Worship of a deity is a subject of faith for all of us. We build a temple room in our house and decorate it well. We also keep the images or idols of the deities we like and perform daily puja (ritualistic worship).We purchase the articles of puja according to our capacity. We are also quite familiar with such articles like kalash (a water vessel generally of metal), shankh (conch), a copper plate, a copper vessel, a small spoon, a lamp etc. Every article of puja has its own significance. Let us understand the significance of an important article of puja that is lamp.
1. Importance of lamp in Hindu Dharma
The lamp has its own special place in Sanatan Vaidik Hindu Dharma. It is a form and a symbol of Tej (Absolute fire principle). The lamp is invoked as, ‘तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।’ meaning the lamp leads us from darkness towards light. It burns only to give message of peace and light to the man. This is its greatness. In this Satsang we shall try to understand what the scriptures have to say about the lamp. Amongst the articles of puja the lamp is an important article. The following mantra which is recited during the ritual of puja explains its significance.
भोदीपब्रह्मरूपस्त्वं ज्योतिषांप्रभुरव्यय: ।।
आरोग्यंदेहिपुत्रांश्चमत:शांतिं प्रयच्छमे ।।
Meaning: O Deity of lamp, you are of the form of Bramhan (the absolute truth). You are full of radiance. You never wither. Please bestow me health and good progeny and please fulfill my wishes
2. Characteristics of oil and ghee lamps
Agni Puran clearly states that only oil or Ghee (clarified butter) be used in the lamp meant for puja and no other combustible substance. According to the Science of spirituality the lamp with clarified butter is more sattvik (spiritually pure) as compared to lamp in which oil is used. This is an important aspect which we will try to understand in details. So let us see the difference between the the lamp in which Ghee is used and the one with oil.
Generally the use of oil is more prevalent than that of Ghee. The oil containing lamp kindles longer while the ghee containing lamp kindles for a short period. Now let us see the difference from the spiritual view point.
Ghee lamp has more capacity to attract the sattvik vibrations present in the surrounding atmosphere as compared to oil lamp.
The oil lamp can attract the sattvik vibrations spread over a maximum distance of 1 meter while the ghee lamp can attract sattvik vibrations spread over till Swarga Lok (heaven)
When the oil lamp stops burning the predominance of raja particles in the atmosphere is enhanced and lasts for half an hour. On the other hand when the ghee lamp stops burning the impact of sattvikta (the quality of being sattvik) on the atmosphere is experienced even after four hours.
Now let us see the characteristics of kindled lamps containing oil and ghee from spiritual angle with the help of a subtle drawing. Here we have to take into consideration the fact that while the vibrations of a subtle drawing are three dimensional we see them in the subtle drawing in a two dimensional form. For example the sphere will appear as a circle. Now let us look at the subtle drawing:
The yellow coloured circles seen in this drawing emit divine consciousness (chaitanya) in the atmosphere. The red coloured circles are of radiant energy. The burning flame is emitting frequencies full of Tej tattva (absolute fire principle) in the atmosphere. The red particles which you see here are the emitted particles of energy. So you have seen in this drawing how a oil lamp emits energy in the atmosphere. Now let us observe the subtle drawing of ghee lamp. The blue colour just besides the flame is indicative of spiritual emotion (bhav). The yellow circles which you see here are of chaitanya in the form of Tej tattva projecting in the atmosphere. You can also see the red particles and rays consisting of energy projecting into atmosphere.
1. Importance of conch (shankh) as per scriptures
First of all let us see the importance of shankh. According to our ancient scriptures that is Puranas, the shankh was originated during the Churning of ocean (Samudramanthan) by the Deities and Shri Vishnu held it in the form of weapon. As per a holy verse which is regularly chanted during the puja ritual it is mentioned that by the command of Shri Vishnu the deities Moon, Sun and Varun are stationed at the base of the shankh, the deity Prajapati on its surface and all the places of pilgrimage like Ganga and Saraswati in its front portion. Yet another specialty of shankh is that the vibrations emanating on blowing it destroys the disease causing germs in the atmosphere. That is the reason it has a important place in Ayurved and medicine.
Let us see a subtle drawing which explains us the importance of shankh.
In this subtle drawing we can see that the yellow coloured circles of chaitanya are being emitted from shankh in the atmosphere. The subtle blue coloured dots depicting devotion are projected like rays in straight line. The pink circles are formed of particles of bliss (anand) and they are constantly active.
