Our progression of deity worship 1974–2021

April 6, 2021 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Hare Krsna-Just for historical sake here is a picture (below) I took of our TSKP Gaura Nitai deities back in 1974

We had Them tied with ribbon to the back wall of a wooden box about 3 foot square. This box stayed in our sankirtan van all the time. The beads I bought at some local fabric store and basically glued together some very simple “outfits”. We used to do book distribution 7 days a week, but  after months of that I told the sankirtan leader I wanted to “stay back”, on sunday, cook a feast for The Lordships and the devotees AND make some new outfit since everything was pretty spartan in those days. The fan backdrop was supplied by our Seattle Wa home temple pujari.
 
SB 3.19.24 purport….
By His inconceivable potency the Lord can become the universal form, as explained in Bhagavad-gītā, and at the same time He can remain within the box of His devotees as their worshipable Deity. There are many devotees who keep a statue of the Lord in a small box and carry it with them everywhere; every morning they worship the Lord in the box. The Supreme Lord, Keśava, or the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is not bound by any measurement of our calculation. He can remain with His devotee in any suitable form, yet He is unapproachable by any amount of demoniac activities.
 
Note–When we got sent to us from the LA BBT warehouse the SB part 3– this above purport 
appeared in it and it made us very enlivened because Srila Prabhupada, our guru, was telling us in that purport how some devotees were doing– what we were already doing. So we knew we were on the right course of bhakti yoga. And this purport confirmed it.
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And here below, some 47 years later is our Deities today with 26 different very  opulent outfits along with many jewelry pieces made mostly by my wife and a little by myself. Personally, I don’t think most of the outfits they make in India can compare to these.,as I have seen both. Ours are made of mostly of silk, and some cotton or linen-no polyester or other synthetic materials. Natural fabric “breathes” whereas synthetic ones just make you perspire.
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DEITY WORSHIP-THE MOST VALUABLE BENEDICTION
GIVEN BY THE LORD TO NEOPHYTES
SB 4.30.27 purport–Deity worship in the form of temple worship is themost valuable benediction given by the Lord to beginners. All neophytes must therefore engage in the worship of the Lord by keeping the arcā-vigraha (arcāvatāra) at home or in the temple.
 
SB 7.14.39-TRANSLATION–My dear King, when great sages and saintly persons saw mutually disrespectful dealings at the beginning of Tretā-yuga, Deity worship in the temple was introduced with all paraphernalia.
 
NoD 35 Neutral Love of God 175614/530501
Without worshiping the arca-vigraha, the form or Deity of the Lord,
one cannot understand such literature as Bhagavad-gita and
Srimad-Bhagavatam.  
751030SB.NAI Lectures 223477/530501
So the temple worship is essential. So those who are against temple
worship, Deity worship, they are not very intelligent class of men,
foolish, mudha.  NoD 35 Neutral Love of God 175614/530501
 
When we have lost that loving feeling
760924SB.VRN–
If we think that “Here is a stone statue,” then it will not prolong many days. It will not… Galagraha. No more vigraha, but galagraha. Suppose I have established this temple. Now under my direction, my disciples are worshiping vigraha. Vigraha means the form of the Lord, rūpa. But if there is no following of the regulative principles, then after my death it will be galagraha, a burden, that “Our rascal Guru Mahārāja established this temple, and we have to worship, early rise in the morning, all botheration.”This will be… That is called galagraha, a burden, “He has left with us a burden.” This is the risk. Then this, such a big temple will be mismanaged, and you’ll find that “This is breaking” and “This is unclean,” 
and there is no attention. This will be our… That is called galagraha. “The rascal has given us a burden.”
 
Lecture NY sept 18 1966
So in my childhood, when I was five or six years old, I requested my father that “Father, give me this Deity. I shall worship.” So father purchased for me little Krishna, Radha, and he gave me, and I was imitating. Whatever foodstuff I was getting, I was offering to Krishna and eating. In this way I got my life developed. And there was a temple in our neighbourhood.So I was seeing the Krishna deity. Oh, I was thinking…..I still remember. I was standing for hours together. 
 
SB 4.30.27 Purport-The form of the Lord as worshiped in the temples is called arca-vigraha or arcāvatāra, the worshipable form, the Deity incarnation. This facility is offered to neophyte devoteesso that they can see the real form of the Lord face to face and offer their respectful obeisances and sacrifices in the form of arcā.Through such facilities the neophytes gradually invoke their original Kṛṣṇaconsciousness. Deity worship in the form of temple worship is themost valuable benediction given by the Lord to beginners. All neophytes must therefore engage in the worship of the Lord by keeping the arcā-vigraha (arcāvatāra) at home or in the temple.