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Symbolism Of Puja

Symbolism Of Puja

In Hinduism we come across a common methodology of worship called puja or pooja. Unlike the elaborate sacrificial ceremonies, it could be carried out by anybody besides those who have incurred impurity on account of menstruation or the death of a member of the family, etc. As the most well-liked form of worship, "puja" is practiced in nearly each Hindu household even right now, either day by day, often on certain days in a week or month, or on important spiritual, auspicious or festive events as required by tradition. A puja can either be a simple ritual worship or a really complicated one, depending upon the way it is performed. One could perform it to overcome a problem, seek divine help, or just to render devotional service to the household deities. For many people, puja is a part of the every day sacrifice (nitya karma).

Many interpretations might be given in Hinduism to the word "puja" which consists of letters, namely, "pa" and "ja." Based on one interpretation, "pa" means "parayana" or continuous repetition of the names of God and "ja" means "japa" or continuous mental recitation of the names of God. In line with this interpretation "puja" is essentially a kind of Hindu worship in which both parayanam and japam are practiced by the devotees.

In a puja ceremony, Hindus provide each flowers and water to the deity. Thus from this point of view, "pu" means "pushpam" or flower and "ja" means "jal." The letter "ja" also can imply simultaneously "japam." So in this context, puja turns into that type of Hindu worship, throughout which water and flowers are offered to God alongside with recitation of His names.

Lastly, puja has a spiritual dimension also. In response to this interpretation, puja implies that type of worship by means of which we give beginning to or awaken the indwelling spirit in us. Here "pu' means "purusha," meaning the everlasting self and "ja" means "janma," meaning to provide delivery to or to awaken.

Based on Hindu beliefs, in the course of the puja the deity, which is normally an idol or a statue, involves life. This happens each outwardly in the object of worship or the deity and inwardly in the subject of worship or the devotee. The statue or the form of the deity is delivered to life externally by way of the chanting of mantras or special invocations, or specifically speaking, by way of the efficiency of 'prana pratishta' or establishing the life breath in it. Similarly, the indwelling spirit within the worshipper is awakened because of his sincerity, concentration, devotion, and divine grace which is symbolically represented as 'prasad," grace or blessing from above.

How puja is carried out
Hindus perform pujas in varied ways. The commonest type of worship follows a well-established sequence of actions, or procedure, which is approximately much like how a visiting visitor is typically handled by a devout householder. Based on the Vedic tradition, visiting friends are considered gods (athidhi devo bhava) and they are imagined to be handled with the same respect as gods are handled throughout an invocation or sacrificial ceremony. Thus, though the puja ceremony is a later day development, the thought of honoring the deity by paying respects and making choices could be very much rooted in Vedic ritualism and sacrificial ceremonies.

During the ceremony, step one entails uttering an invocation, mantra or prayer, inviting the chosen god to visit the place of worship, which is indicated to him by specifying the directions, the time and the place name. This is generally performed either by a mediating priest or the worshipper himself. As soon as it is done, it is assumed that the deity has agreed to return and arrived on the designated place as requested. The worshipper then washes his feet with a symbolic gesture and gives him a seat with utmost respect.

These honors are prolonged to him as if he is physically current in entrance of the worshipper in person. Just we offer water or a drink to a visiting guest to quench his thirst as if he has walked in the bright sun for a very long time, the worshipper next gives him water to drink by placing a glass in front of the idol or dropping water with a small spoon or ladle. As soon as he is seated, as a mark of utmost reverence, love and self-surrender, he as soon as again washes his toes with ceremonial water.

After that, the idol is bathed with water, milk, honey, etc., and massaged with varied perfumes and scented pastes equivalent to turmeric powder, sandal paste and curd mixed with ghee to the accompaniment of assorted mantras which usually end with "samarpayami," meaning, "I've offered." After the bathing ceremony, the deity is offered new clothes to wear in the course of the ceremony, which is symbolically represented either by a peace of cotton thread in simple ceremonies or real garments in more organized ones.

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