Caitanya Caritamrta—Madhyalila-15.108—- For conditioned souls to do devotional service, deity worship is necessary.
935) Whether I know for my early realization I need to accept Deity worship! Taught by Srila Prabhupada!
——————- Similarly, the Rämärcana-candrikä states:
vinaiva diksäm viprendra purascaryäm vinaiva hi
vinaiva nyäsa-vidhinä japa-mätrena siddhi-dä
“O best of the brähmanas, even without initiation, preliminary purification or acceptance of the renounced order, one can attain perfection in devotional service simply by chanting the Lord’s holy name.”
In other words, the chanting of the Hare Krsna mahä-mantra is so powerful that it does not depend on official initiation, but if one is initiated and engages in pancarätra-vidhi (Deity worship), his Krsna consciousness will awaken very soon, and his identification with the material world will be vanquished. The more one is freed from material identification, the more one can realize that the spirit soul is qualitatively as good as the Supreme Soul. At such a time, when one is situated on the absolute platform, one can understand that the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical. At that stage of realization, the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krsna mantra, cannot be identified with any material sound. ———————————–