Diwali/Deepavali – Rituals Initiation and Ganesha Pooja

 The rituals that may be practiced during Diwali/Deepavali are the theme of this post. Diwali/Deepavali is an appropriate divine occasion to atone for one’s sins and bring the mind closer to God’s feet. The lamps symbolize divinity and auspiciousness, and the light it emits is to spread these noble forces into our life.

Though the post may seem long, the ritual is very simple and takes little time.A thorough cleaning of the household is the first practice in the initiation of the Diwali/Deepavali celebrations. [I would also like to add that it hasn’t been specified in any scripture that works like cleaning should only be done by women. So please do help your mother and wife to make it a happy and unified effort J ]. It is a common custom to throw away old clothes and unwanted items lying around in the household [I would suggest donating it to needy people who would greatly benefit from even such little things].
Now choose a suitable spot at home where you plan on performing the pooja. Wipe the area with a wet cloth and place a clean cloth on the ground. Place a suitable stool or any similar elevated platform.
As with any ritual in Hindu tradition, after bathing, place an idol of Lord Ganesha on the platform. Then place two clay lamps (diya) on either sides of the idol and keep one main lamp in front of the idol. Then place idols/photos of Lakshmi Devi and Lord Vishnu on either side of Lord Ganesha. [Idols of other gods/goddesses may also be kept according to whom the family believes most in]. A separate lamp may also be kept to represent the family deity (if it is known).It would be advisable to place a suitable plate or utensil under the idols so as to avoid spillage of the pooja items.
Diwali
Now take water in a small copper/silver pot and pour it slowly over the idol of Lord Ganesha while chanting the following well-known sloka 3 times :-
Gajaananam bhootha ganaadhi sevitam
Kapitta jamboophala ssara bhakshitam
Umaasutam shokavinaasha kaaranam
Namami vighneshwara paadapankajam
[If you have placed a photo instead of an idol, then use a flower and sprinkle the content of the pot onto the photo while chanting each sloka 3 times]
Then similarly slowly pour milk which has been mixed with honey, while chanting the following sloka 3 times (16 names of Lord Ganesha):-
Om sumughashchay ekadantashcha kapilo gajakarnaka lambhodarashcha vikato vighnanashana vinayaka dhumraketur ganadakshya bhalachandra gajanana vakratunda shoorpakarna heramba skandapurvaja
Now pour water (or rosewater) again over the idol chanting the following simple mantra 7 times :-
Om Lambhodaraya Namaha
Now light incense sticks and place the prepared sweets and savouries in front of the idols in suitable vessels.
Now let the whole family chant ‘ Om gum ganapathaye namaha’ 21 times
Then let each member of the family take a flower in their right hand and chant the following sloka 11 times. Then place the flowers at the feet of the idol :-
Om Agajaanana padmaarkam gajaanan maharnisham
Anekadantham bhatanaam ekadantam upaasmahey
 
[Meaning -We praise the greatly compassionate giver of all boons to bless us with a boon]
If you have placed a separate lamp for your family deity, then make every family member chant a sloka of the deity and place flowers at the foot of the lamp…
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CONTINUATION OF POOJA – VISHNU POOJA & LAKSHMI POOJA

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