To discuss: Puja and Embodied Religion
Puja (Worship, performed in domestic and public setting
Darsana ( Seeing and being seen by divine presence)
Bhakti (Personal devotion)
Mantra (oral and is considered capable of "creating transformation")
Temple worship can be huge temples, or small shrines. Domestic worship is present
also. Offerings at home, just in smaller scale than at temple: the gods donʼt need
anything from their devotees but we do it anyways, as if the gods were royal guests.
Puja involves taking a transcendent form of the divine and making it immanent.
Although deity is everywhere, it becomes embodied.
Embodied religious practices including puja, meditative and mantric practices,
pilgrimage, festivals, and deity possessions all mark the fundamental connectedness
between the all-pervasive divine force and its multiple local, accessible forms.
Transcendent becomes immanent. Variety of ways.
A theology of the image in Srivaisnavism. Gradually closer to a form that we can
- Para (supreme unchanging form residing in a transcendent space, Vaikunta)
- Vyuha (emanation forms)
- Vibhava/Avatara (particular descent forms)
- Antaryamin (“inner controller”)
- Arca * “form to be worshipped)
The relation of Puja to Bhakti
Underpinning the idea of puja is that of the deityʼs grace. While the recitation of mantra
and other rituals (such as bathing and adorning images of the deity) are understood as
the mechanisms or technologies that enable one to experience the connection between
the micro- and macrocosms, in most contexts, it is the emotional impulse of bhakti that
propels participation in embodied religious activities.
Gods enter the image and exit the image as well. We invite the deity to reside in the
statue and in the temple. And then when the deity cannot be supported anymore or a
festival is over, the deity leaves. The deity enters the statue when the priest paints the
eyes on it. He also holds a mirror in