Use the arrow-buttons to navigate to nearby pages.

|Previous| |Next| |Main|


The icon of Udupi Krishna bedecked as the charioteer of Arjuna.

Krishna is worshipped fourteen times a day by the paryaaya Swamiji and others. The rituals begin at dawn and go late into the night. For the devotee who spends the whole day in Sri Krishna Mutt, there is never-ending bliss and excitement. Periodically during the different rituals the door to the navagraha window is opened and there is a mad rush to have His darshana. While waiting for these times, the devotees circumambulate the shrine, sit and meditate, and watch the local women as they come into the shrine and draw rangolii for the pleasure of the Lord. These drawings range from the pleasantly simple to the magnificently ornate.

The fourteen main rituals are

1.  nirmaalya visarjana puujaa           8.  alankaara puujaa 
2.  ushaHkaala puujaa                    9.  avasara sanakaadi puujaa
3.  akshayapaatra-gopuujaa              10.  mahaa puujaa 
4.  panchaamrtaabhishekha puujaa        11.  chaamara sevaa puujaa 
5.  udvartana puujaa                    12.  raatri puujaa 
6.  kalasha puujaa                      13.  maNTapa puujaa 
7.  tiirtha puujaa                      14.  shayanotsava puujaa 

The first ten of these puujaa-s take place in the forenoon and the remaining four in the evening. In this way the Lord of fourteen worlds is offered fourteen types of puujaa-s everyday.

nirmaalya visarjana puujaa

At 4:00 A.M. the door of the shrine is opened. The Swamiji in charge of the two-year paryaaya takes his bath in the Madhva Sarovara, and after his meditation and tarpaNa (libation) in the room adjacent to the garbha guDi (sanctum sanctorum), he enters the shrine. While the priests chant the Vedas and the bells ring, the Swamiji removes the flowers, sacred tuLasii leaves, sandalwood paste, etc., from the icon.

He then removes the ornaments used for dressing the icon on the previous day. The bare icon of Krishna holding a churning rod, which was originally revealed to Sri Madhva, can now be seen. This view of the unadorned Lord is known as vishvaruupa darshana. (The picture on the cover of the Dvaita Home Page web suite is of Krishna's vishvaruupa darshana.)

After the nirmaalya is removed, there is a five-fold service offered to Sri Krishna. TuLasii leaves and sandalwood paste are offered and morning breakfast is offered. Arati is offered on a round plate.

The dishes offered at this service are flat rice and curd (yogurt), groundnuts, ginger, jaggery, coconut, betel leaves and nuts.

ushaHkaala puujaa

After removing the previous day's decorations and flowers, the Swamiji pours water on the icon from two silver pots. After the icon is completely washed, the ushaHkaala puujaa is performed. Sandalwoodwood paste and tuLasii leaves are offered, and naivedya of rice, milk, curd, tender coconut water, banana, coconut, and betel leaves and nuts is then offered. Eight aarati-s are waved around the icon after naivedya.

akshaya paatra puujaa -- gopuujaa

Then the Swamiji performs puuja to the akshaya paatra and the cows. The akshaya paatra and ladle were presented to Krishna Mutt by Sri Madhva himself, with the blessing that the annadaana, or mass feeding of devotees, would continue in this holy place forever. This is the reason behind the worship of these items to this day.

Cows have free access and freedom of movement in the precincts of Sri Krishna Mutt. This is to commemorate the sport of Krishna who, in the form of a young boy, used to graze cows while sporting with the gopa youth and maidens in Vrindavan. The cows which come out of the cow-shed in the morning move about inside the shrine. A cow specially selected for the worship stands at the doors of the sanctum sanctorum and the Swamiji worships her.

Fried rice, laddus of country sugar, banana, etc, are offered to Sri Krishna and then aarati is performed. The same lamp used for offering aarati to Krishna is then waved around the akshaya paatra and the cow. The dishes are offered to the cows.

