Daily pujas

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.

Lunar eclipse midnight 5th - 6th  June 2020

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.

Judge a true Ascetic from the horoscope

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.

Judge a true Ascetic from the horoscope

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.)

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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.)

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Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

Everyone knows about the Surya-namaskar sequence. This is a Yog-Asan, yogic posture which we all should perform everyday from the age of 6yrs onwards regularly. It is the right of every human to be healthy and this Yogasan is the foundation of your life-time health. Here I list out things which will add energy to your practice.

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

Use the power of the rising Sun. Do your Surya-namaskar in the early morning, facing the east. Looking at the rising sun is ideal. If your house has a balcony do it there, where fresh air can touch your body. Or in a park? Or at least open the windows of your room so that fresh air can touch your body/mind. Now we live in cities so seeing the rising sun may not be possible. So on the East wall of your room, put a nice photo of the rising Sun, your favourite deity, source of faith, Shri yantra? or at least paint that wall in light yellowish-orangish, the color of the radiant rising Sun. This will give your mind an object to concentrate on. Gradually will give you the ability to silence the mind’s continuous chattering and increase your mental strength/ability.

You will need a flat horizontal non slippery surface. A cotton mat is traditionally used, but you should use whatever you are comfortable with. Wear minimum possible cotton clothing. Ensure that the clothes do not interfere with the body’s freedom of movement. Do not eat, empty stomach is necessary.

A set of 10 yogic postures = 1 Suryanamaskar. Start with 3 sets daily and increase 1 set per week. Maximum is 108 sets, do not increase beyond that. Doing 108 sets will take about 1hr 15 mins which is not realistic in today’s life. So fix some figure in your mind, as a maximum of 27 or 54, but do it everyday.

This is a complete physical exercise, a spiritual exercise and a pranic exercise. You strengthen your entire body from the head to the feet and the tips of your fingers. You improve your sensory organs. You make all the fluids in your body move. You will increase the volume, quality and regular flow of pran in your nadis. And finally you strengthen your mind and will power.

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

You are doing 3 things here.

  1. Exercising your physical body in a series of 10 interconnected yogic postures. You are using the muscles of your entire body. As the muscles work effectively they positively influence the other organs near them. So muscular health is essential for complete body health.
  2. Exercising your pran/vital energy movements in your naadi strucutre by a fixed sequence of breath in and breath out sequence. Each of the 10 postures is linked to either exhale or inhale, and the entire sequence goes fluidly. Simple logic is when you extend the body you inhale and when you contract the body you exhale. Always breathe through your nose, never open the mouth. First focus on getting the muscular movement perfectly, the breath will automatically sync later. The sync comes slowly with practice. (Ideally the 10 postures of the Surya namaskar are performed in 3 complete breaths!)
  3. Adding the power of Surya mantra to all this. There are a set of 10 mantra-s, one for each yogic posture in the sequence. This is the real power of the Yog-asan. Breathing without a mantra makes the whole thing tamasic. You will get excellent physical body but no spiritual benefit. Something like musclebound gym-crazy young men who do not ‘sparkle’ with ‘inner light’. You should add the mantras to the postures after you have got the muscle movement and the breath sync. Maybe after 1-2 months.

 

I searched the internet videos for the correct version of the Surya namaskar, it is this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt9eeXo5YPk  From 4:41 sec to 5:25 sec is the ideal Suryanamaskar sequence of the 10 postures. Except that there is no requirement to hold the ‘downward dog’ position for 5 deep breaths as he mentions. The entire Suryanamaskar continues in a fluid sequence of 10 postures, no ‘holding’ any pose. In the video the young man is in superb physical condition and is a teacher himself so don’t feel disheartened!

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

You are exercising for yourself and not competing with the young man in the video. I have seen people get enthusiastic about exercise and then in a few days they get demotivated and never exercise again. The fault is with the trainers.

