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Hindu Rituals and Religion

Religion

Religion is the highest need of mankind. Just as our body requires food for its sustenance our mind require religious experiences for providing us the right direction. It is believed to help us in leading the way to find God Almighty. We create God in our imagination as per geographic surroundings; therefore one religion is as true and right as another - in other words truly equal.

One God

Hindus believe in one god, Brahma, the absolute, who rules over the world with the aid of many other Gods - major being 'Vishnu', 'Shiva', and 'Durga'. It therefore does not matter whether one worships anyone or all the three of them - ultimately one is worshiping the Supreme. As;

As water from different rivers and different raindrop is eventually assimilated with the water of ocean, similarly worship to any god is accepted by the supreme, Purna Brahma.

Rituals in Religion

Almost all the religions of the world have their own mythology, as they have their own rites and ceremonies. Just as a Sanyasi is not in need of any ritual, so is a pholosopher not in need of any mythology. But it is for the common people who are neither Sanyasis nor philosophers; there is a need for mythology as well as rituals. In fact mythology is a very useful part of religion, though not an essential part of it. It helps to concretize the abstract truth of philosophy.

A very important function of rituals is determined by its symbolism. Most of the rites we perform are intended for visualizing belief. Our gratitude to God is visualized by our offerings of flowers and other things on as altar. Our humble service to Him is visualized in the temple where He is hreated as an earthly king and highest honors are paid to Hi.

Rituals have obvious psychological function of providing an outlet for religious emotion. Like every emotion tries to seek an outlet in action it finds satisfaction in something that is done under its influence so is the religious emotion craves for expression and finds it in the prescribed ritual. Rituals have also a moral function. In fact, we may say that rituals in one sense are incipient morals. Almost every rite we perform is a lesson in self-control. It is the first step in that long process of the liberation of spirit from the thralldom of the flesh.

The most important subjective function of the rituals is what may be called its mystical function. Soul feel the mysterious presence of God.

Articles Required for Puja

1. Puja Samagri Packet (Jai Hanuman Brand)

2. Havan Samagri 1 Pkt.
3. Coconut 1
4. Agarbatti 1 Pkt.
5. Supari 10 Pcs.
6. Sweets or Prasad
7. Fruits 5 Pcs.
8. Flowers 1 bunch
9. Paan leaves 5
10. Red Cloth 1 Yd.
11. Mouli 1
12. Cotton for Deepak
13. Aluminum foil Roll
14. Wood for Havan
15. Lota 1, Katories 5, Thalies 4
16. Bed Sheet 1
17. Bhagwaan ki Murti or Photo 1
18. Rice 1 Lb.
19. Milk, Yogurt, Ghee Honey Sugar
20. 5 Kinds of Dry Fruits. Almonds etc.

Apart from the above items there are few additional intems required for Mata Ki Chowki, Weddin, Last Rite, Janeu, and Nav-Graha Shanti Puja. All items of Puja are available at most of the Indian grocery stores and other stores. Please feel free to contact us for any additional information.

Setting up a Home Mandir

Picture of God, cloth, metal water cup, incense holder, small shrine. East corner of the home is best of placing the deities, where prayer can pray while facing east. You may find that pPuja is more effective while this is performed in front of a picture of God. Prayers can be offered daily morning and evening. Home shrine is the best way for all family members for peace of mind, and to receive the strenght to perform the daily duties.

Following is the sequence of the Puja in most of the ceremonies:

Ganesh:

This consists of inviting the presence of the elephant-faced God Ganapati on a symbol of swastika moving clockwise and a betel nut (hard fruit) placed in the center as a symbol of the core of Truth.

Baran of the Priest:

A promise has to be made by the Priest that he shall chant all the Mantras perfectly on behalf of the Yajman. He will not make any mistake. He shall be reposible for any mistakes unless directed by the Yajaman. If the Priest conducts the PUJA perfectly, he is entitled to have a part of the Punya of the PUJA. At the same time, if he commits any mistake he gets due punishment of them. At the time of making a 'consent' between priest and Yajman word "Bratosmi" is pronounced by the Priest.

Sankalpa:

For evey religious ceremony, the performer has to mention the grand division and sub-divisions of present time. According to the Dharmashastra time and place are the most important in all ceremonies by which this world is regulated. Each hour day month and year related to a particular form of Divine or aspect of the cosmic enery. Therfor time is considered as the most powerful. In the Hindu mythology, in our galaxy the beginning of time start with Swetavaraha Kalpa. This section of Manu is called Vaivaswata, and this time is called Kaliyug. Kaliyug has a life of 432,000 years. at present this is first quarter of Kaliyug. All this must be mentioned in the Sankalpa along with the name of the year, the month, the fortnight, the tithi, the nakshatra, the position of the Sun and Moon, and other planets in the celestial region, and the geographical location of the planet where the sacred ceremony is being held.

