Order of WorshipEach of the following orders is in use today. When Ganesha is not worshipped first, the five-fold worship is preceeded by a small Ganesha puja.
- [SV] Ganesha, Surya, Vishnu, Shiva, Ambika
- [RS] Ganesha, Shiva, Ambika, Vishnu, Surya
- [GK] Ganesha, Surya, Ambika, Shiva, Vishnu
- [VP] Surya, Ganesha, Ambika, Shiva, Vishnu
Samba Sada Shiva PujaThere are various distinct levels of worship in the Shiva panchayatana puja:
- The worship of the five major panchayatana deities
- Followed by the worship the five forms of Shiva (Sadyojata etc)
- Followed by the the worship of Samba Sada Shiva
In either case, the advaitic progression is unmistakeable.
It is interesting to note that the progression of subtely is also reflective of the movement of the kundalini. At first, the worship of the five major deities, is the worship of four-petalled muladhara chakra (Shiva in the center, and the four deities in the four petals). This moves up to the agya chakra with the worship of Shiva with the shakti-panchakshari, in the two-petalled lotus of Shiva-Shakti. This culminates with the worship of samba sada shiva in the sahasrara chakra.
Five faces of ShivaThe five faces of Shiva, also known as the pancha-brahmatmaka represent both the trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva), as well as the three fold progression of Shiva himself (Rudra, Ishwara, Sadashiva).
The ordering from Sadyojata is the reversal of the creation process, and is designed to take the ego-filled seeker to the ultimate source -- purusha, by leading us from the ego, to the mind, to the intellect, to the creative potential to its substratum. As per Shankaracharya's Upadesha Sahasri:
This five fold worship taught by the great Acharya is arguably the most important aspect of the Shiva Panchayatana puja. This is often found to be the culmination (central point) of the puja.
Ashta MurtisAs part of the rudra puja, we generally worship (in some manner) the ashta murtis & their spouses. The 8 forms represent the 5 tattwas, the Sun, the Moon and the Jivatma. The Sun and Moon are the life-givers, and the Jivatma is a reflection of the purusha-atma. Compared to the worship of the five faces, this eight fold worship is grosser.
The worship of the Ashta Murtis brings to mind the story from the Madhaviya Shankara Dig Vijayam where, the Acharya meets Lord Shiva as a chandala accompanied by the four vedas in the form of four dogs.
In our panchayatana puja, we continue to perform the worship of the Ashta murtis, which was performed by the divine sages of old including Adi Shankara himself.
Ekadasha RudrasThe Shiva Panchayatana puja can be considered a rudra puja which includes the other major deities. Thus, standard techniques of worshipping Shiva, such as the Rudra-Ekadashini may be used. When this is done, Rudra is invoked in each of his 11 forms in turn. The 11 forms are given differently in various works:
- Mrigavyada, Sharva, Nirriti, Aja Ekapad, Ahirbudhya, Pinaki, Bhava Natha, Maheshwara, Sthanu, Bhava, Kapali
- Kapali, Pingala, Bhima, Virpaksha, Vilohita, Shastha, Ajapada, Ahirbudhnya, Shambhu, Chanda, Bhava
- Mahadeva, Shiva, Rudra, Shankara, Nilalohita, Ishana, Vijaya, Bhima, Deva-deva, Bhava, Kapali
- Aja, Ekapad, Ahirbudhnya, Virupaksha, Revata, Hara, Bahurupa, Tryambaka, Sureshvara, Jayanta, Aparajita
Atma pujaOf of the most important parts of the panchayatana puja (which is found in most smarta pujas) is the atma puja, where the indwelling self, the witness to all activities, is worshipped. This is done partly as a purificatory process prior to touching the icons into which Ishwara is invoked. It is also done as an explicit reminder of Advaita.
Surprisingly enough, we come across an outline of a puja in the famous astrological work Prashna Marga, which mentions the Atma puja, and follows the general outline of the Shiva panchayatana puja.
After washing the feet, and purifying the body, propitiate Ganesha, and perform the Atma puja. Thereafter, perform the pitha puja, and worship lord Shiva in the center. Worship his family and retinue, and ofter the naivedyam. One should also pay homage with the panchakshari mantra.
This is indeed the panchayatana puja prayoga captured in a single verse. Since Shiva is usually invoked with his wife Uma as "sa-uma maheshwara" or "sa-uma-skanda maheshwara", the panchakshari mantra is often substituted with the shakti-panchakshari mantra, which includes the bija representing Shakti (Uma).
