16 Step Puja Worship in Hinduism

puja worship

A Hindu brahmin priest performing puja on a bronze Nataraja in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

There are numerous forms of worship among Hindus, of which Puja is one of the more popular. The most widely accepted and followed system of Puja is the Shodasa – Upachara Puja, or 16 – Service worship.

The main purpose of this type of Puja is two-fold. Primarily it is to uplift the five senses of the worshiper, and by doing so elevate him to a higher level of consciousness that will promote good thoughts and actions. Secondarily it draws upon the Indian traditions of honoring a guest, wherein each upachara is a service to the deity who takes presence in the sculpture for the duration of the Puja.

  1. DhyaanaMeditating on the deity that is being invoked.
  2. AavaahanaInviting the deity into the altar.
  3. AasanaGiving the deity a seat.
  4. Paadya Washing the deity’s feet with clean water.
  5. ArghyaOffering the deity water to rinse hands and mouth.
  6. AachamanaOffering the deity water to drink.
  7. SnaanaBathing the deity with various auspicious items.
  8. VasthraDressing the deity with clean clothes.
  9. YagnopaveethaOffering the deity a clean sacred thread.
  10. GandhaSpreading fresh sandalwood paste on the deity.
  11. Pushpa Offering fresh flowers while chanting the deity’s names.
  12. DhoopaSpreading incense smoke throughout the altar.
  13. DeepaWaving a lamp to illuminate the freshly decorated deity.
  14. NaivedyaOffering the deity food.
  15. Taambula ­– Offering the deity a refreshing mix of betel nut and leaves.
  16. Pradakshina & NamaskaraCircumambulating the altar and bidding farewell to the deity.

Among these sixteen services, five hold more importance than the rest. Together these five services are referred to as the pancha – upacharas, and include gandha, pushpa, dhoopa, deepa, and naivedya. Collectively, these five services engage the five senses.

  • Gandha – Touch
  • Sandalwood paste cools the skin and is a natural insect repellant.
  • Pushpa – Hearing
  • The recitation of the deity’s names that accompanies each flower engages the ears.
  • Dhoopa – Smell
  • Incense envelops the entire temple with a refreshing fragrance for the nose.
  • Deepa – Sight
  • The lamp illuminates the deity and brings out the beauty of the icon to the eyes.
  • Naivedya – Taste
  • Food that has been offered to the deity is eaten and entices the taste buds.
ganesh, puja ceremony

Bronze Ganesh in opening eye ceremony at the Cleveland Museum of Art

15 Mantras for Appeasing Goddess Saraswati

The Hindu Goddess Saraswati is known as the mother of Vedas and the synonym of knowledge, music, craft, wisdom, arts and auspiciousness. It is believed that appeasing Goddess Saraswati will remove all the obstacles that one will encounter during his or her career or education. Saraswati is known by different names, such as Vak Devi, the goddess of speech and Sakala Kaladhistatri, goddess bestowing all the arts.

Here, are lists of mantras that are widely used by students to score high in exams. It is believed that students, who after working hard failed to succeed in exams and these mantras, have helped them to attain their goal.

1. Bija Mantra of Saraswati

Aum

Aing Saraswathye Namah

Aum

Meaning: Salutations to Goddess Saraswati

2. Vidya Mantra for students: This sloka is found to improve memory, power and concentration in studies.

Saraswati Namasthubhyam

Varade Kamarupini

Vidhyarambam Karishyami

Siddhir Bavathume Sadha

3. Saraswati Vandana

Yaa Kundendu tushaara haaradhavalaa,

Yaa shubhravastraavritha|

Yaa veenavara dandamanditakara,

aa shwetha padmaasana||

Yaa brahmaachyutha shankara

prabhritibhir Devaisadaa Vanditha|

Saa Maam Paatu Saraswatee

Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadyaapahaa|

Meaning: May the Goddess Saraswati protect me. She is fair like the jasmine-colored moon, and whose pure white garland is like frosty dew drops. She is adorned in radiant white attire, on whose beautiful arm rests the veena, and whose throne is a white lotus. She is surrounded and respected by the Gods. Please remove my weariness, sluggishness and ignorance.

