So far keeping Deity in your separate house, I think there is no need for this. Because if you keep Him there, you have to take proper care, with aratis and attention, and thus divert attention from the Deity in the temple, and from chanting and so many other forms of service, like your writing and sewing, etc. So I think it best if everyone centers his attention on the Deity in the temple, and in that way the temple worship will pull on nicely. Of course, if the temple is unapproachable, or too far, or something like that, that is different thing, but if the temple is easily accessible then this is the best program—for all to go there and attend arati and kirtana etc. Letter to: Satyabhama — Hawaii 30 March, 1969 Worship of Radha and Krishna is no cheap thing. It cannot be done whimsically, but it must be very carefully executed under strict regulation. Not that there can be LSD taking and all sinful activities, and then Deity worship. I have made it a point that unless one is able to keep to the same standard that is kept here at the temple, he should not worship the Deity separately. Best thing is to keep a Guru-Gauranga altar at home and take part in the Deity worship program at the temple. Letter to: Caitanya — Los Angeles 25 April, 1973 In the Viṣṇu-dharmottara there is a statement about touching the lotus feet of the Lord. It is said: "Only a person who is initiated as a Vaiṣṇava and is executing devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has the right to touch the body of the Deity." In India there was agitation during Gandhi's political movement because the lowborn classes of men like street-sweepers and caṇḍālas are prohibited, according to the Vedic system, from entering the temple. Due to their unclean habits they are prohibited, but at the same time they are given other facilities so they may be elevated to the highest grade of devotional service by association with pure devotees. A man born in any family is not barred, but he must be cleansed. That cleansing process must be adopted. Gandhi wanted to make them clean simply by stamping them with a fictitious name, Hari-jana (children of God), and so there was a great tug of war between the temple owners and Gandhi's followers. But anyway, the present law is the law of all scripture-that if anyone is purified he can enter into the temple. Actually, that is the position. Only one who is properly initiated, who is properly following the rules and regulations, can enter and touch the Deity-not all. And one who touches the body of the Deity, following such regulative principles, is immediately delivered from the contamination of material sins, and all of his desires become fulfilled without delay. NOD: Touching the Deity
I am very glad to learn of you eagerness to help open new centers in Munich, Amsterdam, and Berlin. But unless some responsible devotee takes charge of the Deities, you should remain in Hamburg. Hamsaduta may alone go for preaching work with the others. I think there are enough brahmanas there, so if one cannot be engaged full time, they should divide the duties amongst themselves—one takes the morning, another one at noon, and another in the evening, or like that. So unless they are trained up, you should not go. Deity worship is for old and experienced students; it is not good for new students to be given sacred thread. This Deity worship is exclusively for advanced students.
Regarding taking Lord Jagannatha to your next center, that will not be very good because you already do not have enough devotees to engage in Arcana. Unless there is a Deity worshipper available, we may worship Panca-tattva and Guru. That can be done by all initiated students whether they are once or twice initiated. Before an altar with pictures of Lord Caitanya, Pancatattva and Acaryas, everyone can offer Aratrik and Bhoga.
Letter to: Himavati — Los Angeles 1 April, 1970
There is no need of installing Deities immediately. New temples may be opened by placing Pancatattva and Acarya pictures. Unless we have got sufficient experienced devotees we shall not install Radha Krsna or Jagannatha Deities. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is very kind and lenient. Simply chanting of Hare Krsna will please Him. But when we have Deities like Radha Krsna or Jagannatha we must strictly follow the regulative principles of Arcana. These things are elaborately described in the Nectar of Devotion which is already published. Order some from Boston and later on translate it into French and German. It is very important book for our guidance.
Letter to: Hamsaduta — Los Angeles 22 June, 1970
Regarding Deity worship, Silavati and Yamuna Devi may be considered expert, so if some new hands come and take their help, that is a good proposition. Once established, however, Deities should not be removed. We should treat the Dieties as the Personality of Godhead, and to invite Him to come to your home you must worship regularly. You cannot remove. If there is scarcity of pujaris, then Deities should not be installed, only pictures of Guru and Gauranga should be worshiped. Irregularity in worshiping Guru and Gauranga can be tolerated, as they are always kind and forgiving, but irregularity in worshiping Lord Jagannatha and Sri Sri Radha Krishna is not good.
Letter to: Karandhara — Calcutta 19 September, 1970
Prabhupāda: So you teach them that before Gaura-Nitāi, let them chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and take prasādam.
Yugadharma: Yes. I would like to do this in Laguna Beach on the highway.
