There is this specific statement in the Padma Purāṇa: "A person who honors the prasādam and regularly eats it, not exactly in front of the Deity, along with caraṇāmṛtam (the water offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, which is mixed with seeds of the tulasī tree), immediately can achieve the results of pious activities which are obtained through ten thousand performances of sacrificial rites."
Caraṇāmṛtam is obtained in the morning while the Lord is being washed before dressing. Scented with perfumes and flowers, the water comes gliding down through His lotus feet and is collected and mixed with yogurt. In this way this caraṇāmṛtam not only becomes very tastefully flavored, but it also has tremendous spiritual value. It is described in the Padma Purāṇa that even a person who has never been able to give in charity, who has never been able to perform a great sacrifice, who has never been able to study the Vedas, who has never been able to worship the Lord—or, in other words, even one who has never done any pious activities—if he simply drinks the caraṇāmṛtam which is kept in the temple, he will become eligible to enter into the kingdom of God. In the temple it is the custom that the caraṇāmṛtam be kept in a big pot. The devotees who come to visit and offer respects to the Deity very submissively take three drops of caraṇāmṛtam and feel themselves happy in transcendental bliss.
Smelling the Incense
In the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya there is a statement about the incense which is offered in the temple: "When the devotees smell the good flavor of the incense which is offered to the Deity, they thus become cured of the poisonous effects of material contamination, as much as one becomes cured of a snake bite by smelling the prescribed medicinal herbs." The explanation of this verse is that there is an herb which is found in the jungles which expert persons know how to use to revive the consciousness of one who is bitten by a snake. Simply by smelling that herb one becomes immediately relieved of the poisonous effects of the snake bite. The same example is applicable: when a person comes to visit the temple and smells the incense offered to the Deity, he is cured at that time from all his material contamination.
Any devotee coming into the temple should always offer something to the Deity—fruit, flowers, incense, etc. If one cannot offer anything in cash, something else must be offered. In India the system is that all the ladies and gentlemen who come in the morning to visit the temple bring so many things. Even one morsel of rice or one morsel of flour can be offered. It is a regulative principle that one should not go to see a saintly person or the Deity in the temple without any offering. The offering may be very humble, or it may be priceless. Even a flower, a little fruit, a little water—whatever is possible—must be offered. So when a devotee comes to offer something to the Deity in the morning, he is sure to smell the good flavor of the incense, and then at once he will become cleansed of the poisonous effect of material existence.