Ritual, Puja, Prayer and Good Fortune.

Bangalore, 2014

Bangalore, 2014

Laksmi (the goddess of good fortune) Puja (worship).

A girl from Baltimore meets good fortune.

Today is Laksmi's day. In her various incarnations she takes the form of Vishnu’s wife, Rama's wife and Krishna’s lover. This is one important girl. Read more….

Attending Puja has an essential quality that brings me to a place of presence. I am awake, alert, tingling and alive

We enter the temple, touch the doorsill and ring the bell. We take our seat on the floor. There are women chanting. At least 20 of them, all in saris, all look to be middle age or older. The sound has a specific meter and it only has three notes low, middle, and high. The rhythm and consistency of the sound allows for meditation. Yoga always begins with the listening. By listening we give space to what is.

 

All this chanting is a preparation for the opening of the curtain. The temple is simple. It is a block building with small windows along the sidewalls. The floors are concrete and painted brick red. They are decorated with hand drawn mandala. There are metal railings in the middle of the space. These bars keep us to the right and to the left of the main shrine. The curtain is closed and the room looks plain except for a few iconic Indian deities in frames.

 

Behind the curtain live Vishnu and Laksmi. Vishnu is the sustainer and Laksmi is the source of his strength. She brings abundance (both material and spiritual) to her devotees. The deities are beautiful, dressed in jewelry, fine fabrics and flower garlands. The priests offer fire, oil, and green leaves. They bring those offerings out to us so we can be connected to what is happening. We participate. As the puja continues I think about abundance in my life. I think about the wealth that comes as a result of my practice

 

Yogis do not seek a material wealth but riches come. We dedicate our lives to practicing yoga for our own awakening and for the benefit of others. We engage in study where understanding and discrimination deepens and expands. We have been blessed with a wealth that brings us to a place of compassion and softness, like the open face of a flower. When I am in the temple I feel like a child, one who is cared for and held.

 

Patajali's Yoga Sutras speaks of the seven stages of knowledge. The first stage is a realization that the source of all abundance comes from within us. Every tradition at its essence reminds us that the kingdom of heaven lies within. Swami Vivekananda says, “After long searches here and there, in churches and temples in earth and in heaven, at last you come back, completing the circle from where you started. You come back to your own soul… and notice that She, is the nearest of the near, is your own Self, the reality of your life and body.”

 

This is so simple yet we tend to forget. Laksmi is cared for in the temple as a reminder. The service is an illustration of how we can attend that which brings us prosperity. Even to be living in our Untied States is considered a great boon, a great blessing.

 

Have you given thanks, on your knees, with all of your heart, for all you have?

Try it you might like it.

 

 

Subscribe to receive "A Beautiful Practice" directly in your inbox!

* indicates required