Waking and Preparing for Worship
Getting Ready for Worship
In this chapter we will discuss the activities performed from the time you wake in the morning up until the point you start worshiping the deity. The chapter is broken into two sections. In the first section we will look at how to prepare yourself for worship. Beginning with rising in the morning, cleansing the body, dressing, what type of cloth to wear, how to applying tilaka and sipping water for purification.
Then in the second section of this chapter we will describe how to prepare the various items of worship that will be offered to the deity during your daily worship. Also where necessary we will describe what the different articles offered represent. This book is for devotees worshiping the deity at home and as such the procedures are simplified. If you are interested in following more elaborate procedures then you should refer to the temple worship (Nitya seva) book.
In this section, as throughout the book, we will be quoting from the books of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, particularly from the Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, chapter 24. This section of the Caitanya-caritamrta was the first deity worship book in ISKCON and was called, “The Perfection of Deity Worship.”
“You should discuss the qualifications necessary for receiving a mantra, the perfection of the mantra, the purification of the mantra, initiation, morning duties, remembrance of the Supreme Lord, cleanliness and washing the mouth and other parts of the body.”
In the purport to the above quotation Srila Prabhupada says,
“in the early morning hours (known as brahma-muhurta) one should get up”
The brahma-muhurta is generally accepted as the most auspicious time of the day to perform spiritual practices. During this time of day the world is peaceful and the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance are less thus enabling us to focus more on our spiritual practices. The brahma-muhurta begins approximately one and a half hours before sunrise. Although this may be difficult for some devotees, due to pressures of work etc., rising early and regulation are beneficial for the development of spiritual life. If you cannot rise this early it is still good to rise as early as possible and at the same time everyday.
In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says,
yogo bhavati duhkha-ha
He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.
Leading a regulated life helps us to overcome the influence of the modes of material nature and thus be situated in a position more conducive to developing transcendental consciousness.
Chant Hare Krsna or Remembering Krsna
When you waken in the morning you should chant the name of the Lord. This helps to clear the consciousness of the influences of sleep or any bad dreams you may have experienced during the night. You can chant the names of the deities you are worshiping or the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. In the purport to Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 24.331 Srila Prabhupada says,
“Concerning pratah-smrti, remembrance of the Lord in the morning, in the early morning hours (known as brahma-muhurta) one should get up and immediately chant the Hare Krsna mantra, or at least ‘Krsna, Krsna, Krsna’. In this way, one should remember Krsna. Some slokas or prayers should also be chanted. By chanting, one immediately becomes auspicious and transcendental to the infection of material qualities. Actually one has to chant and remember Lord Krsna twenty-four hours daily, or as much as possible:
smartavyah satatam visnur vismartavyo na jatucit
sarve vidhi-nisedhah syur etayor eva kinkarah
Krsna is the origin of Lord Visnu. He should always be remembered and never forgotten at any time. All the rules and prohibitions mentioned in the sastras should be the servants of these two principles. [Padma Purana, from the portion called Brhat-sahasra-nama-stotra.]
Evacuating, Rinsing Mouth, Brushing Teeth and Bathing
“You should describe how in the morning one should regularly brush his teeth, take his bath, the word pratah-krtya in the present verse of the Caitanya-caritamrta means that one should evacuate regularly in the morning and then cleanse himself by taking a bath. One has to gargle (acamana) and brush his teeth (danta-dhavana). He should do this either with twigs or a toothbrush – whatever is available. This will purify the mouth. Then one should take his bath. Actually householders and vanaprasthas should bathe two times a day (pratar-madhyahnayoh snanam vanaprastha-grhasthayoh). A sannyasi should bathe three times daily, and a brahmacari may take only one bath a day. Whenever one is not able to bathe in water, he can bathe by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra.
