What is Puja?
Puja is the act of showing reverence to a god, a
spirit, or another aspect of the divine through invocations, prayers, songs, and
rituals. An essential part of puja for the Hindu devotee is making a spiritual
connection with the divine. Most often that contact is facilitated through an
object: an element of nature, a sculpture, a vessel, a painting, or a print. It
is possible to reduce the suffering due to the unfavorable position of planets
through sincere reliance on God, the One who controls the planets.
During Puja an image or other
symbol of the god serves as a means of gaining access to the divine. This icon
is not the deity itself; rather, it is believed to be filled with the deity's
cosmic energy. It is a focal point for honoring and communicating with the god.
For the devout Hindu, the icon's artistic merit is important, but is secondary
to its spiritual content. The objects are created as receptacles for spiritual
energy that allow the devotee to experience direct communication with his or her
There are several Pujas which
people can do for specific events, such as the starting of a business, or the
beginning of a journey. The benefit of this type of Puja is to remove obstacles.
The Pujas are performed on behalf of those who request them by us.
Benefits of a Puja
According to our sacred texts,
Puja establishes a bridge between
the worshipper (the lover) and the deity (the loved). It facilitates flow of
love-energy in both ways. This energy not only sanctifies the self but also
re-vitalizes the body's resources, making one experience, what is called HOLY
BLISS. Thus both the worshipped and the worshipper benefit from Puja.
How Puja is Performed?
A worshipper is required to be
pure of body and mind. The Puranas lay more stress on the quality of devotion
and good behaviour than on rigid puja procedures. Puja originated as a
substitute to homa and other Vedic sacrifices which women and Shudras could not
perform and which required animal sacrifices. Due to Dravidian (see Dasas),
Buddhist and Jain influences that preached non-violence, the killing or
sacrifice of animals was discontinued and with the development of iconography,
idol worship and puja took the place of sacrifice. It was also recognized that
worship was essential for all, whatever the gender or caste (see Varna) and
therefore puja was formalized as a universal option instead of the exclusive
What is Homam?
Homams are pujas performed for a
particular deity by invoking Agni - the God of fire.
It is said that when Lord Brahma (the creator among the Trinity) created man, he
also created "Homam" for man's livelihood and his attainment of spiritual
desires. The fundamental premise of Homam is derived from the Vedams, although,
according to "Purusha Sooktham", it is the other way around - Vedams originated
from Homam! Anyhow, Vedams and Homam are eternal truths having neither beginning
nor end, and are "Apourusheyam" (divine, not the creation of humans). Karmam
(work or action) is an integral part of living. Right and wrong Karmams can
hardly be discerned by human intellect, and has to be guided by knowledge.
Vedams, indeed, contain the highest form of knowledge. The singular goal of
Vedam is to guide man through the correct path. And Homam forms the essence of
all the Karmams prescribed in the Vedams.
The goal of all Homams is the prosperity of the people at large by energizing
and protecting the environment. The Sun is considered as the main source of
energy supply, and fire is considered as a representation of the Sun's energy.
According to the ancient texts on Homam, any offer to Fire as a god, is actually
an offer to Sun. Any such offer is either to enrich energy in the environment or
to destroy the undesirable elements in the environment, and thus, in both ways,
environment is protected. Attaching divine nature to such rituals (like Homam)
induced people to practice them. Thus, the ancient texts proclaim that "Such
Vaidika Karmams are result-oriented, and meant to lead to Sreyass or spiritual
How Homam is performed?
Each Homam is performed strictly
according to scriptures. These are conducted by fully learned and experienced
vedic scholars.The ingredients recquired for these homams are different for each
homams.Each homam is performed after praying (Shankalpa) for the specific relief
/ benefit desired for each individual.After each homam, pundits are fed with