4. Mahasaraswati Mantra

Om

Aing Mahasaraswatyai Namah

Meaning: Salutations to Goddess Maha Saraswati

5. Saraswati Mantra

Shuklaam Brahmvichaar

Saar Paramaadyaam Jagadvyaapineem Veennaa Pushtak

Dhaarinneebhamay Daam

Jaad Yaapandhkaaraapahaam

Haste Sfatik Maalikaam Vidhateem

Paramaasane Sansthitaam Vande Taam

Parameshwareem Bhagwateem Buddhi Pradaam Shaaradaam.

Meaning: I plead to Goddess Saraswati who is fair in color, the first and foremost divine energy, who is present in the world in the form of knowledge, who wields a Veena, Vedas, Sfatik rosary in her hands and one of whose hands is raised in blessing. She is the one who is capable of eliminating ignorance and bestow intelligence.

6. Maha Saraswati Mantra: This simple mantra is mainly used by students to make learning easy.

Om Aim  Hrim

Kleem Maha Saraswati Devaya

Namaha

7. Saraswati Mantra to recite before study

Saraswathi Namasthubhyam,

Varadey Kaamarupinee

Vidhyarambham Karishyami,

Sidhir bhavathu mey sada

Meaning: O, Goddess Saraswati, my humble prostrations unto Thee. She is capable of fulfilling all my wishes. I request you to bestow thy blessings on me, before I start my studies.

8. Saraswati Mantra for Success in Education and Career

Om

Vageeshwaryae Vidmahe Vagwadeenyae

Dhimahe Tannah Saraswati Prachodayat

This mantra is also known as Gayathri of Saraswati

9. Saraswati Mantra

Saraswati Mahabhage

Vidye Kamalalochane

Vishwaroope Vishaalaakshi

Vidyam dehi namosthuthe

Meaning: Oh great Goddess Saraswati, the lotus-eyed personified knowledge. Oh, I request you to shower me with all the powers and glories of all knowledge that exist. She has large-eyes, taking the form of the whole universe.

10. Saraswati Mantra for Acquiring Knowledge

Vad Vad Vaagwaadinee Swaha

11. Saraswati Mantra for Enhancing Intelligence

Om

Aing Hreeng Shreeng

Vaagdevyai Saraswatyai Namah

12. Saraswati Mantra for Wealth and Knowledge

Om

Arham Mukha Kamal Vaasinee

Paapaatma Kshayam Kaari

Vad Vad Vaagwaadinee Saraswati

Aing Hreeng Namah Swaaha

 

13. Saraswati Ashtakshara Mantra: This mantra comprises of the 12 names of Goddess Saraswati and it is advised that all knowledge seekers should practice it, to gain high and pure knowledge.

Pratham Bharti naam l

Dwitaya tu Saraswati l

Trutiya Sharda Devi l

Chaturth Hansavahini l

Pancham Jagatikhayata l

Shasth Maheshwari tatha l

Saptham tu Kaumari l

Astham Bhramacharini l

Navam Vidhyadhatrini l Dasham Vardayini l

Ekadasham Rudraghanta l

Dwadasham Bhuneshwari l

Atani Dwadsho Naamami l

Y Patcchrnuyaadpi l

Nach Vidhna Bhav Taysa Mantra Siddhiker Tatha l

14. Mantra for Knowledge: Reciting this mantra will increase the mental capability and will considerably increase the knowledge gain.

Om

Namo Bhagwati Saraswati Parmeshwari

Vaagvaadini Mam Vidhya Dehi Bhagwati

Bhans Vaahini Hans Samarudha Buddhi

Dehi Dehi Pragya Dehi Dehi

Vidhya Parmeshwari Saraswati Swaha

15. Mantra for illumination: This mantra is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati to illuminate the minds of knowledge seekers.

Maho

Arnah Saraswati Pracheyati Ketuna,

Dhiyo Vishwa Virajati

The Third Eye in Hinduism & Buddhism

 

As the traditions change, the meaning of the third eye also changes. Here, are some of the common old and new concepts about the third eye in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Lord Shiva’s third eye

Lord Shiva, the destroyer and the restorer, is one of the most complex Hindu gods. The various symbols surrounding Him details about the qualities and powers of the deity. The Lord is also known as Tryambaka Deva, as He is often depicted as having three eyes. The devotees consider His right eye as the Sun and the left eye as Moon. The third eye is the eye of spiritual wisdom and knowledge. It is believed that He uses the third eye to see beyond the apparent and protect the good ones from the evildoers. All the evil and the ignorance vanish as the third eye opens.
Hindus believe that the physical world will be destroyed if Shiva opens His third eye.

