Deity installation letters by Srila Prabhupada

November 23, 2021 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Deity Installation Letters

Feb 12 1969 letter Sastvarupa
Regarding your idea of having an installation ceremony for the Deities, it is very good suggestion, and you may also have the sacrificial fire. The Deities should be bathed with milk, and while bathing, They must have covering of thin cotton cloth, and the whole Body and the clothing should be wet by pouring the milk. You can see the picture of this in the new Back To Godhead, and perhaps you saw the ceremony when it was held in New York. The Deities should be decorated with sufficient flowers and nice gorgeous dresses and ornaments. Beforehand, you should polish the Bodies with a mixture of tamorind pulp and fullers earth. Apply the pulp on the Bodies, then rub it and then polish nicely with tissue paper. This will gave a very good shine. Then bath the Deities with milk, and dress very nicely with ornaments, and place Them on the throne with flowers, candles, etc. The throne, if possible, should be coated with silver sheets, and the canopy should be red velvet with gold embroidered work. Before the Deities, on the staircase, there may be some silver polished cups, pitchers, etc. I think the Deities have already helmets and peacock feathers and hair to be dressed with. If not, make arrangements for this also. I do not know how big is the throne, but if it is very big, then within the throne there may be a raised seat to accommodate the Deities. On the whole, everything should be very gorgeous; then it will be successful.
Actually, although Radha-Krishna is worshiped in Vrindaban which is like a simple village, but we worship Laksmi-Narayana, and the worship is accepted by the Radha-Krishna Deity. Actually, in our present status, we can not worship Radha-Krishna. But as all the Visnu Murtis are situated in Krishna, therefore, our Radha-Krishna worship is transferred to Visnu, Lord Narayana. Visnu worship is the regulative devotional principles, and Radha-Krishna worship is spontaneous service of eternal feelings. Therefore, as Laksmi-Narayana is the Deity of great opulences, similarly our Radha-Krishna Murtis also should be worshiped with great pomp and dignity. Krishna will give you the proper intelligence to do this very nicely. So far as prayers, you may sing Hare Krishna, Govinda Jaya Jaya, and Govindam Ādi purusam.

Sept 5 1969 letter Hamsadutta
It has very good potency, and I am very glad to learn that you have got a nice house also and the rent is also not very high. But unfortunately you have only one year’s lease, so how you can install a lifesize Deity there? Therefore, for the time being to install a lifesize Deity may not be feasible; but if you can pay 250 dollars, I will get for you from India 24″ high brass Radha-Krishna Deities, one pair, for installing in Berkeley. In the mean time, I may remind you to fix up the altar exactly like Los Angeles. You have seen it personally, and I am also enclosing herewith a picture of the Los Angeles altar. I wish that this design of the altar should be followed by everyone. This Los Angeles altar has been erected under my supervision, especially the Radha-Krishna throne, and I would very much like to follow this idea everywhere. Get for your temple nice devotees and monetary help. I hope you will stick to this center organizing, husband and wife, and in the very near future it will be as good as our Los Angeles temple.
Regarding your question about rasa with the Spiritual Master, I do not know who is the someone who has said this, but it is a most unauthorized statement. Better you should stick to hearing from authorized persons, like your Spiritual Master or experienced Godbrothers. But never try to hear someone who is not in our line. It is simply a waste of time to hear and then again have to rectify the mistake. Regarding your question about my never returning to Spiritual Sky, that is possible simultaneously. So far as the quotation from Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura you have cited, that is quite all right. Hare Krsna-Harinama In this age, chanting of Hare Krishna Mantra is the prime business of the devotee, and preaching of this Hare Krishna Mantra by outdoor Sankirtana and propagation of literature is our more important business. Side by side, Deity worship is recommended, but when there is a question of accepting one of them, we shall prefer to accept chanting of Hare Krishna Mantra first.
 
