(Last Updated on : 22-06-2013)
Worshipping of Gods is necessary for escaping the dreadful calamities of nature, according to Pushkara
in one of the 'adhyayas' of Agni Purana
. The Agni Purana has provided a detailed explanation of the techniques of worshipping Lord Shiva
, Lord Vishnu
, the Sun god and several other Hindu
gods in an unprejudiced manner. Religious traditions and formalities of worshipping these deities and customs related to building of temples and consecration of idols are also described in this religious encyclopaedia of Hinduism
. The various incarnations or 'avatars' of the Hindu gods are also included in Agni Purana. It has identified Lord Vishnu as 'Bhagwan', who is the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Technique of Worshipping Lord Vishnu
It has been said that the 'Brahmana' should offer the water for washing the feet ('Padyam') of Lord Vishnu with the three verses beginning as 'Hiranya Varna'. He should rinse his mouth ('Achamanam') with water by repeating the Mantra running as 'Shanno Apo', while he should sprinkle water over his head with the Mantra
, running as 'Idam Apo'. The perfume should be offered by repeating the three Mantras, running as 'Rathe Akshe', etc. while the cloth should be offered by repeating the Mantra running as 'Yuvan'.
Agni Purana narrates that flowers should be offered by repeating the Mantras known as the 'Pushpavati', while the burning incense-stick should be offered with the Mantras, running as 'Dhuposhi'. The lighted lamps should be waived before the image, and 'Madhuparkas' should be offered by repeating the Mantras, respectively running as 'Tejoshi Shukram' and 'Dadhi' etc.
In this great Purana the Brahmana has been advised by Pushkara that the eight 'Riks' beginning as 'Hiranya Garbhas', should be used on the occasion of offering boiled rice
, shoes, cushions or carriages, or at the time of blowing cowries
unto, or holding an open umbrella over a divine image. The other articles of worship should be offered to the deity by repeating the 'Savitra Mantras
'. It has been said that verses, known as the 'Pourusha Sukta', should be mentally recited and made use of in connection with a Homa
Ceremony. In the absence of any image or idol, the articles of worship, should be offered on the alter or on the full sacrificial pitcher, or on the foreshore of a stream, or on a lotus
flower, whereby a Votary would win the good graces of the God Vishnu and attain infinite peace on earth.
Then the libations of clarified butter should be poured on the blazing sacrificial fire, lighted on the cushion of sand laid on the well cleansed ground, and spread over with the blades of holy 'Kusha' grass and sprinkled over with consecrated water. Then the self-controlled votary should pour libations on the fire. In the next step the libations should be offered in honour of the gods, such as the 'Vishvas', the Gods, and the lord of the created beings.
Technique of Worshipping Goddesses of Energy
Pushkara in this adhyaya of Agni Purana has said Lord Rama
that the subsequent libations should be cast by addressing the goddess Anumati
, the Lord Dhanvantari
, the presiding deity of households, the Goddess of energy and the fire that created the universe. Then offerings should be made in honour of the deities. Similar oblations should also be offered to Nerundhi, Dhumrinlka, Asvapanti, Meghapatni and the Goddesses of energy known as Nandini, Subhaga, Sumangala, Goddess Bhadrakali
, Sthuna, Shri, and Hiranyakeshi, as well as to the Vanaspatis.
Technique of Worshipping Other Gods
Agni Purana narrates that offerings should be made to the gods of good and evil at the threshold of the temple, to the god of eternal truth (Dhruva
) at its centre, to the God of death at the outside, to the God of wealth at the path way, to the Lord Indra
, and his companion deities at the east, to the God of death and his colleagues at the South, to the Lord Varuna
and his comrades at the west, and to the Moon-God and his attendants at the north. Offerings should also be made to Lord Brahma
and his attendant deities at the centre of the temple, and to the spirits that wander in the day light on its floor, ceiling and altar, while in a night-worship, offerings should be made to the spirits that roam about in the dark.
The offerings should be made to the spirits, night and morning at the outside of the temple, and since oblations should be offered to one's manes. It has been said that a man should offer the first oblation to his deceased father, then to his grandfather, then to his great grandfather, then to his own mother, then to his father's mother, and then to the mother of his grandfather. He should worship the souls of his departed fathers on the tips of the Kusha
grass spread out on his right hand side.
According to the Agni Purana a Brahmana should then offer oblations to the crows, the dogs and the cows and after having offered oblations to all of them and after having doled out alms and charities to the poor, and feasted the assembled guests, a man should perform a Homa ceremony.
Agni Purana has asserted that Lord Rama and Lord Krishna
were the personifications of Lord Vishnu, who were the main protagonists of the epics of the Ramayana
. The manifold avatars of Lord Vishnu like 'Matsya', 'Varaha', 'Kurma', 'Vamana'
, 'Balarama', 'Parasurama' and 'Kalki
'. The importance of bathing properly prior to every prayer and religious rituals is mentioned in the Agni Purana. The traditions of fasting during certain religious customs or activities are also explained elaborately in Agni Purana.