Darshan - Puja: How to perform Skanda Puja
By Sri Skanda's Warrior of Light
May 1, 2009
For a long time, my heart has desired to worship my ishtadevam - Bhagavan Sri Skanda through a proper Hindu puja. The reason is none other than to show my gratitude for all the miracles, grace, and assistance that He has given me since coming into my life 11 years ago. The satsang page on this website is replete with examples of His presence and grace in my life.
So began my quest to learn how to perform Skanda Puja...
My first encounter was with a Hindu priest in the spring of 2003, when I asked Him how to perform the Trikhanda Mudra. He responded arrogantly and ignorantly with the following remark (in Tamil), "If you had taken thet-chi I would maybe show you but you haven't even done that!"
He had readily assumed I was a non-vegetarian and therefore, not fit to learn the rites of worship in the Hindu faith - when in fact, there is no such law or statement that I was aware of written in our holy Vedas to support his arrogant behavior and prejudiced remark.
Little did he know that I was a vegetarian for the past 14 yrs. Had the arrogant priest even taken the time to inquire about me and the reasons behind my motivation to learn Skanda Puja he would have at least ascertained that fact. However, as you will see with later experiences and struggles that I faced, ignorance very commonly rules much of the human mind - especially the "caste-sickened" Hindu priests.
Not to be dismayed by the priest's shallow remarks, I pursued on with my heart-felt desire to learn how to worship my beloved SatGuru. I, then, came across a Bharatanaatyam (Classical Dance) Teacher and asked her if she knew how to do the Trikhanda Mudra.
The premise I formulated was since classical dancers do many elegant poses with mudras (hand gestures), surely the Trikhanda mudra must be one that this teacher would know about.
I humbly asked her and told her the reason. She commended me for my efforts but to my disappointment said, "I'm sorry I don't know that mudra. Perhaps you can ask a priest."
We already know where that got me! But I thought I'd give it another try - perhaps I just happened to pick one rotten apple out of the whole bunch. So this time, I visited another Hindu priest from another temple who was reknowned for taking great pride for telling everyone he meets that he is a "Sanskrit Scholar" and that he had achieved "Honors in Sanskrit" where he trained. I came and asked him humbly, "Aiyaa, can you please teach me how to learn Skanda Puja?"
"What? You?" He rebuked immediately.
"If I teach you then why am I a priest? Why will this temple need me if I teach you all the rites and rituals?" He yelled in an angry voice.
I replied, "I'm sorry but I disagree with you. I want to learn purely to worship Lord Murugan. I have no interest in replacing your job as a priest."
He continued further with his condescending remarks, "I have noticed that you chant some mantras while in the temple. Don't chant them when I am here and in front of devotees. If you do, I will yell at you in front of other people."
Having had enough of this nonsense, I replied, "I, too, will yell back at you if you do that to me. Don't you find it a mystery that a Muslim can go to his mosque, a Christian to his church - and when they ask to be fed with knowledge about their religion, the official in their religious institution will more than oblige? Whereas in our faith, this is made to be such a hindrance?! In a time when mass conversions are taking place with fewer and fewer devotees coming to the temple because of insults such as those coming from your mouth - is it not a wonder that our sacred faith is being jeopardized by the very people who sought a promise during their upanayanam (sacred thread) ceremony to learn, protect, and propagate the Vedas?!"
The priest was speechless.
"Why do you have a title at the end of your name called, 'Gurukkural'? What is Guru? Is it not a teacher? Why do you fail to teach those who willingly with sincerity come to learn about this gift (the Holy Vedas) given by God Siva - not just to the ignorant caste-conscious Brahmins and ego-stricken vegetarians, but - to all living creatures?! Yet somehow, you feel the copyrights of the Vedas belong exclusively to those who are vegetarian and/or Brahmin!" I exclaimed.
Further, I added, "Moreover, the only person who can stop me from learning is Him [I pointed my hand towards the idol in the main sannidhi (altar) of Bhagvan Sri Skanda] - noone else - not you or any other priest/Brahmin!"
