pūjā (worship). "Respect, homage, worship." The offering of food, flowers, incense, and other items to a deity. Often the food will be distributed and consumed afterword and is thought to impart the goodwill of the deity.


Most observant Hindus engage in some type of formal worship (pūjā) both in the home and in temples. In the home, Hindus usually have a special place that is used as a shrine, and which contains a picture or statue symbolizing the individual's chosen form(s) of God (ishta). Other practices in the home include meditation (dhyāna), the chanting of God's name or names (japa), and the recitation of scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita.

Before performing pūjā, the devotee usually bathes and wears washed clothes.

Visiting temples is not obligatory for Hindus. Hindu temple priests (pandās) are salaried workers, hired by temple authorities to perform ritualistic worship.

Priests begin to perform temple worship at daybreak, and continue with various rituals until late in the evening.

Besides home and temple worship, observant Hindus are supposed to perform every action as an offering to God as prescribed by karma yoga.

Worship of God through images

Hindus worship God through images (murti), such as statues or paintings, which are symbols of God's power and glory. Through such tangible symbols a Hindu tries to establish contact with the intangible God and the image, which is a symbol, acts like a link between God and His worshipper.

According to another view, it is not incorrect to think that God is in the image because God is everywhere.

Although most mūrtis are more or less anthropomorphic, the deity Shiva is worshipped symbolically in the form of a pillar-like stone called a lingam.

A few Hindu denominations, such as the Arya Samaj, do not believe in worshipping God through images.



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