Nov 01, 2022
5 Primary Gods For Pooja
The panchayatana pooja or pancha devi deva pooja is a form of worship that is part of Smarta tradition in Hinduism. It involves worshiping five gods which typically include Ganesha, Shakti, Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. Sometimes, a personal god of the worshippers can also be added as a sixth deity.
According to the Smarta tradition, the five deities in this system are recognised as varied representations of Saguna Brahman (a divine presence manifested in the material world) as opposed to five distinct gods. The purpose of panchayatana pooja is to give peace and a sense of oneness to the worshippers. Ultimately, this mindset helps us be directed towards Brahman, which is the ultimate transcendent reality.
In this blog, we’re going to discuss the five gods that are worshipped in a quincunx pattern within panchayatana pooja.
Ganesha is recognised as the bringer of miracles and the remover of obstacles. He is also considered to be the deva of new beginnings and endeavours.
Because of this, he is a popular deity and is one of the most worshipped among the Hindu pantheon. The name Ganesha is said to be derived from the Sanskrit word ‘gana’ which means group or common people and ‘isha’ which means lord.
He is often represented with an elephant head, symbolising his status as the remover of obstacles. He also has a bandicoot rat as a vahana which represents his ability to overcome hardships.
Shakti is the deva of power and/or energy. The yogis (practitioners of yoga), recognise her as the representative of cosmic energy that is required to reach spiritual freedom. This primordial power can be creative but also destructive.
She is believed to have no true form or at least a form that is conceivable by humans. That is, she has no beginning or end.
Shiva is known as ‘The Destroyer’ and is considered to be the supreme deity in the Shaivism tradition. He created, transforms and ultimately protects the universe through the destruction of illusions and imperfections.
This supreme god is often depicted as an ascetic with a serpent warping around his neck, a garland made of skulls and a trident. His third eye is symbolic of insight but also of the capability of absolute destruction when pointed outwards.
Vishnu is a benevolent god who acts to preserve the universe. When earth faces troubled times, he usually sends an avatar to bring back the balance and protect humanity.
Since he has multiple avatars, he is often represented in various ways. Two of his most popular avatars are Krishna, a blue-skinned bansuri-playing figure and Rama, a person with dark complexion and a well-built frame. Often, however, he is depicted as a bejewelled man with blue skin and four-arms.
As the sun god, Surya is said to use his power to illuminate the world, cure diseases and provide warmth. He used to be one of the many solar deities in the Vedic period but has since been combined as a singular deity in Hinduism.
He is commonly depicted as a figure being pulled by seven horses or a seven-headed horse. Surya is also often seen holding lotuses in each hand.
Pooja is a worship ritual that is integral in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. As you can tell from this article, the rituals are quite involved and require knowledge of various pooja items and different deities. By learning more and more about such traditions, you will be able to expand your view on life and hopefully find inner peace and contentment.
You can also read, The Best (and worst) Materials to Use for Pooja Ceremonies