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 - 06
Essentials of Devotional Rituals of Prayers and Music
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Lesson: 6-06
Simple Steps to Perform a Proper Pooja Ritual
Details about
Prayer Services and Pooja at Homes and in Temples
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Devotional Prayers and Rituals in Daily practice of Hindu Faith
 
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The following three are the style of Pooja performed in a Temple.

Shodasha Upachara Pooja -- [has 16 upacharas];
Dasopachara Pooja -- [ has 10 upachara];
Panchopachara Pooja -- [has 5 upachara].

This is a pooja performed after receiving the religious deeksha and special deeksha from a Guru. Persons who receives this deeksha should perform the pooja every day without fail. It does not mean that God will punish the one who fails to perform properly. The Guru who offered the deeksha tells the disciple that the pooja should be performed without fail and from that day, the disciple also can teach and offer this any one asking for it. Since the disciple accepts this as promise it should be performed to pass on this tradition.

Next is the pooja offered to a Moorthy in the form of a figurine or a picture.
To perform this, one does not need the special deeksha. This can be performed in a simple short way. First, one should understand the proper rules and methods to perform the pooja. Let us first see which way we should keep the figurine or the picture and which way the person should sit to perform the pooja.

If the picture of figurine is kept facing East, the person should sit on the right side facing North. If it faces North, they should sit facing East. They should not sit in front of the image facing it directly. If these two directions are not possible, then we can set the image facing West and sit in front of the Image facing East and perform pooja. One should not sit on the right side facing South to perform pooja. One should not sit on the left side of the Image. The Image should not be set facing South. The person should not sit facing South.It is not proper according to sasthra to eat food prior to performing the pooja. When it is possible, one should always learn from a Guru about the proper sasthras and rules and receive deeksha before performing pooja at home.

The steps of performing pooja at home:

1. Athmasuddhi: Persons performing the pooja should cleanse themselves for manthra.
2. Manthrasuddhi: They should cleanse their mind to recite the manthra.
3. Dhiraviyasuddhi: They should clean all articles used in the pooja.
4. Lingasuddhi: They should clean the Image or picture used in the pooja.
5. Andharyaagam: For the Divine who is in our thoughts all the time, to pray through our thoughts. [concentration]
6. Pahiryagam: To pray and invite the Divine in our heart to come out to reside in the Image being worshipped.

Then, light a lamp, offer argyam, paathyam, achamaneeyam and do an abhishekam.
Then decorate the image with cloth and flowers. Then pray with offering of flowers.
Then we can light a lamp, agarbhatti or burning incense or camphor to perform the pooja.

 
 

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1. Japa Samarpanam: Through the Manthras of the Deity, recite the prayers manthras 108 or 54 or 27 times in the mind and offer flowers.

2. Prarthana: Recite Devotional prayer songs in any languge of choice, like Thevaram, Thiruvachagam or any other devotional songs.

3. Yathasthanam, Padhyam, Achamaniyam, and Argyam are offered to the Image and praying with thanks to the Divine force whch came from our heart to get in back there.

4. Dhvanichandar Pooja: Performing pooja to Dvanichandar offering the flowers and Prasadam that was offered to the Divine and praying to bless us with the effects of the service to us and taking the prasadma ourselves.

The above are the rules for athmartha pooja according to Agamas and Sasthras.
Next let us see the steps for a simple and short Pooja

 
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Details of one of the Simple and short method to perform Pooja.
One will perform: Dhyanam, Avahanam, Archana, Doopam, Deepam and Prarthana.

To Perform the simple Pooja for Sri Ganesha [Sri Vinayaka] we need: Picture of the Deity Sri Ganesha. Flowers or Akshada [dry rice with turmeric] ; Prasadams like fruits, Sweets or Milk, Camphor, Agarbathi, Panchapathram [water cup], Uttharani [spoon], Argyapathram [a small vessel or plate]

1. - Dhyanam: [Meditation] -- to pray that the deity who resides in our heart is invited to come into the picture that we are going to do the Pooja.
2. - Avaahanam: -- to pray that the Divine powers should remain in that site until we complete our Pooja.
3. - Archana: -- to recite the great names of the Deity several times and offer flowers or akshada as we perform the Pooja.
4. - Doopam: -- To pray through the perfumed incense smoke and light.
5. - Deepam: -- To use a Ghee lamp light and pray to God in the form of the Flame.
6. - Nivedhanam: [Prasadam] -- to offer food items like fruits,or sweet or milk.
7. - Utthara-neerañjanam: -- Deepa offerings with lighted Camphor.
8. - Prarthana: -- to sing or say the praise of thr Lord anf pray.
9. - Conclusion: Then we pray thanking the Lord and receive Him back into our heart.
This is a short form to perform daily Pooja at home.

 
 

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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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