Nov 11 1969 letter Srimati
Regarding worshiping uninstalled Deities, generally this is not done. But you can aratis with Lord Jagannatha. He is very kind. I hope you are all chanting regularly and keeping in good spirits. I hope this will meet you in good health.
June 13 1970 letter Revatinanada
Regarding your question whether you may go to Rathayatra festival, yes, you may go because in your present temple the Deities are not regularly installed. So you can close the temple for a few days keeping in front of the Deities some dried fruits and a tumbler of water. When the Deity is installed it is called niyama seva. That means the routine seva prescribed after installation you cannot stop. But Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is very kind to the fallen souls of the Kali Yuga and He is satisfied with chanting of Hare Krsna mantra. And for chanting the Hare Krsna mantra there is no hard and fast rules and regulations, so if you are absent for chanting Hare Krsna mantra somewhere else, it is as good as to chant the Hare Krsna mantra in the temple. Your chanting may not be stopped; it does not matter where you chant.
The next question, about the living entities falling down in this material world are not from the impersonal brahman. Existence in the impersonal brahma is also within the category of non-Krsna consciousness. Those who are in the brahman effulgence they are also in the fallen condition, so there is no question of falling down from a fallen condition. When fall takes place, it means falling down from the non-fallen condition.
The non-fallen condition is Krsna consciousness. So long one can maintain pure Krsna consciousness he is not fallen down. As soon as he becomes out of Krsna consciousness immediately he is fallen down. It does not matter where a living entity stays. In the material world also there are different stages of living conditions, and to remain in the brahman effulgence is also another phase of that fallen condition. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita it is stated that conditioned souls by their pious activities are elevated to the higher planetary system, but as soon as the stock of pious activities is finished he again comes down on the earthly planet. Similarly those who are elevated beyond the planetary system to the brahma effulgence, they are also prone to fall down as much as a living entity from the higher planetary system.
As such those who are thinking that they are liberated by being situated in brahman effulgence are described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam as impurely intelligent. In other words, they are actually not liberated, and because they are not actually liberated they again come down to the material world as much as a living entity elevated to the higher planetary system comes down to this earthly planet. So we do not accept anyone elevated to the brahman effulgence as actually liberated
July 1 1970 letter Damodara
I do not know what Kirtanananda Maharaja has told you, but where there is want of pujaris only Panca Tattva picture should be worshiped by performance of Kirtana and as soon as Jagannatha or Radha Krsna Deities are installed you will require some qualified pujaris immediately. If there is scarcity of such qualifies pujaris, each center should be satisfied only by worshiping Panca Tattva of Lord Caitanya by performance of Sankirtana.
I learn that your marriage is already arranged, so I have no objection.
I am glad to learn that you are continuing your mahasankirtana., that is very nice. This is our main business. Temple worship is not so important as Sankirtana on the public roads and selling our literatures. Your class schedule is also very nice.
 

June 22 1970 letter Hamsadutta
Your proposal to open several new centers is very good news for me. However, for opening new centers Tamala and yourself must be present. There is no need of installing Deities immediately. New temples may be opened by placing Pancatattva and Acarya pictures. Unless we have got sufficient experienced devotees we shall not install Radha Krsna or Jagannatha Deities. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is very kind and lenient. Simply chanting of Hare Krsna will please Him. But when we have Deities like Radha Krsna or Jagannatha we must strictly follow the regulative principles of Arcana.

Sept 2 1972 letter Lalitananda
As for your questions, Lalitananda means one who takes his pleasure from Lalita, who is one of the chief Gopis around Krishna. So you are the servant of one who takes his bliss from Lalita. Yes, if there is arrangement for swinging the deities sometimes, that is all right. Anything may be done which will be pleasing to the Lord, and He is often fond of swinging motions. You may place cows and peacocks on the altar at Montreal, that will be nice. So far I am concerned, I have no objection if there is carved form of guru on the Guru-Gauranga altar, but one thing, is unless that sculptor is very excellent, it should not be attempted. How will you get photos from all angles of vision for the carving process? Unless it can be done very nicely, just perfectly realistic, he should not do it. Yes, God is always there in His Arca Vigraha form, either as Krishna or Rama or Caitanya, whatever. So He must be offered all respects as if He is there personally present, and if you are always sincerely chanting and following our Krishna Consciousness programme of chanting and other things you will very quickly develop the eyes to see Krishna there.
 
Feb 21 1973 letter Karandhara
Regarding the installation of Gaura-Nitai deities, wether it be a GBC man, president, or sannyasi it does not matter. The important thing is that he be a senior qualified man. That is the most important thing.
March 31 1973 letter Karandhara
There is no need of adding further Deities. Once installed it cannot be changed. Do not make it childish, too much addition of Deities will encumber us. At first, either Panca Tattva or Gaura-Nitai Deities may be installed, taking care that there is sufficient space. There is no need to consult with me for these installations, the local president can decide whether the circumstances are opportune.
Oct 13 1973 letter Cyavana
Regarding the saligram sila, it will be installed along with the other Deities. I shall advise you. I am planning to come to Nairobi on the 19th or 20th of November for your installation program and remain there up to the end of the month when I shall start for South Africa.
Brahmananda Swami has read me your letter regarding the students there reading other books. I request you to stop this practice. Our students have no time to read our own books, but they have time to read other’s books, and the money to purchase them? Why this mentality is there? You are a serious student, therefore you have correctly found out the defect in these books. We don’t want babaji class. We want active preachers.

