Method of Daily Puja|
Submitted by Karthik
Whatever be your favorite God - Ganesha or Vishnu or Shiva
or Hanuman, the way of doing pooja is the same.
Every Pooja has 16 steps. That is why it is called Shodasa Pooja (Shodasa means
16 in Sanskrit). Depending on one's convenience one can do 5, 10 or all the
I will specify all the steps one by one. Before that some specific points:
a) One should take bath before
doing any pooja.
b) A lamp must be lit near the place where pooja is going to be performed.
Steps of Shodasa Pooja:
a) Before commencing the pooja, one must offer prayers to
Lord Ganesh or Ganpathy.
b) He/She must offer a prayer to his/her Guru or Spiritual
Step 1 Dhyana and Avahana:
Sitting before the Image or Idol of our favorite deity, meditate on his form.
For example, for Vishnu, one should think of conch, chakra and the mace in his
hands and the lotus flower.
Then, invoke the deity into the pictures or idol through prayers. After this is
performed, what is was previously an object becomes potent and holy. At this
time, worshippers say "God, I know you are everywhere. I know you are also
in this Photograph/Idol." While doing the Pooja, one should not think of
this just as a Picture. The picture or idol is GOD ("you") sitting opposite
to me, accepting my pooja and prayers.
Step 2 Asana:
The next step is offering God a seat. This is done by just touching the
picture, as if asking God to sit. Mentally imagine each step- Like God coming
and sitting in front of us etc.
Step 3 Padhya:
In this step God's feet are washed with water. (This is a custom followed in India- where the feet of holy men are washed when they come to a house.) Washing feet of
the idol is done by pouring a few drops of water before the image. **
Step 4 Argya:
Water is offered to God to wash his hands. This is again done by pouring a few
drops of water before the idol.
Step 5 Achamanya and Madhuvarga :
Water is offered to wash his mouth and face in the earlier prescribed manner.
Madhuvarga (Madhu-Honey) is a beverage made of honey and milk is offered for
the God to drink. This is offered to GOD by keeping the vessel mixed with honey
and milk in front of the image.
Step 6 Abhishekam or Snanam:
Abishekam literally means bathing (GOD). For an Idol, a few drops of water can
be poured on the idol and then dried. For a picture it is sufficient if you
pour a few drops of water before the image. In addition to water, you can pour
milk, rose water, water mixed with sandalwood paste etc.
Step 7 Vastra:
Offering of dress including an upper garment. Usually flowers are offered in
place of these. But you can also offer a piece of cloth.
Step 8 Gandha:
Sandalwood powder and kum-kum (red powder Hindus wear on their forehead) is
offered to him.
Step 9 Abarana:
Offering of ornaments made of
Gold/Silver/Stones etc. While doing this, imagine putting a necklace on God
and then place a flower at his feet.
Step 10 Pushpa mala:
Offering a garland of flowers.
Step 11 Archana:
Flowers of various types are offered to the Lord along with the chanting of his
Step 12 Dhoop:
Then show him an incense stick. The incense (agharbathi) can be light it and
circled in clockwise manner three times in front of GOD.
Step 13 Deepam:
The next is offering of a lighted lamp. This can be an oil lamp.
Step 14 Naivedya:
Offer GOD food- fruits or cooked food.***
Step 15 Arthi:
Light camphor and show it in front of the deity and at the same time as
reciting prayers. This light can be circled in front of GOD three times in a
clockwise manner, and after praying you can take from the flame by putting your
hands to the tip of the flame and then to your eyes.
Step 16 Pradakshina and Namaskara:
Offer flowers at the feet of God indicating your surrender to him. Then you
prostrate before the deity. You then offer all your prayers/songs etc.
This pooja method has been traditionally observed in Hindu
temples. Performing such a Pooja, cleanses one’s mind from evil habits and
reduces anger, stress etc.
Over a period of time, this Pooja can be made more
elaborate. Our friends and relatives can also be involved in this. In Hindu
temples, during such poojas, several people chant the mantras, a few perform
the actual rituals and some assist them in these rituals. This is how Hindu
temples have evolved into huge community centers.
**(Please note that the terms Image and Idol have been used
alternatively. The procedure remains same both while using a Photographic Image
or a Bronze/Silver Idol)
***(The food offered to GOD - usually bananas, apples, oranges, sweets and
freshly cooked rice, is called prasadam and one can eat this food right after
the pooja is completed. If this food is offered to one in a temple, do not receive
it with your left hand. Also, during puja do not offer anything to GOD with
your left hand. The left hand can be used for support, but not for offering or
This article was updated on October 22, 2006 from it's original post date of February 20, 2003. If you would like to contact Karthik, his email ID is: firstname.lastname@example.org
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