Deity Department in the Krishna Balaram Temple

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Forming a part of the Panchang Bhakti, as mentioned by Srila Rupa Goswami in Sri Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, is the important limb of Preeti Purvak Murti Seva, or in other words, Deity Worship done with love and affection. Since, due to our material conditioning, we are unable to see the Lord with our imperfect eyes, the Lord, out of his compassionate causeless mercy, manifests in his deity form, so that the devotees can serve him with great love, devotion and enthusiasm and experience great transcendental ecstasy. In the Krishna Balaram Temple in Sri Vrindavan Dham, following the instructions of Srila Prabhupad, the worship of the deities is performed with high standards and all the devotees aim to engage all their energy in satisfying the Lord. The deity department is one of the biggest department in the temple and engages numerous devotees in the various services of the Lord such as cooking, baking, dressing the deities, making garlands for the Lords, making flower dresses for the festivals, and many other services for the pleasure of Sri Sri Gaur Nitai, Sri Sri Krishna Balaram and Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar. Starting from early in the morning, the pujaris go and wake the deities up, after which they are offered the mangal arati. The Shodashupachar puja is then performed and the deities are dressed and decorated with a splendid outfit and numerous dazzling jeweled ornaments. Despite being more opulent than all the Vaikunthas, the true opulence of Vraja are the fragrant forest flowers of varied colors, and therefore, meditating upon the eternal pastimes of the Lord in Golok Vrindavan, where he removes his precious ornaments to replace them with decorations fashioned out of the beautiful flowers, the pujaris bedeck the Deities with abundant flowers. The rest of the day, the deities are offered aratis at regular intervals and delicious sumptuous Bhoga offerings comprising of numerous preparations are offered to the deities at seven times during the day. In the afternoons, devoted matajis assemble in the temple room to make flower garlands with intricate designs while listening to the sweet melodious kirtan of the holy names of the Lord. Besides the directly perceivable services being performed in the department, many devotees are engaged in various other services like taking care of the deities’ garden, distributing charnamrita and mahaprasad to the visiting pilgrims, selling the Mahaprashad, cooking during the festivals and making flower outfits for the festivals and many other such services. The performance of service to the deities should be done in accordance to the Ashtakaliya Lilas of the Lord and therefore the pujaris and other devotees performing the service try their best to always remember the sweet pastimes of the Lord and remain in pure Krishna consciousness. The devotees carrying out the service to the lotus feet of the Sri Vigrahas are truly blessed, for they are constantly reminded of the Lords transcendental names, form, qualities and pastimes and can therefore be fully absorbed in Krishna Consciousness and make good progress on the path of Bhakti. Being run under the expert guidance of H.G. Mukunda datta prabhu, who has been serving in this capacity for more than the past 25 years, the department is flourishing and collectively they are all endavouring to please Srila Prabhupad, Sri Sri Gaur Nitai, Sri Sri Krishna Balarm and Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar.