In the Viṣṇu-dharmottara there is a statement about touching the lotus feet of the Lord. It is said: "Only a person who is initiated as a Vaiṣṇava and is executing devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has the right to touch the body of the Deity." In India there was agitation during Gandhi's political movement because the lowborn classes of men like street-sweepers and caṇḍālas are prohibited, according to the Vedic system, from entering the temple. Due to their unclean habits they are prohibited, but at the same time they are given other facilities so they may be elevated to the highest grade of devotional service by association with pure devotees. A man born in any family is not barred, but he must be cleansed. That cleansing process must be adopted. Gandhi wanted to make them clean simply by stamping them with a fictitious name, Hari-jana (children of God), and so there was a great tug of war between the temple owners and Gandhi's followers.
But anyway, the present law is the law of all scripture—that if anyone is purified he can enter into the temple. Actually, that is the position. Only one who is properly initiated, who is properly following the rules and regulations, can enter and touch the Deity—not all. And one who touches the body of the Deity, following such regulative principles, is immediately delivered from the contamination of material sins, and all of his desires become fulfilled without delay.
In the Varāha Purāṇa, also, there is a statement praising the touching of the Deity of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the temple. A devotee says there: "My dear Vasundharā, any person who goes to Vṛndāvana and sees the Deity of Govindadeva is free from the courthouse of Yamarāj and is allowed to enter into the highest planetary system, in which reside the demigods." This means that even an ordinary person who goes to Vṛndāvana out of inquisitiveness and by chance sees the temple, especially that of Govindadeva, even if he is not elevated to the spiritual kingdom, is still assured promotion to the higher planetary systems. This means that simply by visiting the Deity of Govinda in Vṛndāvana one becomes highly elevated in pious life.
Observing Ārātrika and Celebrations of the Lord
In the Skanda Purāṇa there is the following description of the result of seeing ārātrika (worship) of the Deity: "If someone sees the face of the Lord while ārātrika is going on, he can be relieved of all sinful reactions coming from many, many thousands and millions of years past. He is even excused from the killing of a brāhmaṇa or similar prohibited activities."
As we have already explained, there are different ceremonies to be observed, such as the birthday of Kṛṣṇa, the birthday of Lord Rāmacandra, the birthday of some prominent Vaiṣṇavas, the ceremony of Jhulan-yātrā with the Lord sitting on a swing, Dola-yātrā (the Lord's activities in the month of March), and so on. In all festivals the Lord is seated on the car, and the car moves through different streets of the city so that people may take advantage of visiting the Lord. In the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa it is said: "In such a ceremony, if even a caṇḍāla (dog-eater), simply out of curiosity, sees the Lord on the cart, he becomes counted as one of the associates of Viṣṇu."
In the Garuḍa Purāṇa it is stated: "Any person who in gladness sees the worship of the Deity in the temple will obtain the results of kriyā-yoga which are described in the Pañcarātra scripture." Kriyā-yoga is a system of practice much like practical devotional service, but it is especially meant for the mystic yogīs. In other words, by this gradual process, the mystic yogīs are eventually elevated to the devotional service of the Lord.