Basic Lessons on Hindu Dharma
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  Basic Lessons on Hindu Dharma ~ Level - 1  
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Chapter - 6:
An Introduction to Devotional Practice
 
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HR106 - 03
Essentials of Devotional Rituals of Prayers and Music
~ Level - 1 ~
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Lesson: 6-03
Principles and Meaning of Deepa Pooja
A special form of Prayer for Oil Lamps for the uninitiated Devotees
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Simple Devotional Prayer Ritual practiced by all Hindus at Home and in Temples
By Late - BrahmaSri Raja Rathna Bhattar,
(Past-Priest Emeritus, Sri Meenakshi Temple, Pearland, Texas, USA)
 
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One of the important form of worship is prayer to a lamp, to the flame or Jyothi, instead of a Vigraha or a picture, worshipping it as a form of the Deity of their choice [Ishta Devatha]. As we believe, God as Nirguna Brahman, comes to take the forms of various Avatharas as Saguna Brahman and also manifests Himself in the phenomenal Universe as its five elements -"Pancha Bootham."

Vedas say that God exists in the five elements. Aagama Sasthra and Bhootha Suddhi Manthra say that God manifests in Sky [Space] as Sound, in Air as Sound and Sense of Touch, in Fire as Sound, Sense and Shape of things, in Water as Sound, Sense, Shape and Taste of objects, in Earth as Sound, Sense, Shape, Taste and Smell. "Thvam, Bhoomi, Aapo, Anilo, Analo Napaha" a verse from Ganapathy Adharva Sheerisha Upanishad, which means that God is in Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky. Hence, people worship the Lord as the various elements and receive the Divine blessings. As light or fire, the Deepa Jyothi represent one of the five elements as a manifestation of God.

Many people perform prayer rituals to the lamp, "Deepa Jyothi" as an alternative to the traditional Vigraha worship of the devotional path. There is a practice of offering prayers to Sri Ganesha, Durga, Devi, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Ayyappan and many other forms of Deities in the form of Jyothi in a Deepa pooja. Most often Deepa Pooja is performed by Devotees not initiated in proper Vigraha Pooja, either alone or in groups at home or in a temple.

Traditionally, women do not take up or get initiated into the pooja for Siva Linga or Sakthi Yanthra and Deepa Pooja is the most important alternative for them. Most men also have not had proper training in prayer methods or received the proper initiation of offering the necessary prayers to their Ishta Devatha according to the rules of Agama. Many of them are very religious and want to get the benefits for prayers.

It is widely believed that God accepts the prayers through this Deepa Pooja very easily and very soon. There are no major restrictions or rules of the doctrine of Adhikara for this deepa pooja. The Deepa Pooja can be performed every evening. Those women, who are unable to perform pooja with lamps every evening, may try to do it once a week, preferably on Friday evenings.

 
 

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Lessons: - :~: 6-01 :~: 6-02 :~: 6-03 :~: 6-04 :~: 6-05 :~: 6-06 :~: 6-07 :~: 6-08 :~: : 6-09 :~:
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