Keeping my hand pointed towards Lord Murugan I stated and declared very firmly, "He is my Guru! Do you hear me?! Only He can stop me! No-one else can! Do you hear me? You are no-one, nothing in comparison to Him. So how dare you tell me - what it is that I can learn and cannot learn! This is His temple not yours! And the holy Vedas belong to Him and not you or your ignorant arrogant pompous Brahmin cleek! You can pride yourself on 'sanskrit honors' all you want but His knowledge and wisdom by far exceeds your own!"
As I said that, a big rose from the Lord Murugan statue flew from the mulasthaanam (main shrine) and landed in between me and the priest! Even the priest was surprised with this. I, too, was startled but later gained immense happiness knowing that my Lord Murugan had heard my heart's cry to worship Him.
I then left the temple - though I really didn't learn anything further - I realized that the desire to learn how to worship my Lord continued to burn within me - inspite of these setbacks.
Learning Ganapathi Puja & Devi Puja
Later on during that year in May 2003, I heard about a workshop being held in Toronto on Sri Vidya - specifically, on "How to perform Puja" - by Sri Chaitanyananda. Thinking that this was perhaps Lord Murugan's assistance to help me get to my goal of formally worshipping Him, I paid $150 for the puja manual and included CD, as well as for the short-lunch that they had provided for the full-one day workshop.
I went and was happy to learn about Ganapathi Puja and Devi Puja. However, there was no mention of Skanda Puja. I was a little disappointed but said to myself, "Every puja must start with Ganapathi, so why don't I learn that and hopefully, some where down the road I will learn Skanda Puja."
At this workshop, Sri Chaitanyananda showed the trikhanda mudra but I couldn't learn it so quickly because it was my first time being exposed to mudras (intricate hand gestures of affection to the Lord). Luckily for me, my father videotaped the mudra. When I got home I replayed the video several times in slow motion to learn the mudra! After 2 hours of effort, I managed to learn it. I was so thrilled that I had learned it that I took a digital photograph of it so that I can remember how to do it again :P (in case I forgot!)
While at home, I also browsed through the puja manual and played the CD that I had obtained from the workshop. When I played the CD it began to skip a lot. Apparently the person who burned the CD did not burn it properly and so I would hear, "Om Ganaanaam…[tvaa cut out]…ganapathigum havaama hey…[kavim cut-out]…kaveenaam...upavastramam…" - It had skipped crucial mantras in between :(
I was very sad having paid all this money from my student loan for a skipped CD! I managed to contact the person who burnt the CD. He noted my name and mailing address and reassured me that he would mail me a properly burned CD - but the CD never came. I called the Rochester Temple and spoke with devotees about another 3 or 4 times, they also did the same thing - noted my name, phone number, and address, and said someone will get in touch with me and mail me the CD - which, of course, never came. So, I made do with the CD I had - though it was far from an ideal learning resource - but something is better than nothing!
Not losing heart, I pursued to learn - to the best of my ability - the Sri Ganapathi puja with the skipping CD. Within that first week, I had a unique experience with Lord Ganesha showing that He had accepted my worship.
I proceeded to learn the full Sri Ganesha puja in 2004 by heart before I went to England for my studies. By then I had internalized all the rituals and began performing manasa puja (doing puja mentally). I then had a wonderful experience with Devi.
I continued my worship of Sri Ganesha and Sri Lalitha Devi through the puja methods described in the Sri Sukta Vidhana Sodasa Upacara Puja manual made by Sri Chaitanyananda - however, in my heart, I always longed to learn how to worship Lord Murugan. Though I performed the above puja rituals by chanting Lord Ganesha's and Ambaal Devi's name, I would just close my eyes and visualize Lord Murugan's form instead.
My beloved Lord gratefully acknowledged my form of worship through the experience entitled, "Murugan and Ambaal are One and the same."
After I completed my 3rd year of post-graduate studies in England, I proceeded to California to complete my fourth and final year. While I was there, I still continued my daily puja vidhaanam (method) of Sri Ganesha and Sri Devi, but like I mentioned earlier, I always visualized that I was doing everything for Bhagavan Sri Skanda - even though I had no idea how to formally worship the Lord (yet).
While continuing this form of worship, I was blessed and fortunate to continue having profound and unique experiences involving Sri Ganesha, Sri Devi, Sri Siva, and Sri Skanda.
