Daily worship is a wonderful training of the body and mind. When a person communicates with God or the Supreme Being, (s)he connects with the inner self. Worship enhances and strengthens the personality. Krishna tells us about the rituals of worship and prayer, in this write-up, exclusively for Different Truths.
Worship is universal. People of all religions and cultures pray to God, still there is some specialty in Hindu Puja system. In most of the Hindu homes, there is a small/medium size room where idols of Gods are kept with best honour and decorated duly and home members perform daily Puja. It’s the shrine in our homes. The lady of the house or the man takes the lead by offering Puja, other family members and children, whether young or grown up, also visit puja room and pray to God.
Puja is a completely a disciplined act; this has some regular chores of preparation and arrangement that need to be done beforehand.
- Cleaning: In the morning, the lady of the house or a young daughter cleans the puja room specially; domestic helpers are not allowed to do it, because cleaning of the room is also a seva to God, thus a part of puja. Cleaning the utensils used for puja, e.g. pradeep (lamp), dhupdani (incense stick-holder), thali (dish), Ghanti (bell), etc. made of brass or silver are also cleaned carefully and kept in the puja room. This arrangement is a little exercise, and improves the concentration of mind and makes one happy.
- Flowers: Flowers are plucked from the garden or collected from a good source in the early morning and kept in a clean dish in the puja room. White as well as coloured flowers, especially fragrant ones, are collected. There are some specification also to collect flowers. Yellow flowers for Lord Narayana, White for Lord Shiva, Red for Devi Laxmi, Durga, Kali and other Goddess. Lord Ganesha likes white, yellow and also Red flowers. Collecting flower also need good energy and love for God. Collection of Bel patra (Bel leaves) also is done. Wondering in the garden or nearby places for search of flowers is a small warm up exercise in the morning and especially touching the soft beautiful thing with hand gives sweet feeling also.
- Bathing: Cleaning of self is also very important, none can perform puja without taking bath. So early morning bath is also required. After taking bath and wearing a washed cloth one can enter and start puja rituals in clean mind and body. Of course, morning bath is rejuvenating for the body and the mind. It helps one to feel good. The practice of wearing washed clothes everyday also very good for health; also this generate a responsibility in mind that everyday clothes must be washed either by self or get it washed somehow – and a clean habit is formed.
- Offering Puja: Puja has many rituals, but in daily Puja done by family themselves less rituals are done. Main parts of it are: plucking the Tulsi (holy basil) leaves is done after bath. Then, Shiva Linga and or Salgram Shila (Lord Narayana) is given a holy bath in a brass container, after giving bath sandal wood paste is smeared on the Salgram or Lingam, then flowers are offered to God while uttering mantra, or singing a devotional song and uttering holy name of God: Om namoh Narayana, Om Namo Shivah, namo mata Narayani and likewise. Vermilion is smeared on Devi’s and a holy Kalash (small pot) with water is placed near feet of God. Puspanjali is offered (handful of flowers those are placed at feet of Gods), Bhog (sweet, fruits and water) is offered to God with ringing of the small bell. Few fragrant incense sticks are also lit and Aarati is done with lighted lamp – these are very important part of the daily puja. This improves concentration of mind, coordination of actions and overall a divine connection is built up in self – a sacred tie with the Supreme Being the Super consciousness is invoked – and at the end of the puja one feels very fresh and satisfied.
- Prayer: At the conclusion of Puja one prays to God for fulfilling one’s wishes; devotee utters all his wish list before the God and prays to God may all these be achieved, may God grant all these prayers. This is an intimate exercise to build up will power. One may pray for anything or everything depending on his need. One may pray for His blessings and spiritual gain, one may pray for money, wealth, success in business, for education etc. one may discloses all his hidden grieves and problems to God and pray for His help. In this way, the devotee feels he has at least someone very powerful and kind with him, who can listen his inner urges and help him also. People who regularly pray, rarely are affected by depression or anxiety, they live less stressed and strained, as they believe that they have someone special to look after them!
- Dhyan (meditation): Dhyan is the last part of Puja, often dhyan and prayer are mixed up by devotees, especially in daily puja. Dhyan is to listen to God, keep silent for few minutes, one may close the eyes the feel God, or one may look to His kind loving eyes and feel that He is smiling with sweetness, and from Him peace and love is flowing all over the whole world! And the mind of devotee is also full with His sacred sweet Peace and Love. Dhyan makes one deeply happy and a loving person, who spreads love and peace.
Due to busy life schedule many families now a days are performing a short cut puja of burning two incense sticks before God and praying to fulfill their propose. Children are not trained to sit in puja room and pray to God. In this way, we are losing a valuable part of our life. We are busy-stressed-depressed- unhealthy in body and mind and none has time to ponder over Soul! A great treasure of puja is given to us by our ancestors but we are neglecting it always. Thus we are living life of a loser, and entering competition to win in life. But everyone can be a winner, everyone can be happy, healthy, even beautiful, just by dedicating an hour to the feet of almighty every day!