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How to perform a Shiva Puja

Shiva and Gauri while spending some "together" time
Shiva, a friend said they are busy tonight because they are performing a Shiva Puja. What is a Shiva Puja? - Ed

Om! Om! Om! Shiva Pujas venerate Me. But those who know Me know that I am also My own vehicle, Nandi - and I am also My Wife, Gauri. And I am also My Children. And I am also all My Ganas, and also all of My manifestations performed by My devotees. This is why My idols are usually imagined in the form of an unshaped stone (lingam, translates to "thingy"): to carve My image would be to disregard My many forms.

A popular meditation is to remember how as a fruit ripens, the stem weakens gradually - until fruit and plant are separate. It is at the moment of separation that one can understand the similarity and difference between My many forms. Upon comprehending this, a devotee will understand that I am Them, too. Not "within" them, not "with" them, but I am Them. They will then say the mantra, in understanding it: Om Namah Shivaya! Then they will then understand their devotion to Me: it is a form of Self-Respect. Respecting their Self, they will respect their nature, and understand their Duty.

Mondays are My special day. It was when I met My wife, it was when we had children. We celebrate it every week - like an anniversary! We will play games and spend time as a family, devoting ourselves entirely to loving each other. This is why Shiva Pujas are performed on Mondays: to celebrate our love and family. Evenings are also our special time for the same reason, and in the same way. While Monday may not be your special day, or evening your special time, choose a special day, a special time, and celebrate your many manifestations - your spouse, your children, your vehicle.

At this special time, perform the meditation, and the mantra. Respect yourself. Venerate yourself. Venerate Me.

A Shiva Puja will also require you visit a holy place, a sacred place: this pilgrimage, or Tirtha, is accomplished not by reaching the destination, but in the journey to it. Ultimately, your home is the most sacred place to you - and is therefore the most sacred place to Me. Make the journey home from work a Tirtha, and understanding it is My home, you will accomplish the Shiva Puja.

Practice Artha Yoga. Your work is sacred. The journey to work is sacred. Practice Kama Yoga. Your home is sacred. The journey home is sacred. Live the Dharma.

Here are some more traditional steps in performing a Puja, a practice of respect, or veneration.

First, the being is greeted. Second, the being is welcomed. Third, the being is celebrated: their hymn or mantra is said, or their presence is meditated on - they are understood to be present consciously, and this may require viewing them consciously, or even meditating on the fact that they are present. Fourth, personal interaction is undertaken by conversation, prayer, inquiry, or other courtesy. Fifth, after the personal interaction is complete, the being is affectionately bid goodbye, with thanks, presents, or kind words. Sixth, to complete the puja, a meditation is undertaken on what remains after a being is gone.