PUJA - How to do Puja
Puja is a sacred practice of reverence, honor, adoration or worship from the devotee towards the Almighty. Puja could mean different things to different people. For Puja, all you need to have is a devoted heart full of love for the divine. The merciful God overlooks the shortcomings of men if they pursue the path of spirituality with devotion. So, minor mistakes don't really matter, if the devotion is sincere. God is kind and grants blessings to the devotees with sincere heart.
How is Puja Celebrated?
According to Hinduism, a formal puja consists of meditation (dhyana), austerity (tapa), chanting (mantra), scripture reading (svadhyaya), offering food (thaal) and prostrations (panchanga or ashtanga pranama, dandavat). People apply tilaka on their forehead with sandalwood paste, and a vermillion dot (kumkum Chand) in its centre. The centre of the forehead is considered as the crucial point suggesting the omnipresence of the Divine. Puja is generally concluded with aarti to the lord.
Puja can be celebrated by an individual person or in gatherings. The ceremony may be done in silence or accompanied by prayers. Sometimes a puja is done for the benefit of certain people, for whom people ask blessings.
Steps of a Puja.
Each and every sect, family or an individual have their own way of doing Puja. Every time when you say ''samarpayami'' (I m offering), offer two akshatha with love and devotion to the lord.
(Akshatha is uncooked rice; if possible color it with kumkum, saffron powder, turmeric and a little bit of water. This can be made for a week in advance and can be kept near the Alter)
A typical Puja involves the following 27 steps: