritual of this name; budhaḥ — the intelligent devotee.
The intelligent devotee should meditate upon that form of the Lord whose color is like molten gold, whose four arms are resplendent with the conchshell, disc, club and lotus flower, and who is always peaceful and dressed in a garment colored like the filaments within a lotus flower. His helmet, bracelets, belt and fine arm ornaments shine brilliantly. The symbol of Śrīvatsa 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 āghāra, presenting into the fire the various items of oblation drenched in ghee. He should then offer to sixteen demigods, beginning with Yamarāja, the oblation called sviṣṭi-kṛt, reciting the basic mantras of each deity and the sixteen-line Puruṣa-sūkta hymn. Pouring one oblation after each line of the Puruṣa-sūkta, he should utter the particular mantra naming each deity.

SB 11.27.42

abhyarcyātha namaskṛtya
 pārṣadebhyo baliṁ haret
mūla-mantraṁ japed brahma
 smaran nārāyaṇātmakam
abhyarcya — having thus worshiped; atha — then; namaskṛtya — offering his obeisances by bowing down; pārṣadebhyaḥ — unto the Lord’s personal associates; balim — offerings; haret — he should present; mūla-mantram — the basic mantra for the Deity; japet — he should chant quietly; brahma — the Absolute Truth; smaran — remembering; nārāyaṇa-ātmakam — as the Supreme Personality, Lord Nārāyaṇa.
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 mūla-mantra of the Deity of the Lord, remembering the Absolute Truth as the Supreme Personality, Nārāyaṇa.

SB 11.27.43

dattvācamanam uccheṣaṁ
 viṣvaksenāya kalpayet
mukha-vāsaṁ surabhimat
 tāmbūlādyam athārhayet
dattvā — offering; ācamanam — water for washing the Lord’s mouth; uccheṣam — the remnants of His food; viṣvaksenāya — to the personal associate of Lord Viṣṇu, Viṣvaksena; kalpayet — one should give; mukha-vāsam — cologne for the mouth; surabhi-mat — fragrant; tāmbūla-ādyam — betel-nut preparation; atha — then; arhayet — one should present.
Once again he should offer the Deity water for washing His mouth, and he should give the remnants of the Lord’s food to Viṣvaksena. Then he should present the Deity with fragrant perfume for the mouth and prepared betel nut.

SB 11.27.44

upagāyan gṛṇan nṛtyan
 karmāṇy abhinayan mama
mat-kathāḥ śrāvayan śṛṇvan
 muhūrtaṁ kṣaṇiko bhavet
upagāyan — singing along; gṛṇan — loudly vibrating; nṛtyan — dancing; karmāṇi — transcendental activities; abhinayan — imitating by acting out; mama — My; mat-kathāḥ — stories about Me; śrāvayan — causing others to hear; śṛṇvan — hearing himself; muhūrtam — for some time; kṣaṇikaḥ — absorbed in the celebration; bhavet — he should become.
Singing along with others, chanting loudly and dancing, acting out My transcendental pastimes, and hearing and telling stories about Me, the devotee should for some time absorb himself in such festivity.

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

SB 11.27.45

stavair uccāvacaiḥ stotraiḥ
 paurāṇaiḥ prākṛtair api
stutvā prasīda bhagavann
 iti vandeta daṇḍa-vat
stavaiḥ — with prayers from the scriptures; ucca-avacaiḥ — of greater and lesser varieties; stotraiḥ — and with prayers written by human authors; paurāṇaiḥ — from the Purāṇas; prākṛtaiḥ — from ordinary sources; api — also; stutvā — thus praying to the Lord; prasīda — please show Your mercy; bhagavan — O Lord; iti — thus saying; vandeta — one should pay homage; daṇḍa-vat — falling down on the ground like a rod.
The devotee should offer homage to the Lord with all kinds of hymns and prayers, both from the Purāṇas and from other ancient scriptures, and also from ordinary traditions. Praying, “O Lord, please be merciful to me!” he should fall down flat like a rod to offer his obeisances.

