Temple Programs and Bhajans Guide
The morning program begins at the auspicious time before sun-rise known as brahma-muhurta. It is said that the early morning hours is the optimal time for spiritual activities. There are several components of the morning program.
Around 4:00 AM or 4:30 AM, the most auspicious arati ceremony, known as mangala arati, takes place. While the Deities are being worshipped, the song glorifying the pure and bona fide spiritual master is sung loudly by devotees.
MANGALA ARATI SONG: Samsara Davanala Lidha Loka (Sri Gurvastakam)
Verse 9 is usually excluded from these prayers, although Verse 9 sings of the benefit of chanting this song at the brahma-muhurta time. Following any arati is the Nrsimha prayers. During the arati ceremony, one might unknowingly commit offenses. Therefore, in order to pray for forgiveness and glorify the one who removes obstacles, prayers to Lord Nrsimhadeva must be chanted.
NRSIMHA PRAYERS: Namaste Narasimhaya
Following the arati, the ten offenses of the Holy name are read out loud, to remind oneself the dangers of these offenses and guard against them.
The prayers of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu containing the philosophy of Sri Krsna sankirtana and the humble attitude of a devotee are sung.
SIKSASTAKAM: Ceto Darpana Marjanam (Sri Siksastakam)
Some temples will also sing the eight prayers glorifying the six Goswamis of Vrndavana:
PRAYERS TO THE SIX GOSWAMIS: Krsnotkirtana Gana Nartana (Sri Sadgosvamyastakam)
Then, devotees glorify the plant who is the dearest to the Lord. In fact, she is so potent that she can bestow pure devotion to Krsna. Therefore, devotees glorify her and pray for devotion to Krsna.
TULASI KIRTANA: Namo Namah Tulasi Krsna Preyasi (I)
JAPA: In the mornings around 5:30 AM, devotees are given time to chant on their rosary beads, known as the japamala. By the order of Srila Prabhupada, initiated devotees must chant sixteen rounds of the mahamantra on their japamala. For more information on how to properly do japa, please visit the Japa Page.
SRNGARA ARATI: During the japa, the pujaris will dress the Deities in their outfits for the day. When the curtains open around 7:00 AM, all devotees will offer obeisances and the recording of the Govindam prayers from the 1970 album “Radha Krsna Temple” will play.
GOVINDAM PRAYERS (Verses 4 and 6): Isvara Parama Krsna
The worship of the spiritual master takes place. All devotees will face Srila Prabhupada and offer worshipable arati items to him. The spiritual master is the only person who can help us connect to Lord Krsna. Although the spiritual master is not God, we worship him in the same manner as if God were to be worshipped.
GURU PUJA (Verses 1 through 4): Sri Guru Carana Padma Kevala Bhakati Sadma (Sri Guru Vandana)
DISCOURSE: A discourse usually follows with a reading of Bhagavata Purana (Srimad Bhagavatam) (Caitanya Caritamrta will be read if it is on Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance day). Before any discourse, an prelude prayer is sung.
PRELUDE PRAYER: Jaya Radha Madhava Jaya Kunjabihari
PRELUDE PRAYER ON CAITANYA CARITAMRTA: Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Doya Koro More
BREAKFAST: This concludes the morning program.
Sometimes in the mid-afternoon, an offering of food (bhoga) is given to the Deities. This arati is sometimes sung when the Deities are accepting the offering.
MID-AFTERNOON BHOGA: Bhaja Bhakata Vatsala Sri Gaura Hari
Anytime devotees accept prasada (remnants of the Lord’s bhoga), the prasadam prayers are sung:
PRASADA SEVAYA (PRAYERS HONORING PRASADAM):
Depending on how the temple operates, class on the Bhagavad Gita is done ideally for a half hour. After that, the evening arati ceremony takes place worshiping Lord Caitanya. The evening arati is known as sandhya arati.
SANDHYA ARATI: Jaya Jaya Gauracander Aratiko Sobha
Just like the mangala arati, it is followed by the Nrsimha prayers. After that, prasadam is served for the evening.
SPECIAL MISCELLANEOUS BHAJANS
Standard Prayers: The prayers to Srila Prabhupada, the Panca Tattva mahamantra, and the Hare Krsna mahamantra are the most commonly used. However, all of the prayers are used in some point in any ISKCON temple.
Damodarastakam (The eight-fold prayers glorifying Lord Krsna’s child form of Damodar during the month of Kartik [October-November])
Glorifying Lord Jagannatha Before Ratha Yatra (Eight-fold prayers sung before the festival of pulling the chariots of Lord Jaganantha, Baladeva, and Subhadra Devi)
Passing Away of a Devotee (Song sung in memoriam of a late devotee)