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SO14 0PS
Telephone: 023 8063 2275

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 Talking to God During Puja
Many have wondered what the priest is saying when he is chanting in the Sanskrit language, which is the language of the devas, the celestial beings. When he is in the shrine chanting and performing puja with water, flowers and other offerings, you may wonder about the meaning of those very complex rituals. The priest's craft is very important to the proper working of the temple in our lives. He must be pure and follow strict disciplines so that the Gods will be drawn to the sanctum. Through his chanting, he is speaking to God and the Gods, saying, "O God, I am going to perform this puja at such-and-such a temple located in such-and-such a place in your universe of forms, and this puja will be for the purpose of such-and-such. I hope that you will consider this worship auspicious and grace it, and that you will grant our needs and our wishes and bring good things into the lives of everyone in this community. I pray that we will please you with our worship, making no errors and forgetting nothing that should be done. But if we do, Lord, please forgive us and make the blessings of this puja just as powerful as if we had done it perfectly, without error. We beseech you to come to this temple and hover over the stone image with your body of light and bless the people. Thus, I am offering you rice. I am offering you fruits and flowers. I am offering you all the fine things that we have, so that you will come and stay for awhile."

The priest's initial chants are basically letting God know the place and purpose of this day's worship. He intones, "We hope we are pure enough in our performance of the puja that we sanctify the atmosphere here, so that you will come and be our honored guest in this temple." Then he bathes the Deity image, dresses the Deity in fine clothes, and worships the Deity so that the God from the Third World will come into this finite body in the First World, this body made of stone. Our bodies are made with bones, but we are not our bones. The God's body in the temple is made of stone, but He is not that stone body. His Third-World form is a body of light. He is a great soul, just as we are also souls.

During the height of puja, the God comes with all of His devas, His celestial helpers. They take the problems or concerns out of your mind, harmonize the currents of your body and dissolve all the problems for you. When that happens, you walk out of the temple feeling you have been blessed, having forgotten the concerns that you went in with.

"Would this work just as well if the priest chanted in English?" you might wonder. Yes, it would! In your mind you can talk to the God in English or in any other language, and He will understand. But the Sanskrit language has its own power, a spiritual vibration. It is a most ancient language, and far more subtle in its ability to communicate spiritual ideas and meanings. That is why it gives a good feeling to hear the ancient mantras, even if we don't understand them.

Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.
Kauai's Hindu Monastery


Page last updated  22 August 2023


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