Beloved Flower Lover,
Hindus offer flowers to Gods/esses in the temple as part of the worship process. This is called ‘Pu-ja’ – Pu stands for ‘Pushpam’ or Flowers and Ja stands for Japa or chanting the Holy names of Gods/esseses.
Ja also stands for ‘Jalam’ or Water as water is sipped during the Worship while chanting the Holy Names of Gods/esses. ( This is called Aachamanam)
What do Flowers represent in Hindu Worship?
Flowers represent ‘Nature’ or Prakriti.The word Prakriti is made of three syllables – Pra , Kri, and Ti. In Devi Bhagavatam, Sri Narada describes Prakriti thus.
“The prefix “Pra” in the word Prakiti means Exalted, Superior, Excellent; and the suffix “Kriti” denotes creation. So, the Goddess, Devi, Who is the most excellent in the work of creation is known as the Devî Prakriti.
“Pra” signifies the Sattva Guna, the most exalted quality, “Kri” denotes the Rajo Guna and “Ti” denotes the Tamo Guna.
The Sattva Guna is considered as the Highest as it is perfectly clear and free from any impurities whatsoever; the Rajo Guna is considered intermediate as it has this defect – it spreads a veil over the reality of things, so as not to allow men to understand the True Reality, while the Tamo Guna is considered worst as it completely hides the Real Knowledge. Thus when we offer Flowers to the Deities , we are actually praying to the energies of that the Gods/esses repreesent to trigger them from within ourselves, thus eradicating our Tamo and Rajo gunas and bless us with Sattwa guna which is conducive to the “Flowering of Consciousness.”
Offering Flowers to Deities is an important part of Hindu Worship. Different Gods/esses love different Flowers. Traditionally, it is said that we should only offer those Flowers that have a pleasant Fragrance and are cultivated on good soil . Wild Flowers that spring up everywhere and those with thorns should be avoided.
When we offer Flowers to Gods/esses, we are transmitting our Devotional ‘Bhava‘ or Emotion and are literally requesting God/esses to grant us Health, Wealth and Happiness(both Material and Spiritual benefits.) Hence the expression ‘Yad Bhava , Tad Bhavet. ‘ It is the bhava of ‘Surrender’ and Faith. ( Sharanagati and Shradda)
In Hinduism, flowers constitute an important offering made to the deities. Flowers are used while doing puja at home, temples and at sacred places. In fact, rarely do we come across a puja in Hindu religion without flowers. The 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.
Generally, flowers with strong odor 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 puja. Flowers collected from forest are also used.
Flowers used in a Hindu puja 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.
Tulasi is the most used pooja flower in Kerala temples. The name Tulasi means the incomparable one. Puranas mentions that pooja without the use of Thulasi is incomplete and hence worthless.
Durva Grass is an important offering to Ganesh.
Another important flower offered To Lord Ganesh is the Milkweed flower. It is known as Arka in Hindi and Eruku or Erukkum Poo in South India. Jilledi is the name used in Eastern India.
Another important flower offered to Lord Ganesh is Sanku Pushpam or Conch flower. Leaves and flowers of Screw Pine are also offered. It is known as Ketaki or Kedgi in Hindi and Kaita in South India. Thumba Poo , a small white bell shaped flower is also used.
Lotus is considered to be most important flower in Lakshmi Puja.
Durva Grass (Dhruva) is an important offering to Goddess Lakshmi. The flower that is usually avoided during Lakshmi puja is Thumba poo a small white bell-shaped flower.
Tulsi, or Tulasi leaves is the most important leaf and flower used in pujas and prayers dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Nandhyavattai is another flower is used in South India. Another important flower that is used in some regions is the Parijatha or coral flowers.
Flowers that are avoided during Krishna Puja include hibiscus, milkweed and angel’s trumpets.
The most Sacred 8 types of Flowers that can be offered to any God are
(1) Ahimsa (Non-violence),
(2) Indhriya Nigraha (Control of senses),
(3) Sarvabhootha Dhaya (Compassion towards all beings),
(4) Sathyam (Truth),
(5) Dhyaanam (Meditation),
(6) Shaanhti (Peace),
(7) Vinaya (Humility),
(8) Bhakthi (Devotion).”
Sincerity in the struggle to improve, is enough it seems. “Offer in the Pathram of the Body, the Manopushpam fragrant with Humility, the Hridayaphalam ripe with Tapas and sweet with the Rasam of Daya, Danam and Damam, and the Thoyam of Tears, welling out of Ananda are at the heart of this floral ritual.
Flowers constitute an important article of worship. The image in the sanctum is decorated with garlands flowers and with unstrung flowers. The flowers are offered to the deity at in worship. Flowers gladden the heart and mind; and confer prosperity. Flowers offered with devotion gratify the Lord. The devotees who visit the Gurudwara also offer flowers as token of love and devotion.
The Vedic arm of hinduism states that flowers represent,” SOUND OR SHABDAM”. Flowers are offered not for fragrance. They represent that you, we, I , are involving all the parts of our being and the flowers represent EARS.
In summary Hindus offer fresh flowers to deities as a symbol of love and devotion, and the presence of flowers is abundant in the portrayals of the arms of God.(Deity) .
What Indians call the Hindu worship ritual, puja, literally means “the flower act,” and it often calls to attention the high place within our persons. Hinduism uses the lotus to reflect that high place within us all. Those practicing Hindu in India, and across the globe, acknowledge the lotus as absolute beauty, purity and prosperity and the symbol of eternal life.
Wow, enjoy the power of flowers to acknowledge beginnings, endings and all the stages in our lives.
Peace and Joy