The What, Why and How of it 

 Why of Puja ? 

All of us have a very important and fundamental relationship whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we like it or not, and that relationship is with Iśvara, the Lord. In this relationship, one may be an agnostic, an atheist, a believer or a devotee, but related, one is.  

 Puja is one of the most beautiful ways to invoke the devotee in oneself and establish a relationship with Iśvara, the Lord. Puja is called Kāyikam karma, an action involving one’s limbs. It also includes speech and mental action in the form of chanting and thinking of the Lord.  

 How does Puja help?  

In a physical form of worship, such as a puja, there is a greater field of expression of one’s devotion than is possible in purely oral or mental forms of worship. The body, mind and speech are all involved in a puja. The forms, colours, fragrances and sounds of the various items of worship arrest one’s mind and aid in evoking devotion in oneself. 

Being a karma, an action it offers peace of mind and clarity.

Performing a puja offers much insight, a gladness of heart and a cheerfulness born of relating to the one who protects, nurtures you moment to moment.  

 Doing a puja also brings puṇya, credit for meritorious actions which help to neutralise the effects of pāpa (experienced as suffering) in one’s life.

Thousands of people across generations have experienced the power and impact of puja done with devotion, in their lives.

Thousands of people across generations expressed their fervent wishes and intentions to Iśvara which were largely fulfilled.

People do puja because puja works! You and your devotion make it work!          

 A puja is also performed in order to express one’s gratitude to Iśvara for all one has been given in one’s life. The very creation in which one is born is considered to be a gift of the Lord.  

 The body-mind-sense complex is made up of five basic elements: Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth which also constitute the creation. Objects symbolising these very five elements are offered in a puja.  

 How of puja? 

Whether the puja is performed at home or in a temple, the essential steps are the same.

The basic puja is called the pañcopacāra puja, in which one makes a fivefold offering. There is also a more elaborate puja called the śodaṣopcāra puja, a sixteen step puja. 

 While you can offer anything with devotion, it is important to learn the methods of doing the puja in the right manner with the necessary chants.  

 To learn about the materials required for a puja and the steps involved, you can enrol in a two hour online course with Rashmi Kaikini.

Details of the course: 

Although the chanting of the puja is in Sanskrit, knowledge of Sanskrit is not a prerequisite to learn the puja. Doing puja can be easily picked up by anyone with proper guidance.

-An initial introduction to Sanskrit syllables and sounds would be done so as to get familiarised with the language.

-Classes would be online and would be scheduled as per convenience.

– The total number of classes will depend on the fluency of the students. A person who knows Sanskrit may take 4 classes.

-Each session would be of an hour.

-Sessions will be held once in a week.

-Days and timings of the class would be decided based on the convenience of the students and the teacher.

-PDF of the Puja Vidhanam would be provided in both Sanskrit with an English transliteration.

-Recordings of the chants done in a session would be provided post each session.

-The number of sessions required to complete learning puja would depend on the ability of the students.

-The charges would be INR 800/- for 4 sessions (INR 200/- per session) for the students residing in India and USD 32 for 4 sessions (USD 8/- per session) for the students residing outside India. Please account for additional 4% charges that Paypal charges the receiver.

-Payment for 4 sessions would have to be done in advance. Sessions would begin only post the payment is received.

-Sessions would be held over Google Hangouts, which can be accessed on the computer or even on the mobile phone.

– It is preferred that those interested in learning the Puja Vidhanam follow a vegetarian diet (unless for medical reasons).

For more details contact: rashmi@discoveratma.com  or contact on whatsapp no. +91 9869538090

Feedback about the course:

Daniel Roth, Germany: 

Rashmi guided me through the 5 week Puja Course. The instructions she explained to me consisted of preparatory steps and a traditional 16 step Puja. She competently and patiently cleared all my doubts. We spend a lot of time getting the pronunciation right. In the last two lessons she demonstrated to me the actual performance of the Puja and then I showed it to her. This way we made sure that I do all the steps correctly.

Rashmi explained to me that there are many different ways how to do a Puja and that she would show me the way it is performed in most Indian households, which is strongly oriented on the Karma Kanda, the ritualistic portion of the Veda.

Now I can do a daily Puja on my own. It brings a lot of grace. Sometimes when I come home from work, my apartment feels like a temple. I was looking for a long time for a way to learn the performance of an authentic Puja, since it is difficult to find a competent teacher in Germany where I live. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity and would recommend Rashmi to anyone who is interested in learning this ancient ritual.