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Deities: Gifts For and Gifts From
by Ravinder Sihra
Most visitors to the temple like to make offerings to the Deities. The day could be special for them so they make an offering of some kind to the Deities including donating some laksmi. The most popular offering they make is a bunch of flowers and then come fruits, incense etc. All this is to get blessings from the Lord so that their day becomes auspicious.
It would be a good idea if ISKCON temples start opening small Deity gift shops or a stall by the entrance of the temples or even a table outside the temple rooms or reception areas where congregational members can purchase fresh flowers, in some cases from the temple gardens, fresh fruit baskets nicely decorated, and garlands, Deity costumes, ornaments and jewelery and then offer them to the Deities.
Fresh flower garlands, Deity costumes, and flowers must be properly wrapped and sealed by devotees so they remain clean if they are to offer to be put on the Deities.
The idea is that all congregational members should be able to purchase gifts of their choice for offering to the Deities from the temple itself rather then buying from outside.
The gift shop should be divided into two sections. One for offering gifts to the Deities and the other for gifts from the Deities. This would give congregational members a chance to buy gifts from the temple that they would like to offer to the Deities and also give them a chance to buy gifts worn by the Deities, which they would maybe like to give as a present to someone special on a special day. Congregational members should also be given a chance to make special requests if they would like any ornaments, jewelery, costumes or garlands to be offered to the Deities, which they can have later after the gifts are put on the Deities.
Another thing the temples should introduce is a Deity gift catalogue illustrating items like ornaments, jewelery, costumes, etc, from which the congregational members can make a choice of gifts that they would like to offer to the Deities. They would of course have to place orders in advance unless the temple has the items in store that they want. The Deity gift catalogue can be compiled by senior matajis who have experience in Deity worship. The catalogue can then be distributed to all the ISKCON temples and posted to the life members and patrons that can place their orders through the catalogue hot line so that their items are ready in the temple on the day specified.
If the word gets around that the temples have Deity gift shops, a lot more visitors will buy straight from the temples. This would benefit the temples, and the congregational members would be pleased as they can purchase a gift of their choice for offering or one that is already offered for special occasions in their lives.
© CHAKRA 18 February 2002
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