Prayers to Ishta Devatha & Adhikara Pooja

Rituals of Prayers and Pooja at Home

 Lesson 1.: 
Rituals and Prayers for Home and Temples
Vedic Rituals and Pooja at Homes and at Temples

Prayer 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 Queen 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. Once so sanctified, all rituals are performed as done to a live King or Queen or a leader of the land. 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.

In the Temple Services, the Deity in the Temple 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. 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. Here the prayer services are for the welfare of the community as a whole.

The prayer services at home are also very similar in practice. Often 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. Here the services are performed for the welfare of the individuals their family and friends.
Lesson 2.:
Ishta Devatha and Adhikara for Pooja at Home
Principles and Meaning of the Practice of Prayers.

Major part of Hindu Religious practice among the common people consists of ritualistic form of worship for God in the various forms of Deities of Saguna Brahman, called Avathara. It follows prayers offered to God in the devotional path as a worship to a Pratika [picture], Prathima or Vigraha [statue], Yanthra [a geometric drawing] or a Linga, following the rules and traditions established in the Agamas and Sasthras. Sri Adhi Sankara, in addition to the Advaitha Philosophy explaining that the Self as part of the Divine Nirguna Brahman, established a school for prayers to the Saguna Brahman is His six Forms called the Shanmatha Sthapanam. He established the rules for the six types of prayers to God at home as 1. Ganesha, 2. Kumara [Karthikeya], 3. Surya [Sun], 4. Siva, 5. Vishnu, 6. Sakthi. The main tenets of the practice is by prayers to "Ishta Devatha." The methods of learning and doing the various types of prayers to the Ishta Devatha are governed by the rules of "Doctrine of Adhikara." By this doctrine, the religious teachings and methods of worship that is taught varies from person to person, according to the various schools they follow.


Special prayer rituals are usually taught and given specially to persons following certain tradition as a form of initiation to that form of worship practice. This is very much like specialty training and certification in modern day professions. One is not authorized to perform rituals of their choice unless trained and initiated in the same by a properly qualified teacher [Guru]. Accordingly, there are special rules and restrictions for pooja for Sri Siva, Sri Sakthi and Sri Vishnu in their various forms. Only a person who has received the religious teaching from a Sivacharya Guru shall perform pooja for Sivalinga. Similarly, only a guru who has understood the manthra of "Sri Viddhai" can teach the pooja methods of Sri Chakram to his Devotees. In the past, mostly men have been learning and performing these types of poojas. Very few women took these types of ritualistic worship. Most people performed prayers at home just by lighting a lamp for a collection of pictures and images of various Avatharas of God in their prayer room and recited some songs for prayer.

Principles and Practice of Hindu Religion
Home Pooja - Lessons - 01; - 03; - 05.
Home Pooja methods & Slokas

Devotional Paths, Prayers & Rituals