Buddhism and third eye

In Buddhism, the third eye refers to Eye of Consciousness, which asks followers to see the world beyond their physical eyes. It advises people to see the world with their mind.

Modern concepts about third eye in Hinduism and Buddhism

As per the modern spirituality, the third eye is a symbol of enlightenment. It is often referred to as “gyananakashu”, (the eye of knowledge). In Indian and East Asian iconography, the third eye is the “Ajna chakra” or the sixth chakra. It is also known as brow chakra or brow center. The third eye, or “Eye of Wisdom”, or, in Buddhism, the urna, is denoted by a dot, or mark on the forehead in the deities of Shiva or Buddha.

In certain Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, the third eye is the gate that leads the followers within to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. In the new concept, the third eye symbolizes a state of enlightenment.

 

 

Meaning of the Swastika in Buddhism and Hinduism

The word “swastika” is derived from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” (“good” or “auspicious”) united with “asti” (“it is”), along with the diminutive suffix “ka.” The swastika literally means, “It is good” or”all is well”. The swastika is a cross with four arms of equal length, with the ends of each arm bent at a right angle. It is found worldwide in the art of the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Celts, Native Americans, and Persians. It is also related with Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and is used in the flag of the Nazi Party. People use swastika as a charm to bring good fortune.

Meaning of swastika in Hinduism

It is believed that the word appeared for the first time Harivamsha Puranaand is noted to be absent in the Vedic Sanskrit. The word is found to be used, both in Ramayana and Mahabharata, but with a different meaning. Hindus consider the swastika as a symbol of auspiciousness, prosperity, and good fortune and use it to mark the opening pages of account books, pooja, doors, offerings, and thresholds. It is believed to have the power to ward off misfortune and negative forces from its surroundings.

The swastika is considered as Lord Ganesha, by some sects of Hindu people, and is worshiped to bring in good luck or fortune. Some people believe that the swastika’s cross represent God and creation. They consider the four bent arms stand for the four human aims (purushartha) – righteousness (dharma), wealth (artha), love (kama), and liberation, (moksha). It is a persuasive emblem of Sanatana Dharma (the eternal truth).  Swastika also represents the world wheel, where the eternal life keeps on changing from one point to another, around the fixed center, God.

In Hinduism, the right-hand (clockwise) swastika is a one of the 108 symbols of the sun and the god Vishnu, while the left-hand (counterclockwise) swastika represents night, Goddess Kali, and magic. It is also regarded as a symbol of the muladhara chakra, the center of consciousness at the base of the spine.

Meaning of swastika in Buddhism

Just like the Hindus, the Buddhist also used the swastika to mark the beginning of Buddhist texts as they consider it as a symbol of universal harmony, prosperity, plurality, good luck, abundance, dharma, fertility, long life, and eternity. In different parts of the world, the swastika is given a different meaning by the Buddhist. For instance, In Tibet, the swastika was a graphical representation of eternity. There are 65 auspicious symbols on the footprint of the Buddha and the swastika is considered as the first one. You can also find the swastika symbol imprinted on the body, palms, chest, or feet of Buddha. It is used to mark the beginning of sacred texts or as a clothing decoration. The Buddhist in India, consider swastika as “The Seal on Buddha’s Heart.”

From ancient time, Swastika is considered as noble, which is prominent in most cultures throughout history. It is also the most liked symbol of Aryans.

Popular Mantras, Hymns & Quotes for Lord Krishna

Bronze Krishna statue playing flute

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Shri Krishna as the name means He is the one who is capable of attracting everyone. The name Krishna also means absolute truth. He is the eight and most famous avatar of Lord Vishnu who is symbolized as the best example of truth, love, dharma and courage.

Here, are some of the most popular mantras of Shri Krishna used by devotees all over the world.