Worshipping the Nine Planets:

None planets of our solar system are invited and worshipped as they represent the followings;

1. Sun (Surya Aatmaa Jagatastasthushch) the sun is the soul of the words. Sun is the great God or Divine father Shiva. 2. Moon is the mind of God. The great Goddess Divine mother Parvati. 3. Mars, a fire planet. Skanda, the war God, son of Shiva, is worshipped to conquer anger and primitiveness. 4. Mercury represents density and strength, Vishnu the Divine preserver. 5. Jupiter is huge, innocent, the priest of Gods, Ganesh. 6. Venus is the Laxmi the Goddess of beauty and prosperity, known as "diamond planet", worshipped for wisdom, light, strength and perfection. 7. Saturn, is the dark and old form of God and Goddess, Shiva and Kali, worshipped for being free from sorrows and for prevention from falling towards primitiveness. 8. Rahu, Durga the terrible and protective form of the Goddess. 9. Ketu, Rudra, the terrible and protective form of God. Worshipped to prevent invisible evil effects.

Sadosh-Matrika

Sixteen form of power bearing female Goddesses, i.e. 1. Gauri, 2. Padma, 3. Shachi, 4. Medha, 5. Savitri, 6. Vijaya, 7. Jaya, 8. Devasana, 9. Swaha, 10. Swadha, 11. Matri, 12. Lokamatar, 13. Dhriti, 14. Pushti, 15. Tushti, 16. Kul Devata.

Yoginis

These forms are with four, eight, or more of arms. In each of the arms carrying different things for different purposes, which symbolizes her multiple strength.

Dikpals

 Protector of 10 directions, Vishnu: The preserver form of God and Shiva: Governing form of destruction and transcendence. Kalash: Vishnu, 11 forms of Rudra, Brahma the creator, Matrikas 16 form of Mother, Dhanwantari nector bearer Goddess of prosperity, seven oceans all parts of the planet Earth, all Vedic scriptures are invited in the Kalash. Laxmi: Goddess of prosperity in invited and worshipped on a symbol of "Shree". Onkar: Om is the symbol of Brahm. AUM, 'A' is for Brahma the creator, 'U' for Vishnu preserver, and 'M' for Mahesh the distructer. Durga: Durga in Mother of all beings, the Earth Goddess. (Yashya, Prithivi, Shareeram) Earth is the body of God. She is female, giver of birth, and protector, like a mother. She is known as Bhagawati, Jagadambaa, Maa Durga etc. her power is distributed into three major forms. These three forms are divided into other three forms. Three forms of Maha-Saraswati, and three forms of Maha-Lakshmi, and three forms of Maha-Lkali, are respectively generator, preserver and destruction power of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. These nine forms of Shakti are invited and worshipped in the PUJA. Prayers are offered to the mother as: "O Mother Earth your existence is most important because you are the reason of you existence."

Mantras

 All the Gods and Goddesses are invited with particualr Mantras. There are basically two kinds of Mantras for inviting and worshipping the Gods and Goddesses.

1. Vedic - which have been used since the time of Veda.
2. Tantrik - which bears the seed to provoke certain things, with the intention that the PUJA is being performed.

There are 16 purposes of Puja:

1. Awahen (inviting): to get the holy vision.
2. Aasan (seat offer): fore holy vision and thoughts.
3. Paadhya (water): to destroy the wicked elements.
4. Snan (bathing): to wash away any kind of illness.
5. Yagyopavit (sacred thread): for Vedic thoughts / vision.
6. Vastra (cloth): for long life.
7. Gandha (red vermilion): to fulfill the good wish.
8. Akshata (rice): for end less unity of Soul with Brahma.
9. Pushpa (flower): to get kingdom of heaven.
10. Dhoop (incense): to destroy the sins.
11. Deep (light): brings light, knowledge / wisdom.
12. Naivaidhya (sweet): offered for satisfaction.
13. Achapan (water): for happiness in life.
14. Tambool (cardamom): mukhwas brings the fame.
15. Phal (fruit): brings good son and good results in life.
16. Aarati (candle): makes the heart pure. Satavan, Pradakshina, Pranam:

Pranam:

By Pradakshina the sin vanishes and by Pranam one becomes closer to God.

Puja, Archana & Abhisheka

Abhishek: Bathing the main deity with Panchamrit while specific Mantras from Vedas are being chanted to please the Devata.

Archana: The main deity is worshipped by about 108 names and some times with 1008 names, offering flower, rice or other items to please the Pradhaan Devata for whom the Archana is being performed. The word Swaha is used for Devas, and the word Swadha word is used only for Ancestors.