|Puja - Symbolic|
Symbolic importance of items used in puja:
Coconut - The breaking of coconut before God coaxes us to break the hard nut of our ego before God.
Flower, incense and light waving - they indicate progressive types of atmarpana to God.
Camphor - Lighting camphor before God symbolizes that if we burn our illusion or ego with the fire of true knowledge, we shall merge with the God, leaving no residue.
Dhruva grass, arka flower and leaves - These are the least coveted by the common people, but have a lesson. It signifies that no part of creation is repellent to God. He is much pleased with the lowliest of creation as with the highest.
Turmeric powder - It is used in auspicious ceremonies as it is found to be germicidal in effect aside of the psychological effect of the color.
Stone - The stone, for instance, that is used in marriage symbolizes permanence, even as the pole star ( Dhruv Nakshatra).
Sesame seeds and cereal rice - symbolize fertility
Mustard seeds and grains are thrown into the fire to counteract evil forces and evil eyes.
Water - The sanctified water is sprinkled or sipped to wash away impurities and sin.
Agni or Fire is an invariable constituent of the functions. It personifies the living God, the patriarch of the home. It is Grahapati or Lord of the house protecting the members of the household. He is also called Sakshi.
The temples even, as Rathas are replicas of the human body. The deity in the sanctum reminds us of the truth that God is seated at the heart of each individual. Parikrama suggests pranayama.
Prostrating before God signifies complete surrender of self-including the five Jnanendriyas and five Karmendriyas to God's will.