Why are tulsi leaves used while offering naivedya?

Contents


Namaskar! We heartily welcome you all for this Satsang (spiritual meet)! Before we commence this Satsang let us pay obeisance at the Holy feet of Sadguru (spiritual master) so that by His grace the very objective of this Satsang is fulfilled. Please pay mental obeisance to your personal icon of faith and recite as follows:

गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्‍णु गुरुर्देवो महेश्‍वर: ।
गुरु साक्षात्‌ परब्रह्म तस्‍मै श्री गुरवे नम: ।।

Path of devotion describes nine types or modes of devotion unto God. The ritualistic worship of a deity is one of them. Just as the flowers have an important place in the ritualistic worship of deities, various leaves also have a significant place. Besides if we offer them with devotion and spiritual emotion then their significance is even more enhanced. Therefore in Srimad Bhagavadgita Lord Krushna says ‘if anybody offers me even a leaf with full devotion and bhav then I accept it by manifesting myself in gross form. This declaration by the Lord brings two things to our notice. First is that devotion and spiritual emotion has important role in our life and secondly every action of ours should be performed with full understanding of the science underlying it. In this satsang we will try to understand the science of offering leaves to deities and their effects.

1. Importance of patri in puja ritual

Patri is related to the colour particles. The deities’ principles get attracted to the leaves because of colour particles. The leaves or patri have the capacity to attract and emit the deity principle. Some of the patris constantly emit the deity principle which helps in continuous purification of the surrounding atmosphere. Only that patri which has more capacity to absorb the respective deity principle should be offered to the deity. That is the reason it is said that only that patri which is ‘liked’ by the deity is to be offered to Her / Him.

Generally five types of patri or leaves are to offered to deities during a puja ritual. The five patris represent the five great cosmic elements of the Universe namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. The deities are in the form of light. The principles of deities get activated with the help of the five elements. These deity principles are rapidly attracted towards patris when they are offered to a deity.

Patris of Tulsi are mandatory in the ritualistic worship of Lord Vishnu, Lord Krushna and Pandurang, Bilvapatri is mandatory in the ritualistic worship of Lord Shiva and durvas in the ritualistic worship of Lord Ganapati. In karmakanda (spiritual practice with physical body) the availability of tulsi, bel and durva is mandatory. In addition the place of worship is decorated with some special leaves. For example the bough of mango leaves tied on the entrance of a house is a very common sight. Ritualistic worship of a deity is incomplete without the use of patris. The leaves of five trees namely Pipal (Ficus religiosa), Audumbar (glomerous fig tree), Ashok (Jonesia Asoka), mango, and Vat (ficus indica) are of special spiritual significance in religious rituals. They are known as Panchpallav (pancha=five, pallav=leaf).

In some special worships of a deity, various types of leaves are offered to a deity and this particular worship is known as patrapuja. Among the various types of patris which are mandatory in the articles of puja, tulsi is one.

2. Tulsi

Tulsi is a sacred plant. It has been mentioned in Skandapuran that some of the drops of nectar fell on the earth during the process of Samudramanthan (churning of ocean). Tulsi was formed out of them. It was handed over to Lord Vishnu by Lord Bramha. Tulsi is liked by Lord Vishnu and hence it is specially offered to Lord Vishnu. While citing the importance of Tulsi it has been mentioned in Padmapuran that offering flowers made of gold, stones and pearls do not have even one sixteenth of the importance of Tulsi! Sins of even many eras are destroyed by sight, touch, meditation, obeisance, planting and use of Tulsi. All deities reside in the plant of Tulsi from its roots to the tip. It constantly emits the principles of deities and purifies the surrounding atmosphere. It is even said that whoever has a garden of Tulsi in the front yard of his house makes the surrounding nine miles area (yojan) as pure as river Ganga. Let us understand this further in subtle dimension.

  • The unmanifest and subtle most Vishnu principle is absorbed through the stem of Tulsi leaf and is then converted into Krushna principle and goes on flowing through the stem.
  • Chaitanya is activated at the base of the Tulsi leaf and is projected into atmosphere in the form of circles. This chaitanya simultaneously flows through the vessels of Tulsi leaf.
  • The particles of Shakti (divine energy) are also present in the leaves of Tulsi.
  • The paricles of chaitanya and Krushna principle are transmitted into atmosphere through the inflorescence.

Now our readers must have realized the spiritual benefit of offering Tulsi leaves to a deity during puja ritual. The effect of plucking such sacred Tulsi leaves has been described thus in Skandapuran, तुलसीं ये विचिन्‍वन्‍ति धन्‍यास्‍ते करपल्‍लवा: ।- Tulsi ye vichinvanti dhanyaste karapallavaaha’ means blessed are those hands who pluck tulsi leaves for the puja. Thus by knowing the importance of gathering the tulsi leaves for puja our faith in tulsi must have been enhanced to a great extent.

So let us now see some useful precautions to be taken while gathering Tulsi leaves.

  • Do not pluck the leaves singly, pluck them in pairs
  • Pluck the tip of tulsi consisting of leaves without shaking the plant.
  • When a manjiri (inflorescence ) is plucked then it should contain leaves.

If we pluck the tulsi leaves while simultaneously chanting the name of our favourite deity and with utmost respect and with proper method, the benefit received through the puja ritual multiplies a million times.

2.1 Why are women prohibited from gathering tulsi leaves?

Women have a high proportion of raja component when compared to men. There is generation of heat energy in the dormant and serene sattvik frequencies present in the tulsi plant by the touch of women which leads to decrease in its sattvikta (sattva quality). Hence they are prohibited from gathering or plucking the tulsi leaves.

2.2 Why are tulsi leaves used while offering naivedya to a deity?

Thus we have learnt about the gathering of tulsi leaves which imparts spiritual benefits. We often see that while offering naivedya (food offering) to a deity it is offered with the help of two leaves of tulsi. One of them is kept on the naivedya while other is offered to the deity. Let us now understand as to why tulsi leaves are used while offering naivedya to a deity.

Tulsi has the greater capacity to absorb and emit sattvik and Krushnatattva frquencies present in the universe. Therefore use of tulsi while offering naivedya imparts two benefits.

