Nitya Puja - Questions and Answers
(I) What is Nitya-Puja ?
Nitya means daily. Puja in Sanskrit meant to adore,
to worship. Puja is to worship God. Therefore Puja performed every day is known as Nitya-Puja. For example,
if someone saved us for drowning, then we would still remember him
on special occasions, such as his birthday, or Diwali. That is a
subtle act of Puja.
Nitya-Puja evokes feelings of live and adoration. On occasions
it may feel mechanical or robotic.
(II) Why is Nitya-Puja performed in the
The scriptures declare that the early hours of the morning are
considered especially auspicious. Therefore any sacred activity
performed in the morning will bear greater fruit. The remembrance
of bad or evil people, such as Ravana, in the morning will influence
an evil or bad desires or behavior. But on the other hand, meditating
on God and the Saint will awaken our spiritual attributes Dharma,
Jnan, Vairagya, and Bhakti.
So there is no better auspicious time for puja than early
morning. After a nights rest, the mind is more peaceful than
at any other time of the day. With a peaceful mind, thoughts of
a Divine still the mind further and make it pure. This will let
you transform the days chores into bhakti, into a festival,
to keep it free of misfortunes, the morning puja is a must and boon.
A unique fringe benefit of morning puja is that the mind
is calmed by the divine inspiration of God and His Sadhu and is
better able to ford through the days problems at work and
(III) Why personal Puja is necessary?
Some people reveal naively that one of their family members performs
a puja and lights a divo in the Ghar mandir,
so the rest have no need to do puja themselves!
This is not true.
When we feel hungry, if someone else eats on our behalf, will that
satisfy us? When we are thirsty, if someone else drinks the water,
will it quench our thirst? If we feel sleepy, and if somebody else
sleeps for us, will we be rested? No, only we can do those things
for ourselves. No one can do them for us.
(IV) Murtis is the Puja.
What should the Murtis be like?
There is only one creator, sustainer and protector of the infinite
universes and He is Paramatma - Lord Swaminarayan. Therefore
in the Nitya-Puja, the murtis to be worshipped are
of only Lord Swaminarayan and no one else (not even
his Sadhu, or even his bhakta).
(V) What is the sequence of the Nitya-Puja routine?
Devotees of Shree Swaminarayan Sampraday are advised to follow
the Nitya-Puja vidhi described below. First understand the
key items related to Nitya-Puja vidhi activities
- Getting ready for Puja : The Puja must be the very first thing one does in the morning.
Most satsangi will not drink or eat anything before their Nitya-Puja..
One wakes up in the morning before sunrise and takes bath or shower.
For puja get dressed with washed clothes. Preferably these
clotes are kept separate from those worn during the day. For males,
a dhotiyu and a shal are suitable.
For females, Sari or traditional dresses are suitable. After puja,
the clothes should be neatly folded and stored away. This inspires
noble thoughts during puja. It is best not to wear a shirt
and a pair of trousers, shorts or jeans during such an auspicious
Have a cup of water, spoon and some sweet, dry fruit, or fruit
to offer to God during puja. Satsangies often keep separate
set of pots to be used only for Puja or other such activities.
- Place and Asan for the Puja
The idea is to do puja where you have minimum distraction. Pick
such a spot, if you wish play a Kirtan, Dhun cassette in the background.
Sit on a piece of cloth or mat (asan ) facing North or
Now, pour spoon of water in your right palm and drink it as
follow: first time chant "aum Narayanay Namah" before drinking,
second time chant "aum Haraye Namah", and third time chant "aum
Now take a spoon or two of water and wash your right right
palm before next step.
Now you are ready for tilak Chandlo. This step is slightly
different for male and female. For male, the tilak should be
imprinted on the forehead using Gopi chandan paste and then
in the middle of the tilak a round kum-kum (red) chandlo should
be imprinted. ??? For female, only the Kumkum chandlo in the
forehead is prescribed in Sikshapatri.
- Mansi Puja:
Here are some ideas about how to do the morning mansi puja, you
can modify and add to it as you wish.
During Mansi Puja, close your eyes, recognize that
you are soul. Imagine that you are in service to God. You wake
him up, help him clean his teeth, take a nice bath, bring him
appropriate clothes, ornaments to wear and so forth. Serve him
breakfast, accept prasad from him. Do arti.
After mansi puja, open your eyes. In front of our asan another asan should be laid, for the Murtis. The Shikshapatri and the tilak-chandlo should be placed
neatly on one side. Lay the murties in front of you and invite
lord Swaminarayan to accept your Puja through the Murties.
Then do following:
- Offer flowers, and food/water you had prepared.
- At least do 5 malas ( going through each bead of the rosary
while chanting Swaminarayan) while sitting,
- At least two malas standing up (on your left leg and hand
- At least 5 pradakshina (circling murties in clockwise direction)
- At least 6 Dandwat or Panchang Pranam. Male satsangies
should do dandwat while female satsangies do Panchang Pranam.
- Now offer your prayers. O Maharaj! Please protect me from
the maya. Please protect me form our indriyas and antahkaran.
Please protect me form all types of evil, bad company. Please
accompany me at all times. Finally one touches the charans(lotus-feet)
of the murtis and brings one's hands to one's eyes. This is
known as charan sparsh.
- Now politely request Maharaj to take his place in your
- Fold up the murties laid in front of you.
- Now, read at least slokas from Sikshapatri.
This is the end of morning Puja. Now it is time to wrap up.
Put everything back as it was before. At this time you should
say Jay Swaminarayan to your family members and especially to
(VI)What are the benefits of Nitya-Puja?
By doing the puja everyday will bring you closer to Lord Swaminarayan.
Not just that but He will stay with you at all times and help you
in doing good things. He will also become very happy on you.
One achieves bhakti [love of
God] by hearing and chanting about the Supreme Lord's special qualities
even while engaged in the ordinary activities of life in this world.
Why do you say that the dreamland is unreal? Because, when you
are awake it is not there. Then so does not this very definition
of unreality apply to the wakeful state? When in the dreamland or
deep sleep the wakeful world exists no longer.
Nitya Puja - Questions and Answers