services and "Poojas" at home and at the Temples follow
the traditions and rules established in the Agamas and in Bhakthi
form of the religion. The Temples are established as the palace
of a manifestation of God in a form of the Incarnation that is represented
at the Temple. Most Temples will have Sanctum for several forms
of God, though it may have only one form as the Main Deity. The
temple worship has evolved over the years as a service to God as
the King or the leader of the land. Here, an image of a likeness
of a manifestation of God is consecrated after several days of Holy
Rituals. Without these consecration rituals, the Image does not
get the Divine powers or the respect more than a statue in a museum.
so sanctified, all rituals are performed as done to a live King
or leader of the land. The Deity is woken up every morning with
a morning service with ceremonial bath with water, milk and other
perfumed substances, dressing up with cloths and Jewelry. The services
are repeated four to six times or more every day, with offering
of food as "prasadam" and singing prayers and songs in
praise of the Deity and reading of the Scriptures. After this, "Aarthi"
of lighted camphor is performed for every one to see the Deity in
a "Dharshan." The service concludes with the offering
of "prasadams" of fruits, flowers and food to the devotees
attending the prayer services.
Often the services are individual and for the families rather than
to a mass of congregation. The spirit of sacrifice and offering
of ones belonging is stressed in these services. The devotees take
what is given back to them as "Prasadams", let it be holy
water, ashes, kumkum, a flower, a fruit or a full meal. The prayer
services at home are also very similar in practice.
there is a prayer room. Sometimes, a special area is arranged to
perform the home prayer services. Here, prayer services are offered
to a picture, small icon [vigraha] or a lamp which is sanctified
by rituals for the occasion. The Divine powers of the form of God
offered prayer on that occasion is represented in this. The rituals
are simple and they first invite God as a guest to the house. Then,
they perform a ritualistic bathing and offering of cloths. Then,
there will be prayers and singing of songs and offering of food
which is then offered to members of the family and friends.