Prabhupāda: And if you do this, it will be great service, great service. They can take Gaura-Nitāi at home. So let them offer vegetarian food to Gaura-Nitāi and then take it. If you can introduce home to home, it will be great service.
Yugadharma: Because it is a very arty community. They are very interested in art there and bogus impersonalism. There seems to be a lack of enthusiasm in the gṛhasthas in Laguna Beach.
Prabhupāda: No if they chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra...
Yugadharma: What I would like to do is make you very happy by doing this.
Prabhupāda: That is yajña. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]. This is the way of delivering them: Let them worship Gaura-Nitāi by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra or Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Prabhu Nityānanda, if not two, but one, Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, and let them take prasādam. These two things will make them advance very quickly, the spiritual life.
Yugadharma: Because they are very interested in these little figures.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So if you can do that, it will be very nice.
Yugadharma: How about Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa also?
Prabhupāda: Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa not now.
Yugadharma: Not now.
Prabhupāda: No. When they have actually advanced and initiated and following strictly the Vaiṣṇava principles, then Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. And Gaura-Nitāi, they can worship in any condition.
Room Conversation -- February 2, 1977, Bhuvaneśvara
So far as touching the Deity is concerned, that can be done only by the priest. Only on very special occasions are others allowed to touch the Deity. Touch means to place tulasi mixed with sandalwood at Krishna's Lotus Feet
Letter to: Bhavananda — Allahabad 21 January, 1971
If there is the possibility of regular worship then you can install Jagannatha Deity. Otherwise don't do it. Not that there should be a repeat of the situation in Hamburg that the Deities were taken away. Unless there is solid temple arrangement I don't advise you to install the Deity. Deity installation means regular worship without fail and for good. Just like in Jagannatha Puri. That temple was established over thousand of years ago and it is still going on. Always they have prasadam ready for at least a thousand people and bhoga is offered 56 times in a day.
Letter to: Sivananda — London 2 September, 1971
Mr. Bajoria will be a very good example; if the leading men of every city takes this example of installing Radha-Krishna deities in the home exactly as in our temple, then our preaching will be very successful. But they must learn the art of worshiping and following the regulative principles from us. As soon as they employ hired priests, the whole thing will be spoiled. Members of the household should learn to worship the deity as we are doing, following the regulative principles, then it will be successful. We want every house to be a temple, not that our place should be the only place for the people to come. No, this should be the process: that they learn at our place, then establish the same thing at home. So this Bajoria program should be considered as one of our successful points of preaching, so he should be encouraged, but he should be requested at the same time to have no hired priests, then it will spoil.
Letter to: Bhavananda — Auckland 14 April, 1972
Worship of Radha-Krishna Deities is the ultimate pinnacle of Deity worship, and it must be done with the utmost caution and attention to every detail of giving opulent service. I am not recommending more temples to install Radha-Krishna Deities until I have become more convinced that they can properly manage. At least five to ten persons must be engaged full time to worship Radha-Krishna properly, and for any small temple especially that is a detrimental factor to maintaining the highest standard in other temple activities besides, because there are not enough men. You may worship Lord Jagannatha, or if you like to install Gaura-Gauranga, Gaura-Nitai, or simply Gaura Deity, He is also very liberal and will forgive and tolerate any service offered to Him even by Jagai and Madhai.
Letter to: Gunagrahi: — New York 3 July, 1972
You should not install the Deities until you have a complete program to see that regulated worship may go on nicely. Until then, simply worship Guru and Gauranga in pictures.
Letter to: Mahendra — Los Angeles 11 December, 1973
Devotee 8: Śrīla Prabhupāda, many people who live outside the temple have Jagannātha Deities and Gaura-Nitāi Deities.
Devotee 8: Śrīla Prabhupāda, many people who live outside the temple have Jagannātha Deities and...
Prabhupāda: Better Gaura-Nitāi Deities.
Devotee 8: Huh?
Prabhupāda: Better Gaura-Nitāi.
Devotee 8: So they have to do full Deity worship when they have these Deities?
Devotee 8: They have to do full Deity worship to have these Deities? Dress the Deities every day?
Prabhupāda: They are supposed to do so, but whether they are able to do so, that is the point. If you can worship properly, that's all right. But whether you are able to worship?
Morning Walk -- May 22, 1975, Melbourne
Regarding Adelaide, unless you are sure that the Deity worship will go on nicely, do not install the Deity. Simply have kirtana and keep the Panca-tattva picture, that's all.
Letter to: Madhudvisa: — Detroit 4 August, 1975