The shankh are of two types, namely, left turned shankh and right turned shankh. When the shankh is held with its spout pointed up, its spirals coil towards your right then it is right turned shankh and if the spirals coil towards your left then it is a left turned shankh. Generally a left turned shankh is preferred for the puja ritual. Now days so many Shanks of different shapes are available in the market. There are some figured works also on their surface. Thus one gets confused as to how a genuine shankh be identified? The simple test is that without blowing the shankh if you hear pleasant sound when you bring it near to your ear then it is a genuine one.
2. Blowing of Shankh in puja ritual
The shankh is used in two ways in a puja ritual. One for blowing before the start of ritual and other for actual puja ritual. The shankh which is used for blowing should not be kept for puja.
Blowing of shankh has special significance in puja ritual. It has been mentioned in ‘Varaha Puran’ that one should not open the door of temple without first blowing the shankh. The left turned shankh is blown before the start of puja or performance of arti. There are three types of frequencies in the atmosphere namely sattva dominant, raja dominant and tama dominant. Among them the raja dominant and tama dominant frequencies generate distressing vibrations. The sattva dominant frequencies get attracted to the place of puja ritual but these frequencies are opposed by the raja and tama dominant frequencies so that they do not reach the place of puja and thus the flow of sattva frequencies is hindered.
When the shankh is blown before the start of puja energy is emitted from the shankh. This energy reduces the strength of distressing frequencies. Besides a protective armour of chaitanya (divine consciousness) is formed around the articles of puja. There is another benefit too. That is when the shankh is blown the activated energy of Shri Vishnu in the universe gets attracted towards the place of worship which is not only beneficial to the person who is blowing the shankh but also to all those who hear it. Just as the shankh is blown before the start of puja, it is also blown before an arti. The objective behind this being to sustain the deity’s chaitanya attracted to the place of puja ritual and the pure atmosphere generated because of the sattvik frequencies, for a long period.
1. Importance of patri in puja ritual
Patri is related to the coloured particles. The deities’ principles get attracted to the leaves because of coloured particles. The leaves or patri have the capacity to attract and emit the deity principle. Some of the patris constantly emit the deity principle which helps in continuous purification of the surrounding atmosphere. Only that patri which has more capacity to absorb the respective deity principle should be offered to the deity. That is the reason it is said that only that patri which is ‘liked’ by the deity is to be offered to Her / Him.
Generally five types of patri or leaves are to offered to deities during a puja ritual. The five patris represent the five great cosmic elements of the Universe namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. The deities are in the form of light. The principles of deities get activated with the help of the five elements. These deity principles are rapidly attracted towards patris when they are offered to a deity.
Patris of Tulsi are mandatory in the ritualistic worship of Shri Vishnu, Shri Krushna and Pandurang, Bilvapatri is mandatory in the ritualistic worship of Shri Shiva and durvas in the ritualistic worship of Shri Ganapati. In karmakanda (spiritual practice with physical body) the availability of tulsi, bel and durva is mandatory. In addition the place of worship is decorated with some special leaves. For example the bough of mango leaves tied on the entrance of a house is a very common sight. Ritualistic worship of a deity is incomplete without the use of patris. The leaves of five trees namely Pipal (Ficus religiosa), Audumbar (glomerous fig tree), Ashok (Jonesia Asoka), mango, and Vat (ficus indica) are of special spiritual significance in religious rituals. They are known as Panchpallav (pancha=five, pallav=leaf).
In some special worships of a deity, various types of leaves are offered to a deity and this particular worship is known as patrapuja. Among the various types of patris which are mandatory in the articles of puja, tulsi is one.
Tulsi is a sacred plant. It has been mentioned in Skandapuran that some of the drops of nectar fell on the earth during the process of Samudramanthan (churning of ocean). Tulsi was formed out of them. It was handed over to Shri Vishnu by Shri Bramha. Tulsi is liked by Shri Vishnu and hence it is specially offered to Shri Vishnu. While citing the importance of Tulsi it has been mentioned in Padmapuran that offering flowers made of gold, stones and pearls do not have even one sixteenth of the importance of Tulsi! Sins of even many eras are destroyed by sight, touch, meditation, obeisance, planting and use of Tulsi. All deities reside in the plant of Tulsi from its roots to the tip. It constantly emits the principles of deities and purifies the surrounding atmosphere. It is even said that whoever has a garden of Tulsi in the front yard of his house makes the surrounding nine miles area (yojan) as pure as river Ganga.
