By Caitanya candrodaya dasa
The desire to see God, to touch God, to talk to God is in itself probably the strongest argument for His existence; besides the logic and evidences from the scriptures, this direct experience is very significant indeed. Bringing Deity Worship from the insiders circle of elderly pujari-priests and making it part of the congregational development is probably the only way it may become part of the positive future for many places in ISKCON. While everyone hankers for direct experience of God in person, it is rarely attained, even for great souls like Sri Narada of Srimad-Bhagavatam, what to speak of the beginners like us. Yet Srila Prabhupada and the acaryas place the arcana, or Deity Worship, in the realm of service opportunities for neophytes. It is true that the worship of God in His deity form may attract neophytes, but it will also promote us to the next level of advancement, if done properly. Thus expanding the scope of Deity worship is a direct preaching, especially if done in an attitude of care and encouragement to the aspiring devotees. The “proof of the pudding is in the tasting” (sometimes misquoted as “proof is in the pudding”, which is not true..) and the practical experience of God via processes of bhakti-yoga provides that conclusive personal proof of His existence, yet the arcana process of tasting requires and demands the community expansion to survive these days.