After waking, evacuating, and appropriate cleansing, brush your teeth, scrape your tongue and then take bath. Without taking bath one remains impure and cannot perform deity worship. Everything you touch before bathing becomes as impure as your body is. Morning bath is compulsory for all, except those who are ill. In Vedic culture bathing is considered a sacred act to be accompanied by meditation on the Lord and recitation of prayers.
Rules for bathing
- Do not bathe naked. Wear a kaupina. This shows respect to the personality of the water and shows that one recognizes bathing to be a sacred act. One should be particularly careful to observe this injunction when bathing in a river or other public place.
- Grhasthas should bathe wearing two cloths. (Besides a kaupina, they wear a second cloth (gamcha), usually tied around the waist.) Brahmacaris and sannyasis should wear at least a kaupina when bathing.
- Do not take unnecessary baths. Three times a day plus after any occasion of impurity is sufficient.
- Do not bathe in impure water.
- If you must evacuate, do so before bathing. Otherwise you will be like the elephant who completes his bath by throwing dust on his body.
- After bathing, do not shake your hair to dry it and do not shake water from your cloth or legs.
- Do not rub oil on your body after bathing. (Oil on the body is considered impure, and thus if you require it you should apply it before taking a water bath.)
- Wring out your bathing cloth and then dry your body with a separate, dry cloth; wiping yourself with your bathing cloth will contaminate you again. However, if you wash and wring out your bathing cloth before drying yourself off with it, you will not become impure.
- After bathing, dry your body with a clean cloth; do not wipe your body with your hands, a dirty cloth, or the edge of the damp cloth you are wearing. The cloth used for drying should be washed after every use.
Dressing as a Vaisnava
While worshiping the deity one should wear appropriate Vaisnava dress. Vaisnava dress helps us to identify ourselves as a servant of Krsna.
Unclean and Improper Cloth
A devotee should not wear dirty cloth, especially when cooking or worshiping the deity. Used cloth that has not been washed and dried again is considered unclean. Cloth worn while sleeping, passing urine or stool, or having sex is unclean. Cloth that touches anything impure, such as wine, meat, blood, a dead body, or a woman in her menstrual period, is also contaminated. Cloth washed by a public laundry service and cloth that, though washed, has become stale are also unclean and therefore unfit to wear during deity worship.
While worshiping the deity, you should not wear the following types of cloth: brightly-colored cloth (for men), damp cloth, cloth that is too long or too short to be worn properly, stitched or sewn cloth (for men), torn cloth, oil or dirt stained cloth, soiled cloth, burnt cloth, or cloth chewed by animals or insects. However, you may wear silk many times before washing it, provided it has not contacted anything impure or been worn in impure places.
Unbleached, raw matka (ahimsa) silk is the best for puja. Sheep’s wool is said to be always pure, but still, you should not wear ordinary woolen cloth when worshiping the deity, because wool particles may fall on the deity’s paraphernalia. However, you may wear wool cloth if it is very fine, “nonshedding” wool, in which case you should reserve these items only for puja. Synthetic cloth should not be worn when worshiping the deity.
Marking the Body With Tilaka and Other Symbols
Place some water in the palm of the left hand, then taking a piece of gopicandana (tilaka) in the right hand rub it in the water in the left hand until a smooth paste has been formed.
The following prayer from the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, quoted in the Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 20.202, lists the forms of the Lord to meditate on while applying tilaka.
(om) lalate kesavam dhyayen
vaksa-sthale madhavam tu
visnum ca daksine kuksau
bahau ca madhusudanam
trivikramam kandhare tu
sridharam vama-bahau tu
hrsikesam tu kandhare
prsthe tu padmanabham ca
katyam damodaram nyaset
tat praksalana toyam tu
When one marks the forehead with tilaka, he must remember Kesava. When one marks the lower abdomen, he must remember Narayana. For the chest, one should remember Madhava, and when marking the hollow of the neck one should remember Govinda. Lord Visnu should be remembered while marking the right side of the belly, and Madhusudana should be remembered when marking the right arm. Trivikrama should be remembered when marking the right shoulder, and Vamana should be remembered when marking the left side of the belly. Sridhara should be remembered while marking the left arm, and Hrsikesa should be remembered when marking the left shoulder. Padmanabha and Damodara should be remembered when marking the back.
