Waking and Preparing for Worship
Upon awakening, chant the Hare Krsna mantra, or at least ‘Krsna, Krsna, Krsna.’ Offer obeisances to your spiritual master while chanting his pranama prayer(s):
nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate [spiritual master’s name] iti namine
I offer my respectful obeisances unto [spiritual master’s name], who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.
You may then chant the following prayer to the Lord:
pratah prabodhito visno hrsikesena yat tvaya
yad yat karayasisana tat karomi tavajnaya
O Visnu, O Isana, O Hrsikesa, You have awakened me, and now I am ready to do whatever You wish today. [Visnu-dharmottara, quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa 3.91]
Before rising you may pray to Mother Earth:
samudra-vasane devi parvata-stana-mandite
visnu-patni namas tubhyam pada-sparsam ksamasva me
O Mother Earth, I offer my humble obeisances unto you, who are the wife of Lord Visnu and the residence of the oceans, and who are decorated with mountains. Please forgive me for stepping upon you.
Rise up and fold up your bedding.
The Hari-bhakti-vilasa recommends several verses you may chant upon awakening to glorify the Lord and counteract bad dreams. The following verse, spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami, is a favorite of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s followers:
jayati jana-nivaso devaki-janma-vado
yadu-vara-parisat svair dorbhir asyann adharmam
vraja-pura-vanitanam vardhayan kama-devam
Lord Sri Krsna is He who is known as Jana-nivasa, the ultimate resort of all living entities, and who is also known as Devaki-nandana or Yasoda-nandana, the son of Devaki and Yasoda. He is the guide of the Yadu dynasty, and with His mighty arms He kills everything inauspicious, as well as every man who is impious. By His presence He destroys all things inauspicious for all living entities, moving and inert. His blissful smiling face always increases the lusty desires of the gopis of Vrndavana. May He be all glorious and happy! [Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.90.48]
Bathing and Dressing
Brush your teeth, scrape your tongue, and rinse your mouth. If you plan to shave, do it now, before bathing. With your upavita thread wrapped around your ear, pass urine and stool and clean yourself (sauca). When starting to bathe, you may recite the following mantra:
(om) apavitrah pavitro va sarvavastham gato ’pi va
yah smaret pundarikaksam sa bahyabhyantarah sucih
Whether pure or impure, or having passed through all conditions of material life, one who remembers lotus-eyed Krsna becomes externally and internally clean. [Garuda Purana, quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa 3.47]
After drying yourself, rinse the towel or gamcha you used.
Sit down and tie your sikha while chanting the brahma-gayatri mantra once.
Put on clean clothes; then perform simple acamana as follows:
- Sit on an asana, and with a small spoon take some water from an acamana–patra and sprinkle it on your hands and feet.
- Chant om kesavaya namah and sip water from the brahma-tirtha (the base of the thumb) of your right hand.
- Chant om narayanaya namah and sip water from the brahma-tirtha of the right hand.
- Chant om madhavaya namah and sip water from the brahma-tirtha of the right hand.
Chant the following verses while rubbing gopi-candana in your right palm; then, while applying tilaka and clearing the middle space, chant the name of the appropriate form of the Lord (see below).
Alternatively, chant the verses given below one line at a time while applying the tilaka to the indicated places on your body. After each line of the verse, while clearing the space in the middle (where the Lord resides), chant the name of the appropriate form of the Lord. (Example: Chant lalate kesavam dhyayen and apply tilaka to your forehead; then chant om kesavaya namah and clear the space in the middle.)
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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. [Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 20.202, purport]
The sikha area is not marked with tilaka ; rather, after washing the right hand, wipe the remaining water on your sikha while chanting om vasudevaya namah.
Sipping Water for Purification (vaisnava-acamana)
Always perform acamana before entering the deity room to worship the Lord.
Sit on a proper sitting place (asana). (If there is no asana, kneel with your right knee touching the floor and your left foot flat on the floor.)
With an acamana–patra filled with water clean both hands by sprinkling them with water; holding the acamana spoon in your left hand, pour a few drops into the right palm. While looking at the water chant the appropriate mantra and then silently sip the water from the base of the right thumb (the brahma-tirtha).
