HINDU GODS

April 09, 2009

HINDU TEMPLE WORSHIP

Hindu Worship is known as puja.
It is carried out in the home of Hindus before a shrine, or in the Hindu temple,(Koyil in Tamil) which is known as a mandir. It is the holy place where the God Himself in divine form.
Hindu worship involves all five senses of touch,
Taste, Smell, Sight and Hearing, and also what Hindus consider to be the five basic elements: light, fire, earth, air and water.
In Siva temples Siva, Parvathy,Vinayagar, Murugan ,durga ,and navagragam and others connected with Saivite hierarchy.
Vishnu temples, Vishnu ,laxmi,and his Vaishnava hierarchy.
Shakti temples, Amman and her different forms like Durga, Parvathy, Saraswathy, Lakshmi and others connected with Shakta hierarchy, are established and worshipped.
When a devotee prostrates himself at the altar, He/she should do so in such a way that a number of parts of the body touch the ground.
For a man, 8 parts should touch the ground.This is known as Ashtanga Namaskaram.
  • head,
  • 2- ears,
  • 2 shoulders,
  • hands,
  • chin.

When a lady performs this method of worship,

5 parts of her body touch the ground, as follow.This is known as Pannchanga Namaskaram.

  • head,
  • 2 hands,
  • 2 knees.

At other parts of the temple ordinary prayers with folded hands is enough.

First make your way to the shrine of Ganesha (Vinayagar) which is found at the right hand side of the sanctum sanctorum, and offer prayers there. One offers prayers to Ganesha first because He is the Controller of obstacles.

Men should stand to the right of the deity and ladies to the left in an orderly manner without obstructing the view of others.

The worship of Ganesha is normally done as follows:

Cross hands over your chest, and knock on forehead three times with fists; then hold ears crosswise with hands while you squat and rise three times. After that clasp your hands in prayer in front while reciting mantras or Songs on Ganesha to yourself.

After this, prayers will be offered to the Navagrahas (9 planetary deities). The shrine of the Navagrahas will be found outside the main temple.

Having participated in the temple pooja one shouldn't return home or leave the temple immediately. One should sit at a suitable place in sight of the deities and spend some time(few minutes) in silent meditation (dhyana). One can chant holy mantras or concentrate on the form of a favourite deity. Close your eyes and chant holy mantras (Om Namah Sivaya ,favorite montras.) at least 108 times . Do this in peace and calm before worshipping the main deity once again. Then you can leave the temple for home.

'Om Ganeshaya Namaha'.
Types of temple worship:
1. Japa - Individual silent or soft repetition of mantras.
2. Bhajan - Singing of religious songs, individually or in a group, usually accompanied by instruments.
3. Kirtan - Congregational singing and chanting of holy mantras, especially those containing names of God, such as Rama or Krishna. Kirtan is accompanied by instruments and simple dance 4. Arotik - This is an ancient ceremony wherein certain pleasing articles are offered to the Lord in his deity form, accompanied by kirtan.
There are many other forms of worship, for special occasions and for particular personalities or forms of the Supreme Lord
TEMPLE WORSHIP

