Do you know the science behind puja?
In Vedic tradition, puja is the simplest and most authentic way you can connect and commune with the Divine. It awakens in one the Advaita Bhakti – the space of devotion rooted in Oneness with Cosmic Consciousness. For millennia, across all changing ages, the different puja rituals have been practiced and passed down to generations proving their sacredness and power.
I was first introduced to the sacred ritual of Sri Guru Puja in June 2009 when I was attending a 21-day Yoga and spiritual retreat called Inner Awakening in Bengaluru, India with a living incarnation, Paramahamsa Nithyananda (fondly known as Swamiji). Since then, offering Sri Guru Puja has become part and parcel of my daily spiritual routine. In Vedic tradition, Guru is everything – he is Father, Mother, Teacher, Dear Friend, Beloved, Protector, Liberator and the Living Deity (Sachala Murti). The happening of Guru is the direct grace of Sadashiva-AdiShakti and all gods-goddesses. Sri Guru Puja is offering gratitude to the Sri Guru, the living embodiment of Sadashiva (Consciousness) and AdiShakti (Energy & Power). It is a beautiful opportunity to connect deeply with the Guru and express gratitude, love and surrender. When this puja is performed with integrity, it will establish one in a state of Oneness with the Guru.
From my experience, I struggled a lot in the initial period with the chanting of the Sanskrit mantras as you could imagine for a Chinese who was not born in Hinduism and Vedic culture. I remembered when I first started performing Sri Guru Puja, I used a recorded chanting as a guide. For 2 months I was totally dependent on the recording. One day, something happened which sparked a change. During the puja, when I was offering the Arati (fire), the burning camphor on the holder fell off and the flame starting burning the newspaper on the floor. I panicked and quickly put off the fire with water. Suddenly I received a click from this incident, the Divine had sent a strong message about my lack of authenticity in offering Sri Guru Puja. The moment I became aware of this inauthenticity, I declared that I would stop offering Sri Guru Puja until I learned to chant the mantras properly. With a conscious decision and will persistence, within 2 weeks, I was able to chant all the Sanskrit mantras properly and resumed the daily Sri Guru Puja.
Here is the sacred science behind the offering of puja – Puja is your personal time with the Divine. Every morning after my yoga practice and bath, I offer my gratitude and devotion to my Guru in the form of Sri Guru Puja and Sri Shiva Puja, I experience the sweet space of Oneness with him, who is the embodiment of Sadashiva-AdiShakti, the Cosmic Consciousness and Power. This is the time a devotee soaks in devotion, in the love current of Guru-Sadashiva, and prepares to surrender one’s limiting identity and ego to the Infinite.
Swamiji revealed that “Practising the presence of God leads you to Bhava Samadhi directly. Practicing the presence of God means cognizing his presence is there with you and constantly relating with him, keeping him present in your presence. The highest wealth you can acquire while you are in the human body is embodied states of consciousness – Bhava Samadhi. Embodying consciousness means your length, breadth, depth is filled by that one bhava (state or mood) – it could be bhakti (devotion), love, Sadashivoham (I am Sadashiva) or Shuddadvaita Anubhuti (cognitive experience of pure Oneness with everything). When you embody consciousness, that becomes reality. Puja is embodying bhakti consciousness – chit gana anubhava samadhi of bhakti, surrender, devotion, dropping all the incompletions from the head. The embodiment of different states of consciousness is the purpose of all the spiritual practices.”
Another important discovery, the daily Puja ritual enables us to live the four spiritual principles of Integrity, Authenticity, Responsibility and Enriching. The entire process – starting from collecting all the puja items, setting up of the puja kit followed by performing the puja itself – gives us an opportunity to align ourselves back to these 4 spiritual principles. A ritual involves moving our physical body into actions, Sri Guru Puja and Sri Shiva Puja purify and re-program our muscle memory and bio memory to radiate the 4 powers – Vaak Shakti (Power of words), Mano Shakti (Power of thinking), Prema Shakti (Power of feeling) and Atma Shakti (Power of living).
In sum, everything in Vedic tradition has a science behind it. I find that whenever I start a new day with the whole spiritual routine of Yoga, Kriya and Puja, the whole day I will be very energetic, experiencing mental clarity and emotional stability to take on the world with new creativity and possibilities. Hence, I would never miss my personal time with the Divine. Namaste 😀