(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 25 April 2017, Radhadesh, Belgium, Srimad Bhagavatam 7.15.68)
Worshiping the deity is a way to regulate our lives but this is not the real thing about worshiping the deity. In worshiping the deity, when you step onto the altar, you step into the spiritual world. Whoever is on the altar is actually in the spiritual world.
Although devotees are in the spiritual world while on the altar, they do not just walk around. They do everything according to prescribed rules and regulations. Everything is done according to the directions of scripture and in the mode of goodness because although we are elevated to the spiritual world by the mercy of the guru-parampara and by the mercy of Krsna who agrees to this whole system still we are not suitable to be in the spiritual world. We are like outsiders in the spiritual world. We do not really belong there but still, we are put on the altar when we are engaged in deity worship. All the arrangements on the altar are like the arrangements in the spiritual world – very opulent seating arrangements, thrones for Radha and Krsna, beautiful decoration, beautiful clothing and delicious foodstuff – the best of the best are being offered just as it is going on in the spiritual world.
In this material world, you cannot leave your house without a phone but in the spiritual world, you cannot leave the house without an aarti tray! You have to have one with you at any time because there is always someone to worship. Aarti is something like, “Hi, how are you?” You start to worship, this is a spiritual culture. It is quite amazing, everyone worships everyone, everyone glorifies everyone. In this way, there are loving exchanges, deeply respectful exchanges.
Respect comes from recognising good qualities in people, not only to recognise these good qualities but actually to deeply appreciate them, when we truly think a person is absolutely wonderful because the person has amazing qualities, it is actually very nice. In the spiritual world, everybody is like that! Everybody is full of wonderful qualities and everyone is appreciating everyone!