The unmanifest and subtle most Vishnu principle is absorbed through the stem of Tulsi leaf and is then converted into Krushna principle and goes on flowing through the stem.
Chaitanya is activated at the base of the Tulsi leaf and is projected into atmosphere in the form of circles. This chaitanya simultaneously flows through the vessels of Tulsi leaf.
The particles of Shakti (divine energy) are also present in the leaves of Tulsi.
The particles of chaitanya and Krushna principle are transmitted into atmosphere through the inflorescence.
Now our readers must have realized the spiritual benefit of offering Tulsi leaves to a deity during puja ritual. The effect of plucking such sacred Tulsi leaves has been described thus in Skandapuran, तुलसीं ये विचिन्वन्ति धन्यास्ते करपल्लवा: ।- Tulsi ye vichinvanti dhanyaste karapallavaaha’ means blessed are those hands who pluck tulsi leaves for the puja. Thus by knowing the importance of gathering the tulsi leaves for puja our faith in tulsi must have been enhanced to a great extent.
So let us now see some useful precautions to be taken while gathering Tulsi leaves.
Do not pluck the leaves singly, pluck them in pairs
Pluck the tip of tulsi consisting of leaves without shaking the plant.
When a manjiri (inflorescence ) is plucked then it should contain leaves.
If we pluck the tulsi leaves while simultaneously chanting the name of our favourite deity and with utmost respect and with proper method, the spiritual benefit received through the puja ritual multiplies a million times.
2.A. Why are women prohibited from gathering tulsi leaves?
As specified in Dharma texts, women have a high proportion of raja component when compared to men. There is generation of heat energy in the dormant and serene sattvik frequencies present in the tulsi plant by the touch of women which leads to decrease in its sattvikta (sattva quality). Hence they are prohibited from gathering or plucking the tulsi leaves.
2.B. Why are tulsi leaves used while offering naivedya to a deity?
Thus we have learnt about the gathering of tulsi leaves which imparts spiritual benefits. We often see that while offering naivedya (food offering) to a deity it is offered with the help of two leaves of tulsi. One of them is kept on the naivedya while other is offered to the deity. Let us now understand as to why tulsi leaves are used while offering naivedya to a deity.
Tulsi has the greater capacity to absorb and emit sattvik and Krushnatattva frequencies present in the universe. Therefore use of tulsi while offering naivedya imparts two benefits.
The tulsi leaf used while offering naivedya absorbs the subtle frequencies emitted from the food. When this tulsi leaf is offered to the deity, the deity principle rapidly absorbs the frequencies present in the leaf.
There is subtle covering of raja-tama present in the atmosphere around the food to be offered to the deity as naivedya. When a tulsi leaf is kept on the food, the sattvik frequencies emitted from the tulsi leaf reduces this covering. Besides the atmosphere around the plate or banana leaf meant for serving the naivedya gets purified. This retains the sattvikta of naivedya for a long period.
Thus the tulsi leaf is used for offering naivedya for receiving the grace of the deity by pleasing Him/Her. Therefore there is a rich tradition of offering prayerful obeisance to tulsi plant loved by Shri Vishnu every morning and evening as mark of gratitude because it is a destroyer of negative energies and a purifier of the atmosphere.
1. Importance of patri in puja ritual
Durva has greater capacity of attracting and constantly enhancing principles of three deities namely AadiShiv, AadiShakti and AadiGanesh. The combined flow of all these three principles in durva is called Durvas. When this flow enters the idol of a deity its vital energy becomes manifest. This is called ‘awakening of idol’. In order to sustain this awakening, durva are offered on the idol of Shri Ganesh three times in a day in quantity of 21 or its multiple during ritualstic worship of Shri Ganesh. The number 21 is made up of two complete numbers namely 2 and 1. The addition of 2 and 1 gives number 3 which is symbolic of three primal principles (aaditattva).
Generally tender shoots of durva are used in puja ritual of a deity. These tender shoots have highest capacity to absorb principles of deities present in the dew drops fallen on their leaves. This benefits the worshipper. If durva bear flowers, they are not used in puja ritual. Flowering plant denotes the ripeness. Ripening causes decrease in the vitality of the plant. This further reduces its capacity to attract the frequencies of deity principle. To further know durva from a spiritual standpoint let us understand it in the subtle dimension.
The point where three leaves of durva meet together, divine energy is activated and is emitted in the form of circles of chaitanya.