SB 11.27.46

śiro mat-pādayoḥ kṛtvā
 bāhubhyāṁ ca parasparam
prapannaṁ pāhi mām īśa
 bhītaṁ mṛtyu-grahārṇavāt
śiraḥ — his head; mat-pādayoḥ — at My two feet; kṛtvā — placing; bāhubhyām — with the hands; ca — and; parasparam — together (grasping the feet of the Deity); prapannam — who am surrendered; pāhi — please protect; mām — me; īśa — O Lord; bhītam — afraid; mṛtyu — of death; graha — the mouth; arṇavāt — of this material ocean.
Placing his head at the feet of the Deity, he should then stand with folded hands before the Lord and pray, “O my Lord, please protect me, who am surrendered unto You. I am most fearful of this ocean of material existence, standing as I am in the mouth of death.”

SB 11.27.47

iti śeṣāṁ mayā dattāṁ
 śirasy ādhāya sādaram
udvāsayec ced udvāsyaṁ
 jyotir jyotiṣi tat punaḥ
iti — thus praying; śeṣām — the remnants; mayā — by Me; dattām — given; śirasi — on one’s head; ādhāya — placing; sa-ādaram — respectfully; udvāsayet — should send the Deity away; cet — if; udvāsyam — if such is meant to be performed; jyotiḥ — the light; jyotiṣi — within the light; tat — that; punaḥ — once again.
Praying in this way, the devotee should respectfully place upon his head the remnants I offer to him. And if the particular Deity is meant to be sent away at the end of the worship, then this should be performed, the devotee once again placing the light of the Deity’s presence inside the light of the lotus within his own heart.

SB 11.27.48

arcādiṣu yadā yatra
 śraddhā māṁ tatra cārcayet
sarva-bhūteṣv ātmani ca
 sarvātmāham avasthitaḥ
arcā-ādiṣu — in the Deity form and other manifestations of the Supreme Lord; yadā — whenever; yatra — in whichever form; śraddhā — faith develops; mām — Me; tatra — there; ca — and; arcayet — he should worship; sarva-bhūteṣu — within all created beings; ātmani — separately, in My original form; ca — also; sarva-ātmā — the original soul of all; aham — I am; avasthitaḥ — so situated.
Whenever one develops faith in Me — in My form as the Deity or in other bona fide manifestations — one should worship Me in that form. I certainly exist both within all created beings and also separately in My original form, since I am the Supreme Soul of all.

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

SB 11.27.49

evaṁ kriyā-yoga-pathaiḥ
 pumān vaidika-tāntrikaiḥ
arcann ubhayataḥ siddhiṁ
 matto vindaty abhīpsitām
evam — in this way; kriyā-yoga — of regulated Deity worship; pathaiḥ — by the processes; pumān — a person; vaidika-tāntrikaiḥ — presented in the Vedas and tantras; arcan — worshiping; ubhayataḥ — in both this life and the next; siddhim — perfection; mattaḥ — from Me; vindati — he achieves; abhīpsitām — desired.
By worshiping Me through the various methods prescribed in the Vedas and tantras, one will gain from Me his desired perfection in both this life and the next.

SB 11.27.50

mad-arcāṁ sampratiṣṭhāpya
 mandiraṁ kārayed dṛḍham
puṣpodyānāni ramyāṇi
mat-arcām — My Deity form; sampratiṣṭhāpya — properly establishing; mandiram — a temple; kārayet — he should construct; dṛḍham — strong; puṣpa-udyānāni — flower gardens; ramyāṇi — beautiful; pūjā — for regular, daily worship; yātrā — special festivals; utsava — and yearly holidays; āśritān — set aside.
The devotee should more fully establish My Deity by solidly constructing a temple, along with beautiful gardens. These gardens should be set aside to provide flowers for the regular daily worship, special Deity processions and holiday observances.

