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Poojas and homams

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Many hindus do not know the procedures of prayers, homam and fast or what is the meaning behind each of them. Most of us doing it either because of it being family practice or it is because the temple priest ask to do so.For example Sri Ganapathy homam. We know what is homam but we do not know the difference between homam and pooja.The significance of both homam and puja.

For people like me who are keen in poojas, homam and charities but do not know the correct procedures, this will help us to do them with proper understanding.

In this website all know about vedas and sastras very well. I would appreciate if you can kindly help us in teaching us the proper ways of doing poojas or homam and the meaning of each poojas and homam. I am refering to non-brahmins.

 

sarma-61

New member
Many hindus do not know the procedures of prayers, homam and fast or what is the meaning behind each of them. Most of us doing it either because of it being family practice or it is because the temple priest ask to do so.For example Sri Ganapathy homam. We know what is homam but we do not know the difference between homam and pooja.The significance of both homam and puja.

For people like me who are keen in poojas, homam and charities but do not know the correct procedures, this will help us to do them with proper understanding.

In this website all know about vedas and sastras very well. I would appreciate if you can kindly help us in teaching us the proper ways of doing poojas or homam and the meaning of each poojas and homam. I am refering to non-brahmins.


Hello, spaceshuttle!

Your question is very legitimate in my view. Pooja is worship of the simpler form not using the sacrificial fire. Pooja is of many kinds, from the condensed one to the most elaborate rites. Usually the pooja is considered as ShODaSOpacAra pooja (or, worship with 16 - ShODaSA - services or upacAras).

I will give in a nut shell these 16 'services' and very short comments on each:
01. Asanam - offering a seat
02. pAdyam - washing the feet with water (the word pAdyam means water for washing the feet)
03. arghyam - this word means 'something valuable' but over the millennia, it now stands reduced to a simple spoonful of water; in the vedic past a respectful oblation of cooked rice, dUrva grass, flowers and water was given into the sacrificial fire, I understand.
04. Acamaneeyam - water for gargling (cleaning the mouth)
05. madhuparkkam -this used to be a mixture of honey (madhu in sanskrit) and curd (arkka) and sometimes also ghee (clarified butter)
06. snAnam (abhiShEkam) - here the deity/deities who are worshipped are given bath ceremonially along with chanting of appropriate mantras.
07. snAnAnantara Acamaneeyam - water for gargling, after bath.
08. vastrOttareeyam - a pair of cloth, one to be worn on the waist and the other to cover the torso or upper half.
09. yajnOpaveetAbharaNam - the sacred thread and jewelry (for both male and female deities, but in the case of female deities, nowadays the priests omit yajnOpaveeta)
10. gandhAkShatA - unbroken polished rice which has been coloured with turmeric powder and perfumes like sandal paste, kasturi, gOrOcana, etc.
11. puShpArcana - doing arcana with flowers
12. Dhoopam - the perfumed smoke produced by sAmbrANi or benzoin resin; there are other herbal mixtures also.
13. AlankAradeepam - decorated and lighted lamp being waved around the idol ceremonially; originally this must have been the giving of a light to the honoured guest in case he/she was to return after nightfall; in Kerala even today a guest who stays for the night meals will be given one or two bunches of dried coconut leaves, free, which will serve to light his way back.
14. naivEdyam -food to eat
15. tAmboolam - pan, betel leaves, arecanut only are used; chuna or slaked lime is avoided.
16. karpoora neerAjanam (popularly known now as "Arati") - ceremonial waving of lighted camphor around the idol, from head to feet and back again.

I am only a novice. There are many stalwarts who may kindly correct, edit and modify the above. I will only be grateful to them.

Homams are more elaborate and there still is some reservation in the brahmin mind that only those with the sacred thread (brAhmaNa, kShatriya and vaiSya) ae eligible to perform homams. Essentially in a homam, the deva/s are called and welcomed and oblations are offered into the sacrificial fire with mantras ending with the chant "swAhA" (meaning welcome). There are very many kinds of homams and even a large tome may not be sufficient to describe all of them. regarding Ganapathi Homam I shall write tomorrow pl.












 
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OP
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spaceshuttle_1969

New member
Respected Sir

Thanks for understanding my problem and explaining it in simple way. The truth is after doing poojas for several years trust only today after you wrote the meaning of "Swaha" I came to know it means welcome. The main reason for signing up this page is I do not want to be ignorant of Hinduism.Only when I learn it well I can explain to my kids in future.



Hello, spaceshuttle!

Your question is very legitimate in my view. Pooja is worship of the simpler form not using the sacrificial fire. Pooja is of many kinds, from the condensed one to the most elaborate rites. Usually the pooja is considered as ShODaSOpacAra pooja (or, worship with 16 - ShODaSA - services or upacAras).