1. Moola Mantra

Om Krishnaya Namaha

Meaning: Salutations to the Lord Krishna

2. Krishna Gayatri Mantra: This mantra brings in high energy for activities and success in job.

Aum

Devkinandanaye Vidmahe

Vasudevaye Dhi-Mahi

Tan No Krishna Prachodayat

Aum

3. Sri Krishna Ashtakam

Vasudeva Sutham Devam Kamsa Chaanoora Mardhanam |

Devaki Paramaanandham Krishnam Vande’ Jagathgurum ||

 

Adhasee Pushpa Sankaasam Haara Noopura Sobhitham |

Rathna Kangana keyooram Krishnam Vandhe’ Jagathgurum ||

 

Kutilaalaka Samyuktham Poorna Chandra Nibhaananam |

Vilasath Kundala tharam Krishnam Vandhe’ Jagathgurum ||

 

Mandhara Gandha Samyuktham Chaaru-haasam Chathur-bhujam; |

Parhipinjaa Vasoodaangam Krishnam Vandhe’ Jagathgurum ||

 

Uthpulla Padma Patraksham Nilajimutha Sannibham. |

Yaadhavaanaam Sirorathnam Krishnam Vandhe’ Jagathgurum ||

 

Rukmini Ke’li Samyuktham, Peethambara Su Sobitham; |

Avaaptha Thulasi Gaandharam, Krishnam Vande Jagathgurum. ||

 

Gopikaanaam Kusathvanthva Kunkumaangitha Vakshasam |

Srinike’tham Maheshvaasam Krishnam Vandhe’ Jagathgurum ||

 

Srivatsaankam, Mahoraskam, Vana Maala Virayitham; |

Sanka Chakra Dharam, Devam, Krishnam Vande Jagathgurum. ||

 

Krishnaashtakam itham Punyam Praatha Ruththaaya Ya:pade’th|

Ko’ti Janma Krutham Papam Smaranaath Thasya Nachyathi. ||

4. 24 name Mantra of Lord Krishna

Shri Keshvay namah, Naraynay namah, Madhvay namah,

Govinday namah, Vishnve namah, Madhusudnay namah,

Trivikramay namah, Vamnay namah, Shridhray namah,

Hrshikeshay namah, Padhanabhay namah, Damodaray namah,

Sankrshnay namah, Vasudevay namah, Prdyumnay namah,

Aniruddhay namah, Purushottmay namah, Adhoxjay namah,

Narsinhay namah, Achyutay namah, Janardnay namah,

Upendray namah, Haraye namah, Shri Krishnay namah.

5. Shri Krishna Aarti

Aarti Yugal Kishor ki Kijai,

Radhe Tan Man dhan nyochhavar kijai.

Ravi shashi koti badan ki shobha,

Tahi nirakh mera man lobha.

Gaur Shyam mukh nirkhat rijhai,

Prabhu ko rup nayan bhar pijai.

Kanchan thar kapur ki bati,

Hari aye nirmal bhai chhati.

Phulan ki sej phulan ki mala,

Ratna sinhasan baithe Nandlala.

Mor mukut kar murli sohai,

Natwar vesh dekh manmohe.

Oddhe peet neel pat sari,

Kunj Bihari Girvardhari.

Shri Purshottam Girvar dhari,

arti karat sakal Brajanari.

Nandnandan Vnishabhanu Kishori,

Parmanand svami avichal jori.

6. Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra: It is a 16-word Vaishnava mantra, the most famous mantra of Lord Krishna, which first appeared in the Kali-Santarana Upanishad.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,

Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama,

Rama Rama, Hare Hare

7. Shree Radha Krishna Stuti

Kararavinde Na Padaravindam

Mukharavinde Viniveshayantam

Vatasya Patrasya Pute Shayanam

Balam Mukundam Manasa Smarami

Meaning: I memorize the Lord in his infant form (Mukunda), who sleeps in a Banyan leaf. He is the one who puts his lotus life feet to His mouth, with the help of His hands.

Achyutam Keshavam Rama Narayanam

Krishna Daamodaram Vasudevam Harim

Shridharam Maadhavam Raamachandram Bhaje

Jaanki Naayakam Raamachandram Bhaje

Meaning: I sing praise of Ramachandra, Who is known as Achyuta (infallible), Keshav, Raam, Narayan, Krishna, Damodara, Vasudeva, Hari, Shridhara (possessing Lakshmi), Madhava, Gopikavallabha (Dearest of Gopika), and Janakinayaka (Lord of Janaki or Sita).

 

Achyutam Keshavam Satyabhaa Maadhavam

Maadhavam Shridaram Radhika Radhikam

Indira Mandriram Chetasaa Sundaram

Devaki Nandanam Nandanam Sandadhe

Meaning: I offer a salute with my hands together to Achyuta, Who is known as Keshav, Who is the consort of Satyabhama. He is also known as Madhav and Shridhar, Who is longed-for by Radhika, Who is like a temple of Lakshmi (Indira), who is beautiful at heart. He is the son of Devaki, and Who is the Dear-One of all.

