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Puja is the act of showing reverence to a god, a spirit, or another aspect of the divine through invocations, prayers, songs, and rituals. An essential part of puja for the Hindu devotee is making a spiritual connection with the divine. Most often that contact is facilitated through an object: an element of nature, a sculpture, a vessel, a painting, or a print.
Puja means worship,devotion and reverence. Puja is believed to be derived from the word 'pu-chey',or worship. The term puja is now used to include all forms of worship, ranging from the simple daily offerings of flowers, fruit, leaves, rice, sweetmeats and water to the deities in homes or temples, to the sacrifices in temples dedicated to Kali, Durga and other female deities.
There are three kinds of pujas: "Dhirdha", "Madhya" & "Laghu". Puja ritual of idols of God has become in recent times a great of faith and belief in Hindu Religion. Puja is not only performed in temples but also in most of our homes. we worship God in our meetings before we start our days' programme of Jagran/Bhajan/Kirtans/ Ramayana and /or study of scriptures. The object of the puja ritual is to create and setup thoughts of spiritual forces in and around us. This is best achieved by chanting of some Mantra ,Bhajan or Chalisas, The benefit of puja is to remove obstacles. The pujas are performed on behalf of those who request them by us. Some of the benefits for doing specific pujas include: Obtaining happiness and peace by getting rid of malefic forces. Removing troubles that prevent us from starting on a spiritual path or business Gaining material spiritual, prosperity and abundance. Creating positive vibrations in the house, when starting new ventures such as a new job,business. Removing obstacles if suffering from losses, when starting a new business or investments. Improving the general health of body and mind, for a speedy recovery from illness. Increasing leadership skills. We can enhance the benefit of the Puja by doing spiritual practices. Some of the commonly observed practices include Meditation, Mantra Japa , Silence, Prayer, Fasting or Repeating God's name, charity. These vows can be done for one day or as long as you wish. The result of these actions is to enable us to imbibe more deeply the spiritual energy invoked by the Puja and to help purify us.
The word Linga implies mark or symbol. In Sankhya Darshan, an ancient stream of Indian philosophy even Prakriti (nature) and Vikriti (distortion of nature) have been referred to as Linga. Skand Purana says LAYANAALLINGA MUCHCHYATE. That means, Linga is Pralay. During the Pralay, everything is incinerated and annihilated in Linga. Even Vedas and other scriptures too annihilate in the Linga. All of them then reappear from the Linga when the creation begins afresh once again.
According to a tale in Shiva Purana, once, a dispute erupted between Brahma and Vishnu regarding greatness. Both of them claimed their greatness. The dispute grew so high that, it is said in the tale, Brahma and Vishnu got ready to destroy each other. Just then, a gigantic Shiva Linga appeared between them. It was radiating intense flames. A celestial voice advised Brahma and Vishnu to fathom the beginning and end of the Linga in order to prove their greatness. But none of them could fathom the Linga completely and returned in submission. Lord Shiva then appeared in the Linga and said- "Since I have myself appeared from this Linga, this place will be known as Lingasthan in future and this fathomless Linga will assume a miniature appearance so that all the living beings can easily have a complete sight of it and worship it.
One day, Shankar was roaming in Daarukvana completely naked and carrying His own phallus in hands. His appearance and activity had a luring affect on the women folk of the sages who inhabited the forest. But at the same time, it infuriated the sages as well who cursed Shankar that His phallus would fall on the earth. Indeed, the phallus fell upon the earth but began to burn everything because of its intense flames. All the gods prayed Lord Shiva to end this ordeal. At their prayers, Lord Shiva installed the Linga in a vagina. In this form, Shiva Linga is still worshipped all over the world. Shiva Linga installed in vagina in fact symbolizes divine nature and the supreme masculine force.
Once, Shukracharya visited Kailash to see Lord Shiva but he could not see Him because Shiva was then copulating with Shakti. Indignant Shukracharya cursed Shiva that only His union with the feminine genital would be worshipped.
According to a tale in Narad Panchratra, all other deities except Shiva are womanish in virtues. With the power of their penance, Brahma, Vishnu and Daksha produced Kaalika Devi. Devi asked them to seek a boon. They said- "O mother! You please lure Lord Shiva in the incarnation of Daksha’s daughter."
Kaalika said- "How can I do it. He is a small boy and no match for me."
Brahma assured her that Shiva was not a small boy and was in fact a complete man. Kaalika then took birth as Daksha’s daughter, Sati. In due course of time, she got married to Lord Shiva. Whenever and wherever radiance resulted from their copulation, it fell on the earth and assumed the form of Shiva Linga installed in vagina.
According to another tale, the gods and the demons had frequent wars and every time, the demons used to defeat the gods. Every time after their defeat, the gods took refuge at Brahma. Thus, annoyed by their frequent visits, Brahma led the gods to Lord Shiva and asked about the reason for their frequent defeats. Lord Shiva said- "The gods do not worship my Linga whereas the demons worship my Linga with full faith and devotion. This is the main reason for the gods’ frequent defeats."
Thus, following Lord Shiva’s advice, the gods also started worshipping Shivalinga. By the virtue of this worship, their strength increased steadily.
A Shivalinga typically represents Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Brahma is present at the base of Shivalinga, Vishnu in the middle and the upper part is occupied by Lord Shiva Himself.
MOOLE BRAHMA TATHA MADHYE VISHNUSTRIBHUVANESHWARAH !
Nature is the combined manifestation of all the vaginas, which
symbolize fertility. It is in the root of Shivalinga also. A Shivalinga
established in a vagina shows supremacy of joy and is in itself
joy. Shivalinga symbolizes all the ingredients of the universe.
Because of all these reasons, Shivalinga is worshipped.
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