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.
Dhyaana – Meditating on the deity that is being invoked.
Aavaahana – Inviting the deity into the altar.
Aasana – Giving the deity a seat.
Paadya – Washing the deity’s feet with clean water.
Arghya – Offering the deity water to rinse hands and mouth.
Aachamana – Offering the deity water to drink.
Snaana – Bathing the deity with various auspicious items.
Vasthra – Dressing the deity in clean clothes.
Yagnopaveetha – Offering the deity a clean sacred thread.
Gandha – Spreading fresh sandalwood paste on the deity.
Pushpa – Offering fresh flowers while chanting the deity’s names.
Dhoopa – Spreading incense smoke throughout the altar.
Deepa – Waving a lamp to illuminate the freshly decorated deity.
Naivedya – Offering the deity food.
Taambula – Offering the deity a refreshing mix of betel nut and leaves.
Pradakshina& Namaskara – Circumambulating 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.
Shri Krishna as the name means – He is the one who is capable of attracting everyone. The name Krishna also means absolute truth. Lord Krishna is the eighth and most famous avatar of Lord Vishnu who is symbolized as the best example of truth, love, dharma, and courage.
One of the most widely revered and most popular of all Indian divinities is Krishna, worshiped as the eighth incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu. Lord Krishna became the focus of a large number of devotional cults, which over the centuries have produced a wealth of religious poetry, music, painting, and sculpture.
Krishna affirms life in his pranks, music, and lovemaking
The rich variety of legends associated with Krishna’s life led to an abundance of representation in painting and sculpture. The divine lover (the most common representation) is shown playing the flute, surrounded by adoring gopis.
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 the job.
“Aum Devkinandanaye Vidmahe Vasudevaye Dhi-Mahi Tan No Krishna Prachodayat Aum“
“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“
Meaning: I sing the 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).
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.
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 the 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 the 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
The Hindu God Ganesha is considered to be the master of wisdom, guardian of knowledge and obstacle remover. All the devotees invoke prayers in favor of Ganesha to bring in positive energy to them and favorable results to their ventures. The Ganesha mantras are also known as Siddhi Mantras. Ganesha is known in different forms and by a number of names, and some of the names are Ganapati, Vignesha, Pillayar, Vinayak, Ekadenta, Lambodara, Gajanana.
Ganesh is usually depicted colored red; he is pot bellied, has one tusk broken, and has four arms that may hold a noose called a pasam, an elephant goad, and a pot of rice, or his favorite sweets, laddus. His appetite for these sweets is legendary and offerings of them are often left at his shrine.
Ganesh is also patron of letters and of learning; he is the legendary scribe who, using his commonly held broken tusk, wrote down parts of the Mahabharata Epic.
Here, are some of the most popular mantras of Lord Ganesha, which are used to please Him.
1. Ganesha Dwaadasha Nama shlokam:
This prayer mentions the 12 names of the Lord Ganesha. These verses are believed to be recited by Sage Narada in order to please Lord Ganesha.
“Pranamya Shirasa Devam Gauriputram Vinaayakam Bhakataavaas am Smare Nityam Aayush Kaamartha Siddhaye”
Meaning: Salutations to the Lord, who is the son of Gowri, and He who resides deep in the heart of the devotees, blessing them always with good health and prosperity.
Meaning: This stanza marks the beginning of twelve names. First as the Lord with the curved trunk; Second as the one with only one tusk, Third as the one with black (red/brown) eyes, Fourth as the one with giant structure
Meaning: Fifth, as the one with a big (long) stomach, Sixth, as the one with a huge body, Seven, as the remover of obstacles, Eighth, as the one with smoke gray color
“Navamam Phaalachandram ChaDasamam Tu Vinaayakam Ekaadasam Ganapatim Dvaadasam Tu Gajaananam“
Meaning: Ninth, as the one with the moon on the front of His head, Tenth, as the foremost leader, Eleventh, as the leader of the ganas, Twelfth as the one with elephant face
“Dvaadasaitaani Naamaani Trisandhyam Yah Pathernnarah Na Cha Vighna Bhayam TasyaSarva Siddhikaram Prabho“
If a person remembers these twelve names of the Lord Ganesha, three times in a day. Then he will have all his obstacles and fear removed and will attain success.
2. GanaNayaka Ashtakam:
This mantra contains eight verses or hymns for invoking Lord Ganesha.
“Ekadantam Mahaakaayam Taptakaajnchana sannibham LambodaraM VishaalaaxaM Vande Ham GaNanaayakam“
Meaning: You are one tusked, have a huge, massive and a hot-golden colored body. You have a large pot like belly, beautiful eyes. I bow to you the leader of ganas (followers of Lord Shiva
“Mounji Krishnajeenadharam NaagaYagnopaveethanam Bhalendu Sakalam Moulim Vande Ham Gananayakam“
Meaning: You are the one who is victorious and has the smoke-hued color body and who uses snake as a holy thread that is tied around the belly. The one who has a waxing moon on his head, I bow to you the leader of the ganas.
“Chitraratna Vichitragam Chitrmaalaa Vibhushitham Kamarupadharam Devam Vande Ham Gananayakam“
Meaning: The one who makes a picture-perfect pose. He has a garland adorning around his neck and takes the form of Kama Roop. I bow to you the leader of ganas.
“Gajavaktam SuraSreshtam Karnachamara Bhushitham Pasamkusadharam Devam Vande Ham Gananayakam“
Meaning: The one with an elephant face and still considered the best. He is beautifully adorned with karnchamra. He holds Pashan and Kusha, weapons used in war. I bow to the leader of the ganas.
“Mushikootham maaruhya Devasura Mahaahavey Yooddukamam Mahaaveeram Vande Ham Gananayakam“
Meaning: He uses mooshika as his chariot, the one who is prayed by everyone and the one who is an exceptionally valiant. I bow to that Lord Ganesha.
Meaning: The one to whom yaksha, kinnera and gandharva pray. He is the only one who has the vidya to acquire opulence, and whose prayers are sung by people. He who has strong arms, I bow to the leader of the ganas.
“Ambika Hryudayanandham Matrubhihi Pariveshtitham BhaktaPriyam Madhoonmatham Vande Ham Gananayakam“
Meaning: He is the one who is dear to the mother, who is always ready to serve his mother anytime, who is dear to his devotees and who ends the wars; I bow to the leader of the ganas.
“SarvaVignaharam Devam SarvaVigna Vivarjetham Sarvasiddi Pradhataaram Vande Ham Gananayakam“
Meaning: He is the Lord who can take care of all our problems, who weakens all the obstacles and problems that come our way to success and the one who gives all types of Siddhi. I bow to the leader of the ganas.
Mantras are believed to bring in harmony and peace of mind to the devotees who faithfully chant it to please their favorite deities. Chanting mantras can relieve mental stress, strain and even help in maintaining a normal heart rate. The word “mantra” is derived from two Sanskrit words “manas” and “trai“, which literally means “to free from the mind”. From recent medical studies it was found the chanting of mantras in the right form evokes the production and spreading of the certain chemicals in the brain, which improve the health and the mental status of the devotee.
The Goddess Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth, luxury, beauty, power and prosperity. Her mantras are evoked by most of the entrepreneurs as they believe that She will be pleased and bring fortune to them. One of the most chanted mantra of Goddess Lakshmi is as follows:
Meaning: O Goddess Maa Lakshmi, you are aware of everything; you bestow blessing upon all and defend us from the evils. You remove all miseries of life. Oh auspicious one, I surrender myself to you.
“Siddhi Buddhipraday Devi Bhuktimuktipradayeenee Mantramurtay Sada Devi Mahalakshmi Namostutay”
Meaning: O divine Maa, you are the one who gives me all success and intelligence. You bless me with all the worldly pleasures, wealth and freedom. The magical words in the mantra comprise your grace with form and Mother, I surrender myself to you, always.
Meaning: O Mother Supreme, your art does not have a beginning or end. Your art is the primal power. Your art is born out of Yogic practice and manifested through yoga. O Mother auspicious, I bow to Thee.
Meaning: O Goddess Lakshmi, your art gross and subtle, most awful and dominant. Your art encompass even the smallest things, and saves us even from the greatest sins. O Mother auspicious, I bow to Thee.
Meaning: Maa Lakshmi, you reside in the heart of the faithful devotees and verily art the supreme Brahman. Your supreme art depicts that you are the mother of the universe. Promising Mother, I surrender to you.
The Hindu Goddess Lakshmi is the consort of Lord Vishnu and is known as the Empress of Satyug. The Goddess is depicted in different forms, to bestow blessings and save the devotees from evils. Evoking the mantras of Goddess Lakshmi will bring peace and prosperity to your home or business.
Most of the images and sculpture of Lord Shiva depict the River Ganga flowing from his matted hair. As with all symbols within Hindu iconography there is an interesting tale behind Shiva and the Hindu goddess Ganga. According to Hindu mythology, there was a powerful king in India named Sagar. He decided to conduct Ashwamedha Yagya, a horse sacrifice, to declare his supremacy over the gods. The king of Heaven, Indra grew jealous of King Sagar and decided to steal the ritual horse. Indra successfully abducted the horse and tied him in the ashram of Sage Kapil, who was silently meditating for many years. King Sagar ordered his 60,000 sons to search and find his sacrificial horse. After a long search they found the horse tied at the ashram and began assaulting the great sage thinking he was the culprit who stole the horse. The sage awoke from his trance and in his anger started to destroy all the sons of king Sagar who were accosting him. Anshuman, the grandson of King Sagar, pleaded for forgiveness. The sage told him that he could save his life by bringing the sacred river Ganga down from the heavens to purify the souls of him and his ancestors and help them to attain nirvana.
King Dilip, son of Anshuman pleaded with Lord Brahma to help them bring the Ganga to earth. He failed to appease Brahma so he passed the task to his son, Bhagiratha. Bhagiratha was able to please Brahma, who ordered Ganga to descent to Earth. The furious Ganga felt this as an insult and decided to destroy Earth with her force while descending from heaven. Bhagiratha was warned by Brahma that earth will not be able to hold Ganga while descending from heaven, so he must seek the help of Lord Shiva, the only one who can withstand the power of Ganga. Bhagiratha pleaded with Lord Shiva to help him and Shiva agreed to receive Ganga in his matted locks. Ganga was arrogant and tried to drown Shiva by pushing him to the core of the earth, but the mighty Shiva easily held her in his locks. Shiva’s tie was so strong that Ganga became helpless.
Lord Shiva wanted to teach Ganga a lesson, but instead released her in seven streams as he was satisfied with the prayers of Bhagiratha. The seven streams of Ganga are Bhagirathi, Janhvi, Bhilangana, Mandakini, Rishiganga, Saraswati and Alaknanda. Ganga became calm and followed Bhagiratha, who lead her to his ancestors and with her purity, released their souls.
There are a number of legends associated with Ganga and the different names she has at different places. This is but one.
Ganga is considered to be the most sacred river in India and it originates from the depths of Gangotri glacier. Ganga, otherwise known as Ganges, brings purity to human life. By bathing in her sacred waters one is purified to the core of their being.
Bhagiratha’s great effort in bringing Ganga to earth is known as “Bhagiratha Prayatna”. What would you consider to be the noble quality of Bhagiratha – his strong affection to his ancestors or his determination to meet any challenges to attain the ultimate goal?
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