Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 3 - Chapter 1 - Verse 24


अहमुच्चावचैर्द्रव्यै: क्रिययोत्पन्नयानघे ।नैव तुष्येऽर्चितोऽर्चायां भूतग्रामावमानिन: ॥ २४ ॥


aham uccāvacair dravyaiḥkriyayotpannayānaghenaiva tuṣye ’rcito ’rcāyāṁbhūta-grāmāvamāninaḥ


My dear mother, even if he worships with proper rituals and paraphernalia, a person who is ignorant of My presence in all living entities never pleases Me by the worship of My Deities in the temple.


There are sixty-four different prescriptions for worship of the Deity in the temple. There are many items offered to the Deity, some valuable and some less valuable. It is prescribed in Bhagavad-gītā: “If a devotee offers Me a small flower, a leaf, some water or a little fruit, I will accept it.” The real purpose is to exhibit one’s loving devotion to the Lord; the offerings themselves are secondary. If one has not developed loving devotion to the Lord and simply offers many kinds of foodstuffs, fruits and flowers without real devotion, the offering will not be accepted by the Lord. We cannot bribe the Personality of Godhead. He is so great that our bribery has no value. Nor has He any scarcity; since He is full in Himself, what can we offer Him? Everything is produced by Him. We simply offer to show our love and gratitude to the Lord. This gratitude and love for God is exhibited by a pure devotee, who knows that the Lord lives in every living entity. As such, temple worship necessarily includes distribution of prasāda. It is not that one should create a temple in his private apartment or private room, offer something to the Lord, and then eat. Of course, that is better than simply cooking foodstuffs and eating without understanding one’s relationship with the Supreme Lord; people who act in this manner are just like animals. But the devotee who wants to elevate himself to the higher level of understanding must know that the Lord is present in every living entity, and, as stated in the previous verse, one should be compassionate to other living entities. A devotee should worship the Supreme Lord, be friendly to persons who are on the same level and be compassionate to the ignorant. One should exhibit his compassion for ignorant living entities by distributing prasāda. Distribution of prasāda to the ignorant masses of people is essential for persons who make offerings to the Personality of Godhead. Real love and devotion is accepted by the Lord. Many valuable foodstuffs may be presented to a person, but if the person is not hungry, all such offerings are useless for him. Similarly, we may offer many valuable items to the Deity, but if we have no real sense of devotion and no real sense of the Lord’s presence everywhere, then we are lacking in devotional service; in such a state of ignorance, we cannot offer anything acceptable to the Lord.