dressing, bathing, decorating the deities-letters by SP

November 26, 2021 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Dec 7 1967 letter Brahmananda
Regarding books I’ve already consigned along with mrdangams harmoniums karatalas and beads & bags. I have arranged for supplying incense with a gentleman here and I’m taking samples with me. Similarly I’ve arranged for sending spices and frankincense. The contact with MacMillan should be finished before you leave. Your journey, as you have suggested is important for your touring in Europe. We cannot expect any tangible help from Miss Bowtell. She is not my godsister but a disciple of my godbrother. The best thing will be to start a center independently.
Regarding beautifying the temple, we should always know that every place is temporary, but wherever we live we should decorate and beautify it for Krishna, so go on decorating our temple as nicely as possible. Hope you are well
Dec 30 1967 letter Madhusudana
Regarding smearing on the Body of Lord Jagannatha: You should always know that the Body of Lord Jagannatha is spiritual. We are given the chance of serving the Spiritual Body and according to Revealed Scriptures, we should serve the Transcendental Body of the Deity just as we try to serve our worshipable personalities. To continue a sense of devotion, it is better to wash the Body of Lord Jagannatha with hot water so that we may have the feeling that Lord Jagannatha is more comfortable. We should offer foodstuffs to the Deity and allow enough time to eat them. These are all transcendental sentiments. At Vrindaban, the Deities are offered foodstuffs and time is allowed as in the case of others. Yes, before offering anything to the Deity you must be satisfied that it is a first class offering and there is no objection if you taste it by smelling. But you should not smell for other purposes. The whole idea is that devotional service should always be immune from sense gratification.
Jan 24 1969 letter Madhusudana
Please accept my blessings. I thank you for your letter brought to me by Rayarama. Yes, 15 minutes is sufficient time for the offering to remain on the altar. You do not need to lay down Lord Jagannatha on a bed, by mantra you say my dear Lord please take rest. In temples, there are two sets of deities, the big set is always on the throne, and the smaller set is handled, taken out for a stroll, laid to bed, etc. There is no difference in the small and large set, of course.
The prayer means: I offer my respectful obeisances to my Spiritual Master who has opened my eyes by the torch of knowledge, while I was in the darkness of ignorance.
That book of speeches by Bhaktisaranga Goswami may be kept carefully. It has to be returned. In meantime, if you like, you can copy it by typewriter.
My dear boy, lecturing for Krishna has nothing to do with this body. If I would not have lectured, how you would have come? So as far as possible I am taking care of my health, but Krishna’s service must be executed, even at the risk of life. A living entity gets millions of opportunities to get a type of body, but hardly he gets opportunity to serve Krishna. The service of Krishna must be executed at all risks, but do not worry; I am taking care of my health by the help of Gaurasundara. Hope you are well.
Feb 10 1970 letter Ekayani
Go means cow and kula means flocks. Vraja is not different from Vrndavana. Vraja means the pasturing grounds and Vrndavana is the woods where there are many Tulsi leaves. We do not find who is the mother of Subhadra, but she was one of Vasudeva’s wives. So far putting kohl on the eyes of the Deities, that is not required. The Madhu demon was killed a very long time ago, in the beginning of the creation. The story may be found in one of the Puranas.
Oct 3 1971 letter Karandhara
Please accept my blessings. Enclosed you will find one photograph of the Deities there in L.A. recently sent to me. Why is Krishna without a flute? What is the difficulty to make for Krishna a flute? You can take a twig and wrap it in golden lace with a pearl drop hanging. That is a flute; how long it takes to make? Nothing should be concocted; not that a flower in place of a flute.
I think you have already advised N.Y. to send the full manuscript for Bhagavad-gita As It Is to Dai Nippon. If not you can advise them immediately.
Enclosed also you will find one letter from Kunjabihari das Brahmacari. So four times he has left the society; that is not very good record. So he is asking for second initiation. Let him stick to L.A. temple under your care for at least six months and then he will be eligible. Piece of Govardhana Hill cannot be taken from Vrindaban.
Sept 2 1972 letter Lalitananda
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.

