Cultivating Bhakti Through Pūjā

There’s a certain kind of magic in deity yoga, where we develop an intimate relationship with the deity, the object of our adoration. Pūjā is the procedure of developing this deep and sweet intimacy.* 

The word “pūjā” is made up of , which means to purify or cleanse, and , which means birth. Essentially then, pūjā is a ritual of adoration of a deity with the goal of purifying or sanctifying our lives. Importantly, the deity becomes the ideal through which our lives are beheld and in the way we conduct ourselves from moment to moment. 

Pūjā is an essential part of life and sādhanā in many paths and traditions – the goal and purpose of ritual will therefore differ according to the path. It can be viewed as a barter system, where the pūjā is performed with the explicit purpose of getting something in return. It can also be rooted in superstition, where the fundamental premise of the procedure is not really understood. This is not to say that we need to understand every aspect of the procedure right off the bat, since the purpose of pūjā is to guide us to a deeper understanding of the ritual. 

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