  • The tulsi leaf used while offering naivedya absorbs the subtle frequencies emitted from the food. When this tulsi leaf is offered to the deity, the deity principle rapidly absorbs the frequencies present in the leaf.
  • There is subtle covering of raja-tama present in the atmosphere around the food to be offered to the deity as naivedya. When a tulsi leaf is kept on the food, the sattvik frequencies emitted from the tulsi leaf reduces this covering. Besides the atmosphere around the plate or banana leaf meant for serving the naivedya gets purified. This retains the sattvikta of naivedya for a long period.

Thus the tulsi leaf is used for offering naivedya for receiving the grace of the deity by pleasing Him/Her. Therefore there is a rich tradition of offering prayerful obeisance to tulsi plant loved by Lord Vishnu every morning and evening as mark of gratitude because it is a destroyer of negative energies and a purifier of the atmosphere.

3. Durva

Durva has greater capacity of attracting and constantly enhancing principles of three deities namely AadiShiv, AadiShakti and AadiGanesh. The combined flow of all these three principles in durva is called Durvas. When this flow enters the idol of a deity its vital energy becomes manifest. This is called ‘awakening of idol’. In order to sustain this awakening, durva are offered on the idol of Lord Ganesh three times in a day in quantity of 21 or its multiple during ritualstic worship of Lord Ganesh. The number 21 is made up of two complete numbers namely 2 and 1. The addition of 2 and 1 gives number 3 which is symbolic of three primal principles (aaditattva).

Generally tender shoots of durva are used in puja ritual of a deity. These tender shoots have highest capacity to absorb principles of deities present in the dew drops fallen on their leaves. This benefits the worshipper. If durva bear flowers, they are not used in puja ritual. Flowering plant denotes the ripeness. Ripening causes decrease in the vitality of the plant. This further reduces its capacity to attract the frequencies of deity principle. To further know durva from a spiritual standpoint let us understand it in the subtle dimension.

Subtle drawing of effect of durva

  • The point where three leaves of durva meet together, divine energy is activated and is emitted in the form of circles of chaitanya.
  • Ganesh principle gets activated in the space of the stem.
  • This activated chaitanya is then emitted from the leaves and their tips.

The speciality of durva is that the process of receiving the principles of deities starts from the roots.

3.1 What is the difference between durva and common grass?

We just saw that durva has maximum capacity to absorb and emit three primal deity principles. Common grass does not have such capacity and therefore it is not helpful to increase the sattvikta. The vibrations entering and leaving the common grass are illusory that is they appear just like common vibrations but are deceptive. To understand this point let us see it in the subtle dimension.

  • In the roots of common grass the raja component is more active and is emitted through the leaves.
  • Due to the presence of raja component in common grass there is flow of illusory vibrations through it and these are then emitted out.

Some people offer common grass to the deity mistaking it for durva. This does not accrue any benefit to the worshipper. If durva is not available every time then akshatas (unbroken rice grains) having the all encompassing property should be offered to the deity. Even scriputures say, ‘सकलउपचारार्थे अक्षताम्‌ समर्पयामि’ ‘Saklopchararthe akshtan samrpayami’ meaning akshtas can be offered in place of all substances. When akshatas are offered with full faith and spiritual emotion then we can get the benefit of frequencies of deities.

Let us proceed further with same faith and spiritual emotion towards one more patri and that is bilva patri or bel leaf.

4. Bilva patra (leaf of aegle marmelos)

There is mention of bilva tree in such ancient scriptures as Atharvaved, Aitereya Bramhan and Shatpath Bramhan. It is a sacred tree having sacrificial importance. The leaves of this sacred tree is generally trifoliate. This trifoliate leaf is symbolic of Trikal (three states in time), Trishakti (Volition, action and knowledge), three lingas and three syllables of Omkar. It is offered to Lord Shiva.

The proportion of sattva component is more in bilva patra and hence it has more capacity to absorb and emit sattvik frequencies. This has various effects. One of them is the reduction of raja-tama particles present in the atmosphere. A sattvik leaf like bilva patra when brought in proximity of a person suffering from negative energy distress then the black energy present within him is reduced.

Whenever a person is affected by the distress due to negative energies then his control over his physical body, mind and intellect is reduced and control of negative energy increases. Such a person when comes in contact with an environment not conducive for negative energy for instance in a sattvik environment then there is a battle between the negative energy and the satva predominant environment. This battle can manifest at various levels. The manifestation can vary from such simple thoughts like running away from the place to destructive thoughts also. Sometimes the negative energy present in the person manifests in gross form like sudden burst of anger, shouting, throwing articles and in fact any type of destructive act like actually breaking and plundering articles etc. To understand this further let us see the effect of keeping a bilva patra in front of a woman affected by negative energy distress.

The woman is visibly distressed when the bilva patra is taken in hand and applied to the neck and head. Thus we have seen the gross effect of bilva patra on the affected woman affected by negative energy.

  • The unmanifest-manifest frequencies of chaitanya of Shiva form are attracted to the bilva patra and absorbed there.
  • The unmanifest subtlemost frequencies of Shiva principle and frequencies of chaitanya are emitted from bilva patra in the form of circles.
  • Their effect take place on the subtlemost energy of the negative energy and the black energy is disintegrated.
  • Frequencies and particles of divine energy are projected towards the negative energy from bilva patra.
  • This energy then reduces the amount of black energy emanating from the negative energy.

Thus up till now we have been introduced to the subject of sacred leaves like tulsi, durva and bilvapatra. Similarly we also became acquainted with the effect of sattvik leaves on individual and the environment. Let us pray that whatever things we have been introduced to in this satsang will be remembered and applied correctly during a puja ritual so that we can obtain the blessings of deities and thus spiritually benefitted.

 

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Why is kumkum offered to Durga devi?

Contents


Namaskar! We heartily welcome you all for this Satsang (spiritual meet)! Before we commence this Satsang let us pay obeisance at the Holy feet of Sadguru (spiritual master) so that by His grace the very objective of this Satsang is fulfilled. Please pay mental obeisance to your personal icon of faith and recite as follows:

गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्‍णु गुरुर्देवो महेश्‍वर: ।
गुरु साक्षात्‌ परब्रह्म तस्‍मै श्री गुरवे नम: ।।

Some of the rituals do not get completed without the help of other ingredients. For example in puja (ritualistic worship) of a deity the materials required are very essential. These ingredients which are complimentary to the rituals play an important role in God realization.When we learn their spiritual significance, bhav or spiritual emotion is generated in our mind and the religious and social rituals are performed with even more bhav.