  • Going to the temple with a clean body. Legs and hands shall be cleaned at entering the temple. Every temple have a water facility at the Temple.In old Temple they have large pond (kulam).
  • When they enter a temple, they remove their shoes. They show respect to the gods by making offerings of money or food (rice, nuts or fruit) to the shrines of the gods.
  • Going to the temple adorned with holy symbols like the Holy Ash, rudrAxam.
    Taking something to offer to the Lord. It is an offering out of devotion. It would be nice if the offering is the one required in the worship.
  • If you spent more time in the Temble take slokas book and chant .
  • Not to enter the temple with foot wear.
  • Prostrating in front of the flag column (dwajastaMbham) (towards the North) on entering the temple.
  • Not to prostrate anywhere else in the temple.
  • Not to prostrate to anybody else in the temple premises.
  • Taking the permission of nandi dEvar mentally before entering His abode.
  • Saluting the elephant headed Lord enter the Lord's abode.
  • In Lord shiva's abode, engage the mind in the thinking of the God. Avoid any gossip. Temple is not the place for gossiping. Can sing or chant His names loudly and sweetly if it would not disturb others. Otherwise it could be done internally without making noise.
  • The Holy ash given as the blessings should be worn saying "shivAya namaH". It should not be spilled on the ground or wasted.
  • It is normally a procedure to offer something to the priest whose whole life should be in the service of the Lord.
  • Circumambulating the Lord saluting the Goddess and the deities in the temple. The circumambulation would be done at least for three times. On special occasions like pradoshham the are special circumambulation methods like soma sukta pradhaxiNam are followed.
  • While in the temple either the Holy five letters or any praise could be chanted.
  • Before coming out of the temple go to the place of chand Eshwarar and take permission for the materials which after worship are taken out of the temple as blessings. One must not take anything out in excess and things taken from the temple should be only as the mark of blessings. If nothing is taken it is the normal practice to wipe (rub) the hands together in his place.
  • Should do something in the promotion of the temple physically or materially or whichever is convenient and required.
  • On coming out of the temple, again prostrate in front of the flag column towards the north. Sit facing the north and meditate on the God chanting the Holy five letters.
  • While inside the temple should not make the place dirty in any way or make any noise.
    Going to the temple at least once in a week with the family
  • At a Hindu temple different parts of the building have a different spiritual or symbolic meaning.The central shrine is the heart of the worshipper.Northen mandir is diffrent to souther temple.
  • The time of day is important. The hours on either side of dawn are considered most auspicious for worship, for they are influenced by the quality of goodness . In India many temples begin their first public ceremony between four and six in the morning. Other ceremonies take place during the day; evening worship is particularly popular.
The Worship of Sivalinga
According to the Sivapurana, in the age of Kali (kaliyuga) ,worship of Siva in the form of Sivalinga is the best means of liberation. Woship of Sivalinga can be done either at home or in a Siva temple or a sacred place such as the banks of a sacred river. The linga has to be worshipped by the traditional means (sadupachara) of
  • dhyana,
  • avahana,
  • asana,
  • padya,
  • arghya,
  • achamaniya,
  • abhisheka,
  • vastra,
  • bhasma,
  • gandha,
  • akshata,
  • pushpa,
  • bilva,
  • dhupa,
  • dipa,
  • naivedya,
  • tambula,
  • mahanirajana,
  • mantrapushpa,
  • namaskara and
    prardhana.


PUJA
Puja is usually performed at sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight.
Puja begins with the washing of the images of the gods. They are washed with water, and sometimes with a milk based mixture called panchamrit.
Next the images of the gods are anointed with a perfumed, coloured marks made of haldi (turmeric) and kumkum. These marks are called tilaka and are also worn by Hindu priests and Hindu women.
Offerings of food and flowers are now made to the images. The offering of food is made because the gods provide people with all their needs. The offerings of flowers are a sign of respect and worship.
Incense is burnt before the image and a bell is rung. Both of these show the respect of the worshipper and announce the presence of the god. In the temple the curtains would now be drawn before the gods, and the people spend some time in prayer.

The climax of the worship is the lighting of the Arti lamp. On the puja tray with the lamp are also a bell, a flower, a pot of ghee (oil) and a pot of water. The lamp is circled three times in front of the image in a clockwise direction. The priest then scatters holy water over the worshippers, while they sing hymns to the gods.
The blessings of the Arti lamp are shared by the congregation. They make an offering on the tray. They pass their hands over the light, then over their eyes and hands, symbolically receiving the blessings of God.
In Mandirs in Britain it is usual to share food at the end of worship and even for all the worshippers to join in a meal.
The temples in South India differ from the temples of the North with regard to structures and ritual details. But these differences are more superficial than deep. There is a general feeling that aagama influence is stronger in the South Indian temples than North Indian temple .




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