Ganesh principle gets activated in the space of the stem.
This activated chaitanya is then emitted from the leaves and their tips.
The speciality of durva is that the process of receiving the principles of deities starts from the roots.
3.A. What is the difference between durva and common grass?
We just saw that durva has maximum capacity to absorb and emit three primal deity principles. Common grass does not have such capacity and therefore it is not helpful to increase the sattvikta. The vibrations entering and leaving the common grass are illusory that is they appear just like common vibrations but are deceptive. To understand this point let us see it in the subtle dimension.
In the roots of common grass the raja component is more active and is emitted through the leaves.
Due to the presence of raja component in common grass there is flow of illusory vibrations through it and these are then emitted out.
Some people offer common grass to the deity mistaking it for durva. This does not accrue any benefit to the worshipper. If durva is not available every time then akshatas (unbroken rice grains) having the all encompassing property should be offered to the deity. Even scriputures say, ‘सकलउपचारार्थे अक्षताम् समर्पयामि’ ‘Saklopchararthe akshtan samrpayami’ meaning akshtas can be offered in place of all substances. When akshatas are offered with full faith and spiritual emotion then we can get the benefit of frequencies of deities.
Let us proceed further with same faith and spiritual emotion towards one more patri and that is bilva patri or bel leaf.
4. Bilva patra (leaf of aegle marmelos)
There is mention of bilva tree in such ancient scriptures as Atharvaved, Aitereya Bramhan and Shatpath Bramhan. It is a sacred tree having sacrificial importance. The leaves of this sacred tree is generally trifoliate. This trifoliate leaf is symbolic of Trikal (three states in time), Trishakti (Volition, action and knowledge), three lingas and three syllables of Omkar. It is offered to Shri Shiva.
The proportion of sattva component is more in bilva patra and hence it has more capacity to absorb and emit sattvik frequencies. This has various effects. One of them is the reduction of raja-tama particles present in the atmosphere. A sattvik leaf like bilva patra when brought in proximity of a person suffering from negative energy distress then the black energy present within him is reduced.
Whenever a person is affected by the distress due to negative energies then his control over his physical body, mind and intellect is reduced and control of negative energy increases. Such a person when comes in contact with an environment not conducive for negative energy for instance in a sattvik environment then there is a battle between the negative energy and the satva predominant environment. This battle can manifest at various levels. The manifestation can vary from such simple thoughts like running away from the place to destructive thoughts also. Sometimes the negative energy may manifest in gross form like sudden burst of anger, shouting, throwing articles and may indulge in any type of destructive act like actually breaking and plundering articles etc. To understand this further let us see the effect of keeping a bilva patra in front of a person affected by negative energy distress.
The person is visibly distressed when the bilva patra is taken in hand and applied to the neck and head. Thus we have seen the gross effect of bilva patra on the affected person affected by negative energy.
The unmanifest-manifest frequencies of chaitanya of Shiva form are attracted to the bilva patra and absorbed there.
The unmanifest subtlemost frequencies of Shiva principle and frequencies of chaitanya are emitted from bilva patra in the form of circles.
Their effect take place on the subtlemost energy of the negative energy and the black energy is disintegrated.
Frequencies and particles of divine energy are projected towards the negative energy from bilva patra.
This energy then reduces the amount of black energy emanating from the negative energy.
Thus up till now we have been introduced to the subject of sacred leaves like tulsi, durva and bilvapatra. Similarly we also became acquainted with the effect of sattvik leaves on individual and the environment. Let us pray that whatever things we have been introduced to in this satsang will be remembered and applied correctly during a puja ritual so that we can obtain the blessings of deities and thus spiritually benefitted.
1. Importance of flowers in puja ritual
There are subtle frequencies of deities active in the atmosphere. These frequencies are attracted towards certain flowers. These frequencies are then emitted back into atmosphere and are then known as ‘pavitrak’. Before we come to the topic of spiritual benefits of offering flowers, let us first see the difference between frequencies and pavitraks.
The subtle principle of deities attracted to a flower from space is called frequencies while the same deity principle when gets emited into atmosphere is called as pavitrak.
The frequencies are subtle most and comparatively more unmanifest (nirgun) form of deity principle while a pavitrak is the subtle and manifest form of the same deity principle.
Let us now see the subtle drawing of a Hibiscus flower
The Ganesh principle present in the universe gets attracted towards the central space of the red coloured Hibiscus flower and is emitted in the form of circles.