April 13 1974 letter Bhakta das
There is no question of installing more than one set of Radha Krsna deities. The smaller set of Radha Krsna deities may be set on the altar at the feet of the larger ones, as you describe. But they are not installed.
Regarding Srinivasa Svarupa it is very pleasing to hear that this Indian boy wants to surrender his whole life to Krsna. Krsna Conscious there is no harm if he finishes college and gets his degree. If possible, he can live in the temple and attend the university daily. At any rate, he should carefully follow all the regulative principles and associate with his fellow devotees as much as possible. The university is well known for demonic association, but if he is able to keep up his devotional practices and protect the creeper of devotional service, then he may complete his degree. I think there is more advantage in Bir Krsna remaining fully engaged in his temple duties than in going back to college. What would be the practical benefit of such degree?

July 1 1974 letter Gurudas
Please accept my blessings. I am spending my last two days in Australia and after this I shall go to the U.S.A. In the meantime, I wish to give you some instructions regarding our Janmastami installation in Vrindaban.
The main thing is the ceremony shall be conducted by our own men. We do not have to be dependent on taking help from persons who will not even eat with us, thinking us inferior. All over the world, in Paris, New York, Australia etc., our men and women are worshiping the deity very nicely and I am very proud of their worship. There is no reason why we have to think we are dependent on any Indian goswami in order to conduct our ceremony in Vrindaban. So you understand this and be convinced of it, and let them come as invited but we shall conduct the affair ourselves.
You can also arrange to have the Her Govinda dramatical players and our own players as well. There should be abundant prasadam for whoever comes all day long. The kitchen should go on. So see there is sufficient stock of rice, attar, ghee, etc. The life members should be especially cared for and invited. We shall manage our own affairs. If they come that is good but if not we shall manage. From our side everything should be done nicely.
All big officers in Mathura and Vrindaban should be invited. Goswamis and godbrothers also. Also invite local Marwaris and invite Parthak also. Practically by distributing a general invitation card we shall invite everyone. All the inhabitants of Vrindaban will be invited to come and see the deity and take prasadam. There should be special arrangement for life members, Mr. Birla and many other respectable visitors. There is no question of money. Let it be a first class, 1-A arrangement. Krsna will provide all expenditures so try to make it gorgeous. Gorgeous means sufficient stock of prasadam and temple decorations as gorgeous as possible. The internal management of dressing can be done by Yamuna, Madira and Jayatirtha they are all expert. The sastric direction can be from Pradyumna.
The whole management should be done combinedly. Do not fight amongst yourselves, as that is my only anxiety. I shall leave for Vrindaban by 25th July. In the meantime, reply to me at L.A.

Sept 7 1974 letter Batu gopal
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated August 21, with enclosed photographs. So Kirtanananda Maharaja has installed Deities. But without twenty devotees how you can have Deities? Your men are coming and going so why you are having Deity installation? You must have twenty devotees. Kirtanananda Maharaja, he should supply those devotees since he has authorized the installation. You can name the Deities, Radha-Muralidhara.
Regarding taking the Deities out on sankirtana as advised by Tamala Krsna Goswami, occasionally the Deities may come and go, however you can let Tamala Krsna Goswami guide you in this connection. Regarding having your wife do the management, if there are no men available then what can be done? But now there is some difficulty in the management there is no question of opening up any restaurant. Do not open any restaurant.
I am glad to see that you are living an ideal grhastha life. That is very good. The more you will become Krishna conscious the more you will forget sex life. Sex life is the original root cause of material bondage. When one takes to Krishna consciousness gradually sex at last becomes abominable, then he is fit to enter back to home back to Godhead.

Sept 8 1974 letter Ksirodakasayi
Caitanya Mahaprabhu is known as patita pavana, the deliverer of the fallen souls. So as you have taken the vow of service you can deliver the most fallen souls by this Krishna consciousness movement. There in the temple they have got now Jagannatha Deities so let them worship and do it nicely. When you have got practice and 12 brahmana devotees then Radha and Krishna can be installed. Regarding the incense factory; yes, you can guide them but you should not be very much involved with business. Be on the sidelines and help them.
 
Dec 2 1974 letter Madhudvisa
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated November 5, 1974 with enclosed plans of the newly purchased house. It all appears very wonderful. It is very good that the Deity is facing East. Yes, the room above the Deity should be kept vacant. Yes, you can store Ratha Yatra festival gear or books there, also. The proposed pinnacle should not have Om, but shastic or cakra, Krsna’s weapon.
Feb 6 1975 letter Sri Govinda
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated Feb. 3rd, 1975 and have noted the contents. Regarding your purchasing marble Gaura-Nitai deities, it is not necessary when you already have brass onesSimply take care of the ones that you have very nicely. There is no need for buying others.
Concerning the woman’s duty, if she gets married, that does not necessarily mean that she must give up any of her service in the temple or on sankirtana, but she must also see to it that her household duties are not neglected.
Aug 21 1975 letter Rupanuga
Regarding your questions, no, the large Deity can never be moved, not at all. Regarding remarriage, no, remarriage should be always discouraged. Remarriage means encouraging sense gratification. Our mission is to curtail sense gratification. Three times marrying in a year, this is not good, and they are doing this.

