Puja is a prayer ritual performed by Hindus to worship and honour deities, or to celebrate an event, spiritually. Basically, puja means reverence, honour, homage, adoration and worship. This may include daily puja performed in the home, temple ceremonies, annual festivals, events such as a birth of a baby or to begin a new venture or a wedding. Puja is performed is mainly performed either at the home or at temples. It is performed either by individuals or by groups and either directly by a devotee or indirectly by a priest on behalf of the devotee. There are two kinds of Indian puja traditions. Informal Nigama puja ceremonies, a fire is lit to worship deity Agni, in the absence of an idol or image. While in Agama puja ceremonies, an idol or image of a deity is worshipped and honoured. However, in both the puja traditions, an earthen lamp or incense stick is lit. A prayer is conducted, mantras are chanted and the hymn is sung.
Belief and Significance of Indian Puja Traditions:
For several people, puja is a medium to register their desires and appeals, such as for good health, speedy recovery from illness, success in a business venture with God. The structure and practice of puja involve the mantras and rituals which are focused on spirituality. A pitcher, nau-vidhyam, fruits, flowers, dhoop, deep, vermilion, Turmeric powder and Prasad are used as a symbol of various objects in the puja. in Hinduism, puja traditions sometimes involve things beyond idols or images of deities. Even sages, saints, rivers, concrete objects or anything is seen and worshipped as manifestations of divine reality. For some the divine is everywhere, irrespective of its form, and a puja to these manifestations shows the same spiritual importance to those who offer a prayer to sages, saints, rivers, concrete objects or anything else.
Benefits of Indian Puja Tradition
Puja makes you nicer, more forgiving, increases trust, offsets the negative health effects of stress, purifies the heart, generates harmonious vibrations, stabilizes the mind, purifies emotions, harmonises the five sheaths, and leads to communion, fellowship or God-realization. It destroys Rajas, Tamas, vasanas, trishnas, egoism, lust, hatred, anger, and fills the mind with Satva or purity.