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Title: Questions on Deity Worship
User: Neil LA Date: 2007-04-18 22:19:49
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!
All Glories to Swami Gaurangapada!
All Glories to the Guru Parampara!
All Glories to the Vaishnava Devotees!
My question is regarding deity worship/puja.
A previous teacher who I was associated with before I became associated with the Gauranga Vaishnava tradition taught quite a bit about performing puja. He published a text that is a simple beginner's Siva puja. I'm very familiar with the format of that particular text.
Since I became a Vaishnava, I have thought about doing a puja to Lords Nityananda and Gauranga. Your article about "Nityananda and Gauranga in Every Home" inspired me to purchase a set of Nityananda and Gauranga deities which I have set up as the focal point of where I do my chanting every day.
I try to perform a simple arati to them every evening. I perform achamana, then I offer incense, lights (camphor and a panchapradipa), water in a conch, cloth, camara, fan and flower. I don't really say any offering mantras with these offerings, I just try to have a prayerful and loving attitude. I also offer each item to Sri Guru and Srila Prabhupada.
Later, I put the deities and Sri Guru and Srila Prabhupada to bed by removing their ornaments and mentally offering them a bed. In the morning I mentally wake them up and put on their ornaments.
I've been thinking that I would like to offer a little bit of a more elaborate puja. Looking at your section on Puja Viddhi, I see that many of the elements there are very similar to the beginning Siva puja that I was performing with my previous teacher.
What I wanted to ask was if you would have any objection to my using the Siva puja format to do puja to Lords Nityananda and Gauranga, Sri Guru and Srila Prabhupada. I would take out any Saivite elements and substitute Vaishnava elements, but would keep the format basically the same. Most of the prayers that are in the Siva puja book seem to be generic prayers that are common to both traditions. In place of saying Om Namah Sivaya when I make offerings, I would of course use the mantras to Nityananda and Gauranga (Om klim nityanandaya namah, Om klim gauraya namah...Could I maybe combine the two? I of course am not at all familiar with Sanskrit grammar.)
Please let me know what you think. I won't do anything until I have your blessing.
I was also wondering about a question that I had about receiving a spiritual name. In the section "Diksha Points" you say that with Hari Nama initiation one receives a spiritual name, but sometimes with Nityananda Gauranga initiation also. I was wondering what the circumstances are that you would give a spiritual name to somebody after Nityananda Gauranga initiation.
Thank you so much for being available to answer my questions. I consider myself the most fortunate soul to be able to ask them of you.
Dandavat pranams to your lotus feet,
Your humble servant
Title: Re: Questions on Deity Worship
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-04-19 21:32:24
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Jaya Guru Parampara! Pranams Neil. Thank you for bringing the most merciful Deities of Shri Shri Nityananda Gauranga in your home and for your desire to worship Them. There is no need to take reference from the Shiva puja rituals which you know. The Gaudiya Vaishnava puja viddhi is entirely different and based on the Vedic Pancharatric principles. Though there may appear to be similarities, but it is better to purely follow Vaishnava principles for worship because there may be subtle nuances which are not easily visible. You can start with the basic system in Nityananda Gauranga in Every Home and then for more elaborate worship like the achamanas, mudras etc. please refer to the -> All Scriptures by the Acharyas -> Deity Worship section in the NITAI Veda tree menu in the left frame or in the downloaded NITAI Veda eBook. You may take a little time to learn them as some may be new to you but it will be worth it.
For your spiritual name, please kindly wait till you become steady in your chanting of 25,000 Names daily. Since you have been in and out frequently, it would be nice if you can have a steady period of chanting Nityananda, Gauranga, and Hare Krishna Naam for six months as per the standard of Shrila Prabhupada and following the regulative principles and then accept your spiritual name. Our consciousness already becomes spiritualized by chanting the Holy Names daily and you are very much part of our NITAI Sangha devotional association so please do not feel alone in your Naam bhajana in any way.
Title: Re: Questions on Deity Worship
User: Neil LA Date: 2007-04-19 22:05:23
Dearest Swami Gaurangapada
Pranams again and again to your lotus feet.
Thank you for your answer to my questions. I will definitely take your advise and only perform worship according to the Vaishnava standard.
I completely understand what you are saying about my need to become steady and I accept your wishes about this.
I will do my best to maintain chanting 25,000 names daily and constantly taking shelter of Sri Guru and Lord Nityananda.
I read the transcription of the Nityananda Kripa video today and it has inspired me to constantly ask for your blessing so that I may become completely attached to Lord Nityananda's Holy Name and Lotus Feet.
Thank you also for asking me not to feel alone in my Bhajana. I am so glad to be a part of the Sangha and I thank you for your kindness and mercy toward such a fallen soul.
Pranams again and again to your lotus feet
Your humble servant