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How to take darshan in the temple

Offering obeisances

Upon entering the temple, one should first offer obeisances (panchanga pranama) to the assembled Vaisnavas and utter the prayer:

väïchä-kalpatarubhyaç ca kåpä-sindhubhya eva ca
patitänäà pävanebhyo vaiñëavebhyo namo namaù

I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees who can fulfill the desires of everyone and they are full of compassion for fallen conditioned souls.

Then one should offer obeisances (full dandavats for men) to Srila Prabhupada, keeping him on one's left, and chant his pranati mantra.

One should then move towards the deities and offer full prostrated obeisances, keeping the deities on our left side and chant their respective pranama mantras.

It may be noted that one should not ofer obeisances on one hand. Both hands should support the body while bowing down and both hands should be outstretched.

Meditating upon the deities

  • After offering obeisances to the deities one should take darshana with great devotion and beg for Their mercy.

  • One should not, however, immediately look upon the deities full in the face. The proper manner in which one should take darshan of the Lord is described in Srimad Bhagvatam 2.2.13

    The proces of meditation should begin from lotus feet of the Lord and progres to His smiling face. The meditation should be concentrated upon the lotus feet then the calves, then the thighs and in this way higher and higher. The more the mind becomes fixed on diferent parts of the limbs one after another, the more the intelligence becomes purified.

  • Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport that such meditation will help us get detached from sense gratification. The mood of the devotee taking darshan is "Sir, I am your seternal servant. Please let me know how can I serve You?". The functions of the big deities in the temple are for giving darshan and usually are the istadevas of the sampradaya. So it is quite natural and respectful to see Them first.

    There are also other considerations. If there are three altars Like the Krishna Balaram Mandir in Vrindavan or Sri Sri Radha Rasbihari Mandir at Juhu then Srila Prabhupada would pay obeisances first at Gaur Nitai`s Altar then go to Krishna Balaram's Altar and then to Sri Sri Radha Syamsunder.

    Also the devotee may like to see his Guru first {but his Guru`s Picture may not be present} then take darshan in the ascending order to Krishna.

    While taking darshan one may stand at the sides so that darshan is not obstructed from the devotees who are siting. The darshan should begin, as we face the deities, from the left-hand corner and move progresively, Deity by Deity to the right-hand corner. In Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir this would mean beginning the darshan with Guru Parampara, then Lord Nityananda and ending with Sri Gopajli.
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