Benefits of Cosmic Puja
What are the benefits of the Cosmic Puja? What are the qualities that are developed, the wisdoms gained, etc.? When is this the appropriate primary puja?
These are from a few slides from our new class on the meaning and performance of the Cosmic Puja. I hope they will answer the question.
The Cosmic Puja is a Universal Prayer for Peace for all the beings of existence. It is a guided meditation, which teaches us to perceive events in life without attachment, to free ourselves from the bonds of karma, and cease to react to every stimulus. Through wisdom and discrimination, we design the circumstances we desire in life, and in this way we act with the greatest efficiency. All actions become perfect actions, and no longer are we required to return again and again to finish our incomplete work. This is the path of liberation. This is the purpose of the Cosmic Puja.
We meditate to surrender Too Much and Too Little, cut down Self Conceit and Self Deprecation, and surrender the Great Ego itself at the feet of the Divine Mother Goddess. Then we will be able to see that all of Existence is Being, Becoming, and Rest; desire, activity and wisdom. All of existence is in constant transformation caused by the Three Divine Couples: Brahma and Saraswati Creating, Vishnu and Laksmi Protecting, Shiva and Durga Transforming.
This is the Cosmic Puja, the worship of the Energies of the Eternal Existence and the Consciousness which perceives them; the three qualities in Constant Motion: coming into manifestation, having a time of play in the circumstances of life, and transforming again into something else. Without Too Much or Too Little, without Self Conceit or Self Deprecation, in the absence of the Great Ego, we can perceive without attachment the Dance of Nature and intuit the presence of God.
All Gods and Goddesses are one Family
I pray primarily to Durga as the Kuladevata, however I also pray to Hanuman, Shiva, Vishnu and the rest of the family. I sometimes feel confused. How can I see them as a whole, please give me guidance?
Please read the Cosmic Puja. All the Gods and Goddesses are members of the one family of divinity. Be free. There is no conflict.
Many deities and one chosen deity
How does the worship of many forms of deity relate to the notion of having a chosen deity, or Ishta Devata? There seems to be two directions along which an altar can evolve. One is toward a cosmic altar that has many forms of deity and the other direction is toward an altar that has only one, chosen deity (one’s ishta devata).
It is called Ekadista or Vyasti as compared with Samasti. Both are ways of worshiping and of setting up the altar. Both are correct. In both ways we still worship all the other forms of divinity, but they are worshiped in the presence of flowers rather than murtis.
Bahya Matrika Nyasa
In the Bahya Matrikaa Nyasa, the word “base” is used as a reference. For example, Om am namah R.1.4 base top of head, Om pam namah L.1.4 base L.side. What is meant by “base”?
On each finger there are three spaces divided by the joints. The base refers to first space on each finger next to the palm of the hand.
Is an actual homa to be done in the section on Agni Prajvalitam?
No, visualize a circle of fire surrounding yourself and the deity. No other vibration can enter the circle. Then make the walls of the fire continually higher.
Where do Krishna and Ram fit into the cosmic family?
They are both incarnations of Vishnu, and included in the Vishnu mantras.
Brahma and Brahman
Brahma is referred to as the Supreme Divinity and also as the Creative Capacity. Sometimes in transliteration the first is written Brahman, but apparently not always. How do I distinguish the two?
From the context of the text.
In the Bhuta Suddhi, the bijas for the chakras are lam, vam, ram, yam, ham, and om. Are there also deities for the respective chakras? If so, what are they?
Please refer to the table on page 97 of Cosmic Puja.
Where to make offerings
Do you offer puja materials on the Chandi Yantra as well as the idol of the deity?
In our tradition we do not break our asana from the time we take the sankalpa. Therefore, all offerings are made on the main flower situated on the yantra so we have no need to stand up.
In the Bhutasparana section, we call upon friendly spirits to get rid of the bad ones. Should we make material offerings to the good spirits to persuade them to help us get rid of the bad spirits? Should Hanuman be invoked for protection? How often does one do this?
Traditionally we offer rice to the good spirits in the four directions. I personally find it too difficult to clean up so I offer flower petals on the altar. For the bad spirits, traditionally we offer black sesame for the bad spirits. Again I offer flower petals for these mantras too. For the demonic ones, invoke Hanuman or Devi (Chandi, Chapter 12). One can perform the Bhutasparana every day as part of the Cosmic Puja.
Prana Pratistha and Nyasas
What is the internal significance of Prana Pratistha and Nyasa? What exactly do these mantras do? Do they have the overall effect of enhancing the potency of the Japa Mantra that follows? Is Japa with Nyasa more powerful?
The easiest and most effective puja is to sit silently in contemplation of the Supreme Divinity within ourselves with only one mantra. But the mind is restless. It won’t sit still that easily. It wants to roam from the past to the future, and rarely observes the truth of the present. The rishis designed the pujas to guide the mind into that stillness. The Pratistha and Nyasa Viddhis allow the establishment of all the vibrations of existence into our being, and then the establishment of the Divine Mother as the embodiment of all that energy.
Can I do Prana Pratistha myself, as no brahmin is around to perform it. And how would I proceed for murtis of Shiva, Ganesha, Krishna, and Lakshmi? What are the mantras and so on?
Yes you can perform it yourself. Please use the mantras from the Prana Pratistha in the Cosmic Puja, and then add the bija mantras for each deity.
How do the different mantras of the Pratistha or Nyasa correspond to the different chakras and nadis (chakra petals)?
Please refer to the explanation published in our books. The correspondence begins at the Muladhara to the Ajna chakra.
Just as receiving initiation into a mantra makes it more potent for the sadhak, does one need initiation into the Pratishtha and Nyasa mantras as well to enhance their effect?
Everything works better when we have an oral transmission of knowledge, and even better when we can do our sadhana in the presence of a pure example of someone who is practicing that sadhana. There are so many nuances in every action that cannot be explained in an email or even a book. But we must do the best that we can. When circumstances allow, we will come into that relationship which inspires us to actually adjust our life styles so that we can receive the teachings first hand. Until then we must follow the teachings to the best of our abilities, and maintain the sincerity to continue to progress.
In the Cosmic Puja, is it deliberate that the Prana Pratishta is mentioned twice, or should it just be done once?
We make Prana Pratishtha many times during the puja: on the deity, on the pot, on the worshiper, on the yantra, and on the fire.
Energy inside and outside the pot
On the one hand, when you were talking about the pot and you said that there is energy outside and energy inside, seems like there is only one energy. And then you said each manifestation is a different energy. Could you explain this?
In the Cosmic Puja, puja naivedhya is initially addressed to the Goddess. At the end, the text shifts it to addressing God. Is there any significance in this shift?
Three levels in the altar
The Introduction (to the Cosmic Puja) talks about three levels of the altar and that as we move up the altar the way we perceive the world changes. Could you give us some examples from your life about how this happened?
Cosmic Puja cover – Puja and Altar (Murtis)
I am mesmerised by the idol of Durga (Chandi) Maa on the front page of the cosmic puja book, where She is riding on the lion slaying Mahisasur. Is there an actual murti like that somewhere in a temple in India?
She, this murti is prepared in different parts of Bengal every year. She is worshipped for the Navaratri and then dissolved again in the Ganga.
The Cosmic Altar has been described in the Vaikritikam Rahasyam (from the Chandi Path) as the best way to worship Her. Does this mean that we should position the deities in our homes in the manner described in the Rahasyam? Would you advise us to model our altars at home based on the Cosmic Altar?
It is an extremely sophisticated form of worship. Certainly we want to move in that direction, but don’t move so fast as to make our worship a burden.