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Offering Tulsi Puja

"...all the members of the household should be engaged in the daily service of the Lord, beginning from morning (4 a.m.) till night (10 p.m.) by performing mangala-aratrika, niranjana, arcana, puja, kirtana, srngara, bhoga-vaikali, sandhya-aratrika, patha, bhoga (at night), sayana-aratrika, etc. Engagement in such worship of the Deity, under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master, will greatly help the householders to purify their very existence and make rapid progress in spiritual knowledge."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:3:22 Purport

If one honestly calculates the amount of time required to fulfill Srila Prabhupada's exact instructions for a complete daily sadhana program, they will agree it is extremely challenging to maintain. After all the proscribed activities are completed, one would have approximately four hours left in the day to devote to other pursuits - like making a living. This schedule would allow only six hours per day for sleep. In fact, the schedule doesn't even include preaching or street sankirtana, which Srila Prabhupada also encouraged his followers to perform.

"The bhakti-yoga we are teaching in this Krsna consciousness movement twenty-four hours' engagement. Superficially we engage from four o'clock in the morning till ten o'clock at night, and that is resting time. But when one is advanced in devotional service, while sleeping he also serves Krsna. That means twenty-four hours, satatam. ...in sleeping you also dream, so what we do during daytime we dream at night."

Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11-11-76, Vrindaban

In reality, being fully engaged by Srila Prabhupada in his process for Bhakti-yoga is all-consuming. Somehow or other, each individual must use their intelligence to juggle all the demands made by the Spiritual Master, and to arrive at a balanced program. Srila Prabhupada has given us instruction on how to set priorities on a daily basis, and if we are surrendered and sincere, we can arrange our lives to accommodate the needful. For example, Srila Prabhupada taught us to be careful of our health - too little sleep or not enough exercise is counter-productive and mode of passion. We should eat only simple, healthy foods at regulated times, except on feast days, and avoid eating big meals in the evening. Daily sadhana activities can't be performed if we're half asleep, especially reading, studying, chanting japa and attending classes. The dilemmas we face in developing a daily program challenge our intelligence and force us to surrender our independence and rely on the guidance of the Spiritual Master.

For example, a typical daily program at home might be:

  • 5:00 Rise and bathe
  • 5:30 Chant japa
  • 7:00 Have arati in the temple room
  • Chant a round and/or read together with family or friends
  • 7:30 Breakfast prasadam
  • 8:00 Get ready for work

A good beginniner's daily program might be:

  • Rise at least half an hour earlier
  • Bathe and dress
  • Chant japa for 15 to 30 minutes
  • Read Bhagavad-gita for 15 minutes
  • Take prasadam and get ready for work

Srila Prabhupada's Daily Program

Morning Program (4 1/2 hours)

    Rising and bathing (30 minutes)
    Mangala arati and Tulsi puja (30 minutes)
    Japa (2 hours)
    Guru puja (20 minutes)
    Greeting the deities (15 minutes)
    Bhagavatam class (45 minutes)

Morning Prasadam (1 hour)

    Preparation, taking, cleaning up

Reading and Studying - (2 hours)

Noon Program (1 1/2 hours)

    Preparing the offering Bhoga arati, cleaning up and taking prasadam

Evening Program (3 hours)

    Bathing, evening arati, classes, preparing and taking evening prasadam

Cleaning the temple, kitchen, clothing and altar (1 1/2 hours)

Sleeping and Personal (6 1/2 hours)

Total - 20 hours

Hours left in the day - 4 hours