Puja

‘Puja’ is ritualistic worship of the divine performed to keep us in harmony with cosmic forces and help in removing and overcoming the sorrows of life and bringing spiritual upliftment. Performing pujas help in creating vibration of spiritual forces around us, which in turn eliminate the negative influences and negative aspects of our life. It helps surround us with positive energy and this brings peace of mind as well as material prosperity, thus enabling each one of us touch the divine, our true nature, and at the same time to lead a comfortable life we want.
Prior to the celebration of puja, the place of puja is specially decorated with colourful ‘Ganeshyantra’ made by ‘abeer’ (coloured powder) and flower, which symbolizes Lord Ganesh, and with ‘pradip’ (lamp). The puja starts with worship of Lord Ganesh (the remover of obstacles) through ‘Sankalpa’.

# Ganesh Yantra: Every Hindu God is represented using a geometrical form. These are called ‘yantra’s. The basic principle of ‘yantra’ is that, here circles represent nature while squares represent culture, dots and upward pointing triangles refer to spiritual reality while downward pointing triangle refer to material reality. All ‘yantra’s have some things in common. They are contained in a square with 4 T-shaped gates. These mean worldly realm. Within is a circle, followed by 8 petals of lotus emerging from the inner circle. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesh takes 8 forms for destroying 8 demons/disrupted emotional states; those are jealousy, vanity, attachment, greed, rage, lust, self-indulgence, arrogance. The 8 petals in the ‘Ganesh yantra’ represents 8 forms of Lord Ganesh. In the centre of the ‘Ganesh yantra’ is placed ‘Shree kunda’.

# Sankalpa: ‘Sankalpa’ is the ritual of offering five elements of creation (Our body is composed of those five elements i.e. ether, air, fire, water and earth) to God which signifies surrender of the devotee to God. Each element is represented by a material symbol, such as flowers, fire etc. At first the fire is ignited in the ‘Shree kunda’, placed at the centre of the ‘Ganesh Yantra’. After that, those materials are offered along with camphor (camphor helps burning fire) to the ‘Shree kunda’. While offering those materials, the devotees pray for fulfillment of their desires (‘Monoshkamana’).

# Goddess (Maa) Kali: As per our mythology, ‘Maa Kali’ is ‘shakti’ (power) and exists both within and around us. Within us, she is the mind, the repository of our thoughts and feelings, our memories and imaginations. Around us she is the earth. Within or without, ‘Maa Kali’ can be wild or tame. In iconography, ‘Maa Kali’ is naked with hair untied and she drinks blood. Her nakedness is an invitation to sex, hence to new birth symbolizing ‘life’. Her lust for blood is her acceptance of death. She is both life and death. Her unbound hair is a reminder that she is wild and raw. She is ‘shakti’, energy, constantly on move (prakriti).

# Hibiscus Flowers: In iconography, ‘Maa Kali’ is naked with her unbound hair and with Hibiscus flowers. Hibiscus flower which looks like blood drenched womb, is sacred to ‘Maa Kali’. The common Hibiscus flower has 5 petals which denote the warding of negative energy and the welcome of the positive energy into the Universe from the "panchamahabhutas" or 5 basic elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth).

#Billwa patra: ‘Billwa patra’ is offered in ‘Yagna’. According to Hindu philosophy/ scriptures, ‘Billwa patra’ is ‘triguna’, which has 3 components (3 leaflets) and connented to three ‘guna’s – when we offer ‘Bilwapatra’ to the ‘yagna’ with the assimilation of ‘ghrita’, firstly, it burns our anger and jealousy that we may have for anyone till that time…. and we feel those melt away; secondly, it burns away the unwanted greed and desires…and we feel happy and content with what we have been blessed with and finally, it removes all the insecurities that we may have in our mind related to anything or financials….and just believe that God has given our life and he will surely give us enough to survive.

# Hom-Yagna: Through ‘Hom-Yagna’ we gradually grow into harmony with the man of light. The aim of ‘Hom-Yagna’ is harmony and rhythmic vibration; we become more and more magnetic through ‘Hom-Yagna’. The shouts and shows of modern life produce discord. Never was the world more chaotic than it is today; and never was the need greater, than today, of magnetic man. Schools and colleges aim, in their education, at making youth intellectual. This traditional spiritual culture is needed to make them magnetic. Intellectual youths are often controversial and aggressive; they could disintegrate, while magnetic youths are integrated, harmonious, unified and also see the emergence of Superman within them. With participation in ‘Hom-Yagna’, we become conscious of new reserves of life in our being. We have but to trap them and through we will flow ‘shakti’ (energy) to others. We become a centre force; our very silence is dynamic. Unlike a reformer, the magnetic man does not fight or denounce. His words are not those of a preacher, of a party or creed, his words are sparks of the fire of life. His very silence shines as light, burns as flame.

# Visharjan: ‘Maa Kali murti’ (idol of Goddess Kali)) is made by using clay. After the prayers or puja is over, the idol of ‘Maa’ is immersed into water body (‘Visarjan’) and is dissolved. Thus the deity is created for some time, exists for some time and it is destroyed eventually, only to return the next time, when it is the time to worship HER again. This practice draws attention to the cyclical nature of life. Nothing is static in this universe. Everything changes. All things that go around eventually come around. The seasons go and come, the tides flow and ebb, the moods rise and dip, the moon waxes and wanes and so too do fortunes and the quality of relationships. Starting from creation of idol, worship and finally ‘Visarjan’ of the idol, only to create it again before the next puja, draws attention to the ever-changing ever-repeating never-ending nature of life. What dies is reborn------Jay MAA.

Puja date- Pujas and Maha-Yagna are performed twice a year on the auspicious tithi of Uttarayan and Dakshinayan. Several other Pujas are performed round the year on the auspicious tithi of Amabashya according to the necessities and demands of individuals globally, at various places of pilgrimage and pithosthan of Maa Kali and Lord Shiva.
Our very last Yagna, "Ayush Hom" was performed on 28/12/2016. "Kaushiki Hom"(for protecting against all odds of fortune), the next Puja and Maha-Yagna of "Bhadra Amabashya" (Bhadra Kali puja) by So-Aham Parivar, will be performed on 19/08/2017 (saturday) on the auspicious tithi of Amabashya of Dakshinayan.