When the puja materials are arranged in a correct method there is generation of divine consciousness or chaitanya which benefits the worshipper on a spiritual level. Keeping this objective in mind we shall try to describe in this Satsang the spiritual  importance and  characteristics of ingredients of  puja materials such as haldi (turmeric powder), kumum (vermillion), sandalwood paste, Akshata (unbroken rice grains) etc.

Let us first get acquainted with the arrangement of  puja materials in a puja platter.

1. Arrangement of puja materials in puja platter

Every object in this universe is made up of five cosmic elements like Earth, water, fire, air and ether or space.Therefore if the arrangement of puja material is done on the basis of these elements then it helps in balancing and regulating the activated five cosmic elements in the universe. The worshipper then gets the maximum benefit both manifest and unmanifest frequencies emitted from the deities. We shall learn about this arrangement with the help of a drawing.

arrangement of puja platter

This is a drawing of the puja platter when seen form above. Assuming that the platter is in front of worshipper let us try to understand the arrangement. On a puja platter the turmeric powder is kept to the right side of worshipper with kumkum to its front while bukka, gulal and sindoor are kept on the left side of worshipper. Some of the readers may not be knowing the word bukka. It is a black powder prepared from tela metal. It is used in the puja ritual in some of the regions of our country for example Varkari sect of Maharashtra.

In the front portion of puja platter is kept a botlle of attar (fragrant essence of flowers) and just behind it a small plate containing sandalwood paste. Flowers and leaves are kept in a space between kumkum and the bottle of attar. (The deities are present in the universe in the form of principles and they work through the medium of subtle frequencies).

The subtle vision obtained with the help of spiritual practice introduces us to the activities taking place in the subtle world. Those seeker who have developed such vision by the grace of God have prepared such subtle drawings. The vibrations shown in the drawing being part of spiritual experience are actually three dimensional in nature but in a drawing such as this they are seen in a two dimensional form.

2. Bel leaf (bilva patra)

Subtle drawing of Bel leaf

We are looking at the subtle drawing of Bel leaf which is regularly used in the worship of Lord Shiva.

  • The nirgun or unmanifest (subtle most) frequencies of Lord Shiva present in the universe are attracted towards the Bel leaf.
  • These frequencies then activate the three components in every bel leaf in the form of circular and outpouring frequencies. The three components are sattva, raja and tama.
  • Orange coloured vibrations of divine energy are emitted from the bel leaf into the surrounding atmosphere.
  • Particles of peace are also simultaneously emitted.

The subtle drawing of a bel leaf must have helped you to understand that how through the medium of a bel leaf a worshipper receives Shiva principle and how because of increased Shiva principle the purity of the atmosphere increases. These are the effects happening on a subtle level. You must also have realized the importance of inclusion of leaves in puja materials. Now let us move on to the next article of puja that is Pan-Supari or betel leaf and betel nut.

3. Betel leaf and betel nut

Betel leaf and betel nut is powerful media of transmitting the frequencies of deities. On a platter of puja materials betel leaf and betel nut are kept along with dakshina (coins) on the backside that is towards worshipper. The tip of the leaf should be towards the worshipper and the stem should face in front. The colour particles present in the leaf and the water particles present in the betel nut attract the subtle frequencies of deities towards them. The rice grains smeared with kumkum are kept in the center of the platter. Thus we have seen the articles of a puja platter, its method of decoration and the resultant effects. Now let us learn in details about some of the ingredients and there spiritual significance. So let us start with turmeric powder.

4. Turmeric (haldi) powder

Haldi has got its own special fragrance. The powder of dried Haldi is used in puja. We can realize its importance more clearly if we come to know its effects in subtle dimension.

  • The frequencies of deities present in the atmosphere get attracted in haldi
  • This activates energy predominant in raja-tama components in the form of circles.
  • This energy is then projected in the atmosphere
  • Haldi has more amount of earth element in it. Therefore the energy is also transmitted via its fragrance in the surrounding atmosphere.

Haldi has large amount of earth frequencies. Besides earth frequencies it has also got the capacity to attract Lord Ganesh principle. This is all about haldi. Now let us move to next topic that is kumkum (vermillion).

5. Vermillion (kumkum)

Pure kumkum is prepared from haldi itself. Pure haldi powder is mixed with decanted solution of lime (chuna) and little pure camphor and we get pure kumkum. We can identify haldi by its fragrance but once kumkum is ready haldi loses its fragrance completely. A new divine fragrance is developed in the kumkum and it then spreads all over for a certain distance. Here it would be useful for us to know about identification of pure kumkum.

The pure kumkum appears dry in spite of containing moisture and its touch is ice cold. In subtle dimension:

  • The divine energy present in the kumkum is activated and emitted.
  • This energy then moves in all directions in circular fashion.
  • Simultaneously the chaitanya present in the kumkum is also emitted.

Thus the kumkum has a special spiritual significance because of its property of constant emission of divine energy and divine consciousness.

  • As it is prepared from haldi it contains large proportion of earth frequencies just as in haldi.
  • Because of its red colour it has more capacity to attract Durga devi principle.
  • The divine energy present in the kumkum purifies the vital air body and mental body of the worshipper.
  • The negative energies cannot enter in the worshipper because of its application on the midbrow.

In the ritualistic worship of Devi (Divine enrgy) use of haldi and kumkum have special importance. The kumkum is offered to Devi while chanting her mantra or thousand names. This is known as Kumkumarchan.

Kumkumarchan

6. Gulal

We are all familiar with Gulal. From the point of view of Spiritual science the Divine energy principle from the universe gets attracted to the frequencies of fragrance generated from Gulal. The dormant frequencies laden with chaitanya acquire momentum due to Gulal and impart spiritual benefit to the worshipper.

