Task 1: What do you think that this image shows? What can you see?
Task 2: Find the definitions of these keywords and write them down…
murti, mantra, yantra, puja
Hindu worship, or puja, involves images (murtis), prayers (mantras) and diagrams of the universe (yantras).
Central to Hindu worship is the image, or icon, which can be worshipped either at home or in the temple.
Task 3: Read the following information and summarise into five sentences:
Puja is a prayer ritual performed by Hindus to host, honour and worship one or more gods, or to spiritually celebrate an event. It is sometimes used to honour or celebrate the presence of a special guest, memories of someone who has passed away or to ask a god for something. When people use prayer or worship to ask for something, it is called petitionary worship. The word puja comes from Sanskrit, and means reverence, honour, adoration and worship.
Hindus perform puja on a variety of occasions and in different settings. Most Hindus perform daily puja at home, in occasional temple ceremonies and annual festivals, to few lifetime events such as birth of a baby or a wedding, or to begin a new venture. Puja is not mandatory, it may be a routine daily affair for some Hindus, periodic ritual for some, and infrequent for other Hindus. In some temples, various pujas may be performed daily various times of the day; in other temples, it may be occasional.
Within the temple or shrines within the home, murtis are treated like royalty – they are bathed, dressed and given meals. Different gods are worshipped at different times and for different things. Ganesh is the most worshipped god as he is the ‘remover of obstacles’ and Hindus worship him when they are in a time of need.
Puja is typically performed by a worshipper alone, though sometimes in a presence of a priest who is well versed in procedure and hymns. In temples and priest-assisted event puja, food, fruits and sweets may be included as offerings to the deity, which, after the prayers, becomes prashad – blessed food shared by all present at the puja.