|Puja - Steps|
Basic steps before starting any puja
Place of worship
Place of worship:
The ideal place should be one that is secluded If such a place is unavailable, mark any area, cover it with a curtain or a clean cloth with the objective of providing seclusion and privacy.
Cleaning oneself (Atma shuddhi):
The idea of having a bath before puja is that one feels light and cleanses
all the sensory organs. The body should be clean and pure. If bath is
not possible, wet the legs and hands, and then put water on the hair
For special puja's, the symbolical purification of body is done by keeping water first in the right hand, bringing it over the head and sprinkling the water on the body. Follow it up with the left hand.
Dressing up for the puja:
The gents should keep the upper half of the body above the waist exposed
and cover the lower half by a clean cloth/dhoti. If exposing the upper
half is inconvenient, use a banyan (vest). The head and shoulders must
always be covered with a scarf or a clean cloth
The ladies may wear any clothes, taking care that their head is kept
covered by the sari pallu/ orni / scarf/ dupatta.
Clean the pictures of God with a clean cloth. The idols should be bathed with Ganga JAL (water from the holy Ganges). Even a drop of Ganga JAL mixed with clear water may be used for these purposes. If Ganga JAL is unavailable clear water obtained from any river will do.
Puja asan (taking seat):
One should not sit directly on the floor. Instead sit on a woolen carpet, mat or a foam cushion. The seat must be comfortable. Elderly people who are unable to sit prostate on the floor may sit on a low chair. While sitting cross-legged, the left leg should be placed below the right legs, however if one gets tired the legs may be alternated.
Application of Tilak over forehead:
As per the custom, before commencing puja, the tilak should be applied on the forehead between the two eyebrows. This is believed to help provide concentration during puja. The ring finger of the right hand must be used to apply the tilak. The items used for tilak are Bhasm (ash), chandan (sandalwood), roli or haldi (turmeric). The bhasm tilak is believed to be the best and can be obtained from wood ash or the remains of previous havans.
After having offered water over the idols, place some flowers before them. Then take water and rice in the palm, do sankalp and place them on the floor. Follow it up by applying tilak on the Deity.