7. Sandalwood

Among the various sub rituals offered to the deity in a puja ritual tilak or mark on the forehead with sandalwood paste is also applied to the image of a deity. Application of tilak is one of the five main sub rituals of a deity worship. The sandalwood is scrubbed into a paste before use for applying tilak. But the method of scrubbing should be spiritually correct to be of real spiritual benefit. Therefore let us see the correct method of scrubbing sandalwood.

Hold the piece of sandalwood with both hands. It is often seen that we scrub the piece of sandalwood with one hand while the other hand holds the scrubber. But it is spiritually scientific to hold it with both hands while scrubbing. From the spiritual standpoint this has three important reasons

  • For accomplishment of any task it is necessary to combine both Shiv (Pure consciousness) and Shakti (divine energy). The left hand is representative of Shiv while right hand is symbolic of Shakti. Therefore it is necessary to use both hands while scrubbing.
  • Scrubbing by both hands is symbolic of devotion with expectation in duality. Duality means conviction that I am different from God. Devotion with expectation means worshipping God for fulfilling any desire in our life.
  • While scrubbing sandalwood with both hands forms a characteristic mudra of the body. Mudra means a specific posture of body or its limbs which leads to movement of subtle energy in the body as well as its reception and projection. This activates Sushumna channel among the three main channels of body. This channel is conducive to the spiritual progress of the individual. This is the third reason why it is important to scrub the sandalwood with both hands.

The sandalwood paste thus obtained is kept in a small plate. It is never taken in the hand or kept in a copper vessel. The sandalwood paste retains its fragrance even after it becomes dry. Therefore the the deity principle is present in the tilak applied to the image even after it becomes dry. Sandalwood and ashtagandha attract deity principle in large proportion because of their fragrance. The principles are also retained for a longer period. That is the reason of sandalwood and ashtagandha being maximally sattvik. In the subtle dimension we can see yellow chaitanya being emitted from all sides of the sandalwood piece. The pink coloured bliss frequencies are getting emitted from its four corners.

Ashtagandha is equal to sandalwood in sattvik attribute. It has more proportion of fragrant materials which gives it more capacity to attract the deity principles.

7.1 Why it is incorrect to mix haldi and kumkum while scrubbing sandalwood?

It has been observed sometimes that some people mix haldi and kumkum with sandalwood paste while scrubbing. Is this correct from spiritual science point of view? No. let us see why.

Haldi and kumkum emit frequencies rich in raja component. When we mix haldi and kumkum with sandalwood while it is being scrubbed, the sattva particles present in the sandalwood start to separate from each other. This destroys sattvik attribute of sandalwood. In fact due to haldi and kumkum it becomes dominant in raja component. It also reduces its capacity to attract the frequencies of deities. Thus the worshipper does not get the adequate benefit. Hence the reason that haldi and kumkum should not be mixed with sandalwood.

8. Akshata

Various substances are used in the puja ritual with an objective of attracting deity principles on a large scale and within a short period. Thus the worshipper is maximally benefitted. However if all the substances are not available daily, there is one ingredient which lets us receive all the benefits of a puja ritual and that is Akshata. This is an important ingredient of puja material. Let us now know it in details

This is an important ingredient of puja ritual which absorbs all the deity principles in it. That is why it given a central place on the platter. Let us understand about the subtle effect of akshata

  • Every grain of akshata has a capacity to attract chaitanya and shakti of all deity principles
  • It retains the Shakti and chaitanya
  • It emits shakti and chaitanya in all directions depending upon the requirement.

Unbroken rice grains when smeared with kumkum constitute akshata. When they are offered to a deity, the frequencies of deity generate similar fequencies in the akshatas. When any one of the two strings of a musical instrument having equal frequencies is stretched then the vibrations generated in it induce exactly similar vibrations in the other. In the same fashion when the akshatas are charged with divine frequencies then similar vibrations are generated in the store of rice grains in the house. Thus the rice which is charged with divine principle frequencies can be consumed throughout the year as holy sacrament (prasad) and thus can get benefit of frequencies of divine principles. You must have now understood the reason behind keeping the rice grains offered to a deity or those given as sacrament, in the grain store of the house.

Our purpose behind deity worship is to acquire sattva component therefore in religious rituals like puja unbroken rice grains are used to attract frequencies of deities and sattva component. The word akshata means where there is no breakage.

8.1 Why is it that Lord Shiva is offered white akshatas?

Generally in ritualistic worship of any deity or on auspicious occasions red coloured akshatas are used. The red akshatas are symbolic of spiritual practice done with expectation of fulfilling the desires. The frequencies of deity principle getting attracted towards akshatas smeared with kumkum are subtle in nature. Shri Ganesh principle or Shri Devi principle get attracted to red colour faster. Therefore in the worship of Shri Ganeshji or Shri Devi, the red akshatas are frequently used.

White akshatas are symbolic of detachment (renunciation) that is Spiritual practice without expectation. The use of white akshatas is done to attract the primordial superior deities’ principles. Subtlemost frequencies of the Universe are attracted towards white akshatas.

Let us thus proceed on the spiritual path with the help of such knowledge and their applications even though the action may appear small.

Here we conclude this satsang. We pray at the Holy feet of Guru that let everyone take the benefit of the science of arrangement of puja articles as explained in this satsang by actually applying it.

Why are puja articles arranged in specific five layers?

Contents


Namaskar! We heartily welcome you all for this Satsang (spiritual meet)! Before we commence this Satsang let us pay obeisance at the Holy feet of Sadguru (spiritual master) so that by His grace the very objective of this Satsang is fulfilled. Please pay mental obeisance to your personal icon of faith and recite as follows:

In last few satsangs we have seen the important role played by articles such as kalash, lamp, shankh, bell ( ghanta) and other ingredients in the ritual of deity’s puja. We have also learnt their spiritual significance. For example the articles in use for many years are more beneficial from the spiritual view point. Since these articles are constantly exposed to Deity their sattvikta or purity increases and hence the divinity.

However nowadays we see that the articles used in puja ritual are not kept clean or are kept anywhere. Can then divinity develop in such articles? The answer is ‘no’. One feels cheerful if the articles used in puja ritual are clean. We also feel peaceful and feel close to them. The use of such articles awakens our spiritual emotion or bhav. The bhav in simple term means faith in some object or individual. The faith developed in our mind towards these articles and their constant use helps to enhance our spiritual emotion towards God.

