Puja (alternative spelling pooja; Sanskrit: "reverence" or "worship") is a religious ritual which most Hindus perform every morning after bathing and dressing but prior to taking any food or drink. Puja is seen as a way of relating humans to the domain and actions of the divine, and can be performed for anything considered divine, from Vishnu to a holy tree.
Puja takes many forms, the simplest of which is darsan, gazing upon an image. The image is not believe to be divine itself; rather, it embodies the divine energy of the deity and provides a connection to the god or goddess. Puja also usually includes providing an offering to the object of puja, such as flowers or food, and possibly lighting a candle or incense.
The ritual may be observed in silence or accompanied by prayers. Hindu priests chant prayers in Sanskrit or another language while performing puja.
Puja may be performed by an individual worshipper or in gatherings. Sometimes a puja is done for the benefit of certain people, for whom priests or relatives ask blessings.
- "Puja." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puja> Some public domain text from this source has been incorporated into the above article.
- "puja." Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions (Oxford UP, 2000), p. 461.