What is a Puja?

By Kyle Brooks
How to do a Puja and what are its benefits.

The practice of puja is a kind of ceremony or ritual act of worship that is done to evoke the grace/presence/blessings of a certain deity. The practice of puja can be as simple as offering fruits and flowers at the image or statue of the particular deity one wishes to honour. 

Pujas can also be incredibly lengthy and elaborate involving very specific offerings, procedures, complex mantras, fires and meditative practices where one opens so deeply to the energy of the deity that the boundary between what feels like ‘me’ and what feels like ‘that’ (the energy of the deity evoked) completely dissolves and one experiences union or identification with that form of energy.

So how does the practice of puja work? Through acknowledging and evoking specific energy you gradually come into deeper and deeper contact with it, until you become it and radiate it. Just like wood that gets so close to a fire, it becomes fire.

Pujas Are Both External Rituals and Internal Practices.

“The most important aspect of puja practice is the conscious opening to and recognition of the energy of the chosen deity.”

Altar prepared for simple Puja practicePuja involves the external offering of certain significant ritual objects, discussed below. But these are the means, not the end. The external forms create the conditions for the deeper, internal process of practicing puja.

One important element that should be stated from the start, especially for those not steeped in Indian cultural customs and traditions, is that the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of puja practice is the conscious opening to and recognition of the energy or presence of the chosen deity.

This is important so that you don’t get lost in the external forms and formalities, (like offering flowers, etc.) which can be confusing if you are not used to them!

Check out this blog post by a previous client about his own experience practicing palm leaf remedies.

Nadi Astrology and the Karmic Remedies

“Each of the deities in the Hindu pantheon are personifications of particular universal energies that are particularly beneficial to life”

Each of the deities in the Hindu pantheon is a personification or anthropomorphization of particular universal energies that were recognized as particularly beneficial or desirable in life. It’s actually a very practical vision. For example, most people, especially you (I imagine) if you’re reading this would agree that love and compassion are relevant, if not very important, if not absolutely essential to life.

Green Tara statue, a personification of compassion worshipped in puja.And you’re not the only one to have noticed this. Ancient cultures acknowledged the importance of the energies of love and compassion (that we all already feel, which is key here) in life. As a result, these energies were personified in the image of various deities, perhaps most significantly, the green Tara.

The personification of energy in the form of a deity makes it easier to form a kind of relationship with that energy. Of course, the important thing is that you recognize that the relationship is not with the image, but with what it represents.

The medicine here then, the way to remedy our karma according to the Nadi astrology horoscope predictions, is to evoke that energy into your energy field. This is done through daily or even twice daily puja, over the course of weeks, months, or even years. Eventually, the energy will be so strongly embodied that it will outweigh the tendency to fall into negative karmic patterns.

This is perhaps the largest and most important difference between Nadi astrology and other seemingly similar practices like western astrological horoscopes, numerology, palmistry, and even more modern Vedic astrology. In these methods, future predictions may be made and life situations understood, but a path to transformation and consciously working with those energies are rarely prescribed.

Deities in Nadi Astrology

Those familiar with the Hindu pantheon will be familiar with some of these deities, or ‘Gods’. These deities represent some of the most common energies recommended to be evoked through the practice of puja as prescribed in Nadi astrology and the palm leaf predictions.

Lord Murugan:

Performing Prayers and Poojas to Lord Murugan are said to transform and eliminate negative Karma and its effect on our life. Tuesday is the day which is associated with Lord Murugan. He is often invoked to transform relationship blockages or health issues.

His Mantra is: OM SARAVANA BHAVAYA NAMAHA

Lord Guru:

Lord Guru is the light of Dharma that guides us on our spiritual path. It is the divine teachings that we can receive through many ways and people, and it is our spiritual teachers. Guru is also evoked to remove karmic blockages related to having children

When we pray to the universal Guru, we pray for spiritual progress and liberation.

The Mantra is: OM GURUVE NAMO NAMAH

Goddess Durga:

Goddess Durga is the personification of the force that destroys all of our inner and outer demons and enemies, which is the blessing she brings into our lives.

Friday is the most auspicious day to do Poojas and Prayers for Goddess Durga.

