Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Puja , Aradhana

As mentioned earlier , the Bhakti Marga or the Way of Devotion ( to a personal Deity ) is considered the easiest way to the goal and that appeals to most . Christianity and Islam also resemble, in some ways , Bhakti Marga . However the fear of retribution by a vexed God , a belief that is part of other mainstream religions, does not form a crucial part of Hinduism or Bhakti Marga .

A Personal Deity , could be a Kula Devata ( family deity ), or a Grama Devata ( deity of the Village or locality ) , or a Ishta Devata ( a deity or personal choice ) .
or permutations of the above . All of the above could be different or represent the same deity .
One can also direct ones devotions to a variety of deities at the same time .
Worship or Puja or Aradhana can be done mentally with simplicity or with elaborate ritual .

Popular forms or aspects of devotion are

1. Aradhana or Puja ( worship ritual usually done daily or weekly with more elaborate rituals for special occasions or festivals )
2. Nama Japa ( chanting of the holy name )
3. Mantra Japa ( Chanting of a special Mantra or sacred phrase recieved by initiation )
4. Dhyana ( meditation on the chosen deity )
5. Stotra Paata ( recitation of sacred compositions in praise of that particular deity )
6. Archana ( Ashtothara or Sahasranama , recitation of 108 or 1008 different names in praise of the deity )
7. Sankirtana ( singing of Bhajans or songs in praise )
8. Parayana ( reading selections of scriptural writings from the Puranas or the Ramayana Bhagavata etc relevant to the Deity .)
9. Attending Satsanga or Pravachana , or Kalakshepa ( religious gatherings , discourses , etc )
10. Visiting Devastanas or Mandirs ( temples )
11. Tirtha Yatra ( Visiting sacred ancient pilgrimage spots , that may have temples , rivers , springs ,mountains etc )
12. and Last but not the least , Paropakara , ( serving the needy ).

The daily ritual Puja or Aradhana may consist of various permutations and combinations of the subsequent forms of Bhakti .

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