Puja Items

 

 

The Hindu ritual of worshipping a deity is an elaborate process. The Puja (or Pooja), as it is called, is a holy ceremony, that is conducted by a Priest ( pundit ) or by the household members themselves, with several Puja items ( Samagri ). These items are steeped in significance, and are, hence, acquired with devotion and religious fervor.

The Puja items that are unfailingly present in the auspicious ceremony are:

Vigraha (Idol of the deity): Vigraha means ‘devoid of all the ill effects of the planets or grahas )

Kalash (pot): Mango leaves are placed in the mouth of the pot, and a coconut is placed over these. The leaves and coconut represent creation. A red or white thread is tied around the neck of the pot. The thread represents the love that binds all creation. The pot is sometimes filled with rice or water. This signifies the inert body which when filled with the divine force, gains the strength to fulfill its wishes.

Diya (lamp): The lamp usually contains ghee (clarified butter) or oil. A cotton wick is half socked in it. The ghee symbolizes our negative tendencies, and the wick, our ego. When the lamp is lit, the fire (knowledge) burns the negative tendencies and exhausts the ego as well. The lamp represents the light within us, that is, our soul, which we offer to the Supreme Being.

Conch shell: This is believed to make the purest sound – AUM – which is the sound of creation.

Garland: The garland is used to decorate deities and also doorways. It is a mark of auspiciousness.

Asana : The Asana is the seat of the deity.

Mukut : This is a crown used to adorn the deity.

Betel leaves/betel nut: The betel nut symbolizes the ego and the hard coarse qualities that must be surrendered to the Lord.

Camphor: This represents the negative qualities in us. When camphor burns, it leaves no trace. Camphor is burned in a camphor burner.

Gangajal : The water from the Holy Ganges is used for cleaning deities. It has a spiritual power to dispel diseases, cleanse sin and achieve salvation. It is also used to achieve spiritual growth and material prosperity.

Incense sticks: Incense represents the desires we possess. These, we burn, before the Lord. The incense sticks are held in an incense stick holder or incense stick stand.

Puja thali : This is the tray on which all the Puja items are placed.

Dhoop : The dhoop is made of various incense ingredients which are made into a paste and rolled. The smoke from the dhoop , when it is burned, is believed to ward off negative energies. The dhoop burns in the dhoop burner.

Havan kund : A havan is a sacred purifying ritual, in which a sacrificial fire is built, and honey, camphor and other items burned. It signifies the burning of negative energies and tendencies.

Pancharti : This Puja item enables the burning of five ( panch ) lamps.

Jhoolta Diyas : This is a swinging stand for the diyas (lamps).

Peacock lamp: This is a stand that is shaped like a peacock.

Cymbals: During the Puja, this musical instrument is used to accompany the singing and chanting.

Vessels and spoon: A part of the Puja ritual is feeding the deities. These Puja items fulfill that purpose.

Bell: The bell is used for invoking the Gods. It also produces an auspicious sound. Moreover, it helps drown any inauspicious or irrelevant noises.

Haldi (raw turmeric): This represents the purified thoughts that should adorn the mind.

Kumkum : This red powder is a symbol of loyalty, devotion and commitment. It symbolizes the emotions of the worshipper.

Chandan (sandal paste): This is an auspicious Puja item that is placed on the forehead, at the point of the third eye of wisdom.

Abir : This is an auspicious black powder that is placed on the deity.

Rice: This represents material wealth.

Deity offerings: The deity is offered flowers and fresh fruits. The flowers represent the good that has blossomed in us. They are held in a flower basket. The offering of fruits signifies our surrender and self-sacrifice.

Charanamrit set: Charanamrit is Holy Nectar from the feet of the Lord (the deity). It is made of ghee (clarified butter), Gangajal , curd, honey, and tulsi leaves.

The Holy Thread is another important Puja item.


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