Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shiva Panchayatana Puja

Panchayatana Pujas

aadityam gaNanaatham ca deviim rudram ca keshavam . pa.nchadevatam ityuktam sarvavarmasu puujayet .. 
At the time of Adi Shankaracharya, sectarian worship was very much in vogue. Each school claimed supremacy of their Ishta Devata and philosophy, and was not tolerant of other schools. The primary schools in existance where the sects of Ganesha, Surya, Vishnu, Shiva and Devi. A lot of time was spent fighting about the supremacy among these schools. This kind of fighting was not very productive, since it went against the ultimate advaita teaching of vedanta.
The panchayatana [shodashopachara] puja, traditionally practiced among Smartas was established by Shankaracharya, enabling us to worship our Ishta devata with an Advaita buddhi, while including all the other major sectarian devatas. The Ishta devata is placed in the center, with the other remaining deities placed around it.

brahmaa kR^itayuge vedastretaayaaM bhagavaan raviH . dvaapare bhagavaan viShNuH kalau devo maheshvaraH .. 
This puja is largely performed as a household worship by smartas. Thus, we find that sectarian tolerance among householders has increased dramatically over the past centuries. It is commonly performed with Shiva placed in the center as the Shiva Panchayatana Puja. The verse above eulogizes the worship of Shiva in this Kali Yuga.

susnaataH samyagaacaantaH kR^itasa.ndhyaadikakriyaH . uda.nmukhaH praa.nmukho vaa puujaakarma samaacaret .. 
People generally sit facing East, while placing the devatas in the following order:
Center
North East
South East
South West
North West
GanapatiVishnuShivaSuryaDurga
SuryaShivaGanapatiVishnuDurga
VishnuShivaGanapatiSuryaDurga
ShivaVishnuSuryaGanapatiDurga
DurgaVishnuShivaGanapatiSurya

However, other placements are followed by some practicioners:
Center
North East
South East
South West
North West
ShivaVishnuGanapatiSuryaDurga
GanapatiSuryaDurgaVishnuShiva
GanapatiShivaSuryaDurgaVishnu


aakaashasyaadhipo viShNuragneshcaiva maheshvarii . vaayoH saryaH kshiteriisho jiivanasya gaNaadhipaH .. 
The five deities are the embodiment of 5 bhutas worshipped in formless stones, which may be obtained from the following 5 rivers.
Deity
Bhuta
Stone
River
Place
GaneshaApaRed SonabhadraSoneBihar
SuryaVayuCrystalVallamTamil Nadu (Tanjavur)
VishnuAkashaSaligramaGandakiNepal
ShivaPrithiviBana LingaNarmada (omkara-kunda)Madhya Pradesh
AmbikaAgniSwarna Mukhi (Rekha Shila)SwarnamukhiAndra Pradesh


shaiva ca vaiShNavam shaaktam sauram vainaayakam tathaa . skaandam ca bhaktimaargasya darshanaani Shadeva hi .. 
Those who worship Subrahmanya may invoke him in an image of his divine spear, or in the image of a snake.

 Shiva Panchayatana Puja Variations

Variations of the puja include:
  • the use of laghunyasa and/or mahanyasa in the puja
  • shanmatha puja, with the addition of Subrahmanya puja
  • panchayatana puja, worshipping Subrahmanya in place of Devi
  • panchayatana puja, worshipping Subrahmanya in place of Surya
  • the worship of Nandi[keshwara] in the punah puja

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