Prayers to Ishta Devatha & Adhikara Pooja
 

Rituals of Prayers and Pooja at Home

 
 
 Lesson 3.:  
 
Principles and Meaning of Deepa Pooja
A special form of prayer for the uninitiated Devotees.
 
 
By - Sri Rajarathna Bhattar,
Priest Emeritus, Sri Meenakshi Temple, Pearland, Texas
 
  

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.

 
   
   
 Lesson 4.:  
 
Principles of Sri Ganesha Avathar
Principles behind the Practice of Ganesha Pooja
 
  
 
Sri Ganesha worship is one of the oldest form of practice in Hinduism, mentioned in the Vedas and Agamas. The Supreme Reality, manifests Himself ["Itself"] in the various forms of Avathara, without ceasing to be Himself. Ganesha is a manifestation of the Supreme Reality, for the protection of the pious and destruction of the evil in the forms of many "Asuras." He represents the Pranava Manthra "OM" and is called "Pranava Swaroopa." He is also called "Jyeshta Rajan" and Brahmanaspathi." He is said to have started the languages, the written scripts and has written the Mahabharatha for Sri Veda Vyasa with His tusk. According to the Upanishads and Puranas, He is said to have had several manifestations, some even before the Trinity of Gods, Siva, Vishnu and Brahma, at the early time of the creation of the Universe. Some of these manifestations are described as Ganesha, the Son of Sri Parvathi and Sri Siva. Some of them are depicted with two consorts, Siddhi and Bhuddhi. Here, as Sri Ganesha is said to represent the Jñana or wisdom, Siddhi is Kriya Sakthi or the actions or deeds and Bhuddhi is the Iccha Sakthi or knowledge.
 
   
 
Sri Ganesha is worshipped from the Vedic period. He is prayed specially before the beginning of all actions including any new rituals and prayer services according to Veda and Agama, to remove the obstacles and protect the devotees in the performance of all their activities. There are several days in the month according to the Phase of the moon or star position which are important for each of the Deity we worship. The Fourth day after New Moon every month [Sukla paksham] - Chathurthi is very important for Sri Ganesha. The Fourth day after the Full moon day [Krishna paksham] is called Sankatahara Chathurthi day and is auspicious for special pooja and Havan [Homam] for Sri Ganesha. The Sukla Chathurthi day of the month Bhadrapada [Aavani] is celebrated as Sri Ganesha Chathurthi day, an annual festival of one to ten days, to mark the day of one of the manifestation of Sri Ganesha. Sri Ganesha accepts prayers with offerings of all types of flowers, leaves, grass and all fruits and foods. However, He is not offered Thulasi for prayer at any time except on Ganesha Chathurthi day. Modhakam is a sweet of special importance for this Pooja.
 
   
   
 
Principles and Practice of Hindu Religion
 
Home Pooja - Lessons - 01; - 03; - 05.
Home Pooja methods & Slokas

Devotional Paths, Prayers & Rituals