Born Out of Fullness: This Diwali, Know About The Real Meaning of Puja

By Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Diwali is the festival of lights, joy, prosperity, knowledge, and wisdom. Don’t just light one lamp. We need to kindle many lamps for knowledge to blossom and for the darkness to be removed.

A physical lamp represents you. You have to blossom with enthusiasm and life force. That is the real celebration of Diwali. How can you do that? It happens with knowledge alone, and not just with comforts, gadgets, money, or friends.

Knowledge brings real happiness and honor is a sign of divine love. The ceremony of puja imitates what nature is already doing for you. The Divine worships you in so many forms.

In puja, you offer everything back to the Divine. Flowers are offered in puja. The flower is a symbol of love. The Divine has come to you in love through so many forms: mother, father, wife, husband, children, friends.

The same love comes to you in the form of the Master to elevate you to the level of divine love, which is also your nature. Recognizing this flowering of love from all sides of life, we offer flowers.

Fruits are offered because the Divine offers you fruits in due season. You offer grain because nature provides you with food. Candlelight and a cool camphor light are offered; in the same way as the sun and moon in nature nourish you, revolving around you.

Incense is offered for fragrance. All the five senses are used in puja, and it is performed with deep feeling. Through puja, we say to God, “Oh, whatever you give to me, I give back to you.”

Puja is honor and gratefulness. There are many benefits of a Yagna ritual. It is known to bring Yasha (good name), Pragya (heightened consciousness), vidya (education), buddhi (knowledge), Balam (strength), Veeryam (valor), Ayush (long life), Aishwarya (wealth), and many more.

We pray to revive our connection with the divine. Anyone who is in touch with divinity can feel no lack.
The divinity is everywhere but it is dormant, and pooja (prayer) is the art of waking it.

The Pandits chant a very ancient prayer, which is said to be one of the first prayers of mankind from the Rig Veda-the Sri Suktam. Before that, Lord Ganapati is invoked, to remove all the obstacles.

Then kalasha pooja is performed, with a pot of water, where all the divine beings are invoked and prayed to for blessings for everyone on this planet so that they are bestowed with a good mind, a good heart, a good intellect, and wisdom.

Pooja is that which is born from the fullness of your heart.

Pooja is a way of connecting to the subtle world

There is Mahakali who symbolizes power, Mahalaxmi who represents material wealth, and Mahasaraswati, an epitome of wisdom. These are the different aspects of life that are governed by subtle energy, and pooja is a way of connecting to the subtle world.

The world that we see is just the tip of the iceberg because there is so much more. Now, how do we do that? We just have to sit in deep meditation and listen to the mantras; bathe in the mantras, which we call Mantra Snanam in India, and has recently become more popular as sound bathing in the west. The vibrations of these ancient chants energize our whole self or the soul.

Though we may not understand everything that is happening in the pooja, we just sit with eyes closed or eyes open and absorb all that is happening.

That is what is called shraddha, which means falling in love with the unknown. We know that there is something, but we don’t know what that is. Once we fall in love with it, we start knowing it.

Then you feel, “Wow, this is energy.” Then you realize that Mother Divine is not just a concept that has come from somebody’s mind, it is a reality.

There are two steps – love the unknown and once you do that you start knowing the unknown, you will realize that it is a part of you and not different or away from you. This is the Veda and the Vedanta, i.e., knowing the Divinity and merging into it.

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