Hinduism-Basics of Hindu Prayers.

Hinduism-Basics of Hindu Prayers.

It is amazing how traditional customs, religious ceremonies and daily rituals are a part of so many cultures for as long as we can remember. Yet in today’s modern world and hectic lifestyle there is so little time to follow all in every respect the way our ancestors have done and taught. We try to accommodate most of the rituals, ceremonies and daily practices in the best possible way to keep the tradition alive and obviously to pass it on to the next generation which in my mind is extremely important.

Many of us wonder Why and How we do these rituals. So as I believe we should Share,Teach and most importantly you yourself need to Practice what you know teach and or share. Sound familiar? First and foremost Understand what you do and why we do it. Most of the time you just follow the family routine as you see your mom/dad practicing as you are growing up. That’s fine but as you grow up, you have questions and you wonder why we do certain rituals and the reasoning behind it or what to do and when and in what order. Many a times you cannot find an answer to it and you just give up or blindly follow the traditions. I love traditions and want to follow them, but I also love to do them because I understand them and want to follow them not just because I am supposed to.

This way, you understand and know what you are doing. All typical Traditional and ancient hindu rituals and practices have originally started with keeping one thought in mind. We believe that there exists a higher yet unknown authority above us and we surrender to that higher authority.

Hinduism also allows each individual to attain this peace and true everlasting happiness {Which is and believed to be the ultimate goal of human life}, at their own pace and give them freedom to practice their own way or path.  It offers many different levels and paths to choose from.  Hinduism is an extremely vast and extensive Ocean of Pure knowledge and it goes as far as telling us Humans that the ultimate Universal Creative force lies within yourself (Aham Brahmasmi) so long as you know and are able to reach within yourself to find it.  The one or multiple paths listed below can be practiced. Each of them is according to the mental/physical and spiritual level and passion of the aspirant.

  • Daily rituals of daily puja/worship/prayers (which include bathing, worshiping, and offering a lighted lamp, incense,fruits, nuts, reciting chants, shlokas, doing aarti to various gods and goddesses) preferably at sunrise and sunset.
  • Visiting temples.
  • Taking vows of silence on certain days/months.
  • Fasting on certain days/months.
  • Going on a pilgrimage (known as Jaatraa or Yatraa)
  • Meditation or Dhyaan (Includes Pranayaam- breathing techniques.)

These are the major Bullets.  All of these are various ways to attain one ultimate goal in Life and that is to find true everlasting Happiness, peace and the answer “where we come from” find yourself (your true self).

Most of us use the very simple day to day life style approach and try to find that by associating the gods and goddesses as supreme beings since they have/had supreme powers.So a simple and easy task as a start of the day in a typical Hindu family is rise as early as possible in the morning. Traditionally, before sunrise, and take a shower. We then go into the puja or prayer room or corner in the house and spend some time praying/doing puja/dhyaan(Meditation), chanting shlokas, mantras etc.Many of us also know / see our parents and /or grand parents bathing the idols(gods) statues, offering flowers, colored powders, doing aarti, incense(agarbatti), lighting the lamp diya)  and offering food or fruits nuts etc…

Now, how do we do this and in what order? Is a question I have always pondered over myself as I see many different families and people doing it in various different ways.

With some research and my passion about my ancient Indian culture and traditions, I have created a series/sequence of write ups in each of these categories. I will try to humbly present these to my blog members.

We will start with the most typical and popular styles of daily simple puja used in most western Indian Gujrati Hindu families. Stay tuned. for sanskrit shlokas, and English understanding of each of these coming soon.  Until next time.

Pratibha

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