Temple Etiquette

We hope you find your quiet time in our temple enriching and uplifting. In the spirit of enhancing your visit, and respecting the Divine and other visitors, please help preserve the quiet and sanctity of the temple by adhering to these guidelines.

Preparing for your visit

  • Temple hours are normally 6:30 am to 7:00 pm. On class nights, it remains open until the end of the class. Be aware that  temple setup, maintenance, or music rehearsals may be going on during these hours.
  • In our tradition, we bring food or drink into the temple to offer  in ritualistic worship. Out of respect for this practice, please enjoy your drink or food outside. If you are bringing food to offer, please take it to the puja kitchen or monastery.
  • Wear modest clothing. Undo Velcro straps and zippers before entering the temple. Pocket your keys.
  • Turn off all electronic items.
  • Use the main doors for evening vespers, lectures and classes. Use the north door at other times.
  • Remove shoes at the entrance (except for class and spiritual talks times); there are racks inside the temple for this purpose. Please do not block the entrance with your shoes.
  • Please be as quiet as possible entering and leaving the temple.


While in the Temple

  • Please obtain permission before taking any photos or filming. We do not take photos during times of worship or meditation.
  • If you bring flowers, incense or candles to offer, please place your gift on the platform; please do not light incense or candles. The pujari will see that your gift is offered.
  • Please refrain from talking.
  • If your phone rings, please silence it immediately.
  • You are welcome to sit on the floor during meditation and worship. Women sit on the left, as you face the shrine, and men on the right. Sitting upright in a still meditation pose is the respectful posture to assume. If you need to stretch your legs toward the shrine, please cover legs and feet with a chaddar (meditation shawl) or coat.
  • Only monks and nuns sit on the platform for meditation. An exception is during the monthly vigil when you will see, or hear, devotees chanting “Jai Sri Ramakrishna”; this is done in hour shifts for 24 hours.
  • We show appreciation for lectures or devotional singing by offering pranams, that is by joining palms together and touching the tips of the fingers to the bowed head.
  • After vespers, prasad flowers (the flowers that were offered to the Lord during noon worship) are placed in a basket by the main door for you to take.  Out of love and respect, we do not place flowers on the floor or on shoes.
  • Also after vespers, the charanamrita (holy water in the small brass cup) is put out by the main entrance. Use the spoon to pour a small portion into your right palm.  Then sip and sprinkle on your head.
  • Use the restroom near the bookshop when open. Otherwise use restrooms just inside the main entrance.