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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.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Avoid eating an hour before puja Avoid consuming food for at least an hour before the puja.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Step 4: Bathe & put on clean clothes Bathe and put on clean clothes before entering the shrine to maintain the space’s sanctity.
  • TIP: During their menstrual cycles, women customarily don’t partake in a puja.
  • Step 5: Enter shrine with family Enter the shrine with your family.
  • TIP: The holiest time for puja is considered to be just before sunrise.
  • Step 6: Light lamps with ghee Use ghee to light the standing and smaller lamps. The standing one usually stays on all day.
  • Step 7: Light incense Light incense with a burner or matchstick.
  • 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.
  • TIP: Hindus do not worship the murti themselves; they worship God, who is present in the images.
  • Step 9: Bathe murti Place the murti in a deep tray and bathe them with sacred water or milk.
  • TIP: Sacred water and milk can be found in stores specializing in Hindu worship items.
  • Step 10: Remove tray Remove the tray used to catch the sacred water or milk.
  • Step 11: Dry & dress murti Dry the murti and dress them in colorful clothing.
  • Step 12: Recite prayers & passages Recite prayers and passages from scriptures such as the Vedas.
  • 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.
  • Step 14: Make other offerings Make other offerings, such as rice, fruit, or flowers. Distribute food and flowers to devotees.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • FACT: During a 'car puja,' new wheels are blessed.

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

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