puja articles arranged in specific five layers. But why are puja articles arranged in specific five layers?
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First part of first layer is a vessel or plate meant for offering sacrament and the second part is plate for puja. This layer of puja articles is representative of combined earth and water element. To offer a sacrament is a sub-ritual of puja. The worshipper is totally surrendered at the feet of deity at this time. Therefore the vessel or plate of naivedya is given a place in downward direction. Offering sacrament to a deity pleases Superior deities, deity of premise and deity of a place faster. Whenever possible It is always beneficial to use banana leaf instead of metal vessel while offering naivedya to a deity because it is more sattvik ( spiritually pure).
This layer is related to aaptattva or absolute water principle. The articles used in this layer are kalash, a small cylindrical pot for water and a spoon for performing aachman. The water is clean and pure and hence is able to receive maximum amount of frequencies of deities. Therefore the kalash, cylindrical pot and the spoon are kept in the center of temple room. The water kept in the kalash maintains the correct balance of the five great elements. Generally a copper plate is kept in the centre and kalash is placed to its right while the cylindrical pot and spoon are kept to the left.
This layer contains the articles related to absolute fire element or tejtattva. Here the niranjan and incence sticks are kept to the right of worshipper and oil or ghee lamp and arti plate with camphor on to the left. The incense stick or Udbatti is kept to the right of worshipper. The deities consist of five elements. Out of these elements pruthvitattva or earth element emits fragrance. This fragrance being very subtle cannot be received by ordinary individual. The udbatti or incense stick has the capacity to absorb the subtle fragrance emitted by the deities. Thus when an udbatti is lighted the subtle fragrance of deities is emitted along with its own fragrance. For example when an udbatti having its own fragrance of sandalwood is burnt the subtle fragrance of sandalwood emitted from deities is also absorbed in it and the emitted in the surrounding atmosphere.
This layer is related to absolute air principle or Vayutattva. The two articles here are Shankh (conch) and bell (ghanta). Shankh activates destroyer form of energy of a deity and it is kept to the right hand side of a deity or to the left of worshipper. The bell activates the saviour or tarak form of energy of a deity and is therefore kept to the right of worshipper that is to the left hand side of the deity. The left side is a seat of Moon channel or Chandra naadi. The activation of Chandra naadi imparts coolness. The bell is clapped during the time of arti for its pleasant sound. We have already learnt enough about bell in the previous satsang. Now let us see the last or the fifth layer of arrangement of puja articles.
This layer is related to akshtattva or absolute ether principle. It includes two long lamps of equal height kept on both sides of temple room. When two long lamps of equal height are kept continuously lit with sesame oil on both sides of temple room, the energy of action of that particular deity is activated due to raja predominant sesame oil. These two lamps are representatives of Sun and Moon channels. Since the deities are more related to the tejtattva or absolute fire element the two lamps are also symbolic of that.
Thus we have seen that the arrangement of the puja articles is symbolic of five cosmic absolute elements namely absolute earth, absolute water, absolute fire, absolute air and absolute ether. From akashtattva (absolute ether), vayutattva (absolute air) was formed. Vayutattva created tejtattva (absolute fire). tejtattva gave birth to aaptatva (absolute water) and aaptattva created pruthvitattva (absolute earth). In short all the last four elements are formed out of akash or absolute ether or space. Thus akashtattva is all encompassing and assimilates all the principles. The pointed upper portion of the temple room is related to akashtattva and the frequencies emitted from this part of temple room manifest with the help of five elements as per the need of individual and work for him.
Benefits of arranging puja articles
- This type of arrangement leads to correct balance of all the five cosmic elements which helps the worshipper in receiving the chaitanya emitted from the deity to the maximum extent.
- When the worshipper invokes the deities in the beginning of puja it becomes easier for them to arrive at the place of puja in the form of frequencies with the help of five cosmic elements.
- These divine frequencies then charge every ingredient used in puja and the surrounding atmosphere also becomes purified.
- The forth important benefit is such arrangement does have an positive effect on the worshipper and increases his sattvikta.
- Such an arrangement creates sattvikta in both the worshipper and the articles of puja thereby spiritually benefitting the worshipper through the puja ritual.