Passing through Raajarajeshwari Temple in Rochester, NY
January 27, 2008
I graduated medical school (in 2006) and started my residency training in 2007 - but within me the desire to worship exclusively Lord Murugan in a formal method (vidhaanam) continued to burn within me - it never went away ever since I developed the urge many years ago during my unfriendly encounters with the Hindu priests.
Then during one of my travels to visit my "bodily" parents (the parents of this physical body that I am encased in) - I passed through the Raajarajeswari Temple in Rochester, NY.
When I arrived there, I saw Sri Chaitanyananda and a group of his disciples gathered around talking. I started asking one of the devotees if they had a puja manual for Lord Murugan that I can purchase (thinking they might have made one since this was the same temple that made the "Sri Chakkra Puja Instructional Manual" which I obtained from the 2003 workshop). 5 years later, to my dismay, there was no manual.
One of the devotees suggested to me, "Why don't you just make your own? You just replace everything pertaining to Devi in this Sri Chakkra Puja manual with Lord Murugan's mantram."
I said, "I don't know any of Lord Murugan's mantras. How can I obtain them?"
"Aiya (Sri Chaitanayananda) is right there, why don't you ask him. I'm sure he'll be more than willing to tell you."
So, I approached Sri Chaitanyananda and asked if I could obtain a list of 108 names (ashthothram on Sri Subramanya) - to my disappointment, he said, "That you'll have to find on your own." He then got up and exited the temple because he said it was time to have tea made by his wife, who was supposedly in the house next to the temple.
As he left, I was left shocked and saddened by his remark. Here is this Guru who is being hailed by his disciples as someone who will "freely teach anything if you ask" and this temple also is reknowned for being a "teaching" temple - yet when I approached for some knowledge to obtain the ashthothrasatanama vali of Lord Murugan I was turned away :(
Nevertheless, my persistence again was being tested - like with the Hindu priest in 2003, now with Sri Chaitanyananda.
When Sri Chaitanyananda left, I was approached by three other devotees who asked, "So you want to make a Lord Muruga puja manual right?"
These devotees took great trouble to dig through all the books that were in Sanskrit, Tamil, and English in the Temple's bookstore and come up with one book. I don't recall the name but they found the entire puja for Lord Muruga in Tamil. Unfortunately, I don't read or speak Tamil that well.
Nevertheless, my heart was thrilled that at least I had obtained something relevant to my beloved Lord Muruga. The one humble devotee opened the book and started to compare it to the Sri Chakkra puja manual that I had with me since 2003.
"It looks and follows the same format except there is a beejaakshara mantram for Lord Murugan and there is a variation in the anga portion of the puja manual." He said.
So, He generously wrote the beejaakshara mantram down for me (Om sreem hreem kleem aim soum saravanabhavaaya namaha) while I wrote the anga portion of the puja (worship of the various body parts of the Lord) of Lord Murugan.
Then I asked, "Well what do I do since the Sri Suktam is interspersed in the Devi puja in this manual?"
The devotee replied, "How do you worship Lord Murugan?"
"Through Thiruppugal songs." I replied.
"Well, just replace the phrases of the Sri Suktam with Thiruppugal songs and make it a Thiruppugal puja." He stated.
I was surprised. I had never thought of that before - a Thiruppugal puja (manual)?!
"The great thing about this puja method learnt from Sri Dattaatreya Swami is that you can modify it to suit the deity of your choice." He assured me.
I was so thrilled and thanked him for his gracious help. I later learned in my discussion with this particular devotee how he had the darshan of Lord Murugan while he visited India. I thanked Lord Murugan for introducing me to him and for giving me this small seed (i.e. the beejaakshara mantras) to plant within my heart.
Unfortunately, I had to leave the temple since I still had a 6 hour drive to my residence and I had to go to the hospital (work) the next day.
While I was exiting the temple, a strange thing happened. As I had just obtained some of the key parts of the recipe to make Lord Murugan's puja manual from the very generous disciples of Rochester Temple, Sri Chaitanyananda entered the building. He proceded to go and talk to some other devotees about Sai Baba. I quickly offered my respects by doing paathanamaskaaram and left the temple.
I went back to Philadelphia happy with what Lord Murugan gave me through the devotees, but also saddened and disappointed with my interaction with Sri Chaitanyananda.
