Pooja Items and their Significance
Pooja is the common term for the Hindu ritual worship. There are different types in Pooja. One is Nitya pooja (Daily Pooja) and another one is Naimittika Pooja (Special Occasion Pooja). Most of the Hindus perform Nitya Pooja at home everyday. It is the simplest way to express our gratitude to the God for blessing us what we have. People usually keep the deities at an appropriate (less distraction) place in the house to perform pooja. Daily pooja at home can be performed by anyone, there is no restriction on gender or age. The only important thing which matters is pure dedication. Nowadays some people follow exactly what their elders or ancestors told, without having the proper knowledge. It’s important to understand the details before performing certain activities.
Here is some information about Daily Pooja,
Mornings are said to be an auspicious time to perform Pooja, since the mind would be calm and peaceful state after a deep sleep. It’s very important to prepare your mind before doing pooja. It’s good to face either East or North while doing pooja. First, invoking the presence and offering a place to God. Then sprinkle few drops of water in the meaning of cleaning the feet and hands of God. Then light the lamp or diya and make sure there are facing either East (towards the sun) or North (towards God). Then start with sholkam as per your family tradition and decorate the God with flowers or garlands then offer incense sticks followed by Naivedyam. Then light the camphor and perform Aarti.
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Pooja Essential Items and its significance,
Diya (lamp) : The Significance of using a lamp during a pooja is, it leads us from darkness to light. The lamp contains a cotton wick soaked in oil or ghee. According to some science of spirituality, Ghee lamp has more capacity to attract the vibrations present in the surrounding as an oil lamp. There are many varieties of lamp. People mostly use a single wick or five wicks. The lamp with five wicks symbolizes duality. Change the wick everyday and if possible, use two lamps (one to face East and another to face North). Some people say, If you are married, use two wicks in one lamp to light your diya, this represents the duality and also bring peace, love and harmony in your family.
Theertham (Holy Water): The Significance of using “Theertham”, the holy water during the pooja, is not only to clean the idol, it is served as prasadam to devotees after pooja, This holy water consists of Tulsi (Basil) Leaves and Pachha Karpuram (Benzoin). Some people add the Cardamom powder and Saffron as well. ”Theertham” is a very good blood purifier and it has lots of health benefits. It is good to consume in the morning in empty stomach.
Incense Sticks (Agarbatti): Importance of burning the Incense sticks in Pooja, can lift the soul, the aroma cleans the mind from all negative things and soothes mind. It purifies the air and remove the unwanted smell and creates a positive environment. Burning this incense sticks is not only followed in Hindu Pooja rituals, but also in other customs as well.
Bell (Ghanti): We use small hand bell at our home temple room and the big hanging one which we see in the temples. Usually the bell is made from either copper or brass. Ringing the bell during the pooja, generates the sound of OM, which helps to empty our thoughts and awaken our souls. The clapper of the bell represents Saraswati (goddess of wisdom and knowledge). The handle of the bell represents Prana Shakthi – vital power and is symbolically linked to Nandi or Garuda. When the clapper touches the body of the bell, it generates the sound with divine energy which drives away the negative energies.
Flowers (Garlands): Offering flowers while doing pooja, is an important ritual tradition. Specific flowers are offered to specific God or Goddess. Flowers are considered to be pure and it helps to maintain the atmosphere peaceful and beautiful. The aromatic substances have the characteristic of attracting positive and divine vibrations from the surroundings. Withered flowers cannot be used for a pooja.
Camphor (Dhoop): The Camphor lamp is shown to God while doing Aarti. It 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 and purifies the environment. Human ego should burn away like camphor burns without leaving any residue during pooja.
Kumkum and Turmeric Powder: Kumkum is a powder made from dried turmeric. Kumkum is also widely used for worshiping the Hindu goddesses. Women in Hindu religion put kumkum in between their eyebrows or on the forehead, the ancient Indian belief that “the human body is divided into seven vortices of energy, called chakras, beginning at the base of the spine and ending at the top of the head. The sixth chakra, also known as the third eye, is centered in the forehead directly between the eyebrows and is believed to be the channel through which humankind opens spiritually to the Divine”.
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