Altar Picture

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Here's a picture of Lord Krishna and His expansions for your altar. Devotees regard Krishna and His image as identical, and the scriptures confirm that Krishna manifests in His image to accept the worship of His devotees.

Click on the below image for a large, printable version.

Sri Pancha-tattva

This image depicts Sri Pancha-tattva, Krishna's mercy manifestation in five features. In the center stands Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Golden Avatar, Krishna Himself, who descended on earth 525 years ago in the form of His own devotee. On His right, Sri Gadadhara Prabhu, the expansion of Krishna's internal energy. On His left, in blue cloth, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, who is Lord Balarama, Krishna's first expansion, the original spiritual master. At far left, in white, Sri Advaita Prabhu, the combined incarnation of Krishna's creative potencies Maha-vishnu and Shiva, who petitioned Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to descend for the deliverance of the conditioned souls of this age. At far right, with shaven head and saffron cloth, Srivasa Prabhu, the embodiment of pure devotion to Krishna. Together, these five expansions of Krishna form the most merciful incarnation for the present age. Sri Pancha-tattva accept whatever offering, prayers and service we give Them, regardless of our qualification, without considering any offense.

Devotees approach Krishna through the succession of spiritual masters who connect them to Krishna, considering themselves assistants in their spiritual masters' worship of Krishna. They begin their meditation with prayers to the spiritual master, and include pictures of the recent spiritual masters in disciplic succession below the picture of Lord Krishna. So, for example, when devotees offer food to Krishna, they first offer it to their spiritual master with the understanding that they are assisting their spiritual master in offering the food to Krishna (see prayers for offering food).

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