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2000-2005 by the Shakti Sadhana Group. All rights reserved.


Q: What is Panchopachara?

A: It is the simplest pooja; a pooja requiring nothing it's all mudras

only. The other poojas are but elaboration of this.

Q: How is it performed?

A: There are two versions of this pooja. I will teach you the one called
jalaadi jalaantam "starting and ending with water." Though the
materials are five, the steps are six (in the other version, it is five
materials and just five steps). The principle in this version is that
everything arises from water and ends in water; which is in
consonance with the Vaidik concept of deluge that everything starts
after a deluge and ends in a deluge.

Q: And these are mental offerings accompanied by mudras are they

the same offerings symbolized by various materials in gross pooja?

A: Yes, exactly. In gross pooja, jalam is water; gandham is sandal paste;

pushpam is flowers; dhoopam is scented smoke; deepam is the lamp.

Q: Okay.

A: Good, then we will proceed.

1. So the first step is saying vaM apaathmanaa jalam kalpayaami

saying this, one shall rub the ring finger with the thumb from the base
to the tip, both hands. My aunt's father-in-law used to say, "When you
rub the ring finger with the thumb as part of pooja
and say 'vam' then water should flow from the tip of your ring finger." I
said, "It is not possible." He said, "It is!" and he showed me. That
shows the concentration needed. As you rub, imagine all the pure and
offerable waters of the world as being offered to the deity.

2. The next step is rubbing the little finger with thumb base to tip,
reciting laM prithivyaathmanaa gandham kalpayaami. Here we offer
the deity all that is sweet-smelling in the gross world. When you do
that you must feel the sweetest otherworldly smell.
3. Next you rub the thumb from the base up with the index finger,
reciting haM aakaashaathmanaa pushpam kalpayami. Thus we offer to
the diety the best most beautiful and sweet smelling flowers. You must
visualize all of these flowers innumerable in number manifesting
out of the tip of your thumb at the feet of the deity.

4. Next is the index finger, and you say yaM vaaywaathmanaa

dhoopam kalpayaami, "all the best incenses are offered here in form of
sweet-smelling smoke" and you must manifest the smoke.

5. Then the middle finger: raM vahnyaathmanaa deepam kalpayami.

The primordial light that first came is offered to Her and you visualize
the darkness of ignorance being removed by this Divine Light.

6. Then, again, the ring finger, but this time with vaM amritaatmanaa
naivedyam kalpayaami. With that you offer all that is exquisitely edible
and nutritious to Devi; and with that, everything goes back to its
primordial state. Finis. Is your question answered now?

Q: Yes, thank you!

A: Happy New Year!


(1) The index finger is used to rub the thumb, and all other fingers are
rubbed with the thumb. Use both hands.

(2) The preamble is whatever you usually do before a pooja. If you

have an altar, you might sit and do your usual japa, prayers, offerings
whatever you do. Then just take a deep breath and begin. The pooja
requires nothing -- not even an image of the Deity if you can see Her in
your mind. In fact, the whole pooja is an exercise in intense, focused
visualization. With frequent (preferably daily) repetition, you will find
that the imagery does begin to take on an objective reality, first in your
own eyes and later even in the eyes of third parties. Strange but
true! ;-)

(3) We can do this simple Pooja in the temple too.

(4) If you would like to, you can add anjali mudra [i.e. the familiar
palms-together gesture that accompanies Namaste] at the chest,
saying Sam sarwapratheekaathmakam thaamboolam kalpayami
namaH , which means I offer thamboola (betel leaves) as a
representation of everything.
Then anjali at the forehead- Samastha rajopachaaraan kalpayami
namaH - All Royal diginities are hereby offered

Then anjali over the head - anantha koti namaskaaraan samarpayaami-

I offer infinite namaskaras unto thee also.

Then it will be complete.

2000-2005 by the Shakti Sadhana Group. All rights reserved.