Bathing & Dressing Deities

For three-dimensional metal deities, bathe and dress Them daily if possible, while polishing Them daily is optional. If it is not possible to polish Them daily, then once a week or once every two weeks, perhaps on the weekends or on Ekadasi. At that time, you would also offer your regular daily worship with dress, flowers, and so on.

Checklist

  1. An acamana cup (containing water) and a spoon
  2. A small bell on plate
  3. Small water pot with cover
  4. Bowl with tilaka powder mixed with lemon juice, (if polishing metal deities)
  5. Scented oil
  6. Cotton wool (good handful)
  7. Bathing receptacle
  8. Three towels: one for each deity, and one for your hands
  9. A mirror that can stand on its own (this is only needed if the deities you have cannot be bathed);
  10. Clothing & underclothing for the deities
  11. Pins and Blu Tack
  12. Jewelery
  13. Sandalwood paste (on a small plate)
  14. Tulasi (on a small plate)
  15. Picture of your spiritual master
  16. Picture of Srila Prabhupada

Optional:

  1. Flowers (on a small plate)
  2. Incense and ghee lamp
  3. Bhoga offering (sweets and fruit, or just fruit)
  4. This procedure (if it is needed)

Perform acamana and offer obeisances to your spiritual master requesting his blessings to assist him in the worship.

Gather all the required paraphernalia and arrange it neatly and conveniently for performing the worship. By having everything all set up, you will not need to interrupt the worship to find a needed item.

Sit on the mat (asana), and then lightly sprinkle yourself, the area around you and the paraphernalia with water from the acamana cup, while chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.

Offer worship to your spiritual master and Srila Prabhupada as follows: Ringing a bell with your left hand, offer flowers (if possible, dipped in sandalwood paste) at their lotus feet. Beg for their blessings to perform the worship of the deities.

The Main Worship

Offer worship to the deities as follows:

  • Invite Their Lordships to the bathing receptacle with a gesture of the hands
  • Remove Their clothing
  • To polish metal deities, use the cotton wool to apply powdered tilaka mixed with a little lemon juice. Avoid Their eyes and painted areas.
  • Clean off the paste with cotton wool (it is important to use plenty of water when rinsing off the paste, as lemon juice is corrosive).
  • Ringing the bell with your left hand, pour water over Their Lordships from the conch held in your right hand. Do this at least three times.
  • The following two prayers are chanted each day in the temple when we greet the deities. You may repeat these prayers while you are bathing Their Lordships:

cintamani-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vrksa-
laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam
laksmi-sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending cows yielding all desires among abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of desire trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of laksmis, or gopis.

venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksam
barhavatamsam asitambuda-sundarangam
kandarpa-koti-kamaniya-visesa-sobham
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept at playing on His flute, who has eyes like the petals of a blooming lotus, whose head is bedecked with a peacock feather, who has a figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and whose unique loveliness is charming millions of Cupids.

Or, you may chant govinda jaya jaya, gopala jaya jaya or Hare Krsna maha-mantra.

  • Dry the deities with soft towels.
  • Dress the deities, and offer ornaments and garlands.
  • Sandalwood paste to Their lotus feet;
  • Flowers and tulasi leaves with sandalwood to Their Lordship’s lotus feet
  • Optionally you may offer some or all of the following items:
  1. Incense, while ringing the bell
  2. A ghee or camphor lamp, while ringing the bell
  3. Offer some fruit and/or sweets and drinking water while ringing the bell, and chanting the offering prayers as shown above.

Offer obeisances and beg forgiveness for any offenses you may have committed in the worship.

Clear away, and wash and dry the paraphernalia used in the worship.