Most of us, Hindus, indulge in some form of worshipping God. But we may be getting many doubts and may doubt whether we are doing it properly or not. As I am performing puja since many years and have developed a systematic procedure of doing it, I would like to share my experiences of how to do puja at home in a simple and systematic manner so that you can get utmost satisfaction by performing your puja.
Preparing yourself before starting Puja
Before starting to perform puja or the worship of God, one must get himself clean and pure by bathing and wearing pure and clean clothes. This makes your body and mind cool and prepared for meditation. Most orthodox people keep their silk dress solely for puja purpose which is used only for performing puja and then kept at a holy place for using it daily. In this case, the silk dress need not be washed daily. It can be washed weekly or fortnightly as it is worn only for one hour or so daily during performing puja.
The place of worship also needs to be clean and peaceful. You may place your God in a corner of a peaceful room or, if you have a separate room for puja, it is well and good. Keep the place neat and clean by cleaning with a cloth or small broom used separately for that purpose.
How to perform Daily Puja or routine worship
I will explain how to perform puja at home in a very simple manner according to your available time and facilities. But you should keep it a daily practice to make it bestow peace and happiness in your life and family. You may do it shortly for 15 minutes or long and detailed puja for more than one hour according to your facility.
First, you will clean the place and idols. Then sprinkle some drops of water over the idols and around the place of puja. It is like bathing Gods. Puja is just a resemblance of your own lifestyle. Just like you get up early, wash and bathe yourselves and wear new clothes, then take food. In the same way, you clean the God and wear clothes to Him and offer your prayers and food to Him.
Before starting worship, you will light the oil lamp or deepam according to the Hindu customs. The lamps are generally made up of brass or panchaloha metal. Keep the lamps simple and small so that smoke will not occur.
Change the cotton vattulu (or wicks) daily morning and fill the lamp holder with oil upto 75% or like that so as to prevent from overflowing of oil. Then light it with match stick.
You may place two lamps on both sides of God. While placing so, one deepam will be placed towards east (towards Sun) and the other one towards North (for God).
Wicks are generally lighted by combining two wicks into one which represents the the family or man- woman bondage. This brings harmony and happiness in family.
After lighting lamps, you will chant the hymns or sloka of “Suklambaradharam” and then make the guru stuthi or paying respect to the tree of your gurus (teachers of family tree). It starts from the guru of your old ancestors till your present guru.
Then, you will say all your hymns and slokas in praise of your Gods known as stothram. You can read or recite as many as you can according to your time or family traditions. Puja books are available at any shop of puja material.
If you can afford, you may worship with flowers also.
After worship and prayers are over, you will light the incense sticks and show round your Gods.
After incense, show the light of the lamp towards God with your right hand.
Now, offerings of food and fruits are made to God by showing the food and fruit with your right hand towards Gods’ mouth as if feeding Him.