This can be an exciting time for the devotee. There is nothing like having your reverie broken when a very pushy cow brushes past you on her way to receive the remnants of the dishes offered to Sri Krishna. These cows have the uncanny ability to stand still for what seems like forever, while having their necks and throats rubbed and scratched by the Lord's devotees.

panchaamrtaabhisheka puujaa

This ritual is to be performed by the paryaaya Swamiji himself. While the priests chant the Vedic hymns in the hall known as suurya shaale, the sandalwood paste and flowers are removed and the icon of Sri Krishna is thoroughly washed. The Swamiji then pours coins of gold over it. Next, after worshipping the conch, the panchaamrta is poured on the icon. The abhisheka begins when a conch full of ghee is poured on the head of the icon and it flows down to the feet. Then milk, curd, honey and sugar are poured in that order. Tender coconut water is then poured on the icon for final cleaning. Water from thirty-two tender coconuts is used for the abhisheka.

After this abhisheka to Sri Krishna, sandalwood paste, flowers and tuLasii leaves are offered. Rice, coconut, and betel leaves and nuts are offered as naivedya and eight aarati-s are performed. The materials of abhisheka are then taken and poured on the icon of Hanuman. After this they are distributed to the devotees as sanctified water.

udvartana puujaa

Sri Krishna is then cleansed of oil and ghee, etc, and this fifth ritual is known as udvartana puujaa. Sri Krishna is rubbed with the powder of green gram to remove the grease, and then hot water is poured. Sandalwood paste, flowers and tuLasii are offered and then hot rice, milk, butter, and tender coconut are offered. Arati is then waved on a round plate.

kaLasha puujaa

The sixth puujaa is when Sri Krishna is bathed in pure water. Before this ritual begins, two golden pots are filled with clean water and the presiding deities of kaLasha are invoked. This is known as kaLasha puujaa. The golden pots are decorated with tuLasii and sandalwood paste and the Swamiji sanctifies this water with the chanting of praNava mantra, muula mantra, and the Krishna-mantra.

PiiTha puujaa is then performed, naivedya is offered, and aarati is waved. The rice offered at this time is later offered to the icon of GaruDa.

Up until the tiirtha puujaa one can have the vishvaruupa darshana of Krishna.

tiirtha puujaa

Now the ritual of abhisheka takes place. While the priests chant the Purushha suukta, the Swamiji pours holy water on Sri Krishna from the golden pots. After collecting the poured water in the tiirtha pot, the icon is gently wiped with a silken cloth.

Sandalwood paste and flowers are offered and then naivedya of pan cake, butter, jaggery, pudding, coconut, banana, and betel leaves and nuts is offered. Eight aarati-s are then waved.

alankaara puujaa

The next ritual is the decoration of Sri Krishna with various kinds of ornaments, armours, and halo-like arches. Rice, pudding, laddus, flat rice, curds, kosumbari, etc., are offered and sixteen aarati-s are waved. During alankaara (decoration), the navagraha window is closed to devotees.

Once the alankaara puujaa is completed, devotees can have darshana with Sri Krishna wearing His new ornaments and costumes. The icon of Sri Krishna is decorated differently each day to present a new image to the devotees. The only part of the icon not covered is the face. If Krishna wears a golden halo one day, He is dressed in an armor of diamonds the next, and so on. The icon is presented as the incarnation of Matsya (fish), Kuurma (tortoise), and Parashuraama or Raama on different occasions. There is a large treasure trove of ornaments made of silver, gold, diamonds, pearls and other costly stones. Many kings of Vijayanagar and from the Mysore palace have offered ornaments through the ages, to Krishna. As seen in the picture shown, the icon when dressed as the charioteer of Arjuna is quite breathtaking. This decoration is one of the special seva-s offered to Udupi Sri Krishna. The utsava-muurti is made of metal and is of the 'traditional' South Indian style. The main Krishna icon in the garbha-guDi is of stone. In the photograph, the main icon of Krishna is standing as it always does, but it has been decorated with an armour of handbeaten gold and silver. The four white horses pulling the chariot are of silver and the chariot is made of gold. Arjuna's icon is silver. The horses are placed in front of Sri Krishna in such a way as their tails are in front of His legs. The chariot is also arranged in such a way as to complete the illusion that Krishna is really sitting in the driver's seat. Sri Krishna's hands are made of gold; His right hand is in fact placed on the churning rod and his left is attached at his waist. These decorations are arranged to be at a slight angle so that the chariot would appear to be travelling from, say, north-east to south-west, not in a straight line across one's vision. This makes everything appear to be quite real.

