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 Hindu Heritage Study Program  
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A Companion to the Study of Hinduism - Part I
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HR 255.01
Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
~ Level - 2
Devotional and Ritualistic Paths of Religious Practices
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Paths of Rituals, Devotion, Prayers and Surrender
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Lesson
- 09 -
Principles and Meaning of Deepa Pooja
A special form of prayer for the uninitiated Devotees
Companion
Part - I
 

 

 

One of the important form of worship is prayer to a lamp, to the flame or Jyothi, instead of a Vigraha or a picture, worshipping it as a form of the Deity of their choice [Ishta Devatha]. As we believe, God as Nirguna Brahman, comes to take the forms of various Avatharas as Saguna Brahman and also manifests Himself in the phenomenal Universe as its five elements -"Pancha Bootham." Vedas say that God exists in the five elements. Aagama Sasthra and Bhootha Suddhi Manthra say that God manifests in Sky [Space] as Sound, in Air as Sound and Sense of Touch, in Fire as Sound, Sense and Shape of things, in Water as Sound, Sense, Shape and Taste of objects, in Earth as Sound, Sense, Shape, Taste and Smell. "Thvam, Bhoomi, Aapo, Anilo, Analo Napaha" a verse from Ganapathy Adharva Sheerisha Upanishad, which means that God is in Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky. Hence, people worship the Lord as the various elements and receive the Divine blessings. As light or fire, the Deepa Jyothi represent one of the five elements as a manifestation of God.
 

Many people perform prayer rituals to the lamp, "Deepa Jyothi" as an alternative to the traditional Vigraha worship of the devotional path. There is a practice of offering prayers to Sri Ganesha, Durga, Devi, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Ayyappan and many other forms of Deities in the form of Jyothi in a Deepa pooja. Most often Deepa Pooja is performed by Devotees not initiated in proper Vigraha Pooja, either alone or in groups at home or in a temple. Traditionally, women do not take up or get initiated into the pooja for Siva Linga or Sakthi Yanthra and Deepa Pooja is the most important alternative for them. Most men also have not had proper training in prayer methods or received the proper initiation of offering the necessary prayers to their Ishta Devatha according to the rules of Agama. Many of them are very religious and want to get the benefits for prayers. It is widely believed that God accepts the prayers through this Deepa Pooja very easily and very soon. There are no major restrictions or rules of the doctrine of Adhikara for this deepa pooja. The Deepa Pooja can be performed every evening. Those women who are unable to perform pooja with lamps every evening, may try to do it once a week, preferably on Friday evenings.

 
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Lesson
- 10 -
A Basic Study of Jyothisha and Navagraha
Significance of Jyothisha and Planetary effects on the Individual
Companion
Part - I
 
Jyothisha, Hindu Astrology, is a Veda-Anga or one of the six limbs of Vedas. Hindu astrology considers nine grahas or planets. They are Ravi or Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Angaraka or Kuja (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn), Rahu and Kethu. These planets indicate, based on their position at birth and in transit, certain trends or tendencies in the life of an individual. All planets change their positions from time to time. Among the Navagrahas, most of the planets move several times a year. Sri Guru Bhagavan changes houses once a year and Sri Saneeswara Bhagavan changes once in 2 1/2 years. Like the various Devathas, the Navagrahas are the custodians of our well being and all our daily activities and their effects are guided by these Devathas at all times. Transit of Guru and Saneeswara often brings positive or negative effects of the individuals wealth, health and happiness for themselves and their families.
 
Among the Gochara or transit of planets among the twelve Raasi's, the Transit of Sani [Saturn] through the Eighth, Twelfth, First and Second houses in an individuals horoscope is considered significant. Similarly, the transit of Guru [Jupiter] of the Second, Ninth and Twelfth houses is significant. All transits are not negative or of significance. The Rishis of the Vedic times prescribed that the Grahas be worshipped through special fire rituals or Navagraha homam [havana] during these periods to withstand the heavy stress in life and to get the good effects of the Grahas. In Ramayana, sage Agasthyar preached 'Adhithya Hruthayam' to Sri Rama to get Him the necessary mental and physical strength to fight against Ravana. Similarly reciting Adhithya Hruthayam, Adhithya Ashtakam and Navagraha Slokam will give us the needed strength. The worship of Navagrahas signifies the divine support for the Human effort and provide the much needed extra strength during the times of turmoil in life, to reduce the sufferings caused by the bad effects and to give the good effects and prosperity.
 
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Lessons: - 01 , 02 , - , 03 , 04 , - , 05 , 06 , - , 07 , 08 , - , 09 , 10 , - , 11 , 12 , - , 13 , 14 --
 

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