This event took place in February of 2008. When I went back home, I was so overwhelmed with my work that I really did not pursue the idea of making a puja manual for Lord Murugan. The desire was still inside me, just not the time. Working 90-100 hours a week doesn't really leave you much time to sit and construct a puja manual from scratch!
I, instead, continued my worship of Sri Ganesha and Sri Devi. However, I made a slight modification to the puja. Since the kumkum (red saffron) powder that I was using in my worship of Sri Ganesha and Sri Devi started to accumulate a lot of dust, which eventually resulted in me throwing the kumkum in the garbage because the dust was too unsightly, I felt guilty doing this practice. So, I stopped using kumkum and started using akshatas (tumeric colored rice) instead while doing the Sri Devi puja - which when it accumulated I used to feed the birds in my neighborhood (annadhaanam). I did not tell anyone about this subtle change in my puja method with changing kumkum for akshatas. But someone was watching...
A few days later, I was rewarded with another vision...
After this experience, I wondered, "Maybe I shouldn't proceed with making the Subrahmanya puja manual? It is going to take some time to make and also maybe Devi wants me to just worship Her instead?"
So for a few months, I had this internal conflict within me - to make or not to make a puja book for Bhagavan Sri Skanda? To make matters worse, I had no idea how to start, how to put the proper order of the mantras, or even how to follow an accepted puja method?
Hence, I put this project off to the side not knowing exactly what to do. Instead, I started to chant daily a verse from Kanthar Anubhuthi (verse 45), wherein Saint Arunagirinathar sings:
Not to be disheartened by the obstacles placed by the so-called "learned" ones, I decided to turn to my SatGuru and ask Him for wisdom instead of those who conceal their learning. I begged Lord Murugan to give me guidance on how to worship Him. I chanted the above verse every morning during my nitya karmas (daily prayers).
The great thing about Lord Murugan is - He ALWAYS answers prayers said with sincerity and love. The only thing is time. One must be patient and wait for the reply, which may take seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and/or years!
While I was carrying on with my physician duties, all the while waiting for Sri Skanda's answer, I continued to be blessed with more profound and cool dreams/experiences...
Making the Sri Thiruppugal Vidhaana Sodasa Upacara Puja Manual Day #1
December 2, 2008
If you recall, I had begun daily chanting of Verse 45 from Kanthar Anubhuthi (Read: 'Sri Sukta Vidhana Puja' entry described above). I knew Bhagavan Sri Skanda would answer my request - it was only a matter of time. This entire experience was just a test of both my faith and patience. But realizing that no answer that is made to God goes unanswered, I continued with my daily sadhana. Fortunately, with the potency of Kanthar Anubhuthi, my answer came much sooner - it came during the most peculiar time of my life - during my extremely extremely busy 4 weeks of overnight calls at hospital!
Recall earlier when I was making excuses not to proceed with the puja manual because of time constraints? Well, ironically, the puja manual took birth during the most busiest nights of my life! This was when Lord Murugan's answer to me came.
I didn't know how I was going to make this manual - the only things I had with me at the time were: the undying fire of desire burining inside me to learn how to worship my beloved SatGuru, the pen in my hand, and a few sheets of blank paper in front of me, and a copy of the Sri Chakkra Puja Manual along with the beejaakshara mantra and angapuja portion of Skanda's puja that I obtained over a year ago from the devotees at Rochester Temple.
So I said a prayer to Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan to help me finish this puja manual.
"Swaami - Vinaayagar Perumaan! Muruga Perumaan! - I am going to start this puja book. I have put it off for far too long. How I am going to do it? I do not know. How I am going to finish? I do not know. Whether it will be correct in its method and accepted by You - Thiru-Murugaa - I do not know. I only know that the burning desire to worship you still remains in my heart after all these years. And I can no longer ignore it anymore. I am determined to worship you somehow, this much I do know. I only have love in my heart and the only reason I want to worship you with a formal puja method is to show my gratitude for the abundant grace that you have showered in my life. If I am somehow not fit for this worship, then I know I will not succeed in making the puja book, it will die before it is even born. However, if my request is genuine and true, then kindly bless your child to complete this puja book without any difficulties."