NyasaThe mahanyasa was codified by the great sage Bodhayana. The famed Appayya Dikshita is said to have included it in his nitya panchayatana puja. Due to its length (it requires about an hour), it is usually performed only on special occasions like pradosham.
In his grihya sutras, the sage has given a rudra abhisheka vidhi which does find a place in the nitya puja. This includes what is normally called the Rudra laghunyasa, a shodashopachara puja with the sadyojata and vamadeva mantras, and the worship of the five-faces and eight-murtis of Shiva.
Shodashopachara PujaKalpokta shodashopachara pujas, where the sixteen-fold puja of Vishnu, Lakshmi and other deities are augmented with the 16 mantras found in the purusha-sukta and/or sri-sukta are quite common.
There are similar procedures for the worship of Shiva. The shodashopachara puja may be:
- Prefixed with the 1st anuvaka of the Rudra Prashna (which has 15 parts)
- Prefixed with the [Shakti] Panchakshari Mantra
- Prefixed with the Sadyojata mantra (which has 15 parts)
There is no standard list of 16 upacharas in vogue today. In practice, few people offer exactly sixteen upacharas. Many practicioners offer around twenty upacharas as part of the shodashopachara puja. In particular, the use of pancha-mukha dipam is often added on to the shodashopachara puja for the panchayatana devatas (for obvious reasons).
Here is a list of 32 upacharas:
The following 16 upacharas are used in the worship of Nataraja (Shiva) at the famed Chidambaram temple
Monthly Vishesha Dravyas (for Shiva)
|Chaitra||damanaka||A type of flower|
|Bhadra||gudapupa||A kind of sweet|
As per the 'dvAdasha-mAsheShu visheSha-dravya-pUjanam' slokas, the substances listed above are particularly auspicious for worshipping Shiva during pournami of each of the twelve months. Thus, for example, the use of dIpa is particularly auspisious during kartika-dipam etc.
Abhisheka MantrasAs mentioned previously, the Shiva panchayatana puja can be performed in a non-exclusionary way, where the practitioner primarily worships Shiva, but also includes the other sectarian deities. Preferrably, it should be performed in an inclusionary way, where the practitioner worships all the five deities as the expansion of the same divine force. In the Shiva panchayatana puja, all the deities would be seen as an expansion of Shiva himself. Indeed, this is reflected in the very mantras we use in the puja:
The use of the following mantras is lauded in the worship of Rudra: Rudra prashna, Chamakam, Purusha suktam, Shri suktam, Brahma suktam and Vishnu suktam. The list includes the trimurties and also the female principle (i.e. all of creation). The following short suktas addressed to each of the panchayatana devatas is also appropriate.
Brahmanaspati (Ganesha) Suktam
somaanam svaraNam TA 4.3 gaNaanaantvaa TS 2.3.14 saijjanena TS 2.3.14 indra eNamadiidharat TB 2.4.2 praataganim praatarindraM TB 2.8.9 pavitram te vitatam TA 1.48
khyeSham vaishvaanaraM jyotiH TS 1.1.4 suuryastvaa purastaatpaatu TS 1.1.11 suuryasya cakshuraaruham TS 1.2.4 bhuurasi shreShThii rasmiinaam TS 3.2.10 suuryo devo diviShadbhyo TS 3.3.10 suuryo maa devo divyaat TS 3.2.4 suuryo maa devo devebhyaH TS 3.5.5 suuryo divodhipatiH TS 3.4.5
viShNornukam viiryaaNi TS 1.2.13 tadasya priyamabhi TS 2.4.3 pratadviShNustavate TS 2.4.3 paromaatrayaa tanuvaa TS 2.8.3 vicakrame pR^ithiviim TS 2.4.3 trirdevaH TS 2.4.3
pariNo rudrasya TS 4.8.10 stuhishruta.ngartasadam TS 4.8.10 miiDuShTamashivatama TS 4.8.10 arhinbibharShi RS 2.33.10 tvamagne rudra TS 1.3.14 aavo raajaanam TS 1.3.14
Vaak (Devi) Suktam
deviiM vaaca TB 2.4.6 anantaa TB 2.8.8
Sarpa (Subrahmanya) Suktam
namo astu sarpebhyaH TS 4.2.8 idam sarpebhyaH TB 3.1.1 nighR^ishvairasamaayutaiH TA 1.12