|Canto 11: General History||Chapter 27: Lord Kṛṣṇa's Instructions on the Process of Deity Worship|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.27.48
arcādiṣu yadā yatra
śraddhā māḿ tatra cārcayet
sarva-bhūteṣv ātmani ca
arcā-ādiṣu — in the Deity form and other manifestations of the Supreme Lord; yadā — whenever; yatra — in whichever form; śraddhā — faith develops; mām — Me; tatra — there; ca — and; arcayet — he should worship; sarva-bhūteṣu — within all created beings; ātmani — separately, in My original form; ca — also; sarva-ātmā — the original soul of all; aham — I am; avasthitaḥ — so situated.
Whenever one develops faith in Me — in My form as the Deity or in other bona fide manifestations — one should worship Me in that form. I certainly exist both within all created beings and also separately in My original form, since I am the Supreme Soul of all.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped according to the faith of a particular worshiper. The Deity form, arcā, is specifically mentioned here because Deity worship is essential for spiritual progress. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura mentions that inexperienced persons may think that the Deity is meant for the sense gratification of the worshiper, since superficially the Deity is made of external substances such as marble or brass. But through the process of installing the Deity by chanting of authorized mantras, one invites the Supreme Personality of Godhead to enter the Deity form. By regulated, faithful worship one gradually understands that the Deity is completely nondifferent from the Supreme Lord Himself. At that stage, on the strength of Deity worship, one rises to the second-class platform of devotional service. At this more developed stage one desires to make friendship with other devotees of the Lord, and as one becomes solidly established in the community of Vaiṣṇavas, one completely gives up material life and gradually becomes perfect in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
His Holiness Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari
Dravida dasa Brahmacari