“Devotional service is very simple, and anyone can adopt it. Let one remain what he is; he need only install the Deity of the Supreme Lord in his house. The Deity may be Radha-Krishna or Lakshmi-Narayana (there are many other forms of the Lord). In this way a brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya or shudra can worship the Deity with the results of his honest labor.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.20.9 Purport)Download this episode (right click and save)
The exalted teachers, from ages past and some even from more recent times, lived extremely renounced. No home. No family. No job. Total focus, twenty-four-seven, on devotional service, bhakti-yoga. From this dedicated effort they solidified their high standing in the devotional community. They also remained fixed in trance, samadhi.
That steady consciousness of the Divine is not restricted to the situation of isolation, though. This is confirmed by the teachers themselves, who make the process very simple. They even say that a person doesn’t have to give up their occupation entirely. From whatever situation in life, from the priest all the way to the ordinary laborer, there is an opportunity for perfection.
1. Install a deity of Radha-Krishna in the house
There is work to do. Without work, where would the money come from to pay for necessities like food, clothing and shelter? A job builds self esteem. There is the saying, “An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.” If you have nothing to do, no pressing responsibilities, then it is easier to get upset over trivial matters, like what a politician or celebrity said, or how a family member didn’t invite you to a gathering at their home.
Even while working a person can advance along the path of transcendental knowledge and overall purification of the consciousness. Just install a deity of Radha-Krishna in the house. This is a simple process, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. The deity is like the most exalted guest, to be honored and worshiped every day.
Obviously, there is no limit to the size of God. He is everything we see in this world and beyond. All things are part of His definition, but He is not part of the definition of anything. He can exist independently, while without His presence as the Supersoul no result to action would ever manifest.
“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.4)
Through the deity He shows His amazing mercy. The deity is likely small, especially in comparison to the size of the person worshiping it. The deity is known as the archa-vigraha, or the form to accept worship. It is also described as saguna, which means “having qualities.” For God there is no difference between nirguna and saguna; the distinction is for our benefit only. The saguna form helps us to understand that God is indeed a distinct individual with amazing features.
2. Install a deity of Lakshmi-Narayana
God is one, but He kindly expands for the benefit of others. Radha-Krishna are the female and male aspects of the Divinity, worshiped together. Lakshmi-Narayana is the same pair, but appearing slightly differently. Lakshmi is the goddess of fortune. Worshiping her separately is not the proper way. She gives benedictions, but those gifts have an intended purpose. They should be used for pleasing her husband, Narayana.
It is not uncommon for the person with a job to desire more money. They know just how difficult it is to survive in a material existence. Therefore some financial security would be beneficial. This mentality is purified when there is worship of Lakshmi together with Narayana. Then the proper outcome will arrive. Whether it is increased opulence or a decrease in net worth, the decision is up to the Supreme Lord.
3. Install a deity of another form of the Lord
You can install a deity of Sita-Rama, as well. Since there are so many non-different forms, everyone gets a chance to worship in their desired mood of connection with the Divine. The idea is to worship in an authorized manner, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master.
Worship a little in the morning and then again at night. Bring nice food preparations to the altar, say some prayers, offer some nice scents - the process really isn’t that complicated. It may look like the benefits aren’t coming, but the strength in continued resolution and purpose in devotional service will bring progress never to be erased. After all, the race against time in the human existence is for the purification of consciousness and nothing else, for everything material is left behind at the time of death.
For highest perfection to receive,
Not necessary for occupation to leave.
In words of spiritual master trust,
And install deities just.
Merciful, for our benefit to arrive,
Reminding not for senses to strive.
Radha-Krishna, most beloved of all,
The unlimited for us coming as small.