With that prayer, I sat myself at one of the computers at the nursing station and started working on the book, knowing all the while that being on call, my pager could go off any second.
To my surprise, for the 12 hours that I sat at the computer that night, my pager never went off a single time! I completed half of the puja manual that night which went well into the early hours of dawn. Strangely, while I was spending all this time making this puja book, I noticed that I did not feel tired, hungry, or sleepy?! I'm not sure where all the energy was coming from but I feel that Bhagavan Sri Skanda was my source of inspiration! :)
Making the Sri Thiruppugal Vidhaana Sodasa Upacara Puja Manual Day #2
December 3, 2008
Thinking that perhaps this was a coincidence, I returned the next night and started to work on the remainder of the puja manual - piecing the content from the 'Sri Sukta Vidhana Instructional Puja Manual' and cross-referencing it and adding the beejaakshara mantra of Bhagavan Sri Skanda.
I did not even think about eating - my hunger was of a different kind - the hunger for completing this gift for my beloved SatGuru! What happened yesterday continued again today - I did not get paged again! I started to look at my pager several times thinking that perhaps it was not working, but it appeared intact!
So, I pressed on - now that the framework of the puja book was done, I started adding the anga puja for Bhagavan Sri Skanda and shortly after, I also included the ashthOtrasatanaamavali (108 names) of Sri Skanda, which I was able to find miraculously from Sri Swami Sivananda's book, "Lord Shanmukha and His worship."
One thing I did notice was my right hand started to become numb and tingle because my hand was just permanently fixed on the computer keyboard and mouse creating this puja manual for my Lord. I began to experience the symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome, but did not let it hinder my progress - I pressed forth, determined to complete this heart-felt sadhana of mine.
Making the Sri Thiruppugal Vidhaana Sodasa Upacara Puja Manual Day #3
December 4, 2008
After spending a total of 24 hours continuously (cumulative total from the three nights including that of December 4th), I completed the entire puja manual on day #3. The remaining 3 days I used to proof-read the manual for any errors.
Making the Sri Thiruppugal Vidhaana Sodasa Upacara Puja Manual Day #4, 5, 6
December 5, 6, 7, 2008
The manual was completed on day #6 (December 7, 2008) - actually I should say night #6! And to my surprise, no pages from nurses or other physicians interrupted me while I worked on the entire puja book.
The night immediately after making the Sri Thiruppugal Vidhaana Sodasa Upacara Puja Manual Day #7
December 8, 2008
On night #7, I came to the hospital and surely enough, I was inundated with pages left-right-and-center! I felt that Lord Ganesha and Murugan were somehow holding those pages from the nurses and other physicians until I finished this important work for them :)
To give you an idea how busy I was the night after I had completed the puja manual - I could not even sit down to eat my late dinner or even sip from a glass of water! I was that busy with non-stop patient admissions and pages from the floor and unit nurses!
"Wow! Kadavul really wanted me finish this puja book, else I would not have made it through all those 6 nights consecutively without being interrupted like I am tonight." I contemplated.
That night, I had a wonderful dream...
I didn't realize what it was that I was chanting but I later ascertained that it was the Sri Subrahmanya Dhyaana Slokam that I heard in my dream. Taking this to be an addition that Lord Murugan wanted, I immediately included it in the puja book!
If the above miracles weren't enough, my Lord Skanda graciously granted some more...
I was wondering, "What songs was He - Murugan - referring to?" It then struck me - Thiruppugal!!! He wanted Thiruppugal songs to be added to this puja book!
It appears that Lord Murugan overheard my conversation with that devotee, which is well over a year ago!
So, the next day after I finished my shift at work, I came home and added Thiruppugal songs that I sing into the puja book. I meticulously added the Tamil verses and included also their accompanying transliteration and meanings in English. What appeared to be a "random" addition of Thiruppugal songs on my part also turned out to be another miracle. I noted that after I had completed the addition of the sacred songs, I went back and glimpsed at the meaning of the Thiruppugal songs. I realized that I had included a Thiruppugal song for each one of Lord Murugan's sacred Aarupadai Veedu (6 sacred abodes)!