  • Always remember, exercise should be in proportion to one’s own strength.
  • It should be regular and continuous to be of benefit. You do only 3 sets per day, but do them. They will not be perfect, it is ok.
  • Exercise should be within your physical limit, ie after doing it you should feel refreshed and energetic not tired out. If you are feeling tired, reduce the intensity or the duration.
  • Don’t compare yourself to your younger self. (I used to go to the gym for 2 hrs everyday in my 20s. At the age of 29yrs I looked like a 17yrs old often confusing people. Now I can’t do that much exercise. Accepted!)
  • You are not perfect in your practice now, but you are doing it regularly that is most important.
  • At the beginning of this ‘body/mind reconstruction exercise’, there is bound to be some discouragement and pain as unused muscles are forced to move. But this has to be gone through.

So practice slowly at your own pace, regularly, don’t get lazy after all this, it is just for 5 mins! Suryanamaskar are done quite slowly at first. First you have to get the physical movements correct. When you practice slowly, you will know which part of your body is under strain. When you change posture which bones creak. And slow movements will help this straining creaking body parts gradually build strength. You are doing this for yourself.

Then the mind. While doing the sets, do not let your mind wander. Your mind as well as body need discipline. You have to focus on the Sun and on your own body. Look at the Sun with your eyes. Intend that the energy of the Sun enters your body parts which are moving. We want increased pran moving in the body, this is possible only by the power of the focussed mind. As you breathe in visualise gold/silver energy entering you, energising you, making you one with the Sun. This is also an exercise for the mind.

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

 

Now the mantra. Before beginning your practice you are required to recite this out loud, ‘Om Hraang Hreeng Hroung sah Suryaya namah”. Or as the second option, “Om Mitra Ravi Surya Bhanu Khaga Pushna Hiranyagarbha Marich Aditya Bhaskarya namah Om”. Speaking aloud, voice is very important. When you speak these words you are exercising your vocal cords and setting the tone for your entire exercise. Breathe deeply a few times. This you can do from the first day itself.

Then these ten basic mantra are to be recited in your mind, once per posture, these are,

  1. Om Mitraya namah
  2. Om Ravaye namah
  3. Om Suryaya namah
  4. Om Bhanave namah
  5. Om Khagaya namah
  6. Om Pushnaye namah
  7. Om Hiranyagarbhaya namah
  8. Om Marichaye namah
  9. Om Adityaya namah
  10. Om Bhaskarya namah

Add these mantras to your posture and breath only after you have gained confidence, maybe 1-2 months later. Don’t complicate things for yourself at the start. If you have no faith in Sanskrit and Mantra, do not recite them. But a Yog-asan done without a mantra remains tamasic, it gives only physical strength no inner fire. So you will have to at least intentionally recite So-ham. ‘So’ mentally as you breathe in and ‘hum’ mentally as you breathe out. So-ham is also a mantra.

So start in whatever slow imperfect way you can, it will take only 5 mins of your time initially. Evaluate yourself after 21days. After this self-motivation will come in. And in a few months you won’t believe the change this will bring in you. Perfection comes with regular practice. (If you are already physically damaged or ill, do consult your healthcare professional before doing them. These are quite strenuous and vigorous movements.)

Now for women. Women must perform Surya namaskar. In Indian cities, you see young women in severely unhealthy states. If the woman is physically/ mentally /spiritually ill, the entire house suffers. She is the centre around which our families and our societies both revolve. If she is healthy the nation will be healthy. Surya namaskar is the ideal three-in-one way to remain forever fit. Women go through two physically challenging events in their lives, one at the age of 12yrs as the monthly cycle starts and then at the age of 51yrs when it stops. Also the monthly 5day cycle is physically exhausting. As the girl-child starts Surya-namaskar at the age of 6yrs and continues for a life-time she will never face any problems related to this aspect of the female life ever. It is a guarantee.

Women are exempted for the 5 days of their monthly cycle, they should rest. During pregnancy the practice has to be stopped. But she should not break her habit of standing before the rising Sun. Mantra-s can be recited. Some light warm-up stretching types of movements recommended for pregnant women can be done. After delivery do not perform Surya-namaskars for 3 months. After this, if the medical professional agrees, can start with 3 sets and gradually increase.

Suryanamaskar are the complete exercise for your mind body and soul. You will discipline your body, your breath and your mind over time. Give yourself these 5-10 mins daily and see the change in yourself as you draw in the energy of the Rising Sun into yourself.

Part 2 continued here.

 

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy