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Mother's Day and the Art of Padapuja

Updated: May 18, 2019

On Mother's Day, Shree Maa entered the Temple all smiles and giggles as She shared her contagious love with new and old devotees alike. This was to be Her first Mother's Day Celebration at the Lalita Chandika Temple, and the temple was packed with over 70 people.

Honoring Shree Maa as our Mother is a special blessing in itself, for it is rare to get this close to a Divine Mother, and here She is right in front of us at a temple in Yuba City!

I often hear from devotees around the world who have followed Shree Maa for years but have never met Her physically. They wish more than anything else to meet Shree Maa in person. And so it is with great humility and gratitude that we acknowledge the blessing to be with Her on Mother's Day.

The program started with a puja, which is an act of worship whereby we show reverence to the Deity or Guru by chanting mantras while offering flowers, cloth, malas, ornaments, and various other items. Performing puja gives birth to the highest merits, which is to be in the presence of God.

Swami Pranava performed such a beautiful puja that I will use this post to explain the basics of puja to the beginners.

The puja to Shree Maa was a padapuja, which is a special worship of the Guru's feet. Our puja always start by acknowledging and thanking all of the Gods and Goddesses for the opportunity to worship. Swami Pranav did this masterfully by offering cute yellow roses in a semi circle around Shree Maa's feet with each mantra.

Next we take a sankalpa, which is a resolve, or commitment, to perform something, and it usually refers to an intention to direct the heart and mind in sadhana or spiritual practices.

In this case we made a commitment to direct our focus and devotion onto Shree Maa and to perform the ritual of padapuja. The sankalpa is taken by placing a flower in the left hand, and chanting specific mantras to state our goal.

Swami Pranava places his pink sankalpa flower between Shree Maa's feet, making for a beautiful illustration of the art of puja. For when we love who we worship, be it a Guru, a Saint, or a Deity, our puja becomes a form of art, similar to an expression of graceful dance.

Then we pray to the chosen deity of worship to be so gracious as to enter our heart. This is an invitation for them to be with us, and to sit still in our heart.

Swami Pranava then offered Shree Maa a flower while he gently placed her feet onto a puja tray, for it is time to start worshiping her feet.

So why do we worship the Guru's feet? From time immemorial devotees have worshipped the feet of the Guru as it is their feet that transmit divine grace and light. The devotee can get spiritual elevation, divine qualities like humility, and wisdom through performing padapuja to the Guru. Even bowing down to the Guru's feet signifies that we surrender everything to the Guru.

Swami Pranava first washed Shree Maa's feet with water, and then offered milk, yogurt, ghee, honey and sugar, while chanting specific mantras for each item.

He again washed and dried the feet and placed on a yellow towel, where he decorated her feet with sindoor (red powder) and turmeric (yellow powder). By offering sindoor, we surrender all of our love and passion to Her lotus feet. The turmeric is symbolic of comfort and peace.

Other items that Swami Pranava offered were bracelets, necklace, rudraksha mala, a huge flower mala that went down to Her feet, and even a flower mala for Her hair! She looked radiant as She poured out the blessings to all in attendance and on-line.

She sat motionless for over a half hour giving blessing to all. Even through arati, She sat in silence while beaming with shakti. Arati is the offering of light to the Divine. Offering light in the arati is an expression of offering our complete love to God.

The entire puja took about 45 minutes, including the arati.

Then Shree Maa sang four bhajans to the Divine Mother, one of which was so filled with bhavana that most people in the room stood up and danced. Seelu and Ankita also danced for Shree Maa.

Darshan line was special because everyone who came for a blessing received a shawl and a prayer brochure that Shree Maa would like us to read and contemplate every day.

It was a beautiful program. No doubt that everyone, not only Shree Maa, experienced a blissful exhilarated state that will always be remembered.

Share this bhavana with the world!

Jai Maa!


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