Moreover, there was another incident worth mentioning. When I got home from work that day, I saw a small package in my mailbox. I opened it and it contained a CD. It was sent by my loving wife. She said that it was a CD containing a recording of a priest doing Sri Murugan Puja (on Kanthar Sashti). My wife noted my extreme interest in learning how to do this puja that she asked one of her colleagues whose father was a priest. He gave the CD which my wife sent to me. When I put it on, I was literally blown away!
The order in which the priest chanted the puja from the aavaahanam to the anga puja and ashthOtrasatanamavali, dupam, deepam, etc. were in the same order as that of the puja manual that was pieced together with the guidance and blessings of Lord Murugan. It was as if Lord Murugan wanted to show me that the order and method that I seemingly thought was "random" was in fact in the correct order! It was now just confirmed by this Hindu priest chanting on the CD!
Also equally amazing is my wife had absolutely no idea that I was making a puja manual during this time - she only knew of my desire to one day worship Lord Murugan. To have this CD come at this time is also truly miraculous!
If these miracles weren't enough, here are some more experiences to share...
Realizing that Lord Murugan was ready to accept this worship, I printed out the final draft of the puja manual the next day when I finished my work. I rushed to the Staples business center to give the printed manuscripts to be bounded into a book.
I then took the book on my vacation break (which concidentally came around the same time all this was going on!) to the Thiruchendur Murugan Temple. I placed the book at His holy feet and asked that He bless the manual and that He show me signs that He accepts the worship that will follow from that puja book.
That night, when I perfomed the puja from the manual, I started doing the puja all the while chanting the Thiruppugal songs interweaved in between the Sanskrit verses. When I sang one of the Thiruppugal songs, it hit me like a ton of bricks! I realized that THIS was the Thiruppugal song that I was singing in my dream when the myol was dancing!!!!
The Thiruppugal song I was singing during this puja is called, "munthu thamil maalai kOdi kOdi..." In this song, Sri Arunagirinathar Swaamigal sings, "…thinthi-thimi thOthi theedhi theedhi || thantha-thana thaana thaana thaana || chenje-Nagu chEgu thaaLa thOdu ...... nadamaadum."
In short, it means: "In the above meter ('thinthi-thimi...'), dances your Peacock."
I immediately broke down in tears realizing that this was yet another miracle by Bhagavan Sri Skanda! I also reaffirmed within myself that there was no way that the Thiruppugal songs that I included in this puja manual was by chance!
1st Family Puja to Lord Murugan (the day after Sivarathri)
February 23, 2009
Today, my wife and I sat with my sister and mother and father to conduct the "Sri Thiruppugal Vidhana Sodasa Upacara Puja" aka Skanda Puja from the book that I pieced together with the grace of Lord Ganesha and Murugan.
The puja went beautifully and smoothly without any breaks or pauses. During my worship, I internally asked, "Murugaa…thank you for allowing us to worship you like this. After 6 years my heart-felt wish to worship you is finally answered! Romba nandri aiyaa! Thank you very much my Lord! I have only one request, 'Can you please show us a sign that you have accepted this puja?'"
I did not tell anyone my prayer. We then retired for the night.
The following morning, my mother comes up to me and says, "I had a nice dream last night. It looks like Murugan accepted our puja last night."
"Really?" I said in awe. "How do you know?"
My heart again began to melt in the kindness of Lord Murugan and how He answered the question that I had asked about in my prayer while doing puja with my family!
Do Milk Abishekam
February 24, 2009
Today my wife and I went to the Sri Naagapooshani Amman Temple to do a naagadosha puja & yagna - as was instructed by us by an Indian Saint who visited us a year ago. During the abishekam, there was a Murugan statue with a flower garland around His neck, which fell while we were praying to Him! It was His way of blessing us during this puja. It appears wherever we go, Bhagavan Sri Skanda comes along with us :)
Afterwards, I was given the privilege to sing the Pancha-Puraanam hymns. I thought of my SatGuru's holy feet (Lord Murugan) and sang the sacred Dravida Vedam hymns including Thiruppugal.
Then we went for arul vaaga - the unique feature of this temple is the head priest of the temple gives divine oracles/revelations. God uses His body to speak to the devotees who gather for this unique event. My wife and I stood in the line and finally when we went in, He spoke to us like a mother/father speaks to their children.
