1. LIGHTING OF LAMP (DEEPAM)
a. Light the lamp which is kept to one side of Lord Ganesha. This is known as Deepa Sthapana or establishing the light. Lighting the lamp alerts the devas in the second world that a puja is about to be performed.
b. Offer water and flowers.
c. Sit in any comfortable posture.
PURIFICATION OF BODY
1. Dip your three fingers except the thumb and small finger into a panchapatram containing water.
2. Touch your head at the centre chanting the mantra OM ASTHTRAYA NAMAHA once.
3. Repeat the process three times by dipping again your three fingers in the water and chanting OM ASTHTRAYA NAMAHA three times.
4. Dip your three fingers into the water again and starting from your right ear, take your hand around your head and at the same time chanting OM ASTHTRAYA NAMAHA and sprinkle the water away from you as you reach the right ear .Repeat this process three times.
5. The object of this is to drive away any evil spirits over your head and around you in the puja room.
6. Take a piece of white cloth and moisten it with water at one end and wipe your right eye and left eye and finally your mouth. By doing this you have cleaned your eyes and mouth.
Achamanan means ” water sipping”. It is a purificatory rite to prepare the mind for the puja.
1. Take a spoonful of water from the kamandalu or any copper container from your left hand, stretch out your right hand and put a few drops of water in the centre of the palm. Before sipping the water , chant the following :
OM SUMUKHAYA SWAHA !
(Om, One who is Pleasant-faced, I consume this !)
2. Repeat the process, and just before sipping the water chant:
OM EKADANTAYA SWAHA !
(Om, One Who has the one tusk, I consume this !)
3. Then before the third sip chant:
OM GAJAKARNIKAYA SWAHA !
(Om, One who has the elephant ears, I consume this !)
OBJECTIVE OF THIS RITE
1. The esophagus and gastrointestinal tract are moistened. This is conducive for praying, concentration, meditation and other yogic practices.
2. Purification of mind from all thoughts that would distract it from the puja.
3. APPLICATION OF VIBHUTI
Take the vibhuti and apply on your forehead using your first three fingers chanting the mantra OM SATHPURUCHA VASTHRAYA NAMAHA three times. Pray to Lord Ganesha and chant the following Sanskrit mantra or any Tamil Ganesha songs.
OM SHUKLAM BARADHARAM VISHNUM
PRASANNA VADANAM DHYAYET
SARVA VIGHNOPA SHANTAYE
Om Attired in white and ill pervading,
Oh, moon-hued, four -shouldered One
With smiling face so pleasing,
Upon You we mediate for removing all obstacles and for establishment of peace.
Now adorn the Lord Ganesha’s forehead with vibhuti, sandalwood paste and kumkum. Use your right hand to place the holy ash on the forehead. Then with the ring finger of the right hand make a small pottu with the sandalwood paste between the eyebrows at the location of the third eye, (Trukuti- Ajna Chakra) followed by a pottu of red kumkumam on the top of the sandalwood paste.
Dhupa means “incense”. Now, using your right hand,offer benzoin dhupa to Ganesha by passing it in a clockwise circle three times vertical in front of Ganesha while ringing the bell with your left hand.
The dhupa offering is accompanied by the following mantra:
OM SRI GANESHAYA NAMAHA! AHAM DHUPAM SAMARPAYAMI.
(Adoration to Lord Ganesha! I offer this incense to you)
Offer rose, jasmine or sandalwood perfumed incense sticks to Lord Ganesha in the similar manner.
Pushpani means “flowers.”
Using your right hand offer flowers, chanting one of the 108 names of Ganesha – Ashtottara Shata Namavali or Tamil Potri mantras. Beginners are advised at least to chant the first nine names of Ganesha and more can be chanted and more flowers can be offered if time permits.