If the arrangement of these articles during the puja ritual is also appropriate then it is spiritually more beneficial. According to spiritual science every article of puja has to be kept in a particular place during a puja ritual as that place has its own spiritual significance. Therefore when we keep all these articles in a particular way and in a praticular place then the spiritual benefits of puja ritual are enhanced. In this satsang we are going to see the arrangement of the puja articles and their spiritual significance. To begin with let us learn about the arrangement of puja articles.

1. Arrangement of puja articles

We have seen before that the spiritual benefit of clean articles is beneficial for awakening of spiritual emotion. In the same fashion the proper arrangement of them also gives us spiritual benefit. Nowadays we see that these puja articles are kept anywhere on the right or left side according to our convenience. But this not correct according to spiritual science. The expected spiritual benefit will not accrue if we keep articles as per our wish.

arrangement of puja articles

There are five layers of arrangement of the puja articles. What are this layers and what is the desired place for each article is shown in this diagram. If we look from the top then the arrangement of articles would appear in five layers like this. The first layer consists of plate for offerings (naivedya) and another for puja. The second layer consists of Kaalash (water pot), Jalpaatra (a cylindrical pot for water) and Aachmani (a spoon meant for performing aachman – siping of water).

According to the drawing we just saw, the worshipper should keep the copper platter in the front and kalash to the left of it and jalpatra and aachmani to the right of it. These articles are all related to the water element and hence water from these articles is used for various sub-rituals of puja. Now we let us see the third layer of arrangement of these articles.

As shown in this diagram arti plate containing camphor and oil-lamp should be kept on the left side of worshipper and incense sticks and niranjan (a type of lamp) to his right. A coconut is kept in the center right in front of Deity image. Fourth layer has conch (shankh) on the left side of worshipper and a bell on the right side. In the fifth layer keep two long lamps of equal height on both sides of temple room. These lamps are generally of metal brass.

Now the question arises as to why such an arrangement of five layers? The arrangement of the puja articles is based on five cosmic absolute elements namely absolute earth, absolute water, absolute fire, absolute air and absolute ether. Now the next question comes to mind is why it is based on these elements? Therefore now it will be useful to understand some things about relationship between this arrangement and the five great cosmic elements. Akash means space. From Akashtattva (absolute ether), vayutattva (absolute air) was formed. Vayutattva created Tejtattva (absolute fire). Tejtattva gave birth to Aaptatva (absolute water) and Aaptattva created Pruthvitattva (absolute earth). In short all the last four elements are formed out of Akash or absolute ether or space. While we do spiritual practice we get spiritual experience of earth element first followed by Aaptattva and so on till we get spiritual experience of Akashtattva. Beyond the experience of Akashtattva we get the spiritual experience of God principle.

From this it must have been clear now that the arrangement of the puja articles is representative of the five great elements active in the universe. It also represents the sojourn of the individual from absolute earth element to absolute ether element during his spiritual practice.

2. First layer of arrangement of puja articles

2.1 Plate for offering sacrament

First part of first layer is a vessel or plate meant for offering sacrament and the second part is plate for puja. This layer of puja articles is representative of combined earth and water element. To offer a sacrament is a sub-ritual of puja. The worshipper is totally surrendered at the feet of deity at this time. Therefore the vessel or plate of naivedya is given a place in downward direction. Offering sacrament to a deity pleases Superior deities, deity of premise and deity of a place faster. Whenever possible It is always beneficial to use banana leaf instead of metal vessel while offering naivedya to a deity because it is more sattvik ( spiritually pure).

Now let us see how naivedya is to be served on a plate or banana leaf. At the center of the leaf from below upwards- spicy rice, ordinary rice to be eaten with dal, sweet rice and at the top rice wth curds. On the left part of leaf from above downwards- piece of lemon, chutney, raita (a type of salad), papad, pakoras and roti. On the right part of leaf from above downwards – Mattha (a typeof spicy buttermilk), kheer, dal and vegetables. This is the way the naivedya leaf is to be arranged. It is to be remembered that always keep the tip of the leaf towards you while serving naivedya for the deity and never serve salt in the naivedya. The salt is related to earth and water elements and therefore has the capacity to attract more raja-tama frequencies. Hence the salt should not be served in the plate or leaf meant for naivedya.

Thus we understood the arrangement of leaf meant for naivedya. You must be thinking that since the sub-ritual of offering naivedya follows the actual ritual of puja, why it is considered here in the beginning? The explanation is that at the end of puja ritual the worshipper is in a state of total surrender and the naivedya is symbolic of it. Therefore please do not arrange the leaf for naivedya in the beginning of puja ritual. It has to be arranged in the end.

2.2 Plate for puja

In the plate meant for puja, on the right hand side of worshipper turmeric powder (haldi) and vermillion (kumkum) are kept and on to the left Bukka (a black coloured powder prepared from tale (a metal), gulal and sindoor. In the front portion of the plate a bottle of attar (a fragrant essence of flowers), a small plate of sandalwood paste, flowers and durva (a type of fragrant grass) and other leaves. We are aware that attar, sandalwood and flowers have fragrance. The subtle particles of the fragrance are known as gandhkan. Similarly there are subtle particles of colour in leaves and durvas. The frequencies of deity principle are activated through the medium of these subtle particles of fragrance from attar, sandalwood paste and flowers and subtle particles of colour present in leaves and durvas. In the lower portion of the plate keep pan-supari (betel leaf and betel nut) and some coins as dakshina (offerings of money). We can keep a coconut in place of betel nut. Two leaves of betelleaf, betel nut or coconut and dakshina are kept together. Betel leaf, betel nut and coconut have the highest capacity to emit subtle frequencies of deities. The two leaves of betel leaf are representative of God and its activated energy that is Shiv and Shakti. They are invoked to work on a manifest (sagun) level. In the center of the puja plate unbroken rice grains are arranged in small heap.

