Archa-Vigraha or Deity: Deity Worship

                                                                  Q. You have explained that the Supreme Lord Himself personally descends in the archa-murti at the request of the acharyas, and invests all His spiritual potencies within the Deity.

                                                                  The use of the word "descends" creates the impression in my mind that the murti is like a residence, with the Lord being free to leave anytime if He is not well taken care of. I've also heard from a senior vaishnava that Srila Prabhupada had once stated that the deity form is Krishna.

                                                                  Q. I am from Southern part of India and it is true that the deities in South Indian style temples are different from our ISKCON deities. I have heard some people making comments about this and also the way deities are dressed/decorated. One person even asked me if I believe in north Indian Gods and their kind of worship. How should one answer such questions?

                                                                  Q. When we do arati why do we offer incense, lamp, water, kerchief, flowers, chamara, and peacock fan.  What do these offerings signify?

                                                                  Arati is an offering of respect, welcome to an exalted personality, such as a king or a brahmana.  Since the greatest exalted person is the Supreme Lord, it is most appropriate to offer arati to Him.

                                                                  Q. I believe Krishna never sleeps and I am not good at doing Deity worship. But I like to chant and sing all day and night. Can I sing to Krishna after 9 PM (bedtime for Deities)?

                                                                  Your desire to chant and sing for Krishna is nice. This is a proper devotional sentiment that must be carefully nurtured by following the directions of the scriptures and Krishna's pure devotees.

                                                                  Q. Recently during the Christmas holidays, it was noted that certain temples under ISKCON management were dressing the Deities with the outfits of father Christmas and so the question is if it is bona fide to do this. This kind of dressing didn't happen when His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada started the movement and the Nectar of Devotion and Deityworship.com manual outlines many important details on how deity dressing and deity worship is to be done. So is this new dress for Deities something that the headquarters in Mayapur approved?

                                                                  Q. What is the process of submitting a prayer through the spiritual master that Srila Prabhupada had in mind, expressed in the text below?

                                                                  "In regard to praying to Lord Nityananda Prabhu I have written to you in my last letter that such prayer is quite appropriate. Our only prayer should be in the matter of desiring further development of devotional service and such sincere prayer should be submitted not directly to the lord but through the via-media of His bona fide servitor or representative."

                                                                  Letter to: Madhudvisa   Los Angeles  14 February, 1970