Pūjā (Devanagari: पूजा) (alternative transliteration Pooja, Sanskrit: reverence, honour, adoration, or worship) is a ceremony of gratitude or a religious ritual performed as an offering to various deities, distinguished persons, or special guests. It is done on a variety of occasions and settings, from daily puja done in the home, to temple ceremonies and large festivals, or to begin a new venture. Puja is modeled on the idea of giving a gift or offering to a deity or important person and receiving their blessing. The two main areas where puja is performed is in the home and at public temples. There are many variations in scale, offering, and ceremony. Puja is also performed on special occasions such as Durga Puja and Lakshmi Puja. Puja or Pooja is also a Hindu female first name.
Many Hindu homes have a personal shrine set aside somewhere in the house that include pictures or murtis of various deities. A daily puja is often performed that may also include offerings for the family's personal deity or religious. A daily Puja usually consists of a simple worship of offerings, such as an offering of light, water and incense, and/or fruit. Usually with a small aarti afterwards. Puja can be performed with any available offerings. A puja thali consists of a Diyaa/lamp, Haldi/Kumkum, Sweetmeats or fruits, Water, Bell, and Jos sticks. Aarti is usually performed with this offering afterward using an Aarti mantra, e.g. Om Jai Jagadish Hare.
Temple pujas are more elaborate and typically done several times a day. They are also performed by a temple priest, or pujari. In addition, the temple deity is considered a resident rather than a guest, so the puja is modified to reflect that; for example the deity is "awakened" rather than "invoked" in the morning. Temple pujas vary widely from region to region and for different sects, with devotional hymns sung at Vaishnava temples for example. At a temple puja, there is often less active participation, with the priest acting on behalf of others.
A full home or temple puja can include several traditional upacaras or "attendances". The following is an example puja that can vary according to tradition, setting, or time: they may offer food, drink or everyday objects
- Avahana (“invocation”). The deity is invited to the ceremony.
- Asana. The deity is offered a seat.
- Svagata (“greeting”). The deity is asked if the journey has gone well.
- Padya. The deity's feet are symbolically washed.
- Arghya. Water is offered so the deity may wash face and teeth.
- Acamanıya. Water is offered for sipping.
- Madhuparka. The deity is offered a water-and-honey drink.
- Snana or abhisekha. Water is offered for symbolic bathing.
- Vastra (“clothing”). Here a cloth may be wrapped around the image and ornaments affixed to it.
- Anulepana or gandha. Perfumes and ointments are applied to the image.
- Puspa. Flowers are offered before the image, or garlands draped around its neck.
- Dhupa. Incense is burned before the image.
- Dıpa or arati. A burning lamp is waved in front of the image.
- Naivedya or prasada. Foods such as cooked rice, fruit, clarified butter, sugar, and betel leaf are offered.
- Namaskara or pranama. The worshiper and family bow or prostrate themselves before the image to offer homage.
- Visarjana or udvasana. The deity is dismissed.
List of commonly performed pujas
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- Durga Puja
- Kali Puja
- Saraswati Puja
- Lakshmi Puja
- Narayana Puja
- Shiva Ratri Broto
- Ganesh Puja
- Monosha Puja
Jainism: Sanatra Puja Jainism: Siddhichakra Puja
- Satyanarayana Puja
- Narikela, the coconut offering
- Panchalinga Darshana
- Puja (Buddhism)
- Jain#Geographical spread and influence Jain historical roots of puja
- navgra shanti puja
- Flood, Gavin D. (2002). The Blackwell companion to Hinduism. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 6. ISBN 9780631215356. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=qSfneQ0YYY8C&oi=fnd&pg=PR6.
- Lindsay Jones, ed (2005). Gale Encyclopedia of Religion. 11. Thompson Gale. ISBN ISBN 0-02-865980-5.
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