The Ganesh principle which is absorbed by the stem of the flower gets emitted through the petals in the atmosphere.
The stamen of the flower absorbs the Ganesh principle present in the atmosphere and emits the particles which donate vital energy or pranshakti.
The Hibiscus flower is of raja-sattva nature. As a result divine energy (shakti) and divine consciousness (chaitanya) are emitted from its petals.
Thus this subtle drawing must have made it clear to our viewers as to how the frequencies of deity principles are attracted towards flower and how through the medium of various parts of flower the same deity frequencies are emitted in the atmosphere in the form of pavitraks. Thus it is quite clear that the emission or projection of deity principles and pavitraks is a process taking place at a spiritual level. The effect of this process is multifold. One of this is reduction in the strengh of raja-tama principle present in the atmosphere.
The negative energies present in the atmosphere get distressed due to the deity principle pavitraks projected by the sattvik flowers. Their tama component dominated energy is either reduced or gets destroyed. In short the sattvik flowers fight with the negative energies present in the atmosphere by emitting frequencies of deity principles. Such flowers when brought into contact with a person suffering from the distress of negative energy then the negative energy which might be troubling the person subsides.
To understand this topic clearly we will have to first know the distinction between ‘Negative energy’ and ‘black energy’. There are some distressing energies in the atmosphere which trouble us. They are subtle in nature. They are called ‘negative energies’. The energy of deities is known by the terms such as chaitanya (divine consciousness), bliss(ananda) and shanti (peace) while the energy of negative energies is known as ‘black energy’. The deities are sattva predominant while the negative energies are tama predominant!
A deity looks after our welfare whereas negative energies does harms us. When a person is severely affected by the negative energy distress, his control over his mind, body and intellect reduces and that of negative energy increases. This affects the thoughts, emotions etc of the person. Such an affected person when come in contact with an atmosphere predominant in sattva component then there is friction between the positive sattva atmosphere and negative energy. This can manifest in various forms. This may be in the form of a simple thought of leaving the place.
1. Arrangement of puja articles
We have seen before that the spiritual benefit of clean articles is beneficial for awakening of spiritual emotion. In the same fashion the proper arrangement of them also gives us spiritual benefit. Nowadays we see that these puja articles are kept anywhere on the right or left side according to our convenience. But this not correct according to spiritual science. The expected spiritual benefit will not accrue if we keep articles as per our wish.
There are five layers of arrangement of the puja articles. What are these layers and what is the desired place for each article is shown in this diagram. If we look from the top then the arrangement of articles would appear in five layers like this. The first layer consists of plate for offerings (naivedya) and another for puja. The second layer consists of Kaalash (water pot), Jalpaatra (a cylindrical pot for water) and Aachmani (a spoon meant for performing aachman – siping of water).
According to the drawing we just saw, the worshipper should keep the copper platter in the front and kalash to the left of it and jalpatra and aachmani to the right of it. These articles are all related to the water element and hence water from these articles is used for various sub-rituals of puja. Now we let us see the third layer of arrangement of these articles.
As shown in this diagram arti plate containing camphor and oil-lamp should be kept on the left side of worshipper and incense sticks and niranjan (a type of lamp) to his right. A coconut is kept in the center right in front of Deity image. Fourth layer has conch (shankh) on the left side of worshipper and a bell on the right side. In the fifth layer keep two long lamps of equal height on both sides of temple room. These lamps are generally of metal brass.
Now the question arises as to why such an arrangement of five layers? The arrangement of the puja articles is based on five cosmic absolute elements namely absolute earth, absolute water, absolute fire, absolute air and absolute ether. Now the next question comes to mind is why it is based on these elements? Therefore now it will be useful to understand some things about relationship between this arrangement and the five great cosmic elements. Akash means space. From Akashtattva (absolute ether), vayutattva (absolute air) was formed. Vayutattva created Tejtattva (absolute fire). Tejtattva gave birth to Aaptatva (absolute water) and Aaptattva created Pruthvitattva (absolute earth). In short all the last four elements are formed out of Akash or absolute ether or space. While we do spiritual practice we get spiritual experience of earth element first followed by Aaptattva and so on till we get spiritual experience of Akashtattva. Beyond the experience of Akashtattva we get the spiritual experience of God principle.
From this it must have been clear now that the arrangement of the puja articles is representative of the five great elements active in the universe. It also represents the sojourn of the individual from absolute earth element to absolute ether element during his spiritual practice.