Although the photo looks fabulous, the actual sight of this tableau through the nine hole window just overpowers the mind. In the flickering lamp light it appears as if one is actually seeing Sri Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield. Of course, as would be expected, artificial lighting has never been used inside the garbhaguDi.

It is also of note that every Friday the icon is decorated with female costumes, as a goddess (see the cover page of this section for an illustrative example). During the Navaratri festival, the icon is decked as a different goddess on each of the nine days.

It is said that once, for a whole paryaaya, Krishna was not decorated at all. The Swamiji wanted the devotees to worship Him as He is, and not for the glory of His ornaments. During this time a very important family came to have darshana, and the woman was upset that Sri Krishna was not dressed. That evening she removed all her gold and jewels and gave them to the Swamiji to use for Sri Krishna the next day. The next morning after the alankaara puujaa, she complained to the Swamiji that her gifts had not been used. He told her that if she returned during the next paryaaya she would see the icon dressed with her jewellery, but for the duration of the present one, the Lord would be worshipped unadorned.

avasara sanakaadi puujaa

The alankaara puujaa need not be performed by the paryaaya Swamiji himself. But the next two rituals, namely avasara sanakaadi puujaa and the mahaa puujaa, are to be performed by the paryaaya Swamiji only; none else is authorized to perform these two rituals. The ninth ritual, namely the avasara sanakaadi puujaa is a peculiar ritual performed only to Sri Krishna in Udupi.

The reason for this ritual is that Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara are the originators of the lineage of Srimad Ananda Tiirtha. It is known as the Sanaka lineage. Starting from these four divine beings, the lineage continues through Duurvaasa, Paratiirtha, Satya Prajna, Prajnatirtha and other saints. Saint Achyuta Prajna also belongs to this tradition. Then comes Sri Madhva. The lineage continues through the eight Swamijis of the Udupi ashhTa-maTha-s and also through Padmanabha Tiirtha. Thus Sanaka and others are at the head of the Maadhva guru-paramparaa.

When Sri Madhva installed the icon of Sri Krishna which came from Dwaarakaa, the Sanaka-s also wanted to worship the icon which had been worshipped by Rukmini herself. Sri Madhva permitted the Sanaka-s to offer services to Krishna in privacy before he himself performed the main puujaa Thus the tradition of worship by Sanaka and others has continued daily for the past seven centuries.

Before the worship begins, the navagraha window is closed. The Swamiji also comes out of the shrine and waits in the adjacent room. Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara come inside the sanctum sanctorum in solitude, and offer their services to Sri Krishna. The shrine is reserved for these invisible divine beings for some time. Then the Swamiji enters the shrine, offers naivedya and waves eight aarati-s.

mahaa puujaa

After the saints Sanaka and others complete their services to the Lord, it is believed that Sri Madhva himself performs the main puujaa through the agency of the paryaaya Swamiji. The mahaa puujaa is the last service in the forenoon.

Before performing the mahaa puujaa, the paryaaya Swamiji once again goes to the Madhva-sarovara to have a bath in the tank.

The drum known as nagaari is beaten to announce the commencement of the ritual. When the Swamiji begins his rituals, the priests begin to chant the Vishnu-sahasra-naama and Vedic texts.

The sound of the beating drum conveys the message to the whole town that the Swamiji is going to take a bath prior to this worship. Those who desire to witness the mahaa puujaa now begin to make their way towards Sri Krishna Mutt.

At the end of the archana, different dishes are offered as naivedya. This offering consists of fourteen ser-s of rice, sweet pudding, paramaanna, huggii, appa, vaDe chakkuli, gullorige, hoLige, atirasa, laDDu, laDDige, panchakajjaaya, milk, curds, fruits, coconut, betel leaves and nuts, etc. At the same time, rice cake and rice gruel, in remembrance of Kanaka Dasa, are offered in a silver bowl.