While chanting the following mantras and meditating on the Lord, apply tilaka to the forehead and upper body with the ring finger of your right hand.
om kesavaya namah – forehead
om narayanaya namah – navel
om madhavaya namah – chest
om govindaya namah – hollow of the neck
om visnave namah – right abdomen
om madhusudanaya namah – right arm
om trivikramaya namah – right shoulder
om vamanaya namah – left abdomen
om sridharaya namah – left arm
om hrsikesaya namah – left shoulder
om padmanabhaya namah – upper back
om damodaraya namah – lower back
Wash the excess tilaka from your hands with water, and then wipe your sikha with the palm of your right hand while chanting:
om vasudevaya namah - sikha
Applying tilaka is a spiritual activity and therefore tilaka should be applied in a sitting position after have sipped acamana.
Marking the Body With Other Symbols and the Names of the Lord
Sometimes devotees also like to decorate their bodies with the names of the Lord or pictures of the Lord’s feet. For this metal stamps that are purchased in India are used.
- as well as how one should stamp one’s body with the holy names of the Lord or the symbols of the Lord, such as the disc and club.
- After this, you should describe how one should decorate his body with gopicandana,
Sipping Water for Purification (acamana)
Acamana, or sipping water, is a means of purification. As immersing the body in water brings about physical and subtle cleansing, so taking water infused with mantras into the body by sipping performs a similar function. Thus where purification is required but it is inconvenient to bathe, acamana is prescribed.
The general process of acamana is as follows:
While looking into water cupped in your right hand, chant a mantra directed into that water and then sip the water.
A devotee should perform acamana to achieve physical and mental purity before performing spiritual activities such as applying tilaka, chanting Gayatri and japa, performing puja and homa, observing a vrata, taking prasada, reading or reciting sastra or mantras, and meditating.
The place where a devotee performs acamana should be pure – i.e., free from hair, bones, ash, or any other impure item.
The water should be cool, fresh, without bubbles or foul odor or taste, and untouched by fingernails, hair, or any impure item. Rainwater, being in the mode of passion, should not be used.
Out of respect for a spiritual activity, do not perform acamana with your head or throat covered; without having your kaupina or cloth tucked in at the back; without first cleaning your hands and feet; with shoes on; while standing; or while sitting on shoes or sitting with your knees or feet showing.
One also has to perform his sandhyadi-vandana – that is, one has to chant his Gayatri mantra three times daily – morning, noon and evening.
One may chant Gayatri at the three sandhyas, sunrise, noon and sunset. Also it is acceptable to chant Gayatri in the morning after applying tilaka. See conversation, January 18, 1976, Mayapur
Gathering Items for worship
In the previous section we described how to get yourself ready for worshiping the Lord, now in this section we will describe the utensils of worship and how to prepare the various items of worship that will be used, as well as the means of purifying various items.
Before starting the worship, gather all the required utensils and items.
If you want to offer more than the basic items of worship to your deities and want descriptions of how to prepare these items or what they represent, then please refer to the chapters on temple worship.
Utensils for Worship
The conch (sankha) embodies the qualities of power, purity, and beauty, and it also represents moksa. Being a constant companion of the Lord, the conch is worshipable. All tirthas in the world reside in the water within the conch. Just seeing or touching the conch destroys one’s sins. The Lord is generally bathed with water from a conch. The conch is normally placed on a three-legged stand.
The sound of a bell embodies all music. If a devotee lacks instruments and kirtana he can simply ring a bell, for that sound in itself is dear to the Lord. In elaborate worship the bell is worshiped before worshiping the Lord, as an item of His paraphernalia that is very dear to Him. Many functions of worship require that one ring a bell with a handle.
