A short post.
Someone asked me what daily pujas should a follower of the Sanatan Dharma aka Hinduism perform. This can become a complex answer depending on individual inclinations and family traditions etc. Sanatan Dharma allows all sorts of variations, the only requirement being that your inner self, Conscience, Antaratma should be satisfied. But because there was a question, here is a simple routine which you can consider adopting/ adapting.
In the morning,
- First is to wake up before sunrise, freshen up, have a bath etc. Put a tilak (post here) on yourself.
- Exact sunrise is for the morning Agnihotra Homa, compulsory for householders. (This post) You require desi cow’s cowdung cakes and ghee made from the desi cow milk, earlier these items were easily available but the so-called white revolution has made the desi-cow, ie cows with a prominent hump very rare. This is an irreparable loss (post here). If you do not have these items from a desi cow you cannot do the Agnihotra Homa.
- Next is to give Argya to the Sun. (This post)
- Then do pujas of your household deities. The simplest procedure is something like this. Light a Deepak (post here) and incense. Wash the deities moorti-s with clean water, dry them, put kumkum, saffron, sandalwood, bhasma, flowers as per availability. Offer some naivedya/ food to the deities. Do an Arti with camphor (post here) etc. (There are specific arti/shlok/stotra etc to be recited while doing this but you can keep it simple and say a prayer in the language you are comfortable in.)
- Then recite the Gayatri mantra (post here), ideally 108 times. “Om, Bhuh Bhuvah Swah, Om Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi, Dhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat, Om” ॐ भूः भुवः स्वः । ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि। धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात॥ ॐ You can use a mala (post here) to count or use your fingers (post here). Reciting it mentally is ideal.
- After all this do your Dhyan with your Soham mantra. (post here).
Then comes midday.
- The Gayatri mantra is to be recited again, ideally 108 times and mentally. Most of us are in office at this time, so if you can take a 10 mins break, you can do this sitting at your office desk itself.
Then is the sun-set.
- Before the actual sun-set, light a Deepak/ incense before the household deities.
- In Hindu houses, there will be a Tulsi plant (post here) in the house, so keep a deepak in front of this plant.
- Again Arghya is to be offered to the setting Sun at the west horizon.
- The exact moment of sun-set is the evening Agnihotra Homa.
- Then 108 times Gayatri mantra jaap.
- Followed by your evening time Dhyan.
If you are in office at the sunset time then obviously you cannot do all this. But try to do the Gayatri mantra jaap at least. Take a 10mins break and do it sitting at your desk.
Night time, before going to bed. Listen to the Ratri sukta (post here) or, if you can, recite it. It will protect you as you sleep, reduce nightmares, sleep paralysis, astral attacks etc so that you can actually rest.
For women specifically, they are exempted from all this for the 5 days of the monthly cycle. During this period, the chakras are moving anti-clockwise, the movement of the pran is affected, there is destruction going on in the body and you should rest it out.
For children below 6yrs there is no compulsion to do anything. Doing namaskar to the family deities and to the parents/grandparents should be taught and they can observe their parents do the daily routine. When the child becomes 6yrs old, he/she should be taught the Gayatri mantra. And now onwards he/she can also give Arghya to the Sun, do pujas etc. Gayatri mantra is most important. Initially the child can recite it 3/27/54 times as 108 times might be difficult to begin with. (In Hindu families who follow the Sanskar-s, boys will wear the Yadnopaveet sutra now onwards.) For Dhyan, it can be started after 6yrs if the child can understand how to do it. Initially he/she can do it for 3/27/54 counts as 108 times may be too tedious to begin with. (I started with my Dhyan-mantra when I was 2yrs old.)
This is the very basic minimum that a person following the Sanatan Dharma aka Hinduism should do daily. Obviously you must add other things as per your personal/ family traditions. And is also possible that you might not be able to do even this much… Follow your conscience always and in all ways.
Then is some confusion regarding which deity to worship.
Every family has its own family deity, so you should have his/ her moorti in your puja-ghar. This is necessary. Unfortunately some people do not know who their family deities are. So first try to find out, ask your paternal grandparents or anyone from your father’s family if they know. Or trace your ancestral village if someone there knows. Married women worship the family deities of the husband’s family.
If you cannot trace your family deity, then as a second option you can worship a deity you feel drawn to. Devi Sarasvati, Devi Laxmi, Devi Parvati, Bhagwan Shiv or Bhagwan Vishnu or their Saumya-roop/ gentle forms are better. Avoid their Ugra-roop/ terrible forms, unless you are sure that you can assimilate their fierce energies. Eg Saumya roop for Bhagwan Vishnu would be Shri Krishna, Shri Ram, and Ugra-roop would be Shri Narasimha, Shri Varaha etc. Get small silver moorti-s (post here) of the deities you wish to worship, about 2 inches in size is best. (If you have any specific family tradition regarding moorti-s then follow that.)
In Sanatan Dharma, all married women worship Shri Ganapati, Devi Annapurna and Shri Baal-Krishna (Baal is his child form). This reduces hardships, ensures prosperity in the family and most importantly increases auspiciousness from the children.
There is some misunderstanding about the pujas of Brahmadev. Popularly people believe that Brahmadev was cursed! But the actual reason is that we humans are so degraded in this Kali-yug that we are incapable of performing his pujas. So generally Brahmadev is not worshipped in households. Brahmadev is the potential energy, the stability of Raja-gun. His wife, Devi Sarasvati is worshipped in the form of the Gayatri Mantra. (However in special anushthans, eg Yadnopaveet sanskar, he is worshipped in a typical form created using Darbha grass. It looks like this.)
As the Kali-yug deepens, humans will become even more damaged and the simplest pujas will also stop being available. What we are seeing now is just a prelude. The genuine Tantra has already vanished. The yantra-s are on the verge of being forgotten. Most of the mantras are gone. The fundamental Pranav Mantra Om itself has been corrupted, people have converted it to meaningless sounds. When we stop our daily mantras, we actively destroy ourselves. Even the DNA gets damaged. Mantras in Sanskrit are the only way of protecting our DNA. It is essential for everyone above the age of 6yrs to recite the Gayatri mantra daily. It is especially imperative for the boys who have the more delicate Y-chromosome in them.
And if this was not enough, we have accelerated the damage to ourselves. Various pollutants in our food/ water/ air. The electro-magnetic pollution of radio-waves, discordant sound, negative thought patterns and the rest of it is creating a vicious cycle which will drag the human race even lower. Injecting unknown animal proteins/ DNA into our bodies. (If you are from an immunology background, am sure you can comprehend the dangers of contaminated cell-lines, latent retroviruses from the DNA of animals used in cell lines, the possible danger of the future m-RNA based vaccines.) DNA damage is irreversible, there is no solution for genetic damage in modern science.
The only way of protecting our DNA, body, mind and emotions and also repairing them is Mantra. So adopt a simple puja routine daily if you can. It will help you live a more healthier and happier life. (Despite writing all this, I am sure that only those who have a strong 9th house will actually be able to do any of this.)