BAPS Kids - Things to Know

(58) Murti Puja

Murti pujã is veneration to the Divine through a murti. This inspires divine virtues in devotees.

Sanãtan Dharma believes in murti pujã – worshipping Bhagwan, His avatars and deities in the form of images. Followers faithfully believe the presence of the Divine in such images and as such, offer them worship with faith (shraddhã) and loving devotion (bhakti). In turn, due to His krupa (grace), the Divine accepts this bhakti. Throughout Sanãtan Dharma’s history, He has let His manifestation and divinity known through various murtis and events. His singular purpose in this, is to foster the bhaktas’ shraddhã and bhakti.

We are obliged to Bhagwan for many reasons. Therefore to offer our gratitude and respect, we become eager to do His pujã.

This develops virtues like benevolence, love, purity, truth and nonviolence in our hearts. Forgetting Paramatma’s infinite grace on us, we become egocentric. To prevent this, it behoves upon us to remain humble and vigilant. In order to kindle Paramatma’s divine attributes in us, we perform His murti pujã.

In Sanãtan Dharma, there is only one Creator of the infinite cosmos, who is supreme, the all-doer, eternally divine, and eternally with (human) form. There are infinite jivas (souls) all bound by the ignorance of mãyã. For mukti – redemption from mãyã, the jivas’ best and only resort is to accept surrenderance at the feet of Paramatma, and to then serve and offer humble devotion to Him. The devotee can never become Bhagwan. Bhakti (devotion) remains the status quo before and after moksha. In other words, bhakti becomes the means and the goal.

This devotion and service is amenable only if Paramatma is manifesting (pratyaksh) on Earth. The all merciful Paramatma, for the benevolence of His bhaktas (devotees) does incarnate on Earth. During this period, the bhaktas get a chance to offer devotion. When He physically leaves this world, He then manifests through His murti. This murti is not just an image or a symbol, but revered as Paramatma Himself.

To facilitate bhakti, Paramatma manifests in the murti. By focusing the mind (chitta) and senses on His murti, worldly desires are easily subdued. By this one’s prãna – lifeforce – is also controlled and one attains the state of nirvikalp samãdhi – the highest state of realisation by the jiva.

The uniqueness of Paramatma’s murti pujã is that through this medium, the bhakta experiences bliss resulting from bhakti. Once the bhakta’s mind stills in Him, he is liberated from the vitiating influences of his baser instincts. The word pujã is derived from the Sanskrit root puj, meaning, to worship, to adore. Pujã is the act of worshipping, encompassing a host of feelings such as faith, humility, veneration, surrenderance and thanksgiving. Pujã is a meeting with Bhagwan.’s pujã
We do Bhagwan’s pujã to show our reverence for His infinite krupa – grace. Pujã teaches us how to love Him. It lightens the load of our debt to Him. Pujã develops virtues. Pujã brings fulfillment.

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