The Swamiji places tuLasii leaves onto the dishes and then comes out of the shrine for some time. It is believed that Sri Madhva himself comes into the shrine now to offer the dishes to Krishna.

During this ritual of samarpaNa, musicians chant the dvaadasha stotra-s.

After this offering of naivedya, aaratis are waved by the Swamiji and the assembled devotees ring bells and play different kinds of musical instruments such as shankha and taaLa. This mahaa puujaa is a feast to the eyes and ears of the devotees assembled in the shrine.

The Swamiji then makes his way to the shrine of Mukhya PraaNa and offers worship. The naivedya which was offered to Sri Krishna is now offered to Mukhya PraaNa. The Swamiji performs aarati both to Hanuman and Garuda.

The Swamiji then offers puujaa to the icon of Sri Madhva at the entrance to the main shrine. He stands at the steps and performs panchopachaara and waves aarati.

Proceeding to the room known as simhaasana, the Swamiji performs puujaa to the deities of his Mutt which are located here throughout the time of paryaaya. He then circumambulates the shrine and prostrates himself before the icon of Sri Krishna.

From the main shrine, the Swamiji now goes to the tank and offers oblation to the preceptors and saints and worships the icon of Bhaagiirathi (the river Ganga). Then the naivedya is thrown into the tank for the benefit of the fishes who live there.

From here the Swamiji proceeds towards the Subramanya shrine located by the side of the Vasanta Mahal. After worshipping Subramanya he visits the vrindavana and pays homage and offers holy water to his preceptors. He also goes round the pipal tree there and finally returns to the shrine of Krishna.

Back in the shrine, while sitting in the simhaasana, he distributes holy water to the devotees and greets those special visitors who have come to Udupi on pilgrimage. From the simhaasana he makes his way to the cauki and takes his food in the company of scholars and pilgrims. These are the activities of the mahaa puujaa.

In the Afternoon

After lunch the Swamiji sits for a while in his simhaasana, offers mantraakshatam to devotees and then returns to his room. He engages himself there in teaching and scholarly discussions with students and professors and also grants interviews to devotees.

The period 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. is resting time for the Mutt which started its busy routine of activities at 4:00 A.M. This is the time when devotees can enter the shrine at leisure and have darshana of Sri Krishna without too much noise and rush.

At 4:00 P.M., the drum announces the commencement of the evening rituals. Around 4:30 P.M., the scholars begin their discourses in the candrashaalaa while the Swamiji listens. They continue till around 6:00 P.M. when the sacred books are worshipped. The Swamiji himself attends this puujaa and offers prasaada to the assembled devotees. After this the singers assemble in the chandrashaalaa and start singing devotional songs and the Swamiji goes to the tank for another bath.

chaamara sevaa puujaa

While the Swamiji is engaged in his japa (meditation) after his bath, the utsava-muurti (festival icon) -- a small metal icon used in procession -- is brought to the maNTapa. A basket filled with fried rice is placed on each side of the icon. Milk, fruit, coconuts, betel leaves and nuts, and laDDu-s are placed in front of the icon.

On both sides of the maNTapa the rows of oil lamps brighten the area. The Swamiji completes his evening meditation and arrives at the passage in between the maNTapa and candrashaalaa. Two chowrii-s (hand-held fans used in worship) made of yak's tail set in golden handles are kept there. The Swamiji picks them up and waves them in front of the icon in an intricate manner. This is the first of two rituals performed in service of Krishna outside the garbha guDi. The second is the maNTapa puujaa which takes place after the raatri puujaa.

For about five minutes the Swamiji serves the Lord by fanning Him with the chowrii-s. The Swamiji then hands over the chowries to his disciples who continue to wave the chowries in an artistic manner.

The Swamiji himself now performs pa~nchopachaara puujaa by offering the fried rice and jaggery kept in the baskets. Through the navagraha window he waves aarati to Sri Krishna inside the sanctum sanctorum, and then to the small icon on the maNTapa. He then waves aarati to the icons of Hanuman and GaruDa in the chandrashaalaa. From here the Swamiji goes to his simhaasana and worships the icons of his own MaTha.

raatri puujaa

From the simhaasana, the Swamiji enters the garbha guDi for the raatri puujaa. After chanting the hundred and eight names of Vishnu, he offers naivedya consisting of tamarind rice, pancake, tender coconut, coconut, panchakajjaaya, and betel leaf and nut. He then waves aarati-s of different kinds.