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

SB 11.27.51

pūjādīnāṁ pravāhārthaṁ
 mahā-parvasv athānv-aham
 dattvā mat-sārṣṭitām iyāt
pūjā-ādīnām — of the regular worship and special festivals; pravāha-artham — in order to assure the continuance; mahā-parvasu — on auspicious occasions; atha — and; anu-aham — daily; kṣetra — land; āpaṇa — shops; pura — cities; grāmān — and villages; dattvā — bestowing as a gift to the Deity; mat-sārṣṭitām — opulence equal to Mine; iyāt — he achieves.
One who offers the Deity gifts of land, markets, cities and villages so that the regular daily worship and special festivals of the Deity may go on continually will achieve opulence equal to My own.

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

SB 11.27.52

pratiṣṭhayā sārvabhaumaṁ
 sadmanā bhuvana-trayam
pūjādinā brahma-lokaṁ
 tribhir mat-sāmyatām iyāt
pratiṣṭhayā — by having installed the Deity; sārva-bhaumam — sovereignty over the entire earth; sadmanā — by building a temple for the Lord; bhuvana-trayam — rulership over the three worlds; pūjā-ādinā — by worship and other service; brahma-lokam — the planet of Lord Brahmā; tribhiḥ — by all three; mat-sāmyatām — the status of equality with Me (by having a transcendental, spiritual body similar to Mine); iyāt — he attains.
By installing the Deity of the Lord one becomes king of the entire earth, by building a temple for the Lord one becomes ruler of the three worlds, by worshiping and serving the Deity one goes to the planet of Lord Brahmā, and by performing all three of these activities one achieves a transcendental form like My own.

SB 11.27.53

mām eva nairapekṣyeṇa
 bhakti-yogena vindati
bhakti-yogaṁ sa labhata
 evaṁ yaḥ pūjayeta mām
mām — Me; eva — indeed; nairapekṣyeṇa — by being free from motivation; bhakti-yogena — by the performance of devotional service; vindati — achieves; bhakti-yogam — devotional service; saḥ — he; labhate — receives; evam — thus; yaḥ — whom; pūjayeta — worships; mām — Me.
But one who simply engages in devotional service with no consideration of fruitive results attains Me. Thus whoever worships Me according to the process I have described will ultimately attain pure devotional service unto Me.

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

SB 11.27.54

yaḥ sva-dattāṁ parair dattāṁ
 hareta sura-viprayoḥ
vṛttiṁ sa jāyate viḍ-bhug
 varṣāṇām ayutāyutam
yaḥ — who; sva-dattām — given previously by himself; paraiḥ — by others; dattām — given; hareta — takes away; sura-viprayoḥ — belonging to the demigods or brāhmaṇas; vṛttim — property; saḥ — he; jāyate — takes birth; viṭ-bhuk — as a stool-eating worm; varṣāṇām — for years; ayuta — ten thousand; ayutam — times ten thousand.
Anyone who steals the property of the demigods or the brāhmaṇas, whether originally given to them by himself or someone else, must live as a worm in stool for one hundred million years.

SB 11.27.55

kartuś ca sārather hetor
 anumoditur eva ca
karmaṇāṁ bhāginaḥ pretya
 bhūyo bhūyasi tat-phalam
kartuḥ — of the performer; ca — and; sāratheḥ — of the assistant; hetoḥ — of the instigator; anumodituḥ — of the person who approves; eva ca — also; karmaṇām — of the fruitive reactions; bhāginaḥ — of the shareholder; pretya — in the next life; bhūyaḥ — more grievously; bhūyasi — to the extent that the action is grievous; tat — (must suffer) of that; phalam — the result.
Not only the performer of the theft but also anyone who assists him, instigates the crime, or simply approves of it must also share the reaction in the next life. According to their degree of participation, they each must suffer a proportionate consequence.

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

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