Tapta-Kanchana-Gaurangi Radhe

Vrindavaneshvari  Vrishabhanu-Sute Devi

Pranamami Hari-Priye

Wood Radha Krishna statue

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Meaning: I offer my respect to Shri Radha rani, who has molten gold complexion. O Goddess, You are the queen of Vrindavana, the daughter of King Vrishabhanu, and are very dear to Lord Krishna.

Goloka-Vasini Gopi

Gopisha Gopa-Matrika

Sananda Paramananda

Nanda-Nandana-Kamini

Meaning: Radha rani is a resident of Goloka, known as Vrindavan, and is a cowherd damsel. She is the queen of the gopis and the divine mother of the cowherd boys. She is joyful and always experiencing the highest bliss. She incites strong desires in the heart of the son of Nanda (Lord Krishna).

 

8. Sree Krishna Stuthi – Sandhyanaamam: This stuti is written by the famous devotee Poothanam, praising lord Krishna.

Anjana Sreedhara Charumoorthe Krishna

 Anjali Koopi Vanangidunnen

 Aananda Alangara Vaasudeva Krishna

 Aathangam Ellam Akattidene

 Indiranadha Jagannivasa Krishna,

Innende Munnil Vilangidene

Erezhulaginum Ekanaadha Krishna,

Eeranju Dikkum Niranja Roopa

Unni Gopala Kamalanethra Krishna,

 Ullil Nee Vannu Vilangidene

 Oozhiyil Vannu Piranna Naadha Krishna,

Oonam Koodathe Thunachidene

Ennulilulloru Taapamellam Krishna,

Ennunikanna Shamipickene

 Edalalar Banannu Thulyamurthe Krishna,

Ereeyamodhena Kaithozhunnen

Aithikamaakum Sukhathilaho Krishna

 Ayyo Enikkoru Mohamille

Ottalla Kauthugamantharange Krishna

Omalthirumeni Bhangikaanaan

 Odakkuzhalvili Melamode Krishna,

Odivarigende Gopabaala

Oudharyakomala Kelisheela Krishna,

Oupamyamilla Gunangalkethum 

Ambujalochana Ninpaada Pankajam,

Ambodu Njaanidaa Koombidunnen

Athyanda Sundara Nandasuno Krishna,

Atthal Kalanjenne Paalikkene 

Krishna Mukilvarna, Vrushnee Kuleshwara,

Krishnambujekshana Kaithozhunnen

Krishna Hare Jaya, Krishna Hare Jaya, Krishna Hare Jaya, Krishna Hare…

 

Meaning: I salute you, pretty Krishna, who is black and who carries Lakshmi

With folded hands,

Hey happy Krishna, who is decorated. He is also known as Vasudeva,

Be pleased to take away all my sorrows.

 

Hey Krishna who presides all over the universe and who is consort of Lakshmi,

Please appear before me,

Hey Krishna who is the only lord of fourteen worlds,

You are the one, who fills all the ten directions fully,

 

Oh lotus eyed Krishna, who is the baby cowherd,

Be pleased to come and live inside me,

Oh Krishna, who has taken birth on this earth,

Please help me to live without any problems.

 

Oh Krishna, you should put out the raging,

Problems of my heart, oh my baby Krishna,

Oh Krishna who is equal to the formidable Banasura,

I salute you with greatest happiness.

 

Oh Krishna I do not have any desire,

And alas I do not have any desire,

And Oh Krishna the curiosity within me is great,

To see the beauty of your body, Oh Krishna

 

Oh Krishna, along with the music of your flute with drum beats,

Oh Lad of the cowherds, please come running to me,

Oh pretty and charitable Krishna, who is playful,

There is no comparison at all for your qualities.

 

I salute your lotus like feet with love for you,

Oh Lord with lotus like eyes,

Oh most pretty one, Ok Krishna, oh son of Nanda,

Please drive away my problems and take care of me.

 

Oh cloud colored Krishna, Oh star of the clan of Vrushnees,

Oh Krishna with lotus like eyes, I salute you,

Victory to Krishna who is hari, Victory to Krishna who is Hari,

Victory to Krishna, who is Hari