2. First layer of arrangement of puja articles
2.1 Plate for offering sacrament
First part of first layer is a vessel or plate meant for offering sacrament and the second part is plate for puja. This layer of puja articles is representative of combined earth and water element. To offer a sacrament is a sub-ritual of puja. The worshipper is totally surrendered at the feet of deity at this time. Therefore the vessel or plate of naivedya is given a place in downward direction. Offering sacrament to a deity pleases Superior deities, deity of premise and deity of a place faster. Whenever possible It is always beneficial to use banana leaf instead of metal vessel while offering naivedya to a deity because it is more sattvik ( spiritually pure).
Now let us see how naivedya is to be served on a plate or banana leaf. At the center of the leaf from below upwards- spicy rice, ordinary rice to be eaten with dal, sweet rice and at the top rice with curds. On the left part of leaf from above downwards- piece of lemon, chutney, raita (a type of salad), papad, pakoras and roti. On the right part of leaf from above downwards – Mattha (a typeof spicy buttermilk), kheer, dal and vegetables. This is the way the naivedya leaf is to be arranged. It is to be remembered that always keep the tip of the leaf towards you while serving naivedya for the deity and never serve salt in the naivedya. The salt is related to earth and water elements and therefore has the capacity to attract more raja-tama frequencies. Hence the salt should not be served in the plate or leaf meant for naivedya.
Thus we understood the arrangement of leaf meant for naivedya. You must be thinking that since the sub-ritual of offering naivedya follows the actual ritual of puja, why it is considered here in the beginning? The explanation is that at the end of puja ritual the worshipper is in a state of total surrender and the naivedya is symbolic of it. Therefore please do not arrange the leaf for naivedya in the beginning of puja ritual. It has to be arranged in the end.
2.2 Plate for puja
In the plate meant for puja, on the right hand side of worshipper turmeric powder (haldi) and vermillion (kumkum) are kept and on to the left Bukka (a black coloured powder prepared from tale (a metal), gulal and sindoor. In the front portion of the plate a bottle of attar (a fragrant essence of flowers), a small plate of sandalwood paste, flowers and durva (a type of fragrant grass) and other leaves. We are aware that attar, sandalwood and flowers have fragrance. The subtle particles of the fragrance are known as gandhkan. Similarly there are subtle particles of colour in leaves and durvas. The frequencies of deity principle are activated through the medium of these subtle particles of fragrance from attar, sandalwood paste and flowers and subtle particles of colour present in leaves and durvas. In the lower portion of the plate keep pan-supari (betel leaf and betel nut) and some coins as dakshina (offerings of money). We can keep a coconut in place of betel nut. Two leaves of betelleaf, betel nut or coconut and dakshina are kept together. Betel leaf, betel nut and coconut have the highest capacity to emit subtle frequencies of deities. The two leaves of betel leaf are representative of God and its activated energy that is Shiv and Shakti. They are invoked to work on a manifest (sagun) level. In the center of the puja plate unbroken rice grains are arranged in small heap.
2.3 Why are unbroken rice grains used as akshatas?
Now we shall learn about why the rice grains used as akshatas have to be unbroken. akshatas are all encompassing. They attract the subtle frequencies of five principal deity namely Shiv, Shakti, Shri Ram, Shri Krushna and Shri Ganesh. akshata is the central point of puja plate. akshtas also perform the action of transmitting the deity frequencies to other ingredients kept in the plate. If the rice grains used for preparing Akshatas are broken then their capacity to attract the principles of higher deities is automatically reduced. This deprives the worshipper of higher deity principles. As a consequence the grace bestowed on the worshipper is also reduced. That is why the rice grains should be intact because the broken grains are indicative of dissolution (laya). When the akshtas are offered to a deity the energy of the deity is transferred in it and favourable vibrations are generated in akshatas. (When any object is broken or cut, its capacity to attract distressing frequencies in the universe is enhanced and thus it gets charged with raja-tama particles. The emitted frequencies from such an object increases the chances of the individual to get susceptible for the attacks of negative energies or even get possessed. That is the reason Hindu religion gives so much importance to any object being intact. Breaking of any object is indicative of tama attitude. Such an attitude is prohibited in ritualstic worship. When any one of the two strings of a musical instrument having equal frequencies is stretched then the vibrations generated in it induce exactly similar vibrations in the other. In the same fashion when the Akshatas are charged with divine frequencies then similar vibrations are generated in the store of rice grains in the house. Thus the rice which is charged with divine energy can be consumed throughout the year as holy sacrament (prasad).