I will give in a nut shell these 16 'services' and very short comments on each:
01. Asanam - offering a seat
02. pAdyam - washing the feet with water (the word pAdyam means water for washing the feet)
03. arghyam - this word means 'something valuable' but over the millennia, it now stands reduced to a simple spoonful of water; in the vedic past a respectful oblation of cooked rice, dUrva grass, flowers and water was given into the sacrificial fire, I understand.
04. Acamaneeyam - water for gargling (cleaning the mouth)
05. madhuparkkam -this used to be a mixture of honey (madhu in sanskrit) and curd (arkka) and sometimes also ghee (clarified butter)
06. snAnam (abhiShEkam) - here the deity/deities who are worshipped are given bath ceremonially along with chanting of appropriate mantras.
07. snAnAnantara Acamaneeyam - water for gargling, after bath.
08. vastrOttareeyam - a pair of cloth, one to be worn on the waist and the other to cover the torso or upper half.
09. yajnOpaveetAbharaNam - the sacred thread and jewelry (for both male and female deities, but in the case of female deities, nowadays the priests omit yajnOpaveeta)
10. gandhAkShatA - unbroken polished rice which has been coloured with turmeric powder and perfumes like sandal paste, kasturi, gOrOcana, etc.
11. puShpArcana - doing arcana with flowers
12. Dhoopam - the perfumed smoke produced by sAmbrANi or benzoin resin; there are other herbal mixtures also.
13. AlankAradeepam - decorated and lighted lamp being waved around the idol ceremonially; originally this must have been the giving of a light to the honoured guest in case he/she was to return after nightfall; in Kerala even today a guest who stays for the night meals will be given one or two bunches of dried coconut leaves, free, which will serve to light his way back.
14. naivEdyam -food to eat
15. tAmboolam - pan, betel leaves, arecanut only are used; chuna or slaked lime is avoided.
16. karpoora neerAjanam (popularly known now as "Arati") - ceremonial waving of lighted camphor around the idol, from head to feet and back again.

I am only a novice. There are many stalwarts who may kindly correct, edit and modify the above. I will only be grateful to them.

Homams are more elaborate and there still is some reservation in the brahmin mind that only those with the sacred thread (brAhmaNa, kShatriya and vaiSya) ae eligible to perform homams. Essentially in a homam, the deva/s are called and welcomed and oblations are offered into the sacrificial fire with mantras ending with the chant "swAhA" (meaning welcome). There are very many kinds of homams and even a large tome may not be sufficient to describe all of them. regarding Ganapathi Homam I shall write tomorrow pl.












 
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renuka

Gold Member
Gold Member
Svaha is made up of 2 words.

Svaha= Su + Aha

Su meaning auspicious.

Aha meaning to call.

(grammar rule applied makes it become Svaha.)


Hence meaning to call one auspiciously a.k.a Welcome.
 
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nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
We see a Homam or a Havan is generally performed in every house on various
occasions for different objects. Divine Gods are invoked in the Sacred Fire.
Holy Mantras are chanted, by a number of learned people according to the type
of Homam, and on account of that the vibrations are generated, which gives
lot of benefits to the people who attend such Homams. In fact, the Smoke that
comes out of the Sacred Fire is a very powerful healing energy. The Pusmam is
preserved in the House after the Homam is over. Homams are performed on
various occasions viz. House Warming Function, Wedding Function, Sashi Apta
Poorthi, etc. Some people perform Homam particularly for getting protection
from evil spirits, Navagraha Dosham, Spiritual Enlightenment, etc.
Elders used to advise in those days, at least once a year, that a Homam should be
done in a House to have purity of the atmosphere within the House.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 
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spaceshuttle_1969

New member
I have a question to ask if I want to conduct a pooja or homam in a temple. Who are the people who has the right to represent me?

To do Sri Lakshmi Kubera pooja what is the procedure and is there any Sri Lakshmi Kubera homam? If yes what is the procedure to do? If in temple the priest will do the pooja but as the person who is conducting it what are the rules the person has to follow?
 

nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
Before starting any Puja either at home or in the Temple, we do Sankalpam
mentioning the details of family viz. Gothram, names of persons and the purpose
for which the puja is being performed. Nishkamya Karma is something different.
May be, the Ladies have to be very careful from doing such things during
menstrual period. We do not know, there was any restriction in olden days.
Nowadays, we find Ladies attending Vedas classes too. I do not think there is
any specific restriction is there.