The scriptures (sastra) state that one who, while worshiping the Lord, rings a bell with a symbol of Garuda or the Lord’s cakra on it attains liberation from birth and death.
A bell with a handle is generally held in the left hand while being rung. When not being used, the bell should always sit on a plate; this is the bell’s seat (asana). When bathing the deity and offering food (bhoga), you should ring the bell. You may ring the bell also when offering other items when it is practical (i.e., when both hands are not required to offer the items, such as clothing and ornaments).
Containers for items such as sandalwood paste, flowers and tulasi leaves may be made of various substances and have various colors and shapes (a lotus, for example). One may use vessels made of copper, gold, silver, bell-metal, stainless steel, clay, stone, wood (such as coconut shells), or brass. The Varaha Purana states that the best of all vessels are those made of copper: “[They] are the purest of the pure, the embodiment of all auspiciousness.” While vessels of gold and silver are certainly pure, a container made of copper is not only pure but also purifies the water it contains. As the Lord states in the Varaha Purana (quoted in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa):
I am more pleased by containers made of copper than by those made of gold, silver, or bell-metal.
However, sour substances such as yogurt and lemon should not be kept in copper containers.
The bathing tray should be copper, brass, or bell-metal. The best type of bathing tray (snana-patra or snana-vedi) has an opening on one side with a long lip, allowing the caranamrta to drain off into a separate receptacle. If the bathing tray has no such drain, you can empty the bathing tray into the caranamrta receptacle after bathing and drying the deity.
Holders for incense and lamps (dhupa and dipa) can be of brass, bell-metal, silver, copper, and sometimes clay.
The plate upon which food is offered, may be made of gold, silver, copper, bell-metal, earthenware, or a lotus leaf. Although sastra does not mention it, stainless steel may also be used. Do not use aluminum.
Ingredients for Worship
In some temples the pujaris offer different oils according to the season. For example, in Vrndavana pujaris commonly offer ruh khus during summer, kadamba and rose during the rainy season, jasmine during autumn, and hina (myrtle) during winter. Avoid offering synthetic oils, which contain impure chemicals such as alcohol.
The principal element of the bath is pure water, with certain restrictions. Do not collect the water at night, nor touch it with your fingernails. In descending order of quality, the best water for bathing the deity is Ganga or Yamuna water, then water from any tirtha, water from a river that flows directly to the ocean, water from a tributary river, water from a natural spring, lake, pond, or man-made reservoir, water from a well, and finally water from a pot. Bring the water to a pleasant temperature for bathing, depending on the weather – cooler in warm weather and warmer in cool weather.
One should bathe the Lord with water in which nicely scented flowers have been soaking for some time.
By adding various ingredients, one may prepare many kinds of water for bathing the deity. You can also add sandalwood paste to the water. Tulasi should always be in the bathing water for the Lord.
Tilaka and Lemon Juice
Brass deities require regular polishing. This is generally done with a paste made of tilaka and fresh lemon juice. However, you may also use a mixture of fresh lemon juice and “fuller’s earth”, (a very fine potter’s clay). Lemon juice should be from fresh lemons, (fresh limes are also acceptable). The purity of bottled lemon juice is uncertain therefore it is better to avoid. You may also polish the deities with a paste made from tamarind pulp and a little water.
To make the paste, add fresh lemon juice to powdered tilaka, after a few moments the mixture will bubble. You may apply the tilaka to the body of the deity directly with your fingers, with a cloth or with cotton wool. Always check the paste before applying to see that there are no small stones that will scratch the deity.
Towels for Drying
The towels for drying the Lord should be pure, soft cotton. Cotton is better than silk because it is absorbent and can be washed repeatedly. Do not use synthetics
Cotton flannelette is suitable for this purpose. It remains soft even after washing many times. It also dries quickly so that if it is washed and rinsed one day it is dry the next day ready for the worship.
