What Is Pujaa?
Pujaa, as a general term means "worship". While worship has diverse implications and can vary with any number of circumstances, there are some attributes that must be observed for the principle of "Pujaa" to be invoked and to be of benefit. These attributes or principles are symbolism, philosophy and structure.
In the doctrine of Sankhya Yoga, Pujaa is the temporary unification of the individual principle with the principle of divinity, also known as "Mahata" or the higher principle of life. The symbolism of Pujaa is an important tool for understanding Pujaa's rationale and the benefit of such rational. The articles used, the methodology, the sequence of offering and the mantras used combine to unify the human or earthly 'frequency' with the divine or universal frequency. As a direct result, we experience spiritual elevation. The articles in use (or Sarjam) establish the Tanamantaras or subtle elements which are: Prithvi, Apas, Tejas, Vaayu and Aakaash as well as the Mahaabhutas (gross/physical) elements of earth, water, fire, ether and air. The Srotaa represents worldly principles or Manas, and the Murti represent the divine principle. By utilizing the articles and sequences, the principles of mankind and that of Divinity are synchronized and the result is Spiritual elevation.
By principle, any significant Pujaa must have a qualified spiritualist in officiation. This individual is the holder of the principles of mantra, philosophy and structure - he is the Pundit. In the philosophy of Vedanta, the Pundit or Vyaasa becomes Mahat (the unifying principle) and Buddhi or divine intelligence that merges the two separate principles of man and the divine force of universality. Mantra becomes his methodology and his level of spirituality and divine perception - on which Pujaa heavily depends for success - becomes the vehicle of spiritual transfer between the diverse forces of humanity and divinity. At the end of a Pujaa the individual feels the closeness to the divine as a direct result of the attributes of the Pundit. As a result, due respect must be paid to the Pundit as the conductor of the energies of the divine towards the devotee.
The structure of Pujaa varies with it's mode of performance and can be performed in as simple a way as an individual prayer to as vast a ritual as Mahaa Yagya. The section on Types of Pujaa deals with this in more detail.