What is Puja?
Puja is ritualistic worship of the Divine performed to keep us in harmony with cosmic forces, thereby removing and overcoming the sorrows of life and bringing spiritual upliftment. By doing puja, thoughts and vibrations of spiritual forces are created around us. These spiritual forces work to eliminate the negative influences in our life and help surround us with positive energy which can bring us peace of mind, material prosperity and enable us to more clearly touch the Divine, our true nature.
Pujas are traditionally performed in temples by residing priests trained in the exact science of puja including the precise details of auspicious times to do certain pujas, which mantras to chant, etc. An individual's vedic astrological chart determines which pujas and timings are best for that person, based on their karma from this life and previous lives.
The periods when the results of our past actions, favorable or unfavorable, come to fruition are indicated by planetary positions at the time of our birth. A great deal about the events and influences of life can be predicted through the science of Jyotish (Vedic Astrology). The malefic effects which are destined to befall us can be averted or their effects reduced by the grace of God, sincere prayer, selfless service and performance of specific pujas as recommended in the scriptures. The happiness we create in the lives of other people, and nature as a whole, will give us benefits as well. The body, mind and spirit are purified and harmonized by meditation, acts of devotion, prayers, mantra japa and the pujas we perform.
BENEFITS OF PUJA
Whatever we are engaged in, we must always be thinking of God. This is the purpose of rituals. Rituals will foster good habits and they will bring order in life. Every ritual was created as an aid to maintain an unbroken remembrance of God.
We can enhance the benefit of the puja by doing spiritual practices or by taking certain vows. Some of the commonly observed practices include meditation, fasting, silence, prayer, mantra japa or repeating God's name, and charity. These vows can be done for one day, one week or as long as you wish. The result of these actions is to help purify us and to enable us to imbibe more deeply the spiritual energy invoked by the puja.