3. Second layer of arrangement of puja articles
This layer is related to aaptattva or absolute water principle. The articles used in this layer are kalash, a small cylindrical pot for water and a spoon for performing aachman. The water is clean and pure and hence is able to receive maximum amount of frequencies of deities. Therefore the kalash, cylindrical pot and the spoon are kept in the center of temple room. The water kept in the kalash maintains the correct balance of the five great elements. Generally a copper plate is kept in the centre and kalash is placed to its right while the cylindrical pot and spoon are kept to the left.
4. Third layer of arrangement of puja articles
This layer contains the articles related to absolute fire element or tejtattva. Here the niranjan and incence sticks are kept to the right of worshipper and oil or ghee lamp and arti plate with camphor on to the left. The incense stick or Udbatti is kept to the right of worshipper. The deities consist of five elements. Out of these elements pruthvitattva or earth element emits fragrance. This fragrance being very subtle cannot be received by ordinary individual. The udbatti or incense stick has the capacity to absorb the subtle fragrance emitted by the deities. Thus when an udbatti is lighted the subtle fragrance of deities is emitted along with its own fragrance. For example when an udbatti having its own fragrance of sandalwood is burnt the subtle fragrance of sandalwood emitted from deities is also absorbed in it and the emitted in the surrounding atmosphere.
‘Ud’ is basic root in Sanskrut. ‘ud’ also means manifestation. The frequncies of fragrance of udbatti move in a upward direction and are active in that direction. The main manifest source of these frequencies is called as ‘udi’. The word udbatti is derived from the distortion of the word ‘udi’.
4.1 Why is arti plate of camphor kept to the right of deity?
Now let us understand the spiritual science underlying keeping of arti plate of camphor to the right of deity. The right side is the seat of Sun channel or Surya naadi. The activation of Surya naadi awakens the divine energy or Shakti. The right hand direction of a deity contains the marak or destroyer principle of the deity. Destroyer means the one which destroys unwanted, tama predominant things. The performance of camphor arti emits destroyer type frequencies of fragrance. The atmosphere laden with frequencies of fragrance attracts frequencies of Shiv principle present in the universe. These Shiv frequencies then destroy the unwanted and impure frequencies in the atmosphere which gets purified thus. The atmosphere at the place of worship becomes full of chaitanya or divine consciousness. This explains why the arti plate of camphor should be to the right of deity or to the left of worshipper. Also the strong fragrance emitted while the camphor is burnt has greater capacity to attract the Shivganas (servant deities of Lord Shiva). The presence of Shivganas helps us to obtain the blessings of deity of place (sthandevta) and deity of premise (vastudevta) The fragrance of camphor when inhaled leads to decrease in the severity of respiratory diseases. The Shiv tattva enters the wind pipe through the medium of breath because of the fragrance of camphor.
4.2 Why is coconut is called as the most holy fruit?
The coconut is kept near and right on front of deity and centrally placed. The tift of coconut should be directed upwards. When a puja ritual is correctly performed the frequencies of five principal deities present in the universe namely Shiv, Durga, Shri Ram, Shri Krushna and Shri Ganapati are activated and get attracted towards the tuft of coconut. The same frequencies are then emitted back into atmosphere as per the need. These frequencies are emitted in the form of fountain and help in purification of atmosphere. Therefore the coconut is called as the most Holy fruit or Shri Phal that is it bestows maximum purity or sattvikta. This can be better understood with the help of a subtle drawing.
5. Fourth layer of arrangement of puja articles
This layer is related to absolute air principle or Vayutattva. The two articles here are Shankh (conch) and bell (ghanta). Shankh activates destroyer form of energy of a deity and it is kept to the right hand side of a deity or to the left of worshipper. The bell activates the saviour or tarak form of energy of a deity and is therefore kept to the right of worshipper that is to the left hand side of the deity. The left side is a seat of Moon channel or Chandra naadi. The activation of Chandra naadi imparts coolness. The bell is clapped during the time of arti for its pleasant sound. We have already learnt enough about bell in the previous satsang. Now let us see the last or the fifth layer of arrangement of puja articles.
