|Ganesh Pooja (Pooja = Ritual):
|In the Hindu scriptures, the elephant headed God, Ganesha is always
worshipped in the beginning of any ritual; for his blessings to ensure that the
whole procedure would move smoothly unhindered by any external obstacles at any
The worship of Lord Ganesh involves sixteen steps. This is called Shodasha-upachara
Pooja. All these steps are symbolical representations of the various forms of expressing
reverence like offering the deity a golden throne to be seated, washing his feet,
washing his hands, offering him water to drink, ceremonial bathing with sacred waters,
offering new clothes, anointing him with sandal paste and other perfumes, adorning
of jewels, worshipping with flowers, offering of fragrant incense, lighting the
lamp, offering food (Prasad), fruits and sweet drinks, chanting his praises, offering
Arati and finally prostrating to him and seeking his blessings. This Shodashopachara
Pooja is done to all the important deities in every Pooja.
|This is like the heart of the whole ceremony. The entire
ceremony depends upon the Sankalp or the strong will of the participants. Each ceremony
is performed for a definite purpose and it is this purpose that the performer and
participants clearly hold within their hearts as they take Sankalp.
The Sankalp mantra itself is a very clear declaration saying- According to the Indian
Solar Calendar, in this particular year named thus (Indian astrology considers a
cycle of sixty years with sixty distinct names), in this month, in this season,
on this day of the brighter/darker phase of the moon, at a time when this particular
constellation is ruling (each day is supposed to be ruled by one of the twenty seven
important stellar constellations called Nakshatras); I am performing this particular
homa to invoke and please this deity for this individual/family, who is/are born
under this sign of the zodiac and ruled by this Nakshatra.
|This is a very important step in any Pooja, because we invoke all the
deities in Kalash. The Kalash is a pot filled with water. The mantra for Kalash
has the following meaning;
Lord Vishnu resides in the Kalash at its mouth part, Lord Rudra in its neck, Lord
Brahma at the bottom, and all the maatruganas(goddesses in the center). Inside of
Kalash is the ocean, seven Islands, mother earth, four Vedas, Gayatri, Savitree,
Shanti and the goddess who blesses with all health and prosperities.
A coconut is placed over the mouth of the Kalash and the coconut is surrounded by
five or seven mango leaves. This Kalash is further decorated with flower garlands
and a cloth is draped over it.
The Kalash is placed at the North- Eastern corner of the Havan Kund or the sacrificial
pit. Shodashopachara Pooja is performed to the respective deities in the kalash..
Yet another significance of the Kalash is that it absorbs all the positive energies
generated during the Havan and hence the divine water in the Kalash is sprinkled
upon and distributed to the participants at the end of the Havan. This water becomes
energized with all the divine energies and has immense healing power.
The Kalash is believed to contains Amrit (nectar) , the elixir of life, and thus
is viewed as a symbol of abundance, wisdom, and immortality. The Kalash is often
seen in Hindu iconography as an attribute, in the hands of Hindu deities like the
creator Lord Brahma, the annihilator Lord Shiva as a teacher, and the goddess of