What's Puja?

What's Puja?

Puja is worship. The Sanskrit time period puja is utilized in Hinduism to check with the worship of a deity by way of observance of rituals including every day prayer choices after a shower or as diversified as the following:

Sandhyopasana: The meditation on God because the light of knowledge and wisdom at dawn and dusk
Aarti: Ritual of worship in which light or lamps are offered to the deities amid devotional songs and prayer chants.
Homa: The offering of oblations to the deity in a duly consecrated fire
Jagarana: Keeping vigil at evening amidst a lot devotional singing as a part of spiritual discipline.
Upavasa: Ceremonial fasting.

All these rituals for puja are a method to achieve purity of mind and focusing on the divine, which Hindus believe, can be a fitting stepping stone to knowing the Supreme Being or Brahman.

Why You Need an Image or Idol for a Puja
For the puja, it is important for a devotee to set an idol or icon or a picture and even symbolic holy object, such as the shivalingam, salagrama, or yantra earlier than them to assist them contemplate and revere god through the image. For many, it is troublesome to concentrate and the mind keeps wavering, so the image will be considered as an actualized type of the perfect and this makes it straightforward to focus. In line with the concept of ‘Archavatara,’ if the puja is performed with utmost devotion, during puja god descends and it is the image that houses Almighty.

The Steps of Puja in the Vedic Tradition
Dipajvalana: Lighting the lamp and praying to it because the symbol of the deity and requesting it to burn steadily until the puja is over.
Guruvandana: Obeisance to 1’s own guru or spiritual teacher.
Ganesha Vandana: Prayer to Lord Ganesha or Ganapati for the removal of obstacles to the puja.
Ghantanada: Ringing the bell with appropriate mantras to drive away the evil forces and welcome the gods. Ringing the bell can also be crucial throughout ceremonial bathtub of the deity and providing incense etc.
Vedic Recitation: Reciting Vedic mantras from Rig Veda 10.63.3 and 4.50.6 to steady the mind.
Mantapadhyana: Meditation on the miniature shrine construction, typically made of wood.
Asanamantra: Mantra for purification and steadiness of the seat of the deity.
Pranayama & Sankalpa: A brief breathing train to purify your breath, settle and focus your mind.
Purification of Puja Water: Ceremonial purification of the water in the kalasa or water vessel, to make it fit for use in puja.
Purification of Puja Gadgets: Filling up the sankha, conch, with that water and inviting its presiding deities similar to Surya, Varuna, and Chandra, to reside in it in a subtle kind and then sprinkling that water over all the articles of puja to consecrate them.

Sanctifying the Body: Nyasa with the Purusasukta (Rigveda 10.7.90) to invoke the presence of the deity into the image or idol and offering the upacharas.
Providing the Upacharas: There are a number of items to be offered and tasks to be carried out earlier than the Lord as an outpouring of affection and devotion for god. These embody a seat for the deity, water, flower, honey, cloth, incense, fruits, betel leaf, camphor, etc.
Note: The above technique is as prescribed by Swami Harshananda of Ramakrishna Mission, Bangalore. He recommends a simplified version, which is talked about below.

Simple Steps of a Traditional Hindu Worship:
Within the Panchayatana Puja, i.e., puja to the 5 deities – Shiva, Devi, Vishnu, Ganesha, and Surya, one’s own family deity should be kept in the center and the opposite 4 around it in the prescribed order.

Bathing: Pouring water for bathing the idol, is to be completed with gosrnga or the horn of a cow, for the Shiva lingam; and with sankha or conch, for Vishnu or salagrama shila.
Clothing & Flower Decoration: While offering cloth in puja, completely different types of material are offered to totally different deities as is said in scriptural injunctions. Within the daily puja, flowers may be offered instead of cloth.
Incense & Lamp: Dhupa or incense is offered to the ft and deepa or light is held before the face of the deity. Throughout arati, the deepa is waved in small arcs before the deity’s face after which earlier than the whole image.
Circumbulation: Pradakshina is completed 3 times, slowly in the clocksensible direction, with arms in namaskara posture.
Prostration: Then is the shastangapranama or prostration. The devotee lies down straight with his face dealing with the floor and hands stretched in namaskara above his head in the direction of the deity.
Distribution of Prasada: Last step is the Tirtha and Prasada, partaking of the consecrated water and meals offering of the puja by all who've been a part of the puja or witnessed it.

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