june 7 1968 letter Yamuna
The decoration should be so attractive that people when seeing Jagannatha will forget all attractiveness of Maya. Then it will be successful, and actually, this is the process of decorating Jagannatha. Our eyes are attracted by the beauty of Maya, but if our eyes are attracted by the beauty of Krishna, the Jagannatha, then there is no more chance of our being attracted by Maya. In other words, when seeing Jagannatha nicely decorated, we become freed from the clutches of Maya.
I am sure if you and your husband, Mukunda and Janaki, and Syamasundara. and Malati join, certainly the London program will be a grand success. I have already written about this to your husband, and you can know from him about this program.
Aug 24 19687 letter Nandarani
Regarding immigration: I have already received immigration in Canada, so there is no difficulty for my going to USA, but still I am trying to get immigration of religious minister into the USA, and it is progressing well. I think there will be no difficulty in coming and going to USA, either from Canada or anywhere, so don’t be worried about it. Krishna will help us. Now, regarding your question: “What is the difference between Jagannatha deities and Krishna Murti and why is the latter not fed and cared for as well as the former and why are Jagannathas more tolerant?” Krishna means Himself and all His expansions, different expansions. So sometimes, Krishna appears as Vasudeva, sometimes as Sankarsana, sometimes as Jagannatha, sometimes as Lord Caitanya, sometimes as Rama, so all such different incarnations includes the Name Krishna. So Jagannatha is another feature of Krishna, and He is especially favorable to the people who are not strictly advanced to the Brahminical culture of Vedic rituals. Lord Jagannatha is situated in India, at Puri; this place is one of the towns of Orissa province. And the people of Orissa and Bengal, they are sometimes fish-eaters, why sometimes—about 90% population they are fish-eaters. But Jagannatha Swami in Puri, He accepts service from these people although they are sometimes fish-eaters. So in the Kali yuga, the people are supposed to be not so clean, and therefore, service to Jagannatha Swami is preferred.
So far service to Laksmi-Narayana, and Radha Krishna, it requires highly elevated position, transcendental to Brahmins. But still, either we serve Jagannatha or Radha Krishna, the effect is the same. But to facilitate the worship of the Lord in the Form of Jagannatha is more congenial than others. But when anything is offered to Jagannatha, it does not mean that it is not taken by Krishna. So in the temple, although we offer to Jagannatha, it is also accepted by Krishna. Be rest assured of this fact.
Nov 14 1968 letter Satsvarupa
The clothing is already painted on the Jagannathas, even there is no cloth. And even Krishna is naked, that does not make any difference. But when we dress Him, our service is appreciated. From Krishna’s side, naked or dressed, He is Krishna. And from our side, if we nicely dress Krishna and nicely feed Him, He is appreciating our service and we are certainly benefited. Krishna is the same; He does not require us to dress Him, or feed him, etc., but the more I serve by dressing, feeding and caring for Him, He appreciates the service, and I become more Krishna Conscious.
Yes, it is all right to continue painting Lord Caitanya and the Gopis as you have been, in flesh tone.
Nov 30 1968 letter Himavati
Please accept my blessings. Yesterday my deities were dressed with the clothing you made and it appears so nice. I do not know whether you have time to make similarly a few other sets. It will be very nice. I know that you are the most expert in making dresses than all others so therefore I request you that you may make at least two or three sets of dresses as you have already made.I hope that everything is well with you.

Dec 14 1968 letter Jadurani
Deity worship is for such persons who have ample time. The thing is, Deity worship is compulsory, and you can increase if you have got time to do so. But Mangala aratrik is essential (morning arati), and Sandharatrik (evening aratri) is essential, and offering of Prasadam to Deity is essential. And nice dress, decorating the Deity with sweet-smelling flowers, colorful and very opulent dresses, jewels, incense, etc, to make Them very brilliant and attractive, that is real Deity worship.
Jan 9 1969 letter Brahmananda
So far as placing the Radha-Krishna and Lord Jagannatha deities in special order to one another, there is no set ruling. Simply make the altar look very attractive. As for the address in India which I would like one copy of Teachings of Lord Caitanya to be sent, I shall send it after confirmation that the books are completed.