Always wash and dry new cloth before using for your deities.
Dress for the Lord (vastra)
The Lord should be dressed in upper and lower cloth that is durable, soft (not scratchy), clean, untorn, never worn by others, scented, and of variegated colors. The scriptures allow for various local styles in dressing the Lord, but traditional dressing, like traditional cooking, is very dear to Him.
All colors may be utilized just suitable to your scheme.
Synthetic fabric is allowable for deity dresses, although natural fabrics such as silk and cotton are best.
The deities should be dressed in clothing suitable to the season – warm clothing in the cold season, light in the hot season. Dressing deities according to season is prominent in traditional temples in Vrndavana.
Srila Prabhupada was displeased when devotees failed to dress the deities in clothing suitable to the weather:
“It is not at all good that the deities do not have warm clothing for the cold weather.”
Tulasi Leaves and Buds
If fresh tulasi leaves are unavailable, you may use dry tulasi leaves for offering food and for placing on the Lord’s lotus feet.
(See instructions on worshiping Tulasi and picking her leaves.)
Since precious metals and precious stones attract thieves, Srila Prabhupada instructed devotees to decorate deities with synthetic jewellery. However, semi-precious stones and silver generally may be used, with due consideration for protection of the deities and Their paraphernalia.
Sandalwood paste is made by grinding sandalwood on a stone with a little water or rose water. If you are adding other ingredients to the paste, such as saffron of camphor, add them after you have made a little paste, then grind them into the paste until they are completely absorbed into the paste and there are no small pieces left. Sandalwood paste may be also made by adding a pinch of aguru (aloes), musk, or kunkuma. Finely ground tulasi wood may also be added.
The Hari-bhakti-vilasa dedicates an entire chapter to the subject of flowers. Flowers are a very important item in deity worship. Always try to offer the best flowers possible.
If flowers are unavailable, you may offer leaves (especially tulasi, jambu, mango, amalaki, sami, and tamala leaves) or newly grown grass shoots.
Srila Prabhupada writes:
There is no question of using paper [or] plastic fruits and flowers for worshiping the deities. If no fresh fruits or flowers are available, then you can decorate with some fresh leaves. You have seen our temples; nowhere do we use such things… We are not after decoration; we are after devotional service for pleasing Krishna’s senses. Decoration must be there, of course, to make the temple as opulent as possible for pleasing Krishna. Outside the temple, you can use the plastic ornaments. But not for worship. For daily worship there must be fresh fruit, flowers, and leaves.
Krsna belongs to the village atmosphere of Vrndavana, and He is very fond of flowers. As far as possible try to increase the quantity of flowers.
Incense may be of many varieties. It is popular nowadays to offer incense sticks (agarbatti), since they are convenient to light and offer. Strictly speaking, one can be reasonably sure that all purchased incense sticks contain impure substances-chemicals and possibly even animal products. Even “pure sandalwood” incense is likely to be synthetic. These impurities do not make such products unofferable, any more than synthetic jewelery is unofferable. As far as possible try to attain pure incense to offer to the Lord.
Ghee lamps offered in arati vary widely in shape and size and traditionally have an odd number of wicks, (more than three). The standard number of wicks for a full arati is five.
The technique for making ghee wicks that burn properly-with just the right amount of ghee, and tapered to a fine point-must be learned from an expert.
Srila Prabhupada writes:
As far as the eatables are concerned, all items should be first-class preparations. There should be first-class rice, dal, fruit, sweet rice, vegetables, and a variety of foods to be sucked, drunk, and chewed. All the eatables offered to the deities should be extraordinarily excellent.
The Hari-bhakti-vilasa lists some of the foods that may be offered: bilva, amalaki, dates, coconut, jackfruit, grapes, tala fruit, lotus root, leafy vegetables, cowmilk products, and items made from grains, ghee, and sugar.
