Written by: KrishnaDas
Whoever offers to Me, with devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, I accept this offering made with devotion by one who is pure of heart.
Bhagavad Gita, 9.26
Throughout time humanity has developed innumerable ways of expressing prayer and devotion towards God. Rituals, being one of these methods, help us to focus, giving us direction and guideline. More importantly, they help us develop a relationship and connect with God.
We understand God to be omnipresent, yet, we see some people are more connected to him than others. Sometimes we notice it is easier to feel and experience Him in some places over others. Sometimes through saints, sometimes through temples, God starts to become a reality for us and we start to develop our own relationship with Him. What is easy to forget is that the merciful Lord will enter our homes as well so we can develop this relationship with Him there. He comes to us as our little Krishna murthi, as our Tulsi plant, as the padukas and picture of Guruji or any other form of God we place our faith and love upon.
Practising puja removes the mind playfully from its natural attachment towards the outside, the senses and its objects and centres it onto our object of love and worship, the deity. Simple Puja provides us with the essence of this sacred rituals in an easy and digestible way, it is the perfect start into the reality of Hindu prayer even for a western mindset with intricacy and mysteries to be teased out of the practice no matter how far they are into the path.
What makes Simple Puja really beautiful is the direct connection to God as you feel Him. You can express your love without any barrier and He is always there for you. I observed myself how if I just sit down looking at my deity my face lights up with a smile, there is this recognition, this connection. Everything around disappears and I am reminded of what is the most important in my life.
Paramahamsa Vishwananda so often reminds us how the soul's only purpose of taking on this material body is to attain the Lord, but not just attaining him but experiencing His Love in a vivid relationship. Simple Puja is an act of prayer. It is to take a little time for what is most important, the loving relationship between you and God.