The procedure for basic acamana consists of the first three steps below. If time and circumstances permit, you may perform the complete acamana:
- Chant om kesavaya namah and sip water from the brahma–tirtha of your right hand.
- Chant om narayanaya namah and sip water from the brahma–tirtha of your right hand.
- Chant om madhavaya namah and sip water from the brahma–tirtha of your right hand.
- Chant om govindaya namah and sprinkle water on your right hand.
- Chant om visnave namah and sprinkle water on your left hand.
- Chant om madhusudanaya namah and touch your right cheek with the fingers of your right hand.
- Chant om trivikramaya namah and touch your left cheek with the fingers of your right hand.
- Chant om vamanaya namah and wipe above your upper lip with the base of your right thumb.
- Chant om sridharaya namah and wipe below your lower lip with the base of your right thumb.
- Chant om hrsikesaya namah and sprinkle water on both hands.
- Chant om padmanabhaya namah and sprinkle water on your feet.
- Chant om damodaraya namah and sprinkle water on the top of your head.
While chanting the following mantras, perform the hand motions:
- Chant om vasudevaya namah and touch your upper and lower lips with the tips of the fingers of your right hand.
- Chant om sankarsanaya namah and touch your right nostril with your right thumb and forefinger.
- Chant om pradyumnaya namah and touch your left nostril with your right thumb and forefinger.
- Chant om aniruddhaya namah and touch your right eye with your right thumb and ring finger.
- Chant om purusottamaya namah and touch your left eye with your right thumb and ring finger.
- Chant om adhoksajaya namah and touch your right ear with your right thumb and forefinger.
- Chant om nrsimhaya namah and touch your left ear with your right thumb and forefinger.
- Chant om acyutaya namah and touch your navel with your right thumb and little finger.
- Chant om janardanaya namah and touch your heart with the palm of your right hand.
- Chant om upendraya namah and touch your head with all the finger tips of your right hand.
- Chant om haraye namah and touch your right upper arm with the fingertips of your left hand.
- Chant om krsnaya namah and touch your left upper arm with the fingertips of your right hand.
Now chant the following mantra from the Rg Veda while showing the pranama-mudra (palms together in front of your heart):
(om) tad visnoh paramam padam sada
pasyanti surayah diviva caksur atatam
tad vipraso vipanyavo jagrvamsah
samindhate visnor yat paramam padam
Just as those with ordinary vision see the sun’s rays in the sky, so the wise and learned devotees always see the supreme abode of Lord Visnu. Because those highly praiseworthy and spiritually awake brahmanas can see that abode, they can also reveal it to others. [Rg Veda Samhita 1.22.20-21]
Establishing General Arghya Water (samanya-arghya-sthapana)
Establish samanya-arghya before starting the worship. You will use it for purification by proksana and for offering various upacaras by substitution in the worship of personalities before worshiping the main Deity. Fresh samanya-arghya should be established at least twice a day, morning and afternoon.
Set an empty panca-patra in place and fill it with fresh water. After pouring a few drops of water from the acamana–patra or a spouted waterpot onto the fingers of your right hand, purify the panca-patra by proksana:
- Chanting om astraya phat, sprinkle water on the panca-patra.
- Over the panca-patra show the cakra-mudra, then galini-mudra, then dhenu-mudra (or surabhi-mudra).
Invoke the Ganga and other holy rivers by showing the ankusa-mudra and chanting:
gange ca yamune caiva godavari sarasvati
narmade sindho kaveri jale ’smin sannidhim kuru
May water from the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu, and Kaveri kindly be present.
Now invoke the bija-syllable om into the water, chanting it eight times silently while holding the bijaksara-mudra over the panca-patra. Then show the matsya-mudra over the panca-patra.
Chanting Gayatri (gayatri-japa)
While standing or sitting on an asana, chant the Gayatri mantras with concentration. (Before chanting the Gayatri mantras, you may perform additional purificatory functions [purvanga-karma], namely dig-bandhana and bhuta-suddhi.