2.3 Why are unbroken rice grains used as akshatas?

Now we shall learn about why the rice grains used as akshatas have to be unbroken. akshatas are all encompassing. They attract the subtle frequencies of five principal deity namely Shiv, Shakti, Shri Ram, Shri Krushna and Shri Ganesh. akshata is the central point of puja plate. akshtas also perform the action of transmitting the deity frequencies to other ingredients kept in the plate. If the rice grains used for preparing Akshatas are broken then their capacity to attract the principles of higher deities is automatically reduced. This deprives the worshipper of higher deity principles. As a consequence the grace bestowed on the worshipper is also reduced. That is why the rice grains should be intact because the broken grains are indicative of dissolution (laya). When the akshtas are offered to a deity the energy of the deity is transferred in it and favourable vibrations are generated in akshatas. (When any object is broken or cut, its capacity to attract distressing frequencies in the universe is enhanced and thus it gets charged with raja-tama particles. The emitted frequencies from such an object increases the chances of the individual to get susceptible for the attacks of negative energies or even get possessed. That is the reason Hindu religion gives so much importance to any object being intact. Breaking of any object is indicative of tama attitude. Such an attitude is prohibited in ritualstic worship. When any one of the two strings of a musical instrument having equal frequencies is stretched then the vibrations generated in it induce exactly similar vibrations in the other. In the same fashion when the Akshatas are charged with divine frequencies then similar vibrations are generated in the store of rice grains in the house. Thus the rice which is charged with divine energy can be consumed throughout the year as holy sacrament (prasad).

3. Second layer of arrangement of puja articles

This layer is related to aaptattva or absolute water principle. The articles used in this layer are kalash, a small cylindrical pot for water and a spoon for performing aachman. The water is clean and pure and hence is able to receive maximum amount of frequencies of deities. Therefore the kalash, cylindrical pot and the spoon are kept in the center of temple room. The water kept in the kalash maintains the correct balance of the five great elements. Generally a copper plate is kept in the centre and kalash is placed to its right while the cylindrical pot and spoon are kept to the left.

4. Third layer of arrangement of puja articles

This layer contains the articles related to absolute fire element or tejtattva. Here the niranjan and incence sticks are kept to the right of worshipper and oil or ghee lamp and arti plate with camphor on to the left. The incense stick or Udbatti is kept to the right of worshipper. The deities consist of five elements. Out of these elements pruthvitattva or earth element emits fragrance. This fragrance being very subtle cannot be received by ordinary individual. The udbatti or incense stick has the capacity to absorb the subtle fragrance emitted by the deities. Thus when an udbatti is lighted the subtle fragrance of deities is emitted along with its own fragrance. For example when an udbatti having its own fragrance of sandalwood is burnt the subtle fragrance of sandalwood emitted from deities is also absorbed in it and the emitted in the surrounding atmosphere.

Ud’ is basic root in Sanskrut. ‘ud’ also means manifestation. The frequncies of fragrance of udbatti move in a upward direction and are active in that direction. The main manifest source of these frequencies is called as ‘udi’. The word udbatti is derived from the distortion of the word ‘udi’.

4.1 Why is arti plate of camphor kept to the right of deity?

Now let us understand the spiritual science underlying keeping of arti plate of camphor to the right of deity. The right side is the seat of Sun channel or Surya naadi. The activation of Surya naadi awakens the divine energy or Shakti. The right hand direction of a deity contains the marak or destroyer principle of the deity. Destroyer means the one which destroys unwanted, tama predominant things. The performance of camphor arti emits destroyer type frequencies of fragrance. The atmosphere laden with frequencies of fragrance attracts frequencies of Shiv principle present in the universe. These Shiv frequencies then destroy the unwanted and impure frequencies in the atmosphere which gets purified thus. The atmosphere at the place of worship becomes full of chaitanya or divine consciousness. This explains why the arti plate of camphor should be to the right of deity or to the left of worshipper. Also the strong fragrance emitted while the camphor is burnt has greater capacity to attract the Shivganas (servant deities of Lord Shiva). The presence of Shivganas helps us to obtain the blessings of deity of place (sthandevta) and deity of premise (vastudevta) The fragrance of camphor when inhaled leads to decrease in the severity of respiratory diseases. The Shiv tattva enters the wind pipe through the medium of breath because of the fragrance of camphor.

4.2 Why is coconut is called as the most holy fruit?

The coconut is kept near and right on front of deity and centrally placed. The tift of coconut should be directed upwards. When a puja ritual is correctly performed the frequencies of five principal deities present in the universe namely Shiv, Durga, Shri Ram, Shri Krushna and Shri Ganapati are activated and get attracted towards the tuft of coconut. The same frequencies are then emitted back into atmosphere as per the need. These frequencies are emitted in the form of fountain and help in purification of atmosphere. Therefore the coconut is called as the most Holy fruit or Shri Phal that is it bestows maximum purity or sattvikta. This can be better understood with the help of a subtle drawing.

Subtle drawing of coconut

5. Fourth layer of arrangement of puja articles

This layer is related to absolute air principle or Vayutattva. The two articles here are Shankh (conch) and bell (ghanta). Shankh activates destroyer form of energy of a deity and it is kept to the right hand side of a deity or to the left of worshipper. The bell activates the saviour or tarak form of energy of a deity and is therefore kept to the right of worshipper that is to the left hand side of the deity. The left side is a seat of Moon channel or Chandra naadi. The activation of Chandra naadi imparts coolness. The bell is clapped during the time of arti for its pleasant sound. We have already learnt enough about bell in the previous satsang. Now let us see the last or the fifth layer of arrangement of puja articles.

6. Fifth layer of arrangement of puja articles

This layer is related to akshtattva or absolute ether principle. It includes two long lamps of equal height kept on both sides of temple room. When two long lamps of equal height are kept continuously lit with sesame oil on both sides of temple room, the energy of action of that particular deity is activated due to raja predominant sesame oil. These two lamps are representatives of Sun and Moon channels. Since the deities are more related to the tejtattva or absolute fire element the two lamps are also symbolic of that.

