Up next in Hindu Beliefs, Prayer, & Practice (4 videos)
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
- Sacraments and offerings from your tradition
- A hymn, recorded or live
Avoid eating an hour before puja
Avoid consuming food for at least an hour before the puja.
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.
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.
Bathe & put on clean clothes
Bathe and put on clean clothes before entering the shrine to maintain the space’s sanctity.
Enter shrine with family
Enter the shrine with your family.
Light lamps with ghee
Use ghee to light the standing and smaller lamps. The standing one usually stays on all day.
Light incense with a burner or matchstick.
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.
Place the murti in a deep tray and bathe them with sacred water or milk.
Remove the tray used to catch the sacred water or milk.
Dry & dress murti
Dry the murti and dress them in colorful clothing.
Recite prayers & passages
Recite prayers and passages from scriptures such as the Vedas.
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.
Make other offerings
Make other offerings, such as rice, fruit, or flowers. Distribute food and flowers to devotees.
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.
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.