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What  is Prayer?

Prayer is the highest form of communication with the Lord. It can be offered in simple words through Slokas or Chants. Prayer helps nurture one's special relationship with the Lord by invoking the "Devotee" in the person. 

Prayer helps one gain the maturity to be a qualified recipient of spiritual knowledge. This knowledge teaches us our identity and our relationship with the Lord, helping us discover freedom and happiness, the true nature of oneself. 

Types of Prayer

Prayer is expressed in three ways:

  • Physical (Kayika) - Performing a ritual or Puja

  • Oral (Vacaka) - Singing in praise of the Lord, Chanting Mantras from the Vedas or reciting Slokas

  • Mental (Manasa) - Chanting a Mantra siliently

How to Chant the Prayer

Since Sanskrit is a highly phonetic language, accuracy in articulation of the letters is important. To properly chant the prayer, an understanding of the Sanskrit letters and their pronunciation is necessary. Please refer to the " Key to Transliteration" document in the Resources Page to learn the right pronunciation.

What is Puja?

Puja is one of the most beautiful ways to bring out the devotee within oneself and establish a relationship with Ishvara. 

Puja is a physical (Kayika) form of worship, in which one finds a greater field of expression of one's devotion through, the body, mind and speech.


The forms, colours, fragrances, sounds of the various items of worship arrest one's mind and aid in invoking devotion in oneself. 

One of the most common types of Puja, the Panchopacharana Puja, is a five fold offering to the Lord. This worship acknowledges the presence of the Lord and makes a simple offering of the Five Elements through a symbolic offering of Pushpa (flowers), Dhupa (incense), Dipa (light), Naivedya (food), and Gandha (sandal paste).  These objects represent the elements Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.

Puja at Home

A Puja is performed to all the deities in either a 5 step worship or 16 step worship. 

Items required to perform a 16 step Puja:

  • an idol or a picture of the deity

  • an oil lamp

  • Akshatas (unbroken rice smeared with turmeric powder)

  • Pancapathra (a vessel with water)

  • Candana and Kumkuma

  • Dhupa (incense sticks)

  • Vastra (cloth)

  • Dipa (a small oil lamp)

  • Naivedya (food)

  • Pushpa (flowers)

  • Ghanta (bell)

  • Karpura (camphor)

Brief explanation of the steps in any Puja:

Common purpose in all Puja is the removal of the impurities of the mind

  • the initial step is invoking the presence of the Lord in the given symbol / idol / picture of the deity

  • Once invoked, the symbol becomes the Lord until the Puja is completed. 

  • The Lord is received with the attitude of devotion and is then offered Achamanam, Vastram, and other items described. 

  • While offering flowers, one addresses the Lord by various names that describe his glories. One may chant 16, 32, 108, or 1008 names of the Lord.

  • Naivedya is offered (fruits, nuts or freshly cooked food).

  • Aarti is performed.

  • Pradaksina - one may turn around oneself three times in a clockwise direction remaining in the same spot.

  • In performing the Puja, there may have been errors. So one asks for forgiveness.

  • After the Puja, the Lord is requested, with a prayer to return to his original abode.

  • Prasada is then taken & distributed to all.

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