Jan 24 1969 letter Madhusudana
Regarding your question about why we dress the Deities in very opulent fashion and not as simple cowherds boy and girl, this is an intelligent question and the answer is that according to the regulative principles we cannot worship Radha-Krishna now. Radha-Krishna worship is meant for persons who have already developed spontaneous love of God. In the training period we are only worshiping Laksmi-Narayana. We worship Radha-Krishna because Laksmi-Narayana is there also, but actually we do not worship Radha-Krishna with our present Deity ceremonies; we are worshiping Laksmi-Narayana. Narayana is there when Krishna is there, but actually we do not worship Radha-Krishna in Their Original Form. This is why we should worship Radha-Krishna in Their Laksmi-Narayana feature with all respect and reverence. If we deviate from this standard then we shall be prakrta sahajiya, or a person who takes things very cheap. We worship Laksmi-Narayana, and because Radha-Krishna includes Laksmi-Narayana, there is no necessity of installing a Laksmi-Narayana Deity. It is just like a king who is engaged in administering justice. Actually that business belongs to the justice department. But what is that justice department? It is all part of the kings energy, and the king also has the power to execute this function.
Regarding the blood and puss from the sky during the battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksa, you should know that if Krishna desires blood, puss, fire, or whatever He desires may fall down from the sky.

Feb 25 1969 letter NaraNarayana
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated February 14, 1969, and I am just now having the opportunity of replying to your inquiries. So far as the Deities are concerned, this has been discussed many times, so just do it nicely using your best judgment to make Them like the Deities which are there in N.Y. with you as far as possible. Your idea of placing conchshell in the eyes is nice and you may do it. You have the perfect example of the Deities in New York, so if you can similarly make some Deities for our other centers it will be very nice accomplishment.
March 24 1969 letter Kirtananda
I understand that you are proposing for delivering children. That is not a Sannyasi’s business. You should not bother about it. A Sannyasi should not much bother about family affairs. Best thing is that they shall go to a bona fide physician for delivering the children, otherwise there may be complications which only a physician may have experience in handling. No, I think it is not proper for Srimati Radharani to have a white night dress. Best to have a nice color for Her.
April 19 1969 letter Sudama
So depend upon Krishna, work very sincerely, and everything will be complete without any doubt. On the kirtana nights you should all assemble together in the temple and if this is not possible then you can chant in your apartment. I am pleased that you are working for our activities in Japan, and in three months you should be able to gather at least $1,500.00 together. Don’t spend money needlessly. Try to save as much as possible, because you have very important work to do for the service of Lord Caitanya.
Regarding Karatieya’s question about worshiping Lord Jagannatha, He should always be worshiped with awe and reverence. Krishna’s picture as a Naughty Child should not be treated by us as a naughty child. We should always worship Krishna as the Supreme Lord.
July 15 1969 letter Shyamasundara
I am glad that your friendship with Mr. George Harrison is gradually working, so much so that he is now prepared to spend $3,000 for an altar slab and a block of bluish marble for carving Krishna or Lord Caitanya. For Lord Caitanya yellowish marble or white marble should be used. If yellowish golden colored marble is available, that is very nice. Another thing is that these Forms should be worshiped. Our Deity worship is not heathenism. If we keep Forms of the Lord without worshiping the Deity under regulative principles, it will gradually turn into idol worship, which is an offense. The Deity of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical. Krishna can act through the Deity perfectly. As I have given several times the example, the mailbox can act perfectly as the post office because it is authorized. Similarly, when the Deity is installed under authorized regulative principles, the Deity is as good as Krishna Himself. So you may advise your friend on this principle. But I am so much pleased that he is coming forward to offer his hard-earned money for Krishna’s purpose. I am also glad to learn that George has purchased one nice house for his family, and there he will be building a very rich altar which will be bedecked with jewels and gold work. I have already given you one design for the throne. If such throne is made with golden or silver pillars, platform, ceiling, and canopy bedecked with jewels, and if the Deity is kept within such throne, it will be a super-excellent manifestation. So when you do such work you can consult me, and I shall give you some right directions