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ŚB 11.3.50-51


अर्चादौ हृदये चापि यथालब्धोपचारकै: ।
द्रव्यक्षित्यात्मलिङ्गानि निष्पाद्य प्रोक्ष्य चासनम् ॥ ५० ॥
पाद्यादीनुपकल्प्याथ सन्निधाप्य समाहित: ।
हृदादिभि: कृतन्यासो मूलमन्त्रेण चार्चयेत् ॥ ५१ ॥


arcādau hṛdaye cāpi
niṣpādya prokṣya cāsanam
pādyādīn upakalpyātha
sannidhāpya samāhitaḥ
hṛd-ādibhiḥ kṛta-nyāso
mūla-mantreṇa cārcayet


arcā-ādau — in the form of the Deity and His paraphernalia; hṛdaye — in the heart; ca api — also; yathā-labdha — whatever is available; upacārakaiḥ — with ingredients of worship; dravya — the physical items to be offered; kṣiti — the ground; ātma — one’s own mind; liṅgāni — and the Deity; niṣpādya — preparing; prokṣya — sprinkling with water for purification; ca — and; āsanam — one’s seat; pādya-ādīn — the water for bathing the Deity’s feet and other offerings; upakalpya — getting ready; atha — then; sannidhāpya — placing the Deity in His proper place; samāhitaḥ — concentrating one’s attention; hṛt-ādibhiḥ — on the Deity’s heart and other places of the body; kṛta-nyāsaḥ — having drawn sacred marks; mūla-mantreṇa — with the appropriate basic mantra for worshiping the particular Deity; ca — and; arcayet — one should offer worship.


The devotee should gather whatever ingredients for worshiping the Deity are available, make ready the offerings, the ground, his mind and the Deity, sprinkle his sitting place with water for purification and prepare the bathing water and other paraphernalia. The devotee should then place the Deity in His proper place, both physically and within his own mind, concentrate his attention, and mark the Deity’s heart and other parts of the body with tilaka. Then he should offer worship with the appropriate mantra.


ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

(Padma Purāṇa)

The Absolute Truth can never be understood by ordinary material sense perception. The conditioned souls engrossed in the vain pursuit of material sense gratification are completely indifferent to the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Their materially conditioned minds are always impure and disturbed by the endless flow of material dualities, such as prosperity and poverty, winter and summer, fame and infamy, youth and old age. Such disturbed conditioned souls cannot recognize the personal presence of the Absolute Truth in the form of the Deity.

The Lord’s incarnation as arcā-avatāra, the Deity form, is a special manifestation of the Lord’s mercy toward the materialistic or neophyte devotees who are still under the influence of material designations. They are unable to perceive the Lord in His eternal abode, and therefore the Lord descends as the Deity form, manifesting the prakāśa incarnations and even the svayaṁ-prakāśa, or the original form of the Lord. The prakāśa incarnations exhibit various pastimes within this world, whereas svayaṁ-prakāśa, the Lord’s original form, is the source of all avatāras.

To one who sincerely worships the Deity, the Deity manifests Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who are most unfortunate cannot even recognize the Supreme Lord in His merciful Deity expansion. They consider the Deity an ordinary material object. But by surrendering at the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master, who is a pure devotee of the Lord, one can learn to worship the Deity, as mentioned in this verse, and thus revive one’s lost relationship with the Lord. One who considers such transcendental Deity worship to be equivalent to idol worship is grossly covered by the three modes of material nature. A person wearing rose-colored glasses sees the entire world to be rose colored. Similarly, those unfortunate living entities who are thickly covered by the material modes of nature see everything, including the Supreme Lord, as material due to their polluted vision.