Worship in Hinduism

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Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion.

. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.ISBN0-691-12048-X.

A Bengali religious print depictingpujaHinduworship ritual) with devotees and priest around.

Prasd is a mental condition of generosity, as well as a material substance that is first offered to a deity and then consumed.7Literally, a gracious gift. The prasad has the deitys blessing residing within it. In contemporary Hindu religious practice in India, the desire to getprasadaand havedarshanare the two major motivations of pilgrimage and temple visits.citation needed

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is an act of religious devotion usually directed to one or moreHindu deities. A sense ofBhaktior devotional love is generally invoked. This term is probably a central one in Hinduism. A direct translation from the Sanskrit to English is problematic. Worship takes a multitude of forms depending on community groups, geography and language. There is a flavour of loving and being in love with whatever object or focus of devotion. Worship is not confined to any place of worship, it also incorporates personal reflection, art forms and group.Hindususually perform worship to achieve some specific end or to integrate the body, the mind and the spirit in order to help the performer evolve into a higher being.

Haberman, David L. Faces in the trees. Journal For The Study Of Religion, Nature And Culture 4, no. 2 (June 1, 2010): 173-190. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed February 4, 2014).

A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of creating transformation (cf.spiritual transformation).12Its use and type varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra.13Mantras originated in theVedic traditionofIndia. The most basic mantra isAum, which in Hinduism is known as the pranava mantra, the source of all mantras.

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A Dictionary of Hinduism, Margaret and James Stutley (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers) 2002, p.126

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Aarti is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked inghee(purified butter) orcamphoris offered to one or more deities. Aarti is generally performed one to five times daily, and usually at the end of a puja (in South India) orbhajansession (in North India). It is performed during almost all Hindu ceremonies and occasions. It involves the circulating of an Aarti plate or Aarti lamp around a person or deity and is generally accompanied by the singing of songs in praise of that deva or person (many versions exist). In doing so, the plate or lamp is supposed to acquire the power of the deity. The priest circulates the plate or lamp to all those present. They cup their down-turned hands over the flame and then raise their palms to their forehead – the purificatory blessing, passed from the devas image to the flame, has now been passed to the devotee.

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Pj or alternative transliteration Pooja (Sanskrit: reverence, honour, adoration, or worship) is a religious ritual performed by Hindus as an offering to various deities, distinguished persons, or special guests. It is done on a variety of occasions and settings, from dailypujadone in the home, totempleceremonies and large festivals, or to begin a new venture.3Pujais modeled on the idea of giving a gift or offering to a deity or important person and receiving their blessing (Ashirbad). The puja ritual is performed by Hindus worldwide.

Mantrajapawas a concept of the Vedic sages that incorporates mantras as one of the main forms of puja, or worship, whose ultimate end is seen asmoksha(liberation). Essentially, mantra japa means repetition of mantra,14and it has become an established practice of all Hindu streams. It involves repetition of a mantra over and over again, usually in cycles of auspicious numbers (in multiples of three), the most popular being108.

In Hinduism, a murti typically refers to an image or statue which expresses a Divine Spirit (murta). Devotional (bhakti) practices centered on cultivating a deep and personal bond of love with God often include veneration of murtis. Acts of devotion can include awakening themurtiin the morning and making sure that it is scrubbed, clothed, and garlanded.1Furthermore, the building of atemplefor themurtiis considered the highest act of devotion.1Some Hindu denominations likeArya Samaj2andBrahmo Samaj, however, reject it, equating it with anidol worship.

The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India

A tray ofdiyaoil lamps, part of theDivalifestival

ImmersionofGaneshainGanesh ChaturthiinMumbai

. Shambala Publications, Boston, MA. 2003.

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A procession marching over a makeshift bridge over theGangesriver, Kumbh Mela atAllahabad, 2001

Yagya is a ritual of sacrifice derived from the practice ofVedictimes. It is performed to please thegodsor to attain certain wishes. An essential element is the sacrificial fire – the divineAgni- into which oblations are poured, as everything that is offered into the fire is believed to reach the gods. A Vedic (Śrauta) yajna is typically performed by anadhvaryupriest recitingVedic verses. Usually, there will be one or three fires in the centre of the offering ground. Among the items offered asoblationsin the yajna include large quantities ofghee, milk, grains, cakes orsoma. The duration of a yajna depends on the type; some can last a few minutes, hours or days and some even last for years. Some yajnas are performed privately, others with a large number of people in attendance.

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Amulya Mohapatra; Bijaya Mohapatra (1 December 1995).

Tourism, Religion and Spiritual Journeys

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Homa (also known ashomamorhavan) is aSanskritword which refers to any ritual in which making offerings into a consecrated fire is the primary action.5At present, the wordshoma/homamandhavanare interchangeable with the wordYagna.6

Fowler, Jeaneane D. (1997). Yatra: Pilgrimage.

