Importance of Different Pooja Essentials
Hindu religion follows a set of customs and worship practices to connect with the divine deity energies, which is called Pooja. “Puja” in Sanskrit means reverence. Puja – the act of reverence to the divine deity energies or Gods and Goddesses include the offering of light (Diya) and incense, flowers, water, food and fruits, mantra chants, reading of sacred verses or tales, and singing of holy bhajans. The term “Puja” is broadly used for daily prayer rituals and occasional worship as well. Puja Samagris consist of various items one uses for the ritual. Puranas mention these items and they have a special significance.
As well as performing puja every day, devotees also observe Hindu festivals such as Mahashivaratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Gokulashtami, Diwali, Shani Jayanti, Ganesh Jayanti, Narsimha Jayanti, and more. Daily Puja requires fewer ingredients whereas a grand Puja or a Puja dedicated to a specific deity will have an extensive list of Puja Samagri. There are some items that are common and used in every Puja ritual because of their importance. The following is a list of the basic Pooja Essentials and their significance:
List and Importance of basic Pooja Essentials
Hinduism believes that Gangajal (Ganges water) is the holiest among all liquids, which is why it is sprinkling in the home and puja room for purification. Some even add it to the bathing water for purification of the body and soul.
Haldi known as Turmeric (in English) removes the negative energies existing around the sadhak/worshipper. A red powder called Kumkum (Vermillion) symbolizes auspiciousness. It attracts good fortune and positivity. Offering these items to the deities idols is part of every worship service.
Akshat is the unbroken rice grains that symbolize wholeness and long life. Uncooked whole rice grains are an important part of the puja rituals and offered along with Haldi and Kumkum.
Diya (Oil Lamp)
Puja includes lighting a diya or oil lamp to purify and erase inner darkness and negative energies. According to tradition, ghee or oil represents negative thoughts in us, and cotton wick represents our soul. The burning of cotton wick with ghee or oil means the negativity and bad thoughts within us start fading away and eventually removed. There is usually a Diya on the Puja altar in front of the deities.
Cotton and oil or ghee (as per preference) light a Diya. The cotton wick in a Diya is symbolic of our Atma (soul) and an essential Puja ingredient. It is traditionally prepared by hand rolling cotton wicks, but now, readymade cotton wicks like those at Rudra Centre can be found.
Offering fragrant smoke to God idols by lighting Incense Sticks is a part of the morning and evening worship rituals in Hindu households. The purpose of lighting Incense Sticks during Puja ceremonies is to create a festive ambience and appease the deities. The wonderful smell that Incense Sticks produce is believed to clear the space of negative energy.
Dhoop is another form of incense and also produces aromatic smoke. Burning it in front of the puja altar brings the ambiance of tranquility. Aarti takes place on a thali (plate).
Fresh flowers are a sign of our devotion to God. It is necessary to present fresh flowers or garlands to the photo frames of idols or idols of Gods. Traditionally, a Puja is not complete without flower offerings and which bless the worshipper with wealth and prosperity.
God idol or photo frame
It is common in Hinduism to install idols and picture frames of deities during Puja ceremonies in order to invoke their presence and pray for their blessings.
Bell for Puja is a vital item on the Puja Samagri list and rung to eradicate the negative vibrations around. The sound produced by a bell overpowers the evil forces around the worshipper and invites auspiciousness.
Sweet edibles like Mithaai or sugar are offered to the deity after worship in an Offering Bowl. Spiritual ceremonies use an Offering Bowl as part of their auspiciousness.
The water and Panchamrit used during Puja is stored in a Pooja Kalash and Panchapatra respectively. Kalashes are symbols of abundance, which contain Amrit (elixir). These utensils are an integral part of the Puja Samagri.