Confession: I don’t always manage a daily puja.
I really want to. That’s a priority in my life to get to pujas every day. I want it to always be the first thing I do in the morning. Though I have my puja cards with various pujas for different deities (and it includes a basic 16 steps that can be applied to any God or Goddess), one of the challenges is time.
We’re busy people and part of what gets in the way of daily puja is thinking of all the other things we have to do in the morning. Do I have time to pack my lunch and get dressed and worship? Ideally, yes, but the mind can sometimes feel reluctant to devote time in the morning to formal worship.
So I went looking for some very simple and quick pujas that can help me build the habit of doing it daily! (See the end of this post for what I came up with)
For some pujas, there are particular ways of holding the hands, particular things to offer, exact phrases to say, etc. It’s great to learn how to do those pujas, but it is possible to start with simpler worship. When your heart is in the right place, God comes to you. Sri Krishna says he accepts any offering given with devotion.
The particulars of pujas can help clarify the mind and body, so I think that is usually the purpose: prayer is part of our entire being and particular movements and words have a power within us. That doesn’t mean that a simple puja is not helpful, though! All devotion gives us progress.
Some pujas are 16 steps and others are 27. Some are actually only 5. Here are the steps of those three basic styles of pujas:
Each time when you say ‘Samarpayami’ (literally: I am offering), please offer two akataas to the LORD with love and devotion.Akshatha is uncooked rice, if possible colored with kumkum , saffron powder, termaric and a little bit of water. Can be prepared well advance for a week and kept near the ALTAR
1 Dhyaanam Samarpayami Think or meditate on the LORD 2 Aawaahanam Samarpayami Offering invitation the LORD 3 Aasanam Samarpayami Offer a seat to the LORD 4 Paadyam Samarpayami offer water to wash the feet 5 Arghyam Samarpayami offer water to wash the hands 6 Aachamaneeyam Samarpayami offer water to drink 7 Snaanam Samarpayami Give bath to the LORD 8 Maha Abhishekam Samarpayami main head bath 9 Pratishtaapayaami make Him/Her seated 10 Vasthram Samarpayami Offer clothes to the LORD 11 Yajnopaveetham Samarpayami Offer the Holy Thread to the LORD 12 Gandham Samarpayami offer sandlewood paste/powder 13 Akshatham Samarpayami Offer Akshatha to the LORD 14 Pushpam Samarpayami Offer flowers to the LORD 15 Ashthothtra Poojam Samarpayami Offer the Holy 108 names of the LORD 16 Dhoopam Aaghraapayaami offer agarbatti 17 Deepam Darshayaami offer light 18 Neivedyam Samarpayami Offer food to the LORD 19 Phalam Samarpayami Offer Fruits the LORD 20 Taamboolam Samarpayami offer beetle nut and leaves 21 Dakshinam Samarpayami Offer money to the LORD 22 Maha Nirajanam Samarpayami the main aarati 23 Pradakshinam Samarpayami taking clockwise rounds in front of the lord 24 Namaskaram Samarpayami prostrations offer them 25 Mantra Pushpam Samarpayami both incantations and flowers 26 Praarthanaam Samarpayami offering prayers; List your requests 27 Xamaapanam Samarpayami offering apologies to lord for any mistakes
- Seating of the deity
- Welcoming of the deity
- Offering water to wash the feet
- Offering water to wash the hands
- Offering water to sip and rinse the mouth
- Providing a bath
- Offering fresh clothes and decorations
- Offering fresh sacred thread
- Offering aromatic substance like sandal paste etc
- Offering of flowers
- Burning incense
- Waving lights
- Offering food
- Offering betel leaves, betel nuts, camphor etc
- Prostrations before the deity and circumambulations
- Sending offPanchopachara Pooja ( Five Fold Worship )
1 Offer Gandham (sandalwood paste/powder),2 Offer Pushpam (flower),
3 Offer Sugandham dhoop (incense),
4 Offer Jyotham (light) and
5 Offer Naivedyam (food) respectively.
Here are some suggested daily pujas I’ve found:
- http://jayakula.org/pdf/simpledailypuja.pdf (The transliteration of the prayers for this one are…strange. I haven’t seen this system before and it isn’t intuitive how to read it.)
- http://www.hindu-blog.com/2009/11/how-to-do-simple-hindu-puja-at-home.html “There are several wrong notions regarding Hindu Pujas. There are people who scare others by pointing out that is not correct or it should not be done. You should not fall prey to such wrong information. What is important is devotion not showy and elaborate rituals.”
So here is my plan for a daily puja, inspired by the posts above. I’ll start with this base and if I find time I’ll do longer and more involved ones. Also, I really need to start growing my own flowers in one of my aerogardens. Feel free to use the posts above to mix and match into your ideal daily base!
In front of an altar of your favorite deity or deities place the following offerings on a little tray:
- 2 sticks of incense
- a little copper vessel of water
- a flower or two.
- a lamp or candle(s)
- If I have fruit, place in front of deity during this ritual.
Sip water three times from the base of the palm of the right hand for the purification of body, speech and mind. Recite the following mantras each time:
- oṃ acyutāya namaḥ
- oṃ anantāya namaḥ
- oṃ govindāya namaḥ
Take a flower and offer it with love:
turīya guṇa sampannam nānā guṇa manoharam |
ānanda saurabhaṃ puṣpaṃ gṛhyatām idam uttamam ||
Please O Lord accept this flower of various pleasing qualities with great pleasure.
Light the incense and wave it around in a clockwise direction before the Lord:
vaṇaspati rasotpanno gandhāḍhyo gandha uttamaḥ |
āghreyaḥ sarva devānāṃ dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatāṃ ||
O Lord please accept this incense, which is agreeable to all the devas. It provides the best of all aromas, being endowed with the fragrance produced from the sap of the forest.
Light the lamp and wave it on the tray in front of the Lord while chanting the Gayatri Mantra.
Meditate for a few minutes.
Sing a bhajan from my Sathya Sai Baba book
Apply homemade kumkum to forehead.
(For subscribers at my premium blog there is a printable sheet of these steps)
I asked on my Facebook page what people do with the flowers afterwards. Some leave them until the next day’s puja. Others take them and dispose of them in a river or other running water or under a tree. Others distribute them as prasad and presumably people will take them and put them in a vase at home.
Here’s a lovely bhajan I might try to learn:
“Devi bhavani maa jaya Sai bhavani maa devi bhavani maa jaya Sai bhavani maa daya karo Sai maa kripa karo Sai maa jaya maa jaya maa jaya devi bhavani maa jaya pahthi nivasse maa jaya Sai bhavani maa”