Putting Deities to Rest

Putting the Lord to Rest (sayana-seva)

Required Paraphernalia

The following items are required to put the Lord to rest:

  • a small bell on a plate
  • a panca-patra containing samanya-arghya water
  • a padya container with water
  • the Deities’ beds
  • the Deities’ nightclothes
  • cloths for wiping off tilaka decorations
  • flower petals
  • bowls with condensed milk for each Deity
  • cups of water for each Deity
  • tambula.
During the afternoon (immediately after the raja-bhoga-arati) and at night (after the sayana-arati), put the Deities to rest. In the afternoon you need not offer the padya, condensed milk, drinking water, tambula, or puspanjali, but you should remove the crowns and garlands (at least from the small Deities, who should be placed into beds). At night, change the Deities’ clothing.

If there are only large Deities, offer Them small beds, escorting Them to the beds by meditation, and offer Them services, just as you would offer to small Deities. Alternatively, if salagrama-sila is present, you may perform sayana-seva for Him on behalf of the large Deities, placing Him in a bed.

Outside the Deity room, perform acamana and offer obeisances to your spiritual master. Then take the items for sayana-seva into the Deity room, such as tambula, flowers, the Deities’ plates with condensed milk, and cups of water for each Deity. The padya-patra and visarjaniya-patra should already be in the Deity room.

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

Sit on an asana and meditate that you are sitting at the feet of the main Deities, ready to offer Them various services. At night remove any garlands, jewelry, and outer clothing (leaving the undergarments on), wipe off tilaka decorations with a slightly damp cloth, and dress Their Lordships in night garments.

Then invite Their Lordships to take rest by chanting the following mantra (for Radha-Krsna) and offering Them your hand:

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.

Bring Their Lordships’ shoes from the altar to the bed, thinking that you are escorting the Deities to Their resting place. Place the shoes next to the bed on a small mat or pillow; then bring Their Lordships to Their bed. (It is best to first place the Deities on a low table next to the bed for receiving the following items of worship. If this is not possible, make the necessary adjustments by meditation.)

Sit before Their Lordships and offer the following items while ringing a bell with the left hand and chanting the appropriate mantras:

Chant etat padyam and the radha-krsna-mula-mantra, and offer padya water to wash Their Lordships’ lotus feet.

Chant idam acamaniyam and the radha-krsna-mula-mantra, and offer Their Lordships water for sipping.

Chant idam ghana-dugdham and the radha-krsna-mula-mantra, and offer Their Lordships sweet condensed milk.

Chant idam paniyam and the radha-krsna-mula-mantra, and offer water to Their Lordships.

Chant idam hasta-mukha-praksalanam and the radha-krsna-mula-mantra, and offer water for cleaning Their Lordships’ hands and faces.

Chant esa puspanjalih and the radha-krsna-mula-mantra, and offer flowers to Their Lordships’ lotus feet.

Now place Their Lordships into the bed and chant idam tambulam and the radha-krsna-mula-mantra, and offer tambula to Their Lordships, then massage Their lotus feet.

Then cover Them with bedding appropriate to the room temperature. Place Krsna’s flute under His pillow.

Follow the same procedure when putting Krsna and Balarama, Lord Jagannatha, Lord Caitanya, and Lord Nityananda to rest, substituting the appropriate mula-mantras and sayana-mantras:

For Krsna-Balarama chant the following verse:

sayyam agacchatam krsna yasodananda-vardhana
sayyam agacchatam rama patitam mam dayam kuru

O Krsna, O source of Mother Yasoda’s happiness, now please come to Your bed. O Lord Balarama, please come to Your bed and bestow Your mercy upon me, who am lowly and fallen.

For Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama, and Srimati Subhadra chant the following prayer:

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.

For Lord Gauranga, chant the following verse:

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.

Then chant this prayer to 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.

Then you may chant the following prayers:

sadhu vasadhu va karma yad yad acaritam maya
tat sarvam bhagavan visno grhanaradhanam param
apam samipe sayanasane grhe 
diva ca ratrau ca yatha ca gacchata
yad asti kincit sukrtam krtam maya 
janardanas tena krtena tusyatu

O Lord, please accept all I have done, whether complete or incomplete, as if it were the best kind of worship. O Lord Janardana, if I have performed any pious deeds, please be satisfied with what I have done during the day or night, while sitting or moving, in the house or outside.

Follow the same procedure for putting your spiritual master to rest, with the guru-mula-mantra, and then chant:

agaccha sayana-sthanam sva-ganaih saha sri-guro

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

For other Deities chant:

agaccha sayana-sthanam sva-ganaih saha and the name of the Deity.

Put out the lamps, quietly leave the room, lock the door, and offer pranamas to your spiritual master and all Their Lordships. At night the pujari or an assistant should carefully put the Deities’ jewelry, decorations, and clothes in their proper storage places, respecting them as the Lord’s paraphernalia.