Thus we have seen that the arrangement of the puja articles is symbolic of five cosmic absolute elements namely absolute earth, absolute water, absolute fire, absolute air and absolute ether. From akashtattva (absolute ether), vayutattva (absolute air) was formed. Vayutattva created tejtattva (absolute fire). tejtattva gave birth to aaptatva (absolute water) and aaptattva created pruthvitattva (absolute earth). In short all the last four elements are formed out of akash or absolute ether or space. Thus akashtattva is all encompassing and assimilates all the principles. The pointed upper portion of the temple room is related to akashtattva and the frequencies emitted from this part of temple room manifest with the help of five elements as per the need of individual and work for him.

7. Benefits of arranging puja articles according to layers of five cosmic elements

Thus up till now we have seen the arrangement of puja articles. Once we have arranged the articles in this fashion it is easier to begin puja by shifting the plate of puja to the left of cylindrical copper pot and spoon. Now let us see the benefits derived by arrangement of the ingredients and articles of puja according to layers of five cosmic elements. There are main five benefits:

  • This type of arrangement leads to correct balance of all the five cosmic elements which helps the worshipper in receiving the chaitanya emitted from the deity to the maximum extent.
  • When the worshipper invokes the deities in the beginning of puja it becomes easier for them to arrive at the place of puja in the form of frequencies with the help of five cosmic elements.
  • These divine frequencies then charge every ingredient used in puja and the surrounding atmosphere also becomes purified.
  • The forth important benefit is such arrangement does have an positive effect on the worshipper and increases his sattvikta.
  • Such an arrangement creates sattvikta in both the worshipper and the articles of puja thereby tremendously benefitting the worshipper through the puja ritual.

Here we conclude this satsang. We pray at the Holy feet of Guru that let everyone take the benefit of the science of arrangement of puja articles as explained in this satsang by actually applying it.

 

Why is shankh blown before start of puja?

Contents


Namaskar! We heartily welcome you all for this Satsang (spiritual meet)! Before we commence this Satsang let us pay obeisance at the Holy feet of Sadguru (spiritual master) so that by His grace the very objective of this Satsang is fulfilled. Please pay mental obeisance to your personal icon of faith and recite as follows:

गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्‍णु गुरुर्देवो महेश्‍वर: ।
गुरु साक्षात्‌ परब्रह्म तस्‍मै श्री गुरवे नम: ।।

In the previous spiritual meets we have understood the arrangement of temple room and the importance of it from the view point of spiritual science. We have also seen the spiritual significance of various articles of puja such as kalash, lamp etc. Similarly we have also come to know the importance of ghee lamp, its effect on the worshipper, the difference between the straight and puffed wicks in Sanatan Vaidik Hindu Dharma. The science underlying the importance of copper articles in puja ritual was also explained. We hope that you must have tried to take the benefit of the spiritual science explained in these Satsang by actually putting it in practice.

In this Satsang we shall make you familiar with other articles of puja namely, ‘bell (ghanta) and conch (shankh)’ from the standpoint of spiritual science.

1. Importance of conch (shankh) as per scriptures

First of all let us se the importance of shankh. According to our ancient scriptuires that is Puranas, the shankh was originated during the Churning of ocean by the Deities and Lord Vishnu held it in the form of weapon. As per a holy verse which is regularly chanted during the puja ritual it is mentioned that by the command of Lord Vishnu the deities Moon, Sun and Varun are stationed at the base of the shankh, the deity Prajapati on its surface and all the places of pilgrimage like Ganga and Saraswati in its front portion. Yet another speciality of shankh is that the vibrations emanating on blowing it destroys the disease causing germs in the atmosphere. That is the reason it has a important place in Ayurved and medicine.

Let us see a subtle drawing which explains us the importance of shankh.

Subtle drawing of shankh

In this subtle drawing we can see that the yellow coloured circles of chaitanya are being emitted from shankh in the atmosphere. The subtle blue coloured dots depicting devotion are projected like rays in straight line. The pink circles are formed of particles of bliss (anand) and they are constantly active.

The direction of the space within the shankh divides it into two types. When the space is towards your right when you hold the shankh with its tip facing in frontal direction and with the space facing upwards then it is right sided shankh and if the space faces to left then it is a left sided shankh. Generally a left sided shankh is preferred for the puja ritual. Now days so many Shanks of different shapes are available in the market. There are some figured works also on their surface. Thus one gets confused as to how a genuine shankh be identified? The simple test is that without blowing the shankh if you hear pleasant sound when you bring it near to your ear then it is a genuine one.

2. Blowing of shankh in puja ritual

The shankh is used in two ways in a puja ritual. One for blowing before the start of ritual and other for actual puja ritual. The shankh which is used for blowing should not be kept for puja.

Blowing of shankh has special significance in puja ritual. It has been mentioned in ‘Varaha Puran’ that one should not open the door of temple without first blowing the shankh. The left sided shankh is blown before the start of puja or performance of arti. There are three types of frequencies in the atmosphere namely sattva dominant, raja dominant and tama dominant. Among them the raja dominant and tama dominant frequencies generate distressing vibrations. The sattva dominant frequencies get attracted to the place of puja ritual but these frequencies are opposed by the raja and tama dominant frequencies so that they do not reach the place of puja and thus the flow of sattva frequencies is hindered.

When the shankh is blown before the start of puja energy is emitted from the shankh. This energy reduces the strength of distressing frequencies. Besides a protective armour of chaitanya (divine consciousness) is formed around the articles of puja.

There is another benefit too. That is when the shankh is blown the activated energy of Lord Vishnu in the universe gets attracted towards the place of worship which is not only beneficial to the person who is blowing the shankh but also to all those who hear it.

Just as the shankh is blown before the start of puja, it is also blown before an arti. The objective behind this being to sustain the deity’s chaitanya attracted to the place of puja ritual and the pure atmosphere generated because of the sattvik frequencies, for a long period.

2.1 Effect of energy emitted from blowing of shankh

Let us see how the energy is emitted from the blowing of shankh and what exactly happens with the help of a subtle drawing. Here we have to take into consideration the fact that while the vibrations of a subtle drawing are three dimensional we see them in the subtle drawing in a two dimensional form. For example the sphere will appear as a circle. Now let us look at the subtle drawing:

Subtle drawing of blowing of shankh

As soon as the shankh is blown the frequencies of divine energy (shakti) are emitted into atmosphere due to sound generated. These energy frequencies are seen in red colour. Along with these energy frequencies yellow circles of chaitanya are also projected in the atmosphere. You can also see the pink particles of Bliss being emitted in the atmosphere. This increases the proportion of shakti (energy), chaitanya and anand in the environment and that is why the negative energies get distressed and run away.

