Every Puja has its own importance and each Puja requires different Puja samagri (items). However, there are some Puja items that are common to all Pujas.
The Vedic Pujas have a comprehensive list of items that are used and required during Puja services. Each Puja item has a meaning or symbolism.
Hindus perform daily Puja at home using different Puja items. Some of the important ones are:
Akshat or Rice is a symbol of prosperity, fertility and auspiciousness. During a Puja ritual, it represents offering the deity clothes, jewelry, food or any other offering. Akshat is also known to attract the energies of the divine deities. It is usually placed in the centre of the Puja thali to attract the energy of the principal Gods. It is believed when the rice is offered to the deity, the energy of the deity is transferred in the Akshat and that energy is then absorbed by the other elements in the thali. Hence, Akshat is sprinkled during a Puja.
Achmaan is the purification of the inner self by partaking Holy water. The instrument used to partake the Holy water is called Achmani. The water stored in a copper vessel and an Achmani is used to give the Holy Water to the devotee. The Achmani is usually made in copper. Water stored in copper vessel is said to be good for overall health.
It is a vessel to store water mainly made of copper as copper is known to purify the water. It is used to dispense holy water and is used in Puja ceremonies. Copper vessels create a natural purification process. It kills molds, microorganisms, bacteria and viruses present in the water. Copper is an essential trace mineral that is vital to human health. It has antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps neutralize toxins.
The bell or Ghanti has a symbolic meaning: the curved body of the bell represents Lord Ananta, the tongue represents Goddess Saraswati and the handle represents Prana Shakti which is symbolically linked to Garuda, Nandi or Sudarshana Chakra. The vibration of the bell cleanses the Chakras and balances the flow of energy in the body. The ringing engages all senses and stimulates the inner ear. The mind disengages from the thoughts and becomes focused and receptive. Bells made a combination of metals like Cadmium, Copper, Zinc, Nickel, Lead, Chromium and Manganese create a sound that unites the left and the right parts of our brains.
To prevent loss of spiritual energy from being grounded, it was advised by the Vedic sages to sit on a mat made of Kusha, tie the Kusha to the Shikha and wear a Kusha Pavitri on the ring finger during Puja rituals. Kusha has a purifying effect on all Puja articles, especially on water.