There was a lot of affection and love in His voice. He inquired about our situation and asked how long I still had in my training. We told him that we were separated due to visa issues and would like to know when we can be together again. He instructed us to do milk abishekam to the Murugan statue in our home! I wondered how He even knew we had such a statue without us uttering a word about it! Only God would know these details!
He instructed my wife to continue doing milk abishekam to the statue (except on the days of her menstrual cycle) while He wanted me to continue doing my daily paaraayanam of the dravida vedam hymns. He then blessed us both with vibhuthi on our foreheads and said, "neengal irandum peyrgal nalla vara vendum...appa thaan naan santhOshapaduvane."
We later went to a puja store and bought some chembu/vessels to pour milk from. Content at receiving Lord Murugan's blessings today, we went home.
You do the rest
March 3, 2009
Yesterday, my wife and I performed our first milk abishekam to the Murugan vigraham (statue) that was presented to us as a divine gift by Lord Murugan on our wedding day (See: "Lord Murugan shows me my future bride"). This was in response to the advice given to us by the head priest on February 24, 2009 (read above: "Do Milk Abishekam"). Today was Thiru-Karthigai, a festival that comes every month and during this time, it is common for abishekams to be done for Lord Murugan in south-indian temples.
My mother requested that my wife and I attend the puja at our local Murugan temple but we had already made dinner plans to go to my mother-in-law's house. So, instead, my wife and I decided to perform an abishekam and puja in our home to the Sri Murugan murthi (statue) that was given to us as a wedding gift - it was our first abishekam.
We did the full puja and concluded with mangala aarathi singing, "naadha vinthu..." That night I had the following dream which showed how Lord Murugan accepted our puja :)
Later in the evening, my mother and I went to the Thiruchendur Murugan Temple for evening puja. As I walked into the temple, I froze in amazement on what my eyes were seeing. I saw the priest inside the mulasthaanam with a big kumbam filled with water pouring it over the black vigraha statue of Lord Murugan! Murugan had no adornments (i.e. no clothes) - just like in my dream! I was amazed at the timing of events both the dream and reality! I thanked Him in my heart with blissful tears and for His grace which he continues to shower everyday through these miracles.
Thank you my dear Lord Murugaa! Thank you for accepting our devotion and puja yesterday. That puja manual really was special and it really was done by your will! Kodi kodi namaskaarams to your divine Lotus Feet.
Om Jaya Jaya Mahavira Bhagavan Sri Skanda Namo Namaha!
I soon learnt that it was not just Bhagavan Sri Skanda that was accepting our prayers through this new puja vidhaanam that He graciously taught us. There were other members of Sri Skanda's family that were being drawn by this powerful puja...
Thank you Muruhaiyaa! I feel that it was you who came in my dream to make sure that I understand what it is that I chant for you when I do this puja. Thank you for allowing me and blessing me to think of you in my dream. May my mind always be filled with sweet thoughts of you and your divine lotus feet!
A deep deep deep heart-felt thank you to Lord Murugan & Lord Ganesha for helping me start and finish this manual successfully through my very busy overnight calls at Hahnemann University Hospital. I would not have even completed such a task without your unconditional blessings and guidance.
Additional deep sincere gratitude and heart-felt thanks to my beloved wife, who saw the deep thirst I had to learn how to perform Murugan Puja - thank you my dear for helping me quench it by bringing to fruition this long desired wish of mine.
Finally, I wanted to thank Sri Chaitanyananda for taking the time to create the Sri Chakra - Instructional Puja Manual and audio CD. Additional thanks to the three humble devotees of the Raajarajeswari Temple in Rochester, New York for helping me obtain the anga puja portion of this manual. Your assistance, too, is greatly acknowledged.
Author's humble request
May all those who choose to worship our benevolent Lord Skanda prosper in their sadhana efforts and may they also be blessed with anubhuthi (divine experiences) to help propel them onwards towards their goal of merging into Lord Murugan's ever-fragrant, ever-protecting, ever-giving, ever-loving divine Lotus Feet. This is my only prayer and wish.
Om Jaya Jaya Mahavira Bhagavan Sri Skanda Namo Namaha!