Her Mantra is:OM DUM DURGA YA NAMAHA

Lord Ganesha:

Lord Ganesha is known for his loyalty and compassion. Praying to him evokes your inner wisdom and discernment. He helps to remove obstacles and solves problems that arise along your life journey.

His holy mantra is OM GAM GANAPATAYE NAMAHA

Lord Hanuman:

Lord Hanuman is the personification of strength, devotion, and courage, which are the blessings that are bestowed upon us when we invoke his presence.

The most auspicious day to pray to Lord Hanuman is Saturday.

His Mantra is: OM HANUMATE NAMAHA

Lord Vishnu:

Lord Vishnu is the preserver of creation and brings the blessings of abundance, health, and overall harmonious life.

New moons are good days to pray to Lord Vishnu.

His Mantra is: OM NAMO NARAYANAYA

Goddess Lakshmi:

Goddess Lakshmi blesses us with abundance, love, and beauty as part of our spiritual path.

She brings the blessings of wealth and overall happy life.

Fridays are good days to pray to Goddess Lakshmi.

Her Mantra is: OM ASTA LAKSHMIYE NAMAHA

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati:

Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvathi are the divine expression of the divine masculine and feminine in harmony (and much more). Lord Shiva represents consciousness and Goddess Parvathi represents energy. They bring the blessing of family harmony, and spiritual awakening, and through their effect of balancing the internal masculine and feminine, they bring harmony to all of our external relationships.

Their Mantras are: OM NAMAH SHIVAYA to Lord Shiva & OM SHAKTIYE PARA SHAKTIYA NAMAHA. to Goddess Parvathi

The Navagraha Lords:

The Navagrahas are the 9 planets, which include the 2 energy planets Rahu and Ketu.

Their Mantras are: OM NAVAGRAHA YA NAMAHA 108 times

Or: OM NAMAH SOORYAYA CHANDRAYA MANGALAYA BUDDHAYA CHA GURU SHUKRA SHANIBHYASCHA RAAHAVE KETAVE NAMO NAMAHA 9 times.

Puja in the Palm Leaf Readings

“final chapter of the nadi leaves contains specific remedies for the karmic situation described in the first chapter”

Priest performing a fire puja at an Indian temple library.Each palm leaf reading includes the reading of chapter 14 (of 14). This final chapter of the Nadi leaves contains specific remedies for the karmic situation described in the first chapter of your reading.

These remedies are usually pujas. Occasionally there are other forms of practice recommended as well that take the form of offerings and forms of selfless service, for example feeding animals.

To learn about the various types of remedies, including social service, Gurudhan, and the additional pujas performed by priests in Indian temples check out the remedies page of our website.

The purpose of the puja practice is to transform karmic blockages. For the sake of ease, we can simply describe these as patterns of chronically blocked energies that express misguided ways of seeing and relating to aspects of our life that cause discomfort or difficulty. More specific detail on Karma will come in a future post or series of posts.

The Transformation of our Karma Through Applying the Puja Remedies

“The conscious evocation of specific energies into your energy field can have profound effects on your state of being and your way of perceiving and relating to the world you live in.”

Priest assisting karmic transformation via puja for My Palm Leaf Client

The conscious evocation of specific energies into your energy field can have profound effects on your state of being and your way of perceiving and relating to the world you live in.

For example say you have a tendency towards a kind of lack mindset and struggle with money, imagine the change that might come into your life if you were to sit every day for 20 minutes or longer and consciously evoke the energy of abundance, beauty, and wealth in all forms (including a wealth of fertility, of patience and of success). Pretty soon you would start to see changes in your way of thinking and feeling about money and perhaps other aspects of life.

Hopefully, within a short time, you would start to see changes in your life and circumstances as a result of the changes in your thoughts and feelings.

The pujas prescribed in the palm leaf readings are prescribed for this reason. By applying the remedies diligently as per your horoscope reading you begin to build a kind of momentum of the particular energy that you are working with and over time this will begin to release and transform the blocked energy related to the dosha.

Kyle Brooks

Kyle Brooks is our trusted blog writer. With many years of experience as a Hridaya teacher, he has a broad experience with and knowledge of spiritual topics. Kyle is a breathwork and meditation specialist.

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