Recently I read an interesting article on Puja (Sacred Ritualistic worship) by Yoga Acharya Bharat which I give below:

What is Puja?

"The literal meaning of Puja is adoration. It is an all-purpose term used to denote the many stages of ritual action that compose worship in Hindu culture. The derivative meaning is thought to be from Pu-chey, 'flower-action,' and refers to the act of offering flowers to the deity. Puja is a post-Vedic phenomenon in its current form. The Vedic ritual was Homa, the offering of grains and sanctified liquids into a sacrificial fire. Most Puja differs from the Vedic sacrifice primarily in the fact that an image or representation of god is used in the service unlike the Homa where an altar alone, albeit highly stylized and over-laden with symbolic meaning, is used. The only common requirement is the creation of a sacred space to perform Puja.


Puja is the ceremonial act of showing reverence to a God or Goddess through invocation, prayer, song, and ritual. An essential aspect of Puja is communion with the Divine. The worshiper believes that through this contact she or he has established direct contact with the deity. This contact is facilitated through an image: a sculpture, painting, or print. Through this Puja and the image, a Hindu worshiper invites the presence of the deity with his or her cosmic energy. And thus, in the eye of devotees, the icon then becomes the deity, whose presence is reaffirmed by the daily rituals of honoring and invocation.

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The principal aim of any Puja is the feeling of personal contact with the deity. Generally, special communication with a deity is made through the intervention of a Brahmin Hindu priest during a strictly regulated ritual in the temple or home. During Puja, the Divine presence is invoked by which the devotee obtains blessings. "

I doubt whether we get such feeling in the Temples nowadays. While the Priests chant the manthras to the Lord, most of the devotees who stand in rows chat or describe the ornaments on the vigraha or fight for their right to be in front. In bigger Temples the ushers push out the people from the sanctum by shouting. In this atmosphere of chaos where will the devotee get peace of mind?

Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.