Grains, especially rice, should always be offered with ghee. Rice without ghee is considered asuric. The Lord is pleased when offered items made with ghee, sugar, yogurt, guda (jaggery), and honey; chickpea preparations, dals, soups (wet sabjis), varieties of cakes, and other items that can be licked, chewed, sucked, or drunk are all pleasing as well.
One may also offer drinks such as sugarcane juice, yogurt drinks, sweetened lemon water, water flavored with cinnamon, camphor, or cardamom, and fruit drinks of various scents and colors.
Many passages in the Caitanya-caritamrta describe preparations that please Krsna. Here is a sample, describing what Lord Caitanya’s associates would prepare for Him:
They offered [Him] pungent preparations made with black pepper, sweet-and-sour preparations, ginger, salty preparations, limes, milk, yogurt, cheese, two or four kinds of spinach, soup made with bitter melon [sukta], eggplant mixed with nimba flowers, and fried patola.
In a letter Srila Prabhupada described foods in the mode of goodness and how to present them to the Lord:
Foodstuffs in the modes of goodness are wheat, rice, pulse (beans, peas), sugar, honey, butter, and all milk preparations, vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains. So these foods can be offered in any shape, but prepared in various ways by the intelligence of the devotees.
In his Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Prabhupada describes the best type of rice for deity offerings:
In India sukla-caval (white rice) is also called atapa-caval, or rice that has not been boiled before being threshed. Another kind of rice, called siddha-caval (brown rice), is boiled before being threshed. Generally, first-class fine white rice is required for offerings to the deity.
A devotee may offer bona fide foods considered delicacies by the local people or preferred by him or his family. In commenting on a sloka stating that one may offer his own or local favorites, Sanatana Gosvami writes that this means that even though people in general may not like a certain food, if a person prefers it he may offer it. But this refers to foods the scriptures approves, not those they forbid. Thus if one is fond of a forbidden food, one cannot offer it to the Lord. And thus one cannot eat it. Also, one should not offer even permissible foods that are tasteless, unpalatable, inedible, impure for any reason, or eaten by insects, animals, or people.
If nothing else offerable is available, one may offer fruit alone. If even fruit is unavailable, one may offer pure water while meditating on offering elaborate preparations. If even water is unavailable, one should at least mentally make an offering of food.
Common forbidden foods include meat, fish, eggs, onions, mushrooms, garlic, masur-dal (red lentils), burned rice, white eggplant, hemp (marijuana), citron, saps from trees (if not boiled first), buffalo and goat milk products, and milk with salt in it. Also, one should not offer canned or frozen foods to the deity, and it is best to avoid offering foods containing unhealthy substances such as yeast and white sugar.
Srila Prabhupada comments:
“Frozen means nasty. I never take frozen…. All rotten, rather the same vegetable, as we have got in India practice, we dry it and keep it. That is tasteful.”
“So far the cucumber pickles: As far as possible we should not offer to the deity things which are prepared by nondevotees. We can accept from them raw fruits, grains, or similar raw things. So far cooking and preparing, that should be strictly limited to the initiated devotees. And aside from this, vinegar is not good; it is tamasic, in the darkness, nasty food.”
“Concerning the use of sour cream in the temple, it should be stopped immediately. Nothing should be offered to the Deities which is purchased in the stores. Things produced by the karmis should not be offered to Radha-Krishna. Icecream, if you can prepare, is O.K., but not otherwise.”
“Unpolished rice which looks like brown can be used… We do not mind polished or unpolished, but doubly-boiled [siddha rice] mustn’t be used. Doubly-boiled rice is considered impure. Sunbaked rice (atapa) is all right.”
“Soya beans and lentils are unofferable.”
“Regarding purchasing things in the market, these items are considered as purified when we pay the price for them. That is the general instruction. But when we know something is adulterated, we should avoid it. But unknowingly if something is purchased, that is not our fault. Things which are suspicious, however, should be avoided.”
