Altar Setup at Home
The Lord in His personal form (Deity or picture) gives us the unique opportunity of serving Him personally. Having a home altar where Krishna can be served sanctifies one’s home and helps create a spiritual atmosphere where Krishna is at the centre. It also helps the worshiper to fix his mind during japa if he chants in front of the altar.Home worship, unlike that in the temple, is usually kept simple so that the devotee has more time for japa, kirtan and practical temple service.To invite Krishna into our home, we need to have a special place for him: an altar in a separate prayer room or a place separated from the living space by a curtain. you will need :
- A picture of Sri Sri Radha Krishna
- A picture of Lord Chaitanya and His associates (Panca-Tattva)
- A picture or deity of Srila Prabhupada
- Tulasi Devi
- A picture of the 6 Goswamis.
Water cups – Aachman Cup
- Clean the altar each morning and rinse the water cups, replenishing them with fresh water
- Offer incense and flowers daily to the Lord and decorate the altar with fresh flowers
- Offer whatever food you prepare to Krishna on the altar
- As far as possible try and offer natural incense sticks
- Plastic flowers are not used in worship of the Lord
- Regularly polish the cups and arati paraphernalia and keep your altar sparkling
Although one cannot physically dress and decorate the forms of the Lord in a picture,one can offer bhoga, perform arati and kirtan, and offer obesciences just as one doesfor the Lord in His three-dimensional vigraha.
Just as the blessings of the spiritual master are necessary before a devotee can perform Deity worship in the temple, those blessings are also needed before one can worship the Deity at home. If the spiritual master gives a disciple permission to worshipa personal Deity, that disciple should understand that the personal Deity is anexpansion of the temple Deity to whom he is connected by his location and service.The Lord is so kind that He agrees to appear in the devotee's own home, and He accepts the family's worship, making the home into a temple. However, the householder should be careful not to abuse the spiritual master's and the Lord's mercyby being neglectful in his service to the public temple and its presiding Deities, on theplea that he is serving the same Lord at home. Srila Prabhupada recommended the worship of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai for householders because Their worship is simple.Generally, a devotee should not worship Radha-Krishna Deities at home unless he can maintain a high standard of service throughout the day. Although one may alsoworship Jagannatha Deities at home in a simple way, one should try to regularly offerJagannatha opulent bhoga, since He is daily worshiped with many offerings of bhoga in Jagannatha Puri. Srila Prabhupada frequently stressed how important it isfor householder devotees to worship the Lord as opulently and as sincerely as possible. A householder should not be miserly in his worship.
It is also a nice practice to train children to speak to the pictures/Deities on your homealtar. They may share their joys and difficulties with Krishna in this way – and feel Hisreciprocation.