Points to be kept in mind before performing Puja


In the midst of Dharmaprasaar (service of spreading spirituality), I experienced some improper acts being done by devotees, while doing pooja (ritualistic worshipping of deities) in some houses. I am taking the audacity to present these before you, so that you too turn inward and analyse whether you too are not indulging in such improper acts while worshipping a deity:

(i)           Worshipping a deity is the first step of Sadhana (spiritual practice) under Bhaktiyog.  Karmakaand Sadhana (spiritual practice by the body as per the ritualistic procedures laid down in the scriptures), means making efforts to attain God through the medium of the body.  When we perform Karmakaand, we must surely pay attention to the purity of the body.  If a woman is having her menses, she should not perform Puja.  The reason is that at such a time, a woman’s Rajogun (Raj component) increases marginally (.0005%); but even this is considered as a spiritual impurity of body for karmkaand hence in such a situation one should not do ritualistic worship; but as Naamjap (chanting) is done in mind, we can surely do it.  Moreover, when a house is in Sutak (period of spiritual impurity after death for thirteen days), ritualistic worshipping should not be performed, for the simple reason that after death, a Pret (spirit of the dead person) keeps wandering around the house for a period of thirteen days; hence, Rajogun in the house gets increased.

(ii)          Wearing Saatvik (pure) clothes (traditional Indian clothes like sarees for ladies and dhoti kurta for males made of natural fibres like cotton and silk fall under the category of Saatvik clothes), while performing Pooja helps in concentration of mind, along with it Kundalini Shakti too gets awakened.  Hence saatvik clothes should be worn during pooja. What I have found that most of the Hindus today wear western clothes or synthetic fibre-clothes or even black clothes which is considered to be totally spiritually impure for pooja.  Saatvik clothing helps in attracting and enhancing the subtle deity principles of the poojak (the person performing the pooja).

(iii)        At the house of some devotees, dark black marks caused by the flame of Deepak (ghee lamp) were visible on the walls; the flame of Deepak must be soft and medium, remember that lighting a Deepak attracts the principles of divinity, not the burning  torch!!

(iv)       At the house of some devotees, old and torn pictures of deities are found hanging, some idols are old and broken, and when I ask them why they have kept torn pictures and broken idols in the place of worship, they say that these (pictures and idols) belong to a near and dear one, who are no longer alive, or had been given by them.  Remember that if a picture gets, torn, or an idol gets broken, the emission of Chaitanya (divine consciousness) becomes negligible; hence, one must immerse them in clean, running water and keep new pictures, or idols or pictures created under the guidance of a saint as per the rules of moorti vigyan( iconography).  To get such sattvik pictures/idols, you can contact this number – 9322315317.

(v)         While performing worship, do not seperate the petals of flowers and offer them to the deity.  The form, colour and fragrance of flowers attract the principle of divinity of deities.   Segregating the petals means that the form of a flower has been distorted, as such the principle of deity gets attracted only nominally, hence even if there are less  flowers, then also segregation of petals should be avoided and if there are less or no flowers and you want to offer Pushpanjali (floral wreath), offer the same through the mind, meaning offer flowers at a subtle plane, but do not  segregate the petals of the flowers to offer them.

(vi)       Several people decorate the place of worship with plastic flowers, leaves and decorative hangings made with Rolex, while others light up the place of worship with small-sized bulbs.  As all these things are Tamoguni (Tam-preponderant), hence decorate the place of worship with fresh flowers, mango leaves and banana plantains during festivals and light deepak with  ghee (clarified butter) or oil.

(vii)      Some devotees keep many pictures of deities in all the rooms of the house.  It is proper to hang pictures in all the rooms of the house, only if you perform Panchopchaar Pujan and I have found that it is not so with a majority of the people.  Deities are not pieces of decoration, they are worthy of worship, hence wherever their form is present, you must clean them with a dry cloth and at least offer the fragrance of incense sticks everyday.  This must be done because where there is a  form of deity, its energy exists and we need to honour that by offering ritualistic worshipping, not performing all this is in a way is insulting them; so if you can’t worship the deities in all the places, make an effort to keep pictures of deities and idols only in the place of worship.

(viii)     Keep minimum possible number of pictures, or idols in the place of worship, remember to keep only those deities upon whom your time permits you to  perform Panchopchar , the maximum permissible number is between five to eight.  I have found in the house of several devotees that in the poojaghar the there are four-five pictures, or idols of same deity , whereas actually only one picture, or idol of one deity should be kept.  Your place of worship helps in making the Vaastu of the house pure and Saatvik (spiritually pure), hence try to keep your place of worship Saatvik.   Whenever someone presents us with a picture, or idol as a gift, we keep it in the place of worship.  Your place of worship is not a museum for deities, neither are idols decorative showpieces,  keeping this in mind, do not give pictures, or idols as gifts and whenever you have accumulated unnecessary pictures, or idols, worship them and wrapping them in a new cloth and immerse them in running water. -Tanuja Thakur

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