What's Puja?

What's Puja?

Puja is worship. The Sanskrit time period puja is used in Hinduism to consult with the worship of a deity by means of observance of rituals together with daily prayer offerings after a bath or as varied as the next:

Sandhyopasana: The meditation on God because the light of knowledge and knowledge 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 way to achieve purity of mind and specializing in the divine, which Hindus consider, 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 an image and even symbolic holy object, such because the shivalingam, salagrama, or yantra earlier than them to assist them contemplate and revere god through the image. For most, it is tough to concentrate and the mind keeps wavering, so the image might be considered as an actualized form of the ideal and this makes it easy to focus. Based on the idea of ‘Archavatara,’ if the puja is carried out with utmost devotion, during puja god descends and it is the image that houses Almighty.

The Steps of Puja within the Vedic Tradition
Dipajvalana: Lighting the lamp and praying to it as the image of the deity and requesting it to burn steadily till the puja is over.
Guruvandana: Obeisance to at least one’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 is also crucial throughout ceremonial tub of the deity and offering 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 exercise 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 akin to Surya, Varuna, and Chandra, to reside in it in a subtle form and then sprinkling that water over all of the articles of puja to consecrate them.

Sanctifying the Body: Nyasa with the Purusasukta (Rigveda 10.7.ninety) to invoke the presence of the deity into the image or idol and providing 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 include a seat for the deity, water, flower, honey, cloth, incense, fruits, betel leaf, camphor, etc.
Note: The above methodology is as prescribed by Swami Harshananda of Ramakrishna Mission, Bangalore. He recommends a simplified version, which is mentioned below.

Simple Steps of a Traditional Hindu Worship:
In the Panchayatana Puja, i.e., puja to the 5 deities – Shiva, Devi, Vishnu, Ganesha, and Surya, one’s own family deity needs to be kept in the middle and the other four around it within the prescribed order.

Bathing: Pouring water for bathing the idol, is to be finished with gosrnga or the horn of a cow, for the Shiva lingam; and with sankha or conch, for Vishnu or salagrama shila.
Clothing & Flower Ornament: While providing material in puja, completely different types of cloth are offered to different deities as is acknowledged in scriptural injunctions. Within the each day puja, flowers might be offered instead of cloth.
Incense & Lamp: Dhupa or incense is offered to the toes and deepa or light is held before the face of the deity. During arati, the deepa is waved in small arcs earlier than the deity’s face and then earlier than the whole image.
Circumbulation: Pradakshina is done thrice, slowly in the clocksmart 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 palms stretched in namaskara above his head in the direction of the deity.
Distribution of Prasada: Final step is the Tirtha and Prasada, partaking of the consecrated water and food offering of the puja by all who've been a part of the puja or witnessed it.

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