Four part series on the Importance of Puja Samagri in Ritualistic Worship
Contd..Part 4 of 4
Tulsi is considered a sacred plant. The leaves are mandatory in the worship of Lord Vishnu and all his forms. Also known as the Holy Basil, Tulsi leaves are used while offering Naivedya to God. It is believed all deities reside in the Tulsi plant and it constantly emits the vibrations and energies of all the deities and makes the surrounding sacred. The plant of Tulsi is believed to be capable of keeping away evil spirits and negativity. Tulsi is also beneficial to get relief from respiratory disorders, fever, lung disorders, stress, and asthma. It also helps treat, cold, cough and flu.
As per Vedas and Puranas, an offering of the Bel Patra or Bilva Patra has a much deeper significance in Hindu Puja rituals. The shape of the leaf signifies the Holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. As per scriptures, the leaf also represents the three eyes of Lord Shiva. The trifoliate shape signifies the three Gunas namely, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. When the Bel leaf is offered to Lord Shiva it is believed to absorb the energy of Lord Shiva. According to Ayurveda, Bel leaves have medicinal and healing properties and is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal in nature.
Cloves and Cardamom
Cloves and Cardamom are a significant part of the Vedic ritual of Shodashopchar. Cloves in Puja rituals are used for the fulfillment of desires and success in work (Karya Siddhi). Cardamom is used to invoke and attract the energies of the deities. The spices are also used as part of the Aarti to drive away negative forces and energies and attract riches. In Ayurveda, both Cloves and Cardamom are highly praised. Cardamom is excellent to counteract digestive problems, acidity, nausea, gas, loss of appetite and constipation. Cloves on the other hand are antibacterial, antioxidant and help develop the immune system. Cloves are beneficial for gum diseases.
Dhoop and Incense Sticks
The smoke arising from the dhoop and incense sticks symbolizes our consciousness which is clouded with ignorance and creates a hurdle to the path of self-realization. When we offer dhoop it signifies us surrendering our indecisive and deceptive mind to God. Incense sticks and dhoop are moved around the place of worship in circles to clean the air and burn of negative energies. The aroma of the dhoop and incense sticks has a soothing and calming effect on the mind which helps perform rituals with better concentration.
Mauli is a blessed thread which is also known as Kalava. This thread is dyed in yellow and red and holds tremendous significance in Hindu culture. It is believed by tying the Mauli one gets the blessings from Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The thread is tied to invoke the blessings of the Hindu deities and it is also said to protect a person from disease, danger and enemies. As per belief of ancient priests, tying of Mauli on the wrist vein helps regulate the blood circulation. It is also considered one of the sacred threads for aura protection. It helps to purify the thoughts and turn the negative thoughts to positive.