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Preliminary Prayers
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Worshipping ought to be a personal experience. At the philosophical level, the object of worship is worship itself. Nothing is sought as the end result. However, in order to reach that advanced level, we need to begin and practice praying systematically so that our faith in the Supreme Being is gradually strengthened. To start with, the object of our prayer may be that the Almighty grant us the wisdom to enhance our faith in Him so that we may make a deeper commitment as bhaktas (devotees). Faith is the critical element without which any ritual or religious practice is meaningless. Hence Bhagavan Krishna's warning in the Gita (Chapter 17, Verse 28) i.e.

Ashraddhayna hutam dattam tapastaptam
kritamcha yath
asad ityuchyate Partha na cha tat pretya no iha

Whatever is sacrificed, offered or performed and whatever austerity is practiced without faith, it is falsehood, Oh Arjuna. And further, it is of no value either here or hereafter.

With faith as foundation, we can begin to develop the practice of worshipping a god/goddess of our choice. However we need to understand and follow a systematic procedure. Further we need to create an environment in order to immerse ourselves in bhakti. This is precisely the logic in having puja rooms in Hindu households. In the United States and Canada, a new generation of Hindus is growing up and they need some assistance to learn the methods appropriate to their own framework so that they can perform pujas in the privacy of their homes or apartments. A series of these Puja booklets, with Sanskrit transliterations and English translations, are published to fill this need. These "How to Conduct ..." booklets cover all major Hindu festivals with worships to the Sun God Soorya ( Makarasankranti ), Shiva ( Shivaratri ), Rama ( Sriramanavami ), Krishna ( Janmashtami ), Ganapati (Chaturthi), Durga ( Vijayadashami ), Saraswati ( Basanth Panchami and Navaratri ), and Mahalakshmi ( Diwali ). Each booklet begins with an introduction which provides the background in regard to the particular god/goddess, and includes a step-by-step procedure to prepare an altar, a list of materials needed, preliminary prayers, the worship and conclusion. Thus Hindu youngsters may be able to plan a whole year of festivities, perform the pujas and build their own tradition.


The above are excerpts from the booklet How to Conduct Puja to SriRamachandra, by Dr. A. V. Srinivasan, published by http://www.periplusbooks.com/.

These booklets may be purchased by sending a check or money order made out to Periplus Line LLC for $6.00 each, (shipping in the U.S. included) and mailing it to:

Periplus Line LLC
Box 56,
East Glastonbury,
CT 06025.

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