“No, it is not very good to use yeast in preparing prasadam.”
“Since it is offensive to offer anything to Krsna that He will not accept, one should be extremely cautious not to offer (or eat) anything questionable.”
Just as we must select pure, excellent foods to offer to Krsna, so we must also prepare them purely. To prepare food for the Lord, one must meticulously observe the rules for cleanliness and take the utmost care to prepare the food properly. The consciousness of the cook enters into the food he prepares, and therefore he should strive to be Krsna conscious while in the kitchen. The kitchen, where the Lord’s food is prepared, is an extension of the deity room, where He eats. So the same high standard of cleanliness should be maintained in both places.
Follow the standards presented here as far as possible.
- If possible cover your hair so as to avoid any hair falling into a preparation.
- Do not wear wool in the kitchen.
- All clothing must be clean-that is, it must not have been worn in the bathroom, when eating or sleeping, or outside the temple grounds.
- You should be freshly showered and wearing tilaka and neckbeads.
- Wash your hands when first entering the kitchen, and wash them again if you touch your face, mouth, or hair, or if you sneeze or cough (having-hopefully-covered your mouth).
- After assembling the ingredients for cooking, wash all vegetables and fruits and anything else that can be washed.
- If something washable falls on the floor or in a sink, wash it off; if it is unwashable, reject it.
- The cook should cover all preparations as soon as they are cooked. If an animal sees a preparation before it is offered, it must be rejected. No one except the cook and the pujari should see the unoffered food.
- Cover the ghee used for frying when it is not in use. Old ghee should be replaced regularly with fresh ghee.
- See to it that all ingredients are properly stored in closed containers.
Kitchen and Utensil Cleanliness
- The kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned regularly, including inside the stoves, ovens, and refrigerators.
- Do not leave unclean saucepans and utensils lying around in the kitchen. Clean them after they are used (the sooner they are cleaned after use, the easier they are to clean).
- No one should eat or drink in the kitchen; nor should anyone use the sink for spitting into or drinking from.
- Remove all garbage from the kitchen at least once a day.
- If you need to store prasada in the refrigerator store it in such a way that unoffered items will not become contaminated. I.e. store prasada in sealed containers.
Maintaining Proper Consciousness
- As far as possible restrict conversation to topics about Krsna.
- Do not play recordings of popular-style music in the kitchen. Traditional bhajana and kirtana recordings are appropriate.
Deep-frying should be done in pure ghee, if possible. Ghee used for frying should be regularly replaced. (Ideally, ghee and other oils should be used only once, since each reheating reduces their digestibility. An expert cook will use a minimum amount of ghee for deep-frying and use the remainder for making halava or mixing into rice.) If ghee is not available or cannot be made, you may use vegetable oil, such as coconut, mustard, sunflower, or peanut oil.
Every scheduled food offering is followed by an arati. Except for kirtana, offering arati is the only regular daily function of deity worship performed publicly.
There two basic types of arati offered in ISKCON temples (both described in the section on how to offer arati) but according to your circumstances and available facility you may offer whatever is practical.
Arati is performed at 1½ hours before sunrise to awaken the deities. Each offering is made by moving it in 7 big circles, starting at the Lotus Feet of the Lord, and going clockwise round. First of all, burning camphor or ghee (5 fires if possible) is offered in this way, slowly circling them before the Lord. With left hand bell is being rung, and with right hand the offerings are made by circling. Next burning dhupa is offered. Then water is offered in a conchshell. Then a nice handkerchief is offered. Then a nice flower, as a rose. Then the deities are offered a fan, nice peacock feather fan. And the last item is the blowing of the conch shell three times. Throughout arati there is bell ringing, cymbals, mrdanga, gong, harmonium, etc.
So far your question regarding deity worship, during arati everything should be offered first to the Guru.
The cloth offered in arati, should be pure cotton or pure silk.