Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to do Puja or Worship at Home

Here are some easy methods of doing your daily puja or worship at home that can be easily followed even by a layman or any fresher in this field.

As myself being a performer of the daily puja since many years, and as having developed a systematic procedure of doing it, I would like to share my personal experiences on how to do puja at home in a very simple and systematic manner. By following these simple tips, you can get the utmost satisfaction of performing your daily puja at home. And, you can evolve it in your own way with the help of these simple hints.

Puja Materials

  • Idol of God/Goddess or Photos/Images

  • Lamp holder (either bronze or steel or any metal)
  • Oil for lighting the light
  • Wicks and Matchbox
  • Flowers (optional)
  • Incense sticks (Agarbatti) and Camphor
  • A small Metal Pot and Spoon (preferably copper or silver) filled with water for performing puja.
  • A plate or wide bowl for dropping water into it as if offering to God or as if washing God's hands and feet.
  • Naivedyam

Preparations for Starting the Puja

Before starting to perform puja or the worship of God, one must get himself clean and pure by bathing and wearing pure and clean clothes. This keeps your body and minds cool and well-prepared for the meditation.

Dress for Puja

Most Orthodox people keep their silk dress solely for the puja purpose which is used only for performing the puja and then kept at a holy place for using it again on daily basis. In this case, the silk dress need not be washed daily. It can be washed weekly or given for dry wash fortnightly, or monthly as it is worn only for one hour or so while performing the daily puja.

If you are not using the silk dress, do not worry. You can wear any clothes washed daily and kept in a clean place without mingling with other dresses. You can wash them at night time before going to sleep and wear it in the morning for puja.

Best Place for Worship

The place of worship also needs to be kept clean and peaceful. You may place your God in a corner of a peaceful room or, if you have a separate room for puja, it is well and good. Keep the place neat and clean by cleaning it with a wet or dry cloth and/or with a small broom if kept separately for that purpose. It is desirable that you place your God in the East or North direction and sit (yourself) on the right side of God so that you can easily do the worship job. But, do not worry if you are unable to place Him in the desired direction due to the construction of your house. Simply tell Him about your helplessness and place Him in a convenient place that you think okay.

How to Perform  Daily Puja at Home

You can do it in a very simple manner according to your available time and facilities. But you should keep it a daily practice so that it bestows peace and happiness in your life and family. You may do it shortly for 10 to 15 minutes or, if time permits, a very long and detailed puja for more than one hour according to your facilities.

  • First, you will be cleaning the worship place and the idols. 
  • You will sit to the side of the place of God on a wooden plank or mat, but not in front of Him.
  • Then sprinkle some drops of water over the idols and around the place of puja. It is like bathing Gods. Puja is just a resemblance to the daily activities of your own lifestyle. It is just like you get up early in the morning, wash and bathe yourselves, wear new clothes, and, then, take food. In the same way, you are cleaning the God and wearing clothes to Him and offering your prayers and food to Him. 
  • You may not literally sprinkle water over the idols. You can keep a separate glass or small vase with water and an empty plate so that you show the water to God with a small copper spoon (or mango leaf or any flower) and then pour it into the plate symbolizing the offering of a bath. And, instead of clothes, you can place flowers as if offering clothes to God.
  • Before starting worship, you will light the oil lamp or deepam according to the Hindu customs. The lamps are generally made up of brass or panchaloha metal. Keep the lamps simple and small so that smoke will not occur. You may wash and clean them weekly or so to maintain them neat and clean.
  • Change the cotton vattulu (or wicks) daily morning and fill the lamp holder with oil only up to 75% level or like that so as to prevent from the spilling or overflowing of oil. Then light it with a matchstick.
  • You may place two oil lamps on both sides of God. While placing so, one deepam will be placed towards the east (towards Sun) and the other one towards North (for God). 
  • Wicks are generally lighted by combining two wicks into one in each lamp holder which represents the full family or the man-woman bondage. This brings harmony and happiness to the family.
  • After lighting lamps, you will chant/recite the hymns or sloka of  Lord Ganesha and Vishnu / Shiva "Suklambaradharam" etc., and then make the guru stuthi by paying respects to the tree of your gurus (teachers of the family tree). It starts with the guru of your old ancestors and ends with your present guru.
  • Then, you can recite all your hymns and slokas in praise of your God known as stothram. You can read or recite as many as you can according to your available time or family traditions. Puja books are also available at any shop of the puja material.
  • If you can afford, you may worship with flowers also.
  • After worship and prayers are over, you will light the incense sticks and show round your Gods.
  • After offering the incense, show the light of the lamp towards God with your right hand.
  • Now, offerings of food and fruits are made to God by showing the food and fruit with your right hand towards Gods' mouth as if feeding Him.
  • The last thing to offer is the lighting of camphor and reciting arati lines or songs.
  • Now, your puja is over and you can take the prasadam and offer your family members also.
  • Those doing Gayatri mantra daily will first perform the Gayatri puja by standing or sitting facing the direction of the Sun and, thereafter, start the daily puja.

Special Puja at Home

During special occasions like festivals or some auspicious ceremonies of your family, you may like to devote more time to God for expressing your deep love and devotion towards Him. On such occasions, you can perform a bit longer and detailed worship in a blissful mood.

So, besides the daily formal worship, you may want to worship Him more sincerely contributing more time and devotion. Some of the rituals can include as follows.

  • You may bathe your God with water using some soft soap or even shampoo for the cleansing purpose. Goddess idol can be bathed by applying some turmeric powder also.
  • You may pour milk and rose water also while doing so.
  • After the bath is over, dry the idols. If they are photos, you will not bathe them. Simply sprinkle some drops and clean with a pure cloth.
  • Then apply turmeric and kumkum powder to the seat or place of God before placing the God on it. 
  • Apply some turmeric to the feet of Goddess and tilak on the forehead to both God and Goddess.
  • Then you can adore Gods with flowers.
  • Decorate the puja room or place also beautifully.
  • You may decorate with electric lights also.
  • You can light more oil lights or place more wicks in each lamp if there is provision for placing five wicks in each light lamp to make the place dazzling and beautiful.
  • Do the puja or worship as done daily but while reciting the names of God you can worship with flowers at chanting of each name. 1000-Name worships can be done by offering 1000 flowers or petals of flowers at each name. Worship is done with some special leaves of plants and trees also on certain occasions. You can buy the prayer books and the puja material from puja material stores.
  • Special offerings like sweets and food dishes and fruits and coconuts are also offered during such worships.
  • People can be invited to take part in the celebration and prasadam can be distributed to them also.

Benefits of Doing Puja or Worship

You may ask what are the benefits of performing puja. I would say it is for our own happiness and satisfaction.

We experience a lot of happiness and peace of mind by indulging in the puja. We feel satisfaction and a feeling of relief and joy with this practice. It is like meditation. Freeing your mind from tensions for some time and experiencing tranquillity and peace.

Your health and brainpower will improve with this. It will result in happiness and lead you to success in all your endeavors. You are able to face and solve all your problems peacefully.

So, performing puja is always good for your life.

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