Pooja Essentials for a Hindu Pooja Ceremony•
Posted on May 14 2022
A pooja is a ritual observed by Hindus to render their worship and prayers to their favourite deity or several deities. This holy ceremony can be conducted at home or in a temple. In simple terms, a pooja helps devotees establish a spiritual connection with God. The rituals tend to differ according to the pooja being performed. However, in most cases, the items required for all the poojas are essentially the same. These items are collectively known as pooja essentials or pooja samagri.
Read on to know the pooja essentials needed for the pooja ceremony.
Flowers and Flower Garlands
Flowers are one of the most important items used for a pooja. Flower garlands are adorned around the photos or idols of the deities. Flowers are offered to the gods and goddesses while the mantras are chanted in their honour.
Diya or Lamps
A diya is another must have item for a pooja ceremony. Keeping a lit diya in front of the deity is an important aspect of any pooja. The flame emitted from the diya represents wisdom and knowledge and liberates positive energy in the surroundings. They help us to understand our lives and gain a detailed understanding of the existence of our soul and mind. When we light the diya, it is an indication of burning our ego.
Oil and/or Ghee
The wicks of the diya are lit using oil or ghee. There are special oils referred to as pooja oils in the market that are exclusively used for poojas. This is a mix of several oils, each of which has its own significance. If you do not want to use this oil, you can always opt for ghee or sesame oil to light the lamp.
Clean water is kept in a new or clean container and is used at different stages of the pooja ritual. Water is also used to wash the body and head of the deity if you are using an idol. If it is not possible to wash the head and body, you must wash at least the feet of the idol.
Dhoop and Incense Sticks
Dhoop and incense sticks are burnt before the deity throughout the pooja ritual. As they burn, they leave a pleasant fragrance in the surroundings. When the incense sticks and dhoop are burnt, one expresses his/her gratitude and respect to the deity for whom the pooja is being done. It is said that the smoke that goes upwards from the burnt sticks carry the prayers of the individual along with them and offer them to the gods.
Sandal and Kumkum Powders
Sandal and kumkum powders are also important in a pooja ritual. Sandal powder is typically used in a a paste like form with water or rose water for doing abhisheka during a pooja. The paste is also applied on the deities and the vessels or utensils used for the pooja. Devotees apply sandal paste on their foreheads to calm themselves and kindle spiritual energy within themselves. Kumkum powder is mainly used because of its red colour that is a sign of auspiciousness.
Camphor is primarily used during the arti performed towards the end of a pooja ritual. The arti, by itself, plays an important role in the pooja. Camphor is burnt in the ghee lamps and wave it in front of the deities. It is believed that camphor renders a spiritual enlightenment to those participating in the pooja. The flame from the camphor represents the flame of consciousness. As the camphor burns, it burns the ego within us under the influence of the Almighty and symbolises the union of the devotee with Him.
Coconuts are yet another important item for any pooja. This is because a coconut is believed to epitomise the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, the creator; Shiva, the destroyer and Vishnu, the protector. Worshippers use the coconut to offer a tribute to the three Gods and seek their blessings. It is usually placed on top of a kalash or copper pot filled with water.
Betel Nuts and Leaves
Betel nuts are used for a pooja ritual because they are considered to help invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Moreover, when they are used to perform a Ganesha pooja, devotees help to gain benefits and blessing from Goddess Lakshmi as well and be bestowed with wealth and prosperity. Betel leaves are used because different gods and goddesses are said to reside in various parts of the leaves.
Bananas are used for pooja because they are considered to be sacred fruits. This is because references to Hindu mythology indicate that the banana tree is a representation of Devaguru Brihaspati. There is also a belief that Lord Vishnu resides in the tree. It is for this reason that sometimes banana leaves are also used for the pooja.
Prasad is just another important item for any pooja. This is usually a sweet or savoury item offered as neyvedya to the lord. This neyvedya is then consumed by devotees as prasad. The choice of prasad usually depends on the deity for whom the pooja is done. For example, modak is often the prasad in a pooja for Lord Ganesha while a pooja for Lord Krishna will mostly have butter as prasad.
The above list comprises the essential items that you must keep ready for any pooja. You may need a couple of extra items depending on the pooja and the complexity of the rituals involved. Each of the above mentioned items has its own significance that in no way can be undermined.