5. veebruar, 2024

Pūja - hosting the Gods

Pūjā (पूजा) word comes from the root word pūj - to worship, to adore, to serve, to love, to recognise, to respect, to invoke Divine Spirit.


The ancient scholar and Vedic text commentator Sāyana explains the term as a form of "praise, worship, invocation". The Grhyasutras use puj in the context of rites, as does Sanskrit scholar Pāṇini.

In the Rāmāyaṇa the word pūjā referred to the hospitable reception of guests and that the things offered to guests could be offered to the gods and their dwellings.

So pūjā is action, performance, technic and science to connect with divine, Lord or Bhagavan, Supreme Spirit and Consciousness in many forms or energies.

In Treta yuga time when people were losing direct connection with Higher Spirit, when human mind started to prevail more and more, then some precise technics like yajñas, homas, pūjās were given to mankind from Lord. In Dvapara yuga more tamasic mindset and life was starting to rule so then pūjā came to to great discipline to connect to Supreme Spirit.

Pūjā is integraton of all 4 yogas: bhakti, jñana, karma and rāja yoga.

If we adore, worship, serve with love - it is pūjā. So in everyday life we also do pūjā when we with these principles. Any action can be done as pūjā.

In Veda pūjā means giving respect and reverence to our inner Bhagavan - Ātma. After eons of time when mind become more prevailing, disturbing the state of balance and harmony with Supreme, then pūjā as external activity evolved.

There are different pūjās with different varietes but the structure, core essence is same. Sānatana Dharma gives us freedom to evolve, to do our own worship.

Pūjā helps us to walk in dhrama life. Pūjā is done on a variety of occasions, frequencies, and settings. It may include a daily puja done in the home, or occasional temple ceremonies and annual festivals.

Puja varies according to the sect, region, occasion, deity honored, and steps followed.

In pūjā there can be different substitutes or representators used like Deity’s idol, form, svarupa or symbol.

And it involves offering various elements such as water, fragrance, flowers, incense, light and fire, and food.

In the process we are purifying these elements and offering to God, making these also divine, loading them with divine energies. Each offering, gesture, and mantra carries profound meanings.

Pūjā helps us to gain 4 principles desires: artha, kāma, dharma and mokṣa.

Pūjā goal

Pūjā goal is to establish a direct link between the individual and the divine, Puruṣārtha. We all have 3 equipment to use in pūjā: physical, mind and speech. Pūjā helps us to concentrate and through purifing our mind we will understand ourself and also divine Supreme Spirit. Furthermore, pūjā also emphasizes the concept of bhakti, or loving devotion. The practice encourages a deep emotional connection with the divine, akin to the love between a devotee and a beloved. This devotion is purifying the heart and mind, helping individuals overcome their worldly attachments and ego-driven desires. By cultivating selflessness and surrender, practitioners aim to attain a state of blissful communion with the divine.

In conclusion, pūjā represents a dynamic interplay between duality and non-duality, offering a tangible means to connect with the divine while also transcending limited perceptions of reality. Through its rituals, symbolism, and emphasis on bhakti, pūjā fosters personal transformation, fostering qualities of love, humility, and selflessness. This philosophy extends into daily life, promoting a sense of gratitude and interconnectedness, encouraging individuals to lead a life that is not only spiritually fulfilling but also harmonious with the world around them.

Pūjā Śaiva Āgamas

Pūjā is a ceremony in which the ringing of bells, passing of flames, presenting of offerings and chanting invoke the devas and Mahādevas, who then come to bless and help us. Pūjā is our holy communion, full of wonder and tender affections. It is that part of our day which we share most closely and consciously with our beloved Deity; and thus it is for Śaivites the axis of religious life.

Our worship through pūjā, outlined in the Śaiva Āgamas, may be an expression of festive celebration of important events in life, of adoration and thanksgiving, penance and confession, prayerful supplication and requests, or contemplation at the deepest levels of superconsciousness.

Source: Shodhganga: Temple management in the Āgamas

Pūjā means

Pūjā (पूजा) refers to “keeping the temple alive” as defined in the Śaivāgamas.—Pūjā means to honour, to respect, to worship. It can be roughly translated as ritual worship intended to honour the deity. It is popularly explained as “that which fulfills all action and bestows knowledge of the self (ātmajñānam)”. Pūjā is said to alleviate all suffering and bestow constant victory. Suprabhedāgama says that pūjā destroys all sin, is divine, causes happiness to all worlds, grants wealth, removes all obstacles and bestows prosperity on the king and the kingdom. Kāraṇāgama states that pūjā is puya that is auspicious, removes even the sin caused by mahāpātaka (great sin) and grants all the fruits of performing yajña. Kāmikāgama concludes that pūjā bestows on everyone both bhukti and mukti, prosperity in this world and salvation in the next.

Pūjā is of two types, according to the Pūrvakāmikāgama (v. 20.2) and Kāraṇāgama (v. 30.2): 1) ātmārthapūjā, 2) parārthapūjā. As the names explain, ātmārthapūjā is pūjā offered to a personal liga by individuals at their homes, for their own protection or for the sake of specific individual desires. Parārthapūjā on the other hand is ritual worship offered to liga established by Devas, Ṛṣis, men, etc. (at temples) for the benefit of all living beings.

Pūjā is worship

Pūjā (पूजा) is usually translated as “worship”. It derives from the multivalent Sanskrit root puj, meaning “to worship”. This root also means “to honor”; “to serve”; “to collect or bring together”; “'intelligent”; “to shine”. Pūjā is therefore “an intelligent bringing together of luminous elements (in the form of a mūrti) in order to honor or worship”. Thus, a pūjā is a type of ritual that, unlike in a Vedic sacrifice (yajña),employs the use of an image (mūrti). The term pūjā is used to denote a ritual of worship of an image or an aniconic form of a deity as well as of any other object that is considered to possess special power and be sacred. Any such ritual worship, whether performed with a special ritual procedure or not, by a person trained in cover ritualism or not, in a temple or in a home, can be referred to as a “pūjā”.

Pūjā (पूजा) is a type of ritual that employs the use of an image (mūrti).—A pūjā usually takes place in a temple or permanent sacred space and does not entail the use of offerings into a sacred fire. It is performed either by an individual or a priest for the prosperity, blessings, welfare, or boons of an individual or individuals. In general, it may said that pūjā represent an act of devotion. They are performed to: 1. receive the deity's blessings, 2. develop an awareness of one’s own inner divinity

Pūjās range in complexity from the relatively simple to the wonderfully complex. They differ in regards to what words (mantras) are said, what gestures (mudrās) are employed, what images (mūrti or vigraha) are used, what aims the worshipper has, the nature of the aspirant, and the objects employed. They also vary according to the intensity of one's devotion, one's ability to afford the items necessary for any given pūjā, or the occasion. However, no matter how simple or complex the pūjā, it establishes a heightened communion between the worshipper and the worshipped. While the pūjā is being performed, there is an intimate physical, mental, and spiritual connection between the devotee and the deity.

Each act in a pūjā is not only physical and/or mental, but also symbolic, cosmic, and spiritual. Sprinkling, sipping, and bathing are symbolic of purification, of the worshipped as well as of the worshipper and the surroundings. Various offerings symbolize the surrendering of one’s latent tendencies (vāsanā) as expressed in thoughts, words, and deeds. Of the various types of pūjās, the one with sixteen (oaśa) items or offerings (upacāra) is very common.