In the previous post, I have mentioned about performing achamana or purification by sipping water 3 times into your mouth with the bowl shaped palm while chanting the primary three names of God.
After that ritual has been performed, you will start worshipping God Vishnu reciting the below mentioned 24 names which are also known as "keshava namas" with flowers and / or akshata or akshintalu (raw rice mixed with turmeric powder that is mostly used for performing puja and / or for blessing your youngsters at all ceremonies).
This worship is done chanting twenty four names of God Vishnu which are a part of the vishnu sahasra namam and are treated as most important by all vaishnavites, each name signifying some quality and attribute of God. You will be reciting each name and offering the flower or akshata to God at each name. You can offer both the flower and akshata interchangeably or even by mixing both in one plate. Offer a flower each for each name or one or two grains of akshat as per your convenience.
The 24 keshava namas that are recited are as follows.
First of all, let me clear that "Om" refers to the sound which vibrates all through the universe in the form of waves reaching God.
"namaha" or "namah" refers to the fact that "I am saluting" or bowing my head or folding my hands before God. So these both words are used in almost all prayers.
Now, starting the names:-
1) Om Keshavaaya namaha ( one who possesses dense, black curled hair. It is also interpreted as one who Himself is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. K is for Brahma, A in 'e' is for Vishnu and 'ish' in esh is for Shiva)
2) Om Naaraayanaaya namaha ( one who has his abode as water or who is the abode for all living beings. "aayanam" means resting place and "naara" means either water or all living things)
3) Om Maadhavaaya namaha ( one who is the husband of Lakshmi or one who took birth in madhuv creed or family which is a sub-sect of yaadav vamsha. Here maa means mother' (lakshmi) and 'dhava' means husband.)
4) Om Govindaaya namaha (Govinda means "cowherd' or as "the one who regained earth again from nether world" or as "who can be realised through vedic chantings alone".)
5) Om Vishnave namaha (One who is present in all the creatures and things of the universe. "vishnu' means who is present all through the elements of universe. It may also mean as 'giver' and 'protector')
6) Om Madhusoodhanaaya namaha (One who has conquered a demon named 'madhu'. Or whose form is like honey. It may also refer to as the stealer of butter / ghee as a child, Lord Krishna. Because 'madhu' refers to 'honey' and ghee or butter also).
7) Om Trivikramaaya namaha ( One who measured all three worlds with his step, one who covered entire universe with 3 long steps or who is spread and shines through all 3 vedas of Rig, Yajur and Saama. 'tri' means three and 'vik' means states and 'ramaaya' makes shine)
8) Om Vaamanaaya namaha ( One who is beautiful in a dwarf form and spreads the glowing light bestowing pleasures. 'vaaman' means handsome dwarf)
9) Om Sriidharaaya namaha ( One who is wearing Lakshmi in his heart. 'Sri' refers to Lakshmi and 'dhar' means one bearing her and giving support)
10) Om Hrusheekeshaaya namaha (One who is controller of senses. It also refers to one having rays of sun and moon in his hair that give joy to all beings.)
11) Om Padmanaabhaaya namaha (One who has Lotus in his navel, which is abode of Brahma. It may also refer to his navel being beautiful as lotus. 'padma' means lotus and 'naabhi' means navel.)
12) Om Daamodaraaya namaha (One who was tied with a rope around his stomach by Yashoda. 'udara' means stomach and 'daama' means rope or cord. "daama" can also refer to the whole universe and so denotes 'one who has entire universe in his stomach'.)
13) Om Sankarshnaaya namaha (One who awards the fruits of karma or fate to both living and lifeless beings. Or one who has the dual powers of attraction and repulsion. 'Sankarshana' is also considered as a name of the great serpent, Adishesha who is a part of God. He is also the Lord of 'Ahamkaara' or ego.)
14) Om Vaasudevaaya namaha (Vaasudeva means son of "Vasudeva". He is Sri Krishna, the first of the four manifestations of Vishnu, others being Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. These four manifestations are Lords of 4 states of soul - chitta (sub-conscious mind), ahamkaara (ego), buddhi (intellect or knowledge), manas (mind)). Vaasudeva is Lord of 'chitta' or subconsciousness.
15) Om Pradyumnaaya namaha (Pradyumna means one who is self glowing. He is enriched with beauty, wealth and lovable appearance. He is the 3rd of the four manifestations of Vishnu and is the Lord of 'Buddhi' or intellect.)
16) Om Aniruddhaaya namaha (Aniruddh means unstoppable. He possesses mighty valor and an uncontrollable form that protect his devotees. He is the 4th manifestation and is the Lord of 'manas' or mind)
17)Om Purushottamaaya namaha (One who is supreme being or God. 'purusha' means person and 'uttama' means supreme. One who is beyond death and life.)
18) Om Adhokshajaaya namaha (One who does not decrease or diminish even after continuously gets enjoyed and consumed by all beings. It also means one having eternal knowledge not reachable through our senses.)
19) Om Naarasimhaaya namaha (One who took the form of half lion and half man to protect Prahlad and to kill his demon father "Hiranyakashipu" 'nara' means man and 'simha' means lion.)
20) Om Achyutaaya namaha (One who does not fall or lose his powers even after entering this material world. An infallible being. 'achyuta' means one who does not fall or beget of something. It also means one who keeps Brahma and others infallible.)
21) Om Janaardhanaaya namaha (One who protects his devotees from enemies and miseries. 'jana' means people, 'aardhan' means miseries or enemies creating miseries)
22) Om Upendraaya namaha (One who appeared as Indra's brother.'upendra' means Indra's part or youngster. It is believed that 'Vamana' also resembled Indra's brother when seeking three steps from Mahabali, the demon)
23) Om Haraye namaha (One who removes or evaporates the miseries of his devotees and gives them eternal bliss or moksha)
24) Om Srikrishnaaya namaha (One who is the most beautiful and enchanting with his hue resembling dark clouds. One who is in an eternal bliss with his own creations in the form of Sri Krishna)
So, above are the 24 names of Lord Vishnu or Sri Krishna, which are popular as Keshava namas also.
After performing puja with these names, one may recite some more hymns or slokas of Vishnu, Sri Krishna, Goddess Lakshmi and Panchaayudha slokas, etc. if he likes to enjoy more time spent with God or may end the worship offering dhoopa, deepa, naivedya and mangala haarati in a simple form.
I will be dealing with all these things in my next topics, one by one.