Naivedyam means “food offering” Whole fresh fruits or cut fruits and cooked dishes such as sweet rice, modaka balls and fresh cow’s milk or sugarcane juice may now be placed before the Deity. As you offer the food, recite the following :
OM SRI GANESHAYA NAMAHA! AHAM NAIVEDYAM SAMARPAYAMI
(Adoration to Lord Ganesha! I offer this food to you)
ARATI means ” the waving of a light or flame.” It is the high point of the puja. The camphor flame is passed in three clockwise circles before the Deity with the right hand as bell is rung in the left hand. During the arati, chant OM SRI GANESHAYA NAMAHA! AHAM DIPAM SAMARPAYAMI.
After the last circle, the flame is raised to the top of Ganesha’s head and held there a few seconds as the bell is rung loudly. This is when Ganesha’s shakti is the strongest and floods out to the devotees present. All raise their hands in namaskar above their heads and then prostrate low before HIS DIVINE PRESENCE.
If you have offered food, now pass the flame in a clockwise horizontal circle three times over the offering.
Prasadam means “that which has been offered to the deity and is then given to the worshippers.”
Immediately after the arati, you “pass the flame,” holding the lamp in your right hand before each worshipper.
Each devotee passes both the hands through the flame and touches his fingers to his eyes to receive the blessings. After all have received the flame, take the lamp back to the Deity, hold it before the murthi briefly and then extinguish the flame.
Before and after passing out each sacred item, the one doing the puja always holds it up to the Deity for a brief moment. Each sacrament is given with the right hand.
Next give out the Vibhuti. First present it to the deity, then place a small pinch of the ash in the right hand of each worshipper. Each worshipper transfers the ash to his left hand, then presses the fingers of the right hand into the left to pick up the ash and apply it to his forehead.
Next present the sandalwood paste to the Deity, then put a small drop in each devotee’s right palm with a small spoon.
Each devotee transfers the sandalwood paste to his left hand, then picks it up on the tip of his right ring finger to make a pottu at the third eye or Trukuti, a space in between the two eye brows. Then, offer Kumkum, allowing each devotee to take a small amount from the container with the right ring finger to apply on the top of the sandal paste pottu.
Fruits and sweets are given out and eaten. Flowers which are offered to the Deity are given to the devotees
It is time to meditate for a few minutes and leave the shrine room.
Worship of Lord Ganesha sets the path of Dharma, of righteous living. Go to His feet. He will release the mental and emotional obstructions to spiritual progress. He will remove the burdens of worldliness sooner or later. Be patient.
SYMBOLS OF LORD GANESHA
GANESHA- The Lord of obstacles and Ruler of Dharma. He guides our Karmas through creating and removing obstacles from our path.
NOOSE- The noose usually held in Ganesha’s left hand,. It is used to capture and then hold obstacles or difficulties from us.
GOAD- The goad usually held in Ganesha’s right hand is used to remove obstacles or difficulties from our path when he judges that right in relation to our karma and dharma.
MODAKA- It is a sweet, round cake made of rice, coconut and sugae. Modaka is offered to Lord Ganesha. Sweet and joy is hidden in everything. It is symbol of Jnana conferring Bliss.
BROKEN TUSK- The symbol of sacrifice.
HIS HUGE BELLY- It is the indicative of His Tolerance and signifies that all things, the entire Universe are contained in Him.
MUSHIKA- Mushika is the Lord Ganesha’s mount. His mount represents the worldly desires which are ato be overcome.
KALASHA- A husked coconut circled by five mango leaves on a copper pot, is used in puja to represent any god espescially Lord Ganesha.
Breaking a coconut before His shrine is the ego’s shattering to reveal the sweet fruit inside.
Shattering the brittle shell of ignorance to reveal the sweet spiritual truths inside.
SWASTIKA- Swastika is the symbol of Auspiciousness and good fortune.
THE CROOKED ARMS- devote that the path towards our objectives is not always straight. The indirect way the Divinity is apprehended by intuition.
POTTU- Pottu symbolizes the opening of the third eye seeing with the superconscious vision of the soul.