Putting the Deities to Bed

Before putting the deities to bed, bathe, put on clean clothing, apply tilaka, and perform acamana.

As far as placing the deity in the bed is concerned, if the deity is large and heavy, it is not possible to move Him daily. It is better that a small deity, which is also worshiped, be taken to the bed. This mantra should be chanted:

agaccha sayana-sthanam priyabhih saha kesava

O Kesava, kindly come to Your bed along with Srimati Radharani. [Hari-bhakti-vilasa 11.40]

The deity should be placed in bed Srimati Radharani, and this should be indicated by bringing the wooden slippers from the altar to the bedside. When the deity is laid down, His legs should be massaged. Before laying the deity down, a pot of milk and sugar should be offered to Him. After taking this thick milk, the deity should lie down and should be offered betel nuts and spices to chew.

You may follow the procedure below in full, chanting the Sanskrit or say the translations. If this is too complicated, while touching the lotus feet of each deity ask Them to please go to sleep. Then following the same procedure touch your spiritual master’s lotus feet (in the picture) and ask him to go to sleep.

If you have Gaura-Nitai then follow the procedure only for Them and the spiritual master.

If you have Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra as well as Gaura-Nitai then put Them to bed before Gaura-Nitai.

If you have Radha-Krsna and Gaura-Nitai, put Radha-Krsna to bed before Gaura-Nitai.

If you have all three sets of deities, put Radha-Krsna to bed first, followed by Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra, and then Gaura-Nitai.

For large deities for whom you have beds, you may assist in the meditation by moving Their shoes next to the bed. If there are no beds for the deities then touch Their lotus feet while chanting Their mantras and meditate They are being escorted to bed. Follow the procedure in meditation.

Checklist

  1. an acamana cup (containing water) and a spoon
  2. the deities’ beds
  3. the deities’ nightclothes
  4. cloths for wiping off tilaka decorations
  5. flower petals

Procedure

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

While ringing a bell, call out, the names of the deities and approach the altar: jaya sri sri guru-gauranga,
jagannatha-baladeva-subhadra,
radha-krsna-ki jaya!

If it is possible, dress the deities in nightclothes before They go to bed.

Place each deity’s bed before or beside the altar, either on the floor or on a low table. Fluff out the bedding, and then you may place flower petals in the bed, either physically or by meditation. (If there are mosquitoes or flies in the room, put mosquito netting around the beds.)

Bring Their Lordships’ shoes from the altar to the bed, thinking that you are escorting the deities to Their beds. Place the shoes next to the bed on a small mat, pillow or table.

Then invite the deities to bed by chanting the appropriate mantra and offering Them your hand:

Offer flowers to Their Lordships’ lotus feet.

Now place Their Lordships in bed and massage Their lotus feet.

Then cover Them with bedding appropriate to the room temperature.

You may chant the following prayers in Sanskrit, or say the translations, or you may simply ask the deities to please take rest.

Radha-Krsna

agaccha sayana-sthanam priyabhih saha kesava
divya-puspatya-sayyayam sukham vihara madhava

Now come, O Kesava, along with Your beloved Srimati Radharani and Her friends, to the bed covered with transcendental, aromatic flowers. Now happily enjoy Your pastimes, O Madhava.

Place Krsna’s flute under His pillow.

Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra

agaccha sayana-sthanam agrajena hy adhoksaja
agaccha nija-sayyam ca subhadre me dayam kuru

O Lord Jagannatha, if You please, You and Your elder brother Balarama may now come to Your beds. O Mother Subhadra, please come to your resting place and kindly bestow your mercy upon me.

Lord Caitanya

agaccha visrama-sthanam sva-ganaih saha gauranga
ksanam visramya sukhena lilaya vihara prabho

O Lord Gauranga, please come to Your resting place along with Your associates. O Lord, rest comfortably for a moment, enjoying Your pastimes.

Lord Nityananda

agaccha sayana-sthanam nityananda jagad-guro
tava rupe maha-visnor anante sayanam kuru

O spiritual master of the universe, Lord Nityananda, please come to Your place of rest. In Your form of Maha-Visnu, please rest upon the thousand-headed serpent known as Sesa.

Srila Prabhupada

If you have a deity of Srila Prabhupada, you may follow the same procedure for putting Srila Prabhupada to bed, if you have a picture then touch his lotus feet in the picture while chanting the following mantra and meditate that he is going to bed.

agaccha sayana-sthanam sva-ganaih saha parama-guro

O grand spiritual master, please come to your resting place, along with all your associates.

Spiritual Master

Follow the same procedure for putting your spiritual master to bed:

agaccha sayana-sthanam sva-ganaih saha sri-guro

O spiritual master, please come to your resting place, along with all your associates.

Turn out the altar lights and close the curtains or altar doors, if the altar has them; if not, then just quietly leave the room, turning off the lights as you leave.

Offer obeisances to your spiritual master.

If you have removed any jewelry or clothing, then carefully put them in their proper storage places, respecting them as the Lord’s paraphernalia.