The tilaka, tilak or tika is a mark worn on the forehead and in some cases to the upper part of the head. Tilaka may be worn on a daily basis or for special religious occasions only, depending on different customs. The tilaka symbolizes thethird eye, or minds eye, associated with many Hindu gods, and the idea of meditation and spiritual enlightenment. In the past, tilakas were usually worn by gods, priests, ascetics, or worshippers, but is now a common practice for most Hindus. It can express which Hindu tradition one follows. It may be made withsandalwoodpaste, ashes (vibhuti),kumkumsindoor, clay, or other substances.

Darśana or Darshan is aSanskritterm meaning sight (seeing or beholding;),vision, apparition, or glimpse. It is most commonly used fortheophany- manifestation / visions of the divine in Hindu worship, e.g. of a deity (especially in image form), or a very holy person or artifact. One could also receive darshana or a glimpse of the deity in the temple, or from a great saintly person, such as a greatguru.4

In the context of Hinduism, the term vrata (pronunciation: vrat or brat) denotes a religious practice to carry out certain obligations with a view to achieve divine blessing for fulfillment of one or several desires. Etymologically, vrata, a Sanskrit word (and also used in severalIndo-European languages), meansto voworto promise.15A vrata may consist of one or more of several actions. Such actions may include complete or partialfastingon certain specific days; aYatra(pilgrimage) to a particular place or places; a visit, darśana and puja at a particular temple or temples; recitation of mantras and prayers; performingyajnas.

Within Hinduism a large number ofpersonal gods(Ishvaras) are worshipped asmurtis. These beings are either aspects of the supremeBrahmanAvatarsof the supreme being, or significantly powerful entities known asdevas. The exact nature of belief in regards to each deity varies between differingHindu denominationsandphilosophies. Often these beings are depicted in humanoid or partially humanoid forms, complete with a set of unique andcomplex iconographyin each case. These deities may be different but they are generally all considered forms of the one god (Brahman). These deities and theirPujas(religious rituals) provide one of the ways to communicate with this one divinity.

Ytr (journey, procession) generally meanspilgrimageto holy places such asconfluencesof sacred rivers, places associated with Hindu epics such as theMahabharataandRamayana, and other sacred pilgrimage sites.17Trtha-ytr refers to a pilgrimage to aholy site, and is generally undertaken in groups. One who goes on a yatra is known as ayatri. A yatra is akamyaritual; it is desirable, but not obligatory, for a Hindu to perform it. One can go on a yatra for a variety of reasons, including festivals, to perform rituals for ones ancestors, or to obtain goodkarma. To traditional Hindus, the journey itself is as important as the destination, and the hardships of travel serve as an act of devotion in themselves.18Visiting a sacred place is believed by the pilgrim to purify the self and bring one closer to the divine.19

Hindus observe sacred occasions by festive observances. All festivals in Hinduism are predominantly religious in character and significance. Many festivals are seasonal. Some celebrate harvest and birth of God or heroes. Many are dedicated to Shiva and Parvati, Vishnu and Lakshmi and Brahma and Saraswati16

Klostermaier, Klaus. Hinduism: A Beginners Guide. 2nd. Oxford: OneWorld Publications, 2007.

A Bhajan is any type of Indiandevotional song. It has no fixed form: it may be as simple as a mantra or kirtan or as sophisticated as thedhrupadorkritiwith music based onandtalas.9It is normally lyrical, expressing love for theDivine. The name, a cognate ofbhakti, meaning religious devotion, suggests its importance to thebhakti movementthat spread from the south of India throughout the entire subcontinent in theMoghulera.

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Timothy, Dallen J.; Daniel H. Olsen (2006).

Substances that are commonly used in Hindu worship includegheeincensekumkumMarigoldmilksandalwoodtulsiandvibhuti. Among objects used are thealtarbanana leavesbhogcoconutsdiya(oil lamps),fly-whisksgarlandsprasadshankha(conch) andtilaka.

.Motilal Banarsidass. p.158.ISBN81-208-0769-3.

Kirtan (Sanskrit: to repeat10) isorresponsoryperformed inIndias devotional traditions.11A person performing kirtan is known as akirtankar. Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns ormantrasto the accompaniment of instruments such as theharmoniumtablas, the two-headedmrdangaor pakawaj drum, and karatal hand cymbals.

There are three species of sacred trees, pipal, banyan, and neem. The trunks of the neem trees will be wrapped in decorative red cloth that has been offered to a goddess and a brass human mask will be added to the tree. Decorative paint is applied to the face, while garlands of marigolds and jasmine flowers are strung around the tree. People worship the neem tree asShitalafor good health and protection from dangerous sicknesses. Tree worshippers tend to gravitate towards one tree in particular that they feel a connection with as an intimate individual.8

Glossary of Sanskrit Terms in Integral Yoga Literature

MacDonell, A. A. (2004). A practical Sanskrit Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

Kirtan. Archived fromthe originalon 2009-10-31.

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