6. Fifth layer of arrangement of puja articles
This layer is related to akshtattva or absolute ether principle. It includes two long lamps of equal height kept on both sides of temple room. When two long lamps of equal height are kept continuously lit with sesame oil on both sides of temple room, the energy of action of that particular deity is activated due to raja predominant sesame oil. These two lamps are representatives of Sun and Moon channels. Since the deities are more related to the tejtattva or absolute fire element the two lamps are also symbolic of that.
Thus we have seen that the arrangement of the puja articles is symbolic of five cosmic absolute elements namely absolute earth, absolute water, absolute fire, absolute air and absolute ether. From akashtattva (absolute ether), vayutattva (absolute air) was formed. Vayutattva created tejtattva (absolute fire). tejtattva gave birth to aaptatva (absolute water) and aaptattva created pruthvitattva (absolute earth). In short all the last four elements are formed out of akash or absolute ether or space. Thus akashtattva is all encompassing and assimilates all the principles. The pointed upper portion of the temple room is related to akashtattva and the frequencies emitted from this part of temple room manifest with the help of five elements as per the need of individual and work for him.
7. Benefits of arranging puja articles according to layers of five cosmic elements
Thus uptil now we have seen the arrangement of puja articles. Once we have arranged the articles in this fashion it is easier to begin puja by shifting the plate of puja to the left of cylindrical copper pot and spoon. Now let us see the benefits derived by arrangement of the ingredients and articles of puja according to layers of five cosmic elements. There are main five benefits:
This type of arrangement leads to correct balance of all the five cosmic elements which helps the worshipper in receiving the chaitanya emitted from the deity to the maximum extent.
When the worshipper invokes the deities in the beginning of puja it becomes easier for them to arrive at the place of puja in the form of frequencies with the help of five cosmic elements.
These divine frequencies then charge every ingredient used in puja and the surrounding atmosphere also becomes purified.
The forth important benefit is such arrangement does have an positive effect on the worshipper and increases his sattvikta.
Such an arrangement creates sattvikta in both the worshipper and the articles of puja thereby spiritually benefitting the worshipper through the puja ritual.
1. First level
(Leaf on which Naivēdya is offered and the platter used for Āratī):
Implements associated with Pruthvitattva & Āpatattva
A. Banana leaf used for offering Naivēdya :
Offering Naivēdya is the last step in pūjā. The (Naivēdya carrying) leaf is placed facing downward. Offering Naivēdya helps please the superior Deities, Deity of the premises and Deity of the place in shorter time.
B. The platter used in the worship :
Place the platter in front of the Idol of the Deity of worship.
In the platter, place haldī and kumkum to the right and bukkā, gulāl and shēndūr to the left of the individual.
Place a perfume bottle, sandalwood paste, flowers, dūrvā and patri towards the Deity; fragrance particles in the perfume, sandalwood paste and flowers, colour particles in dūrvā and patri activate the subtle-waves of the Deity.
In the platter, towards yourself, place a betel-nut and betel leaves and offering of money.
In the middle of the platter place all-encompassing akshatā.
The banana leaf with Naivēdya shown in the arrangement above symbolises the state of the individual. In the actual arrangement do not place the Naivēdya leaf. Offer Naivēdya only after pūjā has been completed.
2. The second level
Implements associated with Āpatattva – a kalash, a tumbler and a ritualistic spoon
Place these implements in the centre. Place the platter in the centre and in it to the left of the individual, place the kalash and to the right, place implements like the tumbler, ritualistic spoon that are used in the rituals.
3. The Third Level
Implements associated with Tējtattva
Nirānjan and incense-sticks : Place them to the right of the individual.
The ghee lamp : Place to the left of the individual.
The camphor Āratī : Place it next to the ghee lamp. The camphor Āratī is placed to the left of the individual, that is, to the right side of the Deity.
The coconut : Place the coconut in the centre in close proximity to the Deity.
4. The fourth level
Implements associated with Vāyutattva (Absolute Air Principle) & Ākāshtattva
The conch : Place the conch to the left of the individual.
The bell : Place the bell to the right of the individual.
5. The fifth level
Implements associated with Tējtattva & Ākāshtattva
Samaī : Place two samaīs of equal height, one on each side of the temple at home. Preferably use sesame-seed oil to light the wicks in these lamps. The two lamps symbolise the Chandranāḍī and Sūryanāḍī (Sun channel) of the Deity. The Deities are mostly affiliated to the Tējtattva. To symbolise this, these lamps are placed on both sides of the temple at home.
Join us in our journey of charity for a better tomorrow. Even a small contribution will go a long way. Donate Online Now.