Temple visits are not compulsory but whenever visiting the temple one must buy a basket full of goodies to offer to the Lord. This ritual is very common in the South part of India.
As seen above, you can see the different types of offerings. Mostly the baskets are filled with fruits, but also milk is offered, an incense stick is burnt and flowers in a garland form is offered to the deity. I will be explaining each parts of the contents and the significance behind it.
On the photo above only half a coconut piece is show above on each tray or basket. One half is offered to the deity and the other is taken home.
We never offer the coconut as it is. We remove the fibre that covers it and offer the fruit that is free from all the external fibre. Only then is it possible to break the coconut. By breaking the coconut, the water in it flows out. The heart is the coconut and it is covered by the fibre of desire. The water that flows out is the ‘Samskara’ or purification. The fibres on the surface are the desires. We must strip the heart of all desires and offer the core without the fibre. It then becomes an offering to God. If we plant a coconut as it is, in course of time and by watering it, another plant will grow out of it. At the time of germination, there is water in it. At that time, the kernel will be clinging to the sides of the fruit. The water in due time gets dried up and the kernel shrivels and begins to drift away from the external surface of the coconut. If we try to get the kernel out, plant it and water it, nothing will happen. Our body may be compared to the shell and our life to the kernel. Our Samskaras are the waters inside the coconut. As long as there are Samskaras within us, the heart will cling to the body consciousness just as the kernel clings to the fruit.
Names of various fruits in Sanskrit:
Grape———– Draksha phalam
Lemon Fruit—–jambhira phalam
The Wood Apple—-kapitham
Rose Apple—-jamboo phalam
The fruits offered symbolize our detachment, self-sacrifice and surrender. This also seen as a plead to the deity that our hearts should turn sweet as the fruits that are offered.
The heart of the Hindu devotee should be as pure as the milk offered to the God. As simple as that. The milk is then used to do abhishekam (cleansing of the granite idols) with milk, sour milk, rose water, manjal water, ashes and water.
In Hinduism, flowers constitute an important offering made to the deities.
Flowers are used while doing pooja at home, temples and at sacred places. In
fact, rarely do we come across a p00ja in Hindu religion without flowers. The
idol or image of the deity in temple and home is decorated with garlands of
flowers and leaves. Flowers are also placed at the feet of deity and the idol is
also showered with flowers.
Details about the types of flowers that can be used for pooja and the method in
which they are to be used in pooja and rituals are mentioned in the scriptures.
Some flowers are associated by a particular deity; while a particular flower is
never used due to a curse etc.
Generally, flowers with strong odour are not used. Similarly, flowers without
fragrance are also not used. Flowers that are not fully blossomed are not
used. Mutilated and flowers eaten by insects are avoided. Flowers grown in a
garden is considered apt for pooja. Flowers collected from forest are also used.
Flowers used in a Hindu pooja are classified into Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The
classification is based on their color, fragrance, shape and origin. Sattva and
Rajas flowers are used in daily worship. Tamas flowers are avoided and some
are used during festivals.
Flowers like Arka, Nandyavartham, drona, white lotus, jasmine, coral tree
flowers etc. are considered as Sattva flowers. The Rajas flowers include Red
lotus, trumpet flowers, white thorn apple flowers etc. The Tamas flowers
include ketaki, China rose, cotton plant, Kasa grass etc.
Yep, flowers do play a main role in any Hindu occasion.
The use of incense is a traditional and ubiquitous practice in almost all poojas, prayers, and other forms of worship. As part of the daily ritual worship within the Hindu tradition, incense is offered to the deity (usually by rotating the sticks thrice in a clockwise direction) in His deity forms, such as Ganesha and Shiva. This practice is still commonplace throughout modern-day India and Hindus all around the world. It is said in the Bhagavath Githai that, “Krishna accepts the offering made to Him with love”, and it is on this principle that articles are offered each day by temple priests or by those with an altar in their homes.
That’s all folks 🙂