What is a pooja?
The letter 'Pa' stands for PAPANASANA - 'PA' stands for PAPA meaning the result of undivine actions. The letter JA stands for JANMAVICHHEDA meaning the cessation of PAPA. The ultimate purpose of a Puja should be to see, accept and realize omnipresent God (in the form of an idol or picture).
Why is a pooja conducted?
A Pooja is usually conducted to mark a special event such as a birthday or to ask for a particular favor (prayer). It is usually done daily.
What are the three ways of Pooja?
Poojas can be broadly classified under 3 types based on the person who does the pooja or the venue
- In a temple by the priest. This aims at the collective benefit of the devotees.
- At one's residence by the head of the household - these poojas might be performed everyday or on specific days of the week or on special occasions and festivals
- By summoning a well qualified priest to one's residence and he performs the pooja.
What does one gain from different steps of Pooja?
||Brings the body, mind and soul into an alignment so that we become one with God.
||To pray for the Divine energy to remain in that site.
|The devotee offers betel leaf, betel nut, sacred leaves, fruits, flowers, coconut, kumkum, turmeric, sandalwood paste and does the archana with flowers or akshada or kumkum, chanting mantras, which are intended to divert the mind from illusion and material inclinations towards God.
||In other words, Incense, purifies our physical environment and hence our mind too.
||Ghee lamp is invoked as 'thamaso maa jyothirgamaya' meaning the lamp leads us from darkness towards light because it has the capacity to attract sattvik vibrations in the surrounding atmosphere spread over till Swarga Lok (heaven).
|Offering of material substances such flowers, fruits, sweets, kheer, etc (known as Bhogya).
||Lighted camphor emphasizes taking refuge in God to obtain knowledge by burning the desires because camphor burns itself, but emits a nice perfume.
||Chanting mantras, where man(mind)tra(tool) (Sanskrit word) meaning "mind tool", which when pronounced correctly creates effective vibration, bringing in positive energy.