Worshiping at home
The god is omnipresent and there is no place without him.
We are going to see here the ways of worshipping God at home and after reading this section, we hope, you will pray at home every day.
Worshipping the God at a prayer room in our home
The temple is the place where the devotees can get together and worship. The god’s presence and grace are full at the temple.
However, it may not always possible to go to a temple. A devotee may wish to pray in quietness but there may be a special pooja or festival at the temple that draws many that deprive the quietness.
Also, there may be some ‘religious reasons’ such as certain ‘unholy period’ (number of days depending on the family tradition) after a birth or a death in the family, during which one can’t go a temple which is a holy place. (to remove the ‘unholiness’ a priest will be called home at the end of the said period to do a pooja).
Therefore we go to the temple on special days, festival, etc and all other time we can pray at home. There are some disciplinary procedures that we should follow when we worship the god at home.
Remember that we can go to a beach, river bank, park, garden and bringing the god image in our mind, worship peacefully.
Some Procedures to Follow
There are some procedures that we should follow when we worship God at home. This we normally do when we move to a new home.
We can set up a ‘shrine room’ in our home and in which we can have the statues of the gods that carved out of wood or some other material but not granite stone which can only be at the temple. Some people have a shelf and it which they have pictures. In some homes, the god pictures may be seen as wall hangings in the shrine room. There is no hard and fast rule and all depend on our convenience.
A small shrine room at home
However, we must have some common sense when we set this up. For example, it may not be a good idea to set up a ‘shrine room’ close to a kitchen where non-veg items are cooked. It is not an acceptable practice to worship the god after a non-veg meal. In such a case, one must wait until the next day to take a bath to clean themselves before worship.
Idols and Images in the Shrine Room
The idols or the pictures of god in the shrine room should be facing the eastern direction wherever possible. And the devotees will be facing the northern direction when praying. This means that we will not be directly facing the god. Remember we are asking the god for his blessing and grace and so we are not confronting but standing or sitting politely in sideways.
There is an interesting question often raised by devotees to holy men, priest, and elders as to which god’s idol or picture is best to have and worshipped at home. It is depending on some factors. The choice may be from the family tradition of the male or female partner of the household or it may be a personal choice and circumstances.
The god has different form and qualities and we choose whom to worship in a given circumstance. A businessman stating a new venture will worship Lord Ganesh to remove all the obstacles and to become successful and then he will also worship goddesses Luxmi for the business to turn over well and to give him high profit. The children at home will worship goddesses Saraswathy who will bless them with education. However, the Luxmi Devi and Saraswathi Devi are the different forms of the same.
In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna (Avatar of Lord Vishnu) says that if we worship genuinely and with love in abundance for a particular god, the great Lord will appear in that form and grace us.
There must be a small lamp in the shrine room that can be filled with ghee (liquid butter) or sesame oil or any vegetable oil. A cotton wicks must be used to light the lamp. The light coming out of the lamp is called ‘Deepa’ which must face the eastern direction. Care must be taken to place the lamp in such a way that the shadow of the lamp should not fall on the picture images or idols.
An oil Deepa lamp better, known as ‘kutthu vizhkku’
Pooja and Prayer Time
Since it is our home we can offer prayer any time when we feel so.
Poojas can be conducted both morning and evening. If there is no time for both then poojas can be conducted in the morning with pure water and in the evening just light the lamp and offer a prayer. Again there is no hard and fast rule on this. Some people take a couple of minutes for prayers yet some others take longer. It is again depending on personal choice and family tradition.
Cleanliness and holiness of the Shrine Room
Pooja room (shrine room) should always be clean and holy. It can be sprinkled with yellow water (turmeric power dissolved water) to ensure its holiness. Also, obey your family rules when it comes to maintaining the holiness and for these elders in your family would help.
Special Pooja days
Incense sticks can be ignited and benzoin incense fume can also be raised to spread in the room. As an offering (nivetiaya) to the god; candy, milk rice, grapes, banana, chickpeas, basil leaf (Maha Vishnu) and beal leaf (Lord Shiva) can be placed in front of the god.
We complete our pooja and worship with chanting of mantras followed with the devotional songs with reverence.
Note: Benzoin Incense is also known as Sambrani Powder which always sprinkled on glowing red charcoal. The fume that comes out exude the pleasant aroma and it slowly spread all across the room.
A Pooja is offered at home
Just imagine a situation where you are sitting in your prayer (shrine) room. Your eyes are shut and a beautiful devotional song is on in the background and you are on your own with your favorite God’s image or idol in front of you. The room is lighted only by the Deepa lamp. You talk to your God, you pray, you smile and or sob. You are asking for guidance or pray for something. Maybe you are thanking God for answering your prayer.
It is a bliss and you will definitely cherish.
It is the intimate relationship you have with your God and that will give you inner strength for you to succeed in any task. And for these reasons, we encourage you to have a habit of praying at home every day.
God Bless You All