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Sadhana, see also Practices

Deities and Deity Worship

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Krishna's Deity form is His physical likeness in the material world. Such forms are made of stone, metal, wood, paint, or other materials and are worshiped as Krishna Himself.

Krishna is the Absolute Truth, the source of all things, including personality and form. His personal form is superior to all other forms. He is completely spiritual—permanent, all-knowing, and supremely joyful—and there's no difference between Krishna and his form.

He appears in this world as the Deity—an apparently material form—because our materially covered senses can only perceive matter. We can't see spirit, but we can see and serve Krishna in His Deity form. The philosophy and practices of Deity worship are elaborately described in the Vedic writings.

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Krishna consciousness is a science of practical action. The goal isn't to stop acting but to fully engage in service to the Supreme Person. Deity worship allows us to associate with Krishna in a form we can see and touch.

The process of Deity worship provides opportunities to bathe, dress, feed, and decorate Krishna, as well as entertain Him by singing and dancing, decorating the temple, and bringing others to see Him. The more we become involved in such service, the more tangible our relationship with Krishna becomes.

Deities and paintings of Krishna are based on descriptions found in Vedic literature, which also explain in detail how to worship Them. Deity worship is distinct from idolatry, which is usually defined as worship of any cult image, idea, or object, as opposed to the worship of a personal form of God.

God is omnipotent. All energies, material and spiritual, are completely under His control—He can turn matter into spirit and vice versa. Krishna is not wood or stone, but Krishna appears to us as stone or as wood to enable us to see and serve Him.

(The painting depicts Krishna devotees chanting in kirtan before the temple Deity.)