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Flowers are one of the most colourful things that nature has provided us with. Humans have always found a place for flowers in their day to day lives, art, songs, and muses. We, the people of India have a special connection with flowers. We welcome guests with a shower of flowers and we also bless the young in our community with flowers. A newly wed bride decorates herself with flowers and at the same time, the dead are honoured with flowers too. It is no wonder that we use flowers to show our devotion to the Almighty too.
Lord Krishna said, "Even a drop of water, a blade of grass or a fragrant flower offered to me with devotion will please me". A pooja can be done without a number of naivedyas or things like sandal wood and saffron but it cannot be completed without a few flowers. Even the simplest of poojas will include some flowers that are offered to the favourite deity.
Today, we shall speak about why flowers are so important in the worship of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. We shall also take a look at the correct way of offering flowers to Gods. Read on for more information.
Why do we offer flowers to Gods?
• Flowers Are The Most Beautiful Things In Nature
Flowers are undoubtedly beautiful. When a devotee offers a flower to his beloved God, he is offering the most beautiful thing in the nature which can be afforded by him. In a way, offering a flower in worship represents the devotion and loyalty that a person has for his Lord.
• You Can Reap Benefits By Offering Flowers To The Gods
It is believed that when you try to please the Gods by offering flowers, the deity becomes pleased and showers the devotee with wealth, happiness, prosperity and health.
• Flowers Make The Surroundings Positive And Welcoming
Flowers have an innate beauty and fragrance that lend an aesthetic appeal to the area of worship. It calms the mind and brings in positive vibes that is conducive for concentration, meditation and prayers.
• The Word Pooja Itself Contains The Mention Of Flowers In It
The syllable 'Poo' in Pooja represents Pushpam which is a word for flowers. 'Ja' in the word Pooja stands for Japa. Japa is nothing but the repetition of the almighty's name. 'Ja' can also be explained as being a representative for 'Jalam' or water.
How Should Flowers Be Offered To Gods?
Often, flowers are offered to Gods mindlessly. That should not be the case. To achieve the goal of pleasing your favourite God, there are a set of rituals that need to be followed.
• Wild flowers and flowers that have thorns in them are never to be offered to the Gods.
• Each God or Goddess has a flower that they love the most. By offering them their favourite flower, you can reap their blessings easily.
• Care should be taken that the flower you are about to offer is sweet smelling.
• The flowers to be offered to God should be clean and free of any kind of blemish.
• If at all possible, make sure that the flowers that are offered to the almighty have been cultivated on a clean and pure land. If you can, it is best to grow some flowers in your garden and offer a few to your deity daily during worship.
• You should offer the flowers using all your fingers. Do the act of offering the flowers in a gentle and delicate motion.
• Keep your mind clean and bent on the almighty while offering the flowers. This is because while you offer the flowers, you are technically also offering the Lord your Bhava or the emotion and thoughts in your mind. Negative thoughts may cause negative effects to be manifested in your life.
• Never pick flowers form plants in the evening.
• When you pluck flowers, remember that they are being sacrificed to take your devotion to your God. Thank and express your gratitude towards the plants.
• Never pick flowers that are on the ground for a pooja. A fallen flower has already been offered to the earth. It can also be said that a fallen flower is dead and you cannot offer a dead thing to Gods.
• Never offer withered flowers.
• Never offer flowers that have not completely bloomed or still are buds. The only exception to this rule are the flowers of the lotus and champa.
• Never use flowers that are stolen, taken without permission or are received after a lot of begging. Buy flowers, use flowers from your own garden or ask for permission to take a few flowers from the garden of a friendly neighbour. You can also receive flowers that are willingly and wholeheartedly given to you.
• The flowers should not be washed using water before the worship. You can sprinkle some water on the flowers if you need to retain its freshness.
• An exception to the rule above is the bilva leaves which are technically leaves. If you do not have any more fresh bilva leaves, you may wash the old ones in water and offer them to Lord Shiva again.
• Lotus flowers are considered fresh for five days and can be used in those days.
• The flower must not have any insects in them.
• If you are using tulsi leaves, make sure that you do not use them on Sankranti, poornima, amavasi and dwadashi days and on Sundays.