Sept 29 1975 letter Hamsadutta
Regarding your idea for a Gujarati newspaper, no it is better to sell our Gujarati books. We shall print and sell our own books. Yes, you can open a restaurant in Edinburgh. Regarding Bharadraja, I have no objection to him coming. What is he doing in L.A.? Only on Sunday can you keep the Deity curtains open throughout the afternoon.
Regarding the Frankfurt temple and the Deity program, unless we have got our own building, this proposal of installing Deity should be postponed. Do not install, unless we have got our own building, the large Deities. And, the Nrsimha Deity should be installed only in a separate temple building. The Deity must have its own temple.
 
Oct 22 1975 letter Yamuna
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated October 11, 1975 and I have noted the contents with care. The picture of the cows shows that they are very nice and friendly.
You have my consent to go ahead with your plan of pratistha for Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna arca vigrahah. You may call them Radha-Banabihari.
The idea of a woman’s asrama is good. Those not married, if there is not provision for separate living quarters for them in the temples, they can go there. It is very risky having single women living in the temples, especially where there is no suitable living quarters.

Nov 10 1975 letter Manjuali
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your card dated October 25, 1975 along with the beautiful photographs of Sri Sri Rukmini-Dvarakadhisa of New Dvaraka. So do it nicely. I have invited Krsna and He may not be insulted by disrespectful behavior. I have introduced this system of Deity worship amongst the non-believers, the atheists, the mlecchas, the yavanas and I pray to Krsna that I am inviting You to come, so please, because You are seated in their hearts, please give them the intelligence how to serve you so that You may not be inconvenienced. I have introduced this system to the mlecchas, the yavanas and the lowest and the fallen, but still it is successful. I think that you are doing nicely.
As soon as one thinks that he is greater than his spiritual master that is the greatest offense. Krsna will give one everything, but to these offenders everything is lost. I thank you very much. You know how to dress and how to worship and I am very much pleased. It is a question of heart how to please Krsna. One simply has to agree to be trained up how to do it. You have done very nicely. I am very much pleased. And now you should teach others how to do it. This is very important business, Deity worship. The more the Deity is decorated, the more your heart will be decorated with Krsna consciousness. This is the way for the neophyte devotee how to absorb his mind in Krsna consciousness.
Never think of the Deity as made of stone or wood. Every worshipper must remember that Krsna is personally present. He is simply kindly presenting Himself before us in a way so that we can handle Him. That is His mercy, otherwise He is unapproachable.
Jan 7 1976 letter Brsakapi
As far as your desire to have Sita Rama Deities, it is a good idea, but you should wait for some time. First see that you have sufficient brahmanas who are very well trained and qualified, then you can consider to install Sita, Rama, Laksmana, and Hanuman. They are the ideal King and it will be very suitable that They reign over the capitol of America. Now you have got Gaura Nitai Deities, so you can go ahead and get Prabhupada and Bhaktisiddhanta Deities immediately. Guru and Gauranga worship is standard for all our temples.

Jan 29 1976 letter Karandhara
The photos of my murti are very nice. The murti of the Spiritual Master should be treated as good as the Deity. Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair, uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih/kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya **, The guru should be treated as good as God. This is stated in all the sastras. The difference is that God is master-God and guru is servant-God. So the installation ceremony for such a murti should be similar to that done for other Deities. All Temples can have this Deity if they like. But Temples which have only Panca-tattva painting worship should not be given this Deity.

April 21 1976 letter Madhudvisa
I am here in your temple, I’m feeling your separation. But, I’m seeing everything is going nicely, the same as when it was under your management. The devotees here, they are jumping and dancing very nicely. You can also establish the kirtana hall on the farm and install Gaura Nitai Deities. Gaura Nitai can be established anywhere, and it is simple to worship Them simply chant before Their Lordships. He doesn’t mind that you have not decorated very nicely, but if you chant and dance He is very pleased. So you have my permission to take loan for this purpose, as you have mentioned for $25,000.
 
June 12 1976 letter Mahamsa
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated May 26, 1976 and I have noted the contents with care.
Concerning the installation ceremonies, it is approved that you get some leading Ramanuja Pandits from S. India. The Vrindaban Pandits were useless. But one thing. Along with the panditas, our men should also join in.
Concerning the Nellore project, it will automatically be dropped. Simply forget it, and there is no need to go there. Let them rather drop it instead of we dropping it. Let them say, you are not doing anything so we drop it.