THE IMPORTANCE OF POOJA IN SANATANA DHARMA
In the ancient times dhyana , yagna and Atma jnana were important in Sanatana dharma. Later in the puranic period and after that poojas and temple worship gained importance. In the medieval period poojas are done as a ritual to welcome guest in home and done to thank certain important people in special occasions. Aditi pooja and pada poojas are the perfect example for such poojas. After the medieval period, poojas gain more importance because people found it more comfortable than doing dhyana or yagna, and poojas are performed to worship the Lord. Initially, it was done in places of worship like temples or public grounds but nowadays it is done personally in every household. In this article let us see
1. The different ways of doing pooja,
2. The different places for doing pooja and
3. The different types of pooja.
There are four different types of doing pooja.
- Bahya pooja – The outer way of doing pooja by chanting mantras aloud accompanied with certain rituals.
- Manasa pooja – The inner way of doing pooja by chanting mantras and doing the rituals mentally.
- Rahasya pooja – This is a very special pooja done between two individuals, like a father and a son or the guru and the sishya. This pooja is usually kept very secret. It is in such poojas that the puniya/ papa of the father is transferred to the son or the puniya/papa of the guru is transferred to the sishya. It is considered as a very special pooja.
- Atma pooja – This is the pooja done to the Atma (Self). Some people do pooja to the Atma assuming it as a vigraha or even otherwise they do pooja for Atma mentally.
The different places in which the poojas done in Sanatana dharma
1. Nitya pooja – Poojas are done in some houses on an everyday basis and it is done to create a positive atmosphere.
2. Naimittika pooja – Poojas are done on special occasion like the birthday celebration of the child, house warming ceremony etc and in some families they are done in an elaborate manner.
3. Utsava pooja – poojas are done on common festival occasions like deepavali festival, Navaratri festival, Pongal festival etc. Pooja graces the festival occasion.
When the poojas are done in the graham (house), it is known as Gaarhikam pooja.
When the poojas are done in the temples it is known as Shetriya pooja.
When the poojas are done in the social places like mandapas, common grounds, it is known as Samoohika pooja. This type of poojas are common during Chaturti festival or Navaratri festival.
Different types of Pooja
1. Vaidika pooja – In this type of pooja they chant only the Veda mantas, mainly from the Sukla Yajur Veda. It is not usually accompanied with any mudras or asanas.
2. Tantrika pooja – It is said that the culture of pooja itself came from the tantrika pooja. They are the very intense way of invoking and worshipping the Lord. There are three types of tantrika pooja. They are Vaidika tantra, Saiva tantra and Satheya tantra. Tantrika poojas are based on Tantra sastra. Tantrika poojas are very famous in Kerala, west Bengal and Kashmir.
3. Pauranik pooja – These are the poojas based on the puranas. In Ramayana, Lord Sri Ram prescribes a set of poojas, in Srimad Bhagavata Purana, the Gopikas perform Katyayani pooja etc.
4. Aagamika poojas – The poojas based on the Aagama sastras are said as Aagamika poojas. The temple architecture and the pooja methods are based on Aagama sastras. This type of pooja is very famous in Tamil Nadu and in Tamil families.
5. Pancharatrika pooja – This type of pooja is based on the Narada Pancharatra grantha.
6. Vaikanasa pooja – it is based on the vaikanasa grantha.
Both pancharatrika pooja and vaikanasa pooja are performed by vaishnavas from Tamil nadu and Andra Pradesh.
7. Pradeshika poojas – Some families and communities they do poojas in their own way, based on how their ancestors had done the pooja or based on the region in which they live. They are not entirely based on the Vedas. They are commonly said as the poojas for the Kula daiva.
The main objective for doing pooja is to prepare one’s mind for Brahma Jnana. When we do pooja we easily connect with that divine power.