I recently visited the Lakshi Gubera Swami Temple at Ratnamangalam near
Vandalur and I found a number of Ladies doing Puja after performing Sankalpam
chanted by Gurukkal.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 

sadasivam.sridharan

Active member
Normally while doing pooja at home after abhishekam to the idols (vigrahams),we wipe them with a clean cloth and do alankaram with sandal paste, kumkum, flowers, etc.Is this procedure ok in case of shiva lingam? or is it that we should leave the lingam wet and do alankaram? As I have this doubt and not sure of what to follow, it would be of great help if I get an advice from learned people.
 

nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
The procedure to wipe the idols with a clean dry cloth after abhishekam is normally followed
everywhere. Alankaram is done after that. I watch this regularly in a Shiva Temple next to
my door.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 

sadasivam.sridharan

Active member
If wiping the lingam after abhishekam with a cloth is followed in a temple,then it must be the procedure we have to adopt at home.Thanks for responding to my query.
 

nalanda

Member
During abhishekam various ingredients are used for bathing the murthi,(water,honey,ghee,milk,saffron etc).Is there an order of items used and please what does each item represent?nandri
nalanda
 

nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
Abishekam is a method of bathing the Lord Shiva. It is considered as
one part of Shodashopachara puja. Shiva Lingam (Spatikam) is an
abstract form of Lord Shiva in the Temple.

Abishekam can be done by Chanting OM Namasiva, if one does not know
Rudram. One can do according to their choice and time permissibility.

a) Gingely Oil
b) Draviya Podi or Powder
c) Tamarind Powder followed by Fine Ground Rice Powder
d) Pancha Kavyam (Milk, Curd, Ghee, Cows Urine with holy Water) I have not seen
using Cowdung in the Temple
e) Panchamirdam (Banana, Sugar candy or Jaggery, Dates, Other permissible fruits
viz. Apple, Grapes, Pomegranate, honey, some people add Ghee also)
f) Honey
g) Milk
h) Curd
i) Sugar Cane Juice
j) Lime Juice
k) Orange Juice
l) Ghee (In some Temples)
m) Sugar (in some Temples)
n) Tender Coconut Water
o) Holy Ash - Vibhthi
p) Sandal Paste
q) Rose Water, etc.

One has to start with Sankalpam, Kalasa Puja, Conch Puja, Athma Puja, Peeta Puja,
Guru Dyanam with Mudras, Kanda (Bell) Puja, Prana Prathishta, etc
Conch (Sangu Water)
Thailabishekam - Gives comfort
Rice Powder - Gives relief from Debts
Nelli Mulli Podi or Draviya Podi - Eliminates Disease
Tamarind Powder - Vaseekaranam
Holy Water - Gives Sowbaghyam
Panchakavyam - Purity of Mind
Ghee - To attain success
Milk - Moksham
Curd - To get Satputras
Honey - Gives mental Peace
Sugar cane Juice - Again cures all diseases
Tender Coconut Water - Bogam
Sandal Paste - Wealth
Holy Ash - Removes Fear
Kumba Theertham - If performed Puja

Chant Dyana Slokas or Lord Shiva Gayathris, Shiva Panchakshara Stotram
Shri Gurudaraka Panchakshari and then Ashothram, etc.

Doopam, Offer Neiveidhyam, Camphor etc. and end with Shama Sloka

I have a Spatikam in my House and I do these as a routine exercise. I chant
many Slokas and Rudram, according to availability of time, etc.

Om Namasivaya

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 
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spaceshuttle_1969

New member
Are we allowed to keep statues at home? If yes then how big should the statue be? Are ladies allowed to do abeshegam for god and goddess at home ?
 

nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
I do not think that there is any restriction in chanting above Mantras by Ladies
provided they can chant with Shruthi. But then, they have some female periodical
restrictions, during that period, they have to be careful. Ladies beyond certain
age, may not have problems and they can do it with freedom. Similarly Abishekam
too. If one undertakes Deeksha or Guru Upasana, it will be more appropriate.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 

zebra16

Well-known member
Is there any bar for ladies to chant Sri Rudram and do Abhishekam to Shiva?

Sri Rudhram is a veda mantram and should be chanted only by those who have been initiated into Gayatri mantram, who are doing nitya karma anushtanams and it (Sri Rudram) should be chanted with svaras and proper intonations. Sri Rudram forms fifth anuvaka of fourth kanda of taittiriya samhita.

In North India, even ladies do abhishekham to Shiva, so regional differences may be there.
 

zebra16

Well-known member
I have even heard ladies from Japan reciting Sri Rudram and Chamakam in Puttaparthi.

May be they had some special initiation or something? Have you heard of anyone (ladies) chanting at home or temples in normal course? I think (not sure....Sri Boston Sankara) also gave some video link of you tube of some Croatians chanting Sri Rudram.

What is the correct position:

a) Generally not allowed - but exceptionally permitted? If so, who is/are the permitting authority? and more importantly who can object?
b) universally allowed? - if yes, any quote from any Sastra etc. is available?

I am interested in knowing the correct position.
 
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