How to Have a Puja at Home

Hindus offer a puja, or worship, ceremony every day in the home, typically early in the morning. There’s no set program to follow, and rites can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like.

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Learn how to celebrate Diwali, how to generate good karma, how to attain liberation in Hinduism, and how to have a puja at home with this Howcast video series on Hindu beliefs, prayers, and practices.

You Will Need

  • Home shrine with murti, or images and icons of a deity or deities
  • Small brass and/or silver pots
  • A large metal tray
  • Ghee, or clarified butter, for lighting the lamps
  • A standing oil lamp
  • Small lamps with cotton wicks
  • A deep tray
  • Incense sticks
  • Incense burner or matchstick
  • Scripture
  • Sacraments and offerings from your tradition
  • A hymn, recorded or live
  • Bells

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Avoid eating an hour before puja

    Avoid consuming food for at least an hour before the puja.

  2. Step 2

    Prepare items

    Prepare items for the puja, which can vary depending on the deities worshipped and individual choice. These can include sacred water or milk; uncooked rice mixed with turmeric; fresh stem-less blooms or loose flower petals; and sacraments of one’s tradition such as red powder, sandalwood paste, or holy ash.

  3. Step 3

    Place items in pots & on tray

    Place the items you are using in the small bronze or silver pots, and then place the pots on the large metal tray.

  4. Step 4

    Bathe & put on clean clothes

    Bathe and put on clean clothes before entering the shrine to maintain the space’s sanctity.

  5. During their menstrual cycles, women customarily don’t partake in a puja.

  6. Step 5

    Enter shrine with family

    Enter the shrine with your family.

  7. The holiest time for puja is considered to be just before sunrise.

  8. Step 6

    Light lamps with ghee

    Use ghee to light the standing and smaller lamps. The standing one usually stays on all day.

  9. Step 7

    Light incense

    Light incense with a burner or matchstick.

  10. Step 8

    Express devotion to murti

    Express your devotion to the murti of your selected deity or deities. The images allow direct communication between participants and the deities.

  11. Hindus do not worship the murti themselves; they worship God, who is present in the images.

  12. Step 9

    Bathe murti

    Place the murti in a deep tray and bathe them with sacred water or milk.

  13. Sacred water and milk can be found in stores specializing in Hindu worship items.

  14. Step 10

    Remove tray

    Remove the tray used to catch the sacred water or milk.

  15. Step 11

    Dry & dress murti

    Dry the murti and dress them in colorful clothing.

  16. Step 12

    Recite prayers & passages

    Recite prayers and passages from scriptures such as the Vedas.

  17. Step 13

    Smear powder, paste, or ash

    If you are using them, smear powder, paste, or ash on the murti. The puja leader can also smear these on devotees’ foreheads as blessings.

  18. Step 14

    Make other offerings

    Make other offerings, such as rice, fruit, or flowers. Distribute food and flowers to devotees.

  19. Step 15

    Play a song

    Play a song for the deities. This could be a popular recording of a hymn, known as bhajan, or a family member can sing. It all depends on the type of puja.

  20. Step 16

    End with aarti

    End the puja with aarti. Wave the lamps or a tray of lamps in front of the murti in a circular, clockwise motion to represent the cyclical nature of creation. Aarti is often accompanied by the ringing of bells.

  21. During a 'car puja,' new wheels are blessed.

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