Thus it has become clear to us the importance of blowing shankh during puja ritual. The blowing of shankh makes the atmosphere  holy and pure and conducive for the spiritual practice (sadhana) of the individual. Thus it becomes easier for an individual to receive maximum sattvik frequencies emanating from the deities.

2.2 Correct method of blowing shankh

We have seen that because of blowing of shankh the frequencies consisting rajatama particles are destroyed and at the same time the saviour and destroyer principle of a deity is awakened. Now let us see the correct method of blowing the shankh.

First slightly raise your neck and bend it little backwards and keep the mind focused. Take a deep breath and start to blow with increasing intensity. One should keep in mind that blowing of shankh should be completed in one single breath. When the shankh is blown in this way Sushumna channel of the individual gets activated and it helps in keeping a correct balance of raja and sattva particles related to Tej and Vayu elements. This awakens the saviour and destroyer principle of adeity according to the need.

Correct way of blowing of shankh

3. Shankhini

There is another type of shankh which is neither supposed to be blown nor kept in the puja ritual. It is called female shankh or shankhini. Its surface is rough and thorny. It does not emit pleasant sound. Let us now see why a female shankh or shankhini is not used for blowing as per the science of spirituality.

There are several crisscross circles on the inner surface of shankhani. When you blow through it these circles create obstruction in the interrupted flow of sound vibrations. The sound vibrations when generated rub against these circles thereby producing distressing frequencies. These new distressing frequencies further activate the distressing frequncies already present in the atmosphere. Both the vibrations from the shankhani and those from the negative energies present in the atmosphere get attracte towards the place of puja and make the surrounding atmosphere impure. That is the reason shankhani is not used in the usual puja ritual. However the worshippers following the Aghori Vidya (worship to accumulate black energy) use the shankhani for attracting negative energies at the start of their worship.

4. Ritualistic worship of shankh

During puja ritual the shankh is kept in a specific way. The pointed portion is directed toward the deity.

The frequencies of chaitanya and energy emanating from the images of deities get attracted to the pointed portion of shankh. You can also see the blue coloured Lord Krushna principle getting attracted towards shankh which is producing a armour of of Krushnatattva around shankh. The yellow coloured chaitanya is also attracted and spreads inside the shankh. The red coloured frequencies of energy are revolving in the space of shankh in a circular fashion. The frequencies of energy and chaitanya are emitted from the other end of shankh which purifies the atmosphere and thus benefits the worshipper.

When the shankh is kept with its pointed portion towards the deity then the house gets the energy emitted from  the other end in required amount. Now let us know about ritualistic worship of shankh.

A shankh is filled with water prior to actual puja of a deity and following the puja of kalash. Then it is ritualistically worsipped by offerings of sandalwood paste, flowers and Tulsi leaves. After the shankh puja the worshipper sprinkles the water filled in shankh on himself and the articles of puja. The water filled in shankh is considered as pure as water of Ganga river. It is also used for giving holy bath (abhishek) to the deities.

5. Important points to be noted while using a shankh

Now let us now see some useful points about shankh

  • Never use shankh meant for blowing in a puja ritual. They should be separate.
  • Never offer water to the deity by shankh used for blowing.
  • Do not keep two shankhs for worship in a temple room.
  • Never touch the Shiva pindi with shankh during a puja ritual.
  • Never use shankh for giving holy bath to deities Shiva and Sun.

6. The bell

In the ritual of puja deity principles are attracted at the place of worship or in the idol with the help of various methods. The deity principle is then received by the worshipper participating in the puja. The articles used in the puja ritual work as an important medium of attracting the deity principle. That is the reason these articles are worshipped first to activate the divinity in them. Bell is one such an important article.

The bell is used mainly at two places – One which we use in our temple room and the other we see in the temples. First of all let us understand about the bell we use in our temple room. Nowadays we come across articles of puja made up of various metals. They even have different artistic designs on them. As per the science of spirituality the bell should be made from either copper or brass. The carving of images of Garud or Nandi is allowed according to scriptures.

The Sound generated by the bell should be gentle and sweet. In a puja ritual the bell is used during such sub-rituals as waving Frankincense (dhoop) and Lamp as well as while performing arti for creating gentle sound. In a puja ritual what is the importance of sound and what happens on spiritual level can be understood by looking at a subtle drawing. The subtle drawing means a drawing which tells us about the subtle process which is going on at spiritual level about whatever we see with the gross eyes about an object or action.

6.1 Effect of energy emitted from the bell

Let us now see how the energy is emitted from the bell and what exactly happens with the help of a subtle drawing.

Subtle drawing of bell

The dome shaped body of the bell and the clapper when strike with each other create circles of chaitanya which are projected in the atmosphere. The sound generated simultaneously also emits frequencies of chaitanya predominant in Akash tattva (absolute ether element). We can see them in yellow colour. The stroke of clapper emits red coloured divine energy rays. The particles of divine energy which spread in the atmosphere and are of red colour are also seen here. The divine energy and chaitanya generated by the sound of bell drives away the negative energies.

During a puja ritual as mentioned in scriptures when we do puja of bell as an initial part of puja, the bell is gently rang and following holy verse is recited,

आगमार्थंतुदेवानां गमनार्थंतुराक्षसाम्‌ ।।

The purport being, ‘I am ringing this bell to invoke Deities and to drive away demons.’

7. Difference in sound vibrations of bell and shankh

Now you must have understood the importance of bell and ringing of bell. It must also have been clear that the purport of the holy verse and the knowledge obtained through the medium of subtle drawing match with each other.

One point is clear from the information we have got up till now that sound vibrations are created in every puja ritual with the help of two articles namely shankh and bell. Sound vibrations produced by shankh is called Shankhanad while that of bell is known as Ghantanad.

The common property of both of them is they purify the atmosphere. The only difference is that while the sound vibrations from bell purify the atmosphere in the downward direction while that emanating from shankh purify the frequencies active in the upward direction. Hence both of them are very important in a puja ritual.