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  • Ram Krishna Dasa

    Member
    September 2, 2023 at 6:02 pm

    Hare Krishna!

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

    As per Vaishnav etiquettes, we generally offer obeisance to the deities from our left side.

    Sharing some references and points in this regard:

    1. Srila Prabhupada comments in his purport to SB 7.5.23-24 while explaining vandanam or offering obeisances that following are some of the offenses to be avoided: (a) to offer obeisances on one hand, (b) to offer obeisances with one’s body covered, (c) to show one’s back to the Deity, (d) to offer obeisances on the left side of the Deity, (e) to offer obeisances very near the Deity.

    2. As per Hari Bhakti Vilas 8.391, one should not offer obeisance too close in front of the deity, at His back or on His left side. So we offer obeisance from the left as we face Him or His right as He faces us.

    3. Generally in our ISKCON temples, we have a deity of Srila Prabhupada exactly opposite to the deity of the Lord. Hence if we offer straight obeisance from the front to the Lord, then our feet would be directed to Srila Prabhupada and we do not want to do that. Hence we offer obeisance from our left side or deity’s right side.

    4. We should offer obeisance not just physically by our body but also with our heart and words. Hence it is recommended to chant some pranam mantras while offering obeisances and also since our heart is on the left side, we prefer to offer obeisance from our left side.

    With regards to temples outside ISKCON, it depends on the traditions being followed there.

    Some temples do not have any deity opposite to the main deities of the Lord so they prefer to offer obeisance from the front although it is not wrong even if we offer obeisance from our left.

    Some temples have deities in all directions, so we offer full obeisances outside the temple before entering so as to not point our feet to any deity.

    Some South Indian temples have a deity of Garuda opposite to the deity of Vishnu so again it is not recommended to offer obeisance to the deities from the front.

    So keeping these general principles in mind and acting as per time, place, circumstance, we may offer obeisance accordingly in temples outside ISKCON.

    Hope this helps.

    In your service,

    Ram Krishna Dasa