Coming out of the sanctum sanctorum the Swamiji offers worship to the icon of Sri Madhva at the entrance.

Musicians known as bhaagavata-s sing devotional songs along with their disciples and dance according to the rhythm. Their service to the Lord is a veritable feast for the eyes.

ranga puujaa to Hanuman

Rows of oil lamps are lit on both sides of the passage in between the shrines of Mukhya PraaNa and GaruDa. The panchakajjaaya offered to Sri Krishna's icon is now spread out on the plantain leaf laid on the floor between the rows of lamps. The Swamiji offers this dish to the icon of Mukhya Prana and waves aarati. This is a special service offered to the intimate devotee of the Lord. The famous prasaada of Udupi is this very panchakajjaaya dish that has been offered to Krishna and Hanuman.

maNTapa puujaa

The festival icon of Sri Krishna is brought out in a palanquin and placed in cradle in the maNTapa. The Swamiji then rocks the cradle and while he is doing this, Sri Krishna is serenaded by the musicians playing their instruments and singing. The Swamiji offers fried rice and performs aarati. The maNTapa puujaa is a feast for the eyes as well as for the ears.

This is also known as vaalaga maNTapa puujaa. In 1971, Sri Vidyaamaanya Tiirtha Swamiji of Sri Palimar Mutt offered to Sri Krishna the golden cradle used in this ritual.

During the month of vaishaakha this service is held in the Vasanta Mahal. Formerly during the special festivals of the year, it was held in the open place by the side of the Shirur Mutt in front of the room in which the silver chariot is now housed.

When the Swamiji steps down from the maNTapa, he goes and sits in the chandrashaalaa and listens to the eight kinds of sevaa (service) offered to Krishna. These services are in the form of Rg Veda sevaa, Yajur Veda sevaa, Saama Veda sevaa, Atharva Veda sevaa, Vedanta sevaa, Itihaasa sevaa, PuraaNa sevaa, and sangiita (music) sevaa.

If a devotee has offered a special service that day he is given the privilege of honouring the Swamiji by offering sandalwood paste and waving aarati.

The icon of Krishna is now placed in the palanquin and taken around the garbha guDi to the melodious accompaniment of the flute.

ekaanta sevaa -- shayanotsava puujaa

After the palanquin has gone around the shrine, it stops at the entrance and Swamiji takes the icon of Sri Krishna into the first room, where it is placed in a golden cradle. This cradle is situated behind the entrance guarded by Sri Chenna Keshava. From now until the dawn Krishna is supposed to sleep here. Only the Swamiji and his immediate associates participate in this service and for this reason it is known as ekaanta sevaa, worship in seclusion.

While the Swamiji rocks Sri Krishna in the golden the cradle, the musicians sing lullabies. The Swamiji offers milk, sandalwood paste, sandalwood oil, holy leaves, nutmeg, cloves, perfume, etc., and waves aarati.

The golden cradle used in this ritual was offered by the Swamiji of Admar Mutt, Sri Vibudhesha Tiirtha Swamiji, during his paryaya in 1973. This was accomplished through the generous help of the Lord's devotees.

This is the termination of the fourteen services offered each day to Lord Krishna. The Swamiji now sits on the simhaasana and distributes prasaada to devotees and pilgrims. By around 11:00 P.M. all the daily rituals in Sri Krishna Mutt have been completed and the shrine is locked for the night, to reopen at 4:00 A.M. the next morning for yet another day in the service of Krishna.

This section is due to Raymond Crawford. Much of the material comes from a book published for the 1984 paryaaya of H.H. Sri Vishwesha Tiirtha Swamiji, by Bannanje Govindacharya, U.P. Upadhyaya, and Muralidhar Upadhyaya.

|Previous| |Next| |Main|

Use the arrow-buttons to navigate to nearby pages.

Created April 26, 1996; last updated August 10, 2001.