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Pada pooja: Entering the divine breathing space

The origins of Pada Pooja are deeply rooted in the history of Vedic tradition. The wondrous gift of entanglement is the sacred secret contained within the ceremony of Pada Pooja. When  we melt into a deep mood of gratitude and devotion, we receive the beautiful return flow of divine compassion and the uplifting of our consciousness.


Pada pooja: Entering the divine breathing space

 

In our busy lives, we often forget to express gratitude and thanks as long as we have no problems..

When was the last time that life was going great and you were filled, overflowing with gratitude?  In our busy lives, we often forget to express gratitude and thanks as long as we have no problems. When everything is going well we tend to take our well-being for granted. If trouble arises, however, we may plead, beg or pray for help.  We may seek a connection with the divine and ask for help.

The Vedic culture of ancient India regarded the relationship with God in a more interactive way. They felt such profound gratitude for the basic gift of life, as well as for the benefits of health, warmth, nourishment and family that they set aside some time in each day for giving thanks. They evolved ceremonies through which they could express their appreciation and offer gifts to the divine in return.

All Hindu chants and prayers are composed in Sanskrit

These ceremonies have been cherished and handed down across the centuries from one generation to the next, and are maintained today in the context of contemporary Hinduism. They are collectively called poojas, or pujas, a word in Sanskrit, the ancient sacred language of the Vedic culture. All Hindu chants and prayers are composed in Sanskrit, which is still studied and used today. Pooja is usually translated as ritual or ceremony of prayer.  Other translations of the word include to honor, to express gratitude and to adore.

Pooja as spiritual practice

There are many kinds of poojas for specific situations and occasions, but the fundamental elements remain the same. Every pooja welcomes the Divine as an honored guest. The sequence of the pooja contains all the elements of hospitality and appreciation for the presence of a beloved and distinguished visitor.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda comments: “Pooja is receiving the guest (God) with all respect..”

Paramahamsa Nithyananda, a young contemporary enlightened master from South India, comments: “Pooja is receiving the guest (God) with all respect. When a guest visits our home, we receive that person with respect: we offer a chair, give water to wash his feet or hands. We offer flowers. After they have been offered we arrange for his bath and comfortable stay. Then naturally we ask him to eat. Then at the end of the day, we send him to sleep. This same thing happens when we do pooja.”

During the pooja, devotees welcome the guest and present offerings of flowers, water for washing (symbolized by a small cup or spoonful), clean clothing (represented by a piece of fabric), scented oil and food. They also burn incense and light lamps to delight the senses and brighten the occasion.

When we continually give thanks, we remain in a welcoming mood. Gratitude keeps us open to receive the gifts of life and to regard all occurrences in as positive a way as possible.  As we reach out in appreciation we establish an emotional bond that connects us deeply with the world around us.

The practice of pada pooja

Pada pooja is a ritual to express our thanks to a revered spiritual teacher

Pada pooja is a specific form of gratitude. It is a ritual to express our thanks to a revered spiritual teacher. The word pada means foot or feet in Sanskrit. Pada pooja means to give thanks at the feet of the one we are honoring.

In Vedic tradition, the spiritual leader was called the guru. He was the counselor, healer, master teacher and mystic of the community. The Bhagavad Gita, the iconic sacred text of Vedic civilization, recounts the words of the  incarnated God Krishna, who was both king and spiritual master: “I destroy the darkness of ignorance with the shining lamp of wisdom, through my compassion.”

Paramahamsa Nithyananda explains further: “The Sanskrit word guru has two syllables: gu refers to darkness and ru to light. The master leads the disciple from darkness into light with compassion. This darkness of ignorance is the identification that one has with one’s self, one’s material attachments and material possessions. This identification surely leads to sorrow since this attachment is for things that are fleeting and not for something long lasting.

Only the Master can light up that wisdom within you for you to realize that you are already one with Existence..

The master is the only person who can dispel that darkness. Only He can light up that wisdom within you in order for you to realize that you are already one with Existence and therefore need nothing from this material world.”

In many cultures in the ancient world, respect was shown by bowing to the feet of honored superiors and elders. Western modern-day societies have dropped this custom, but it prevails in the Middle East and in Asia.  It is still the custom for children in India to touch the feet of their parents when leaving the home or when returning after an absence. When one honors the feet of another, one is acknowledging their achievements, acquired through a lifetime of experience. Thus, offering pooja to the feet of the guru expresses our gratitude for his dedication and compassion, given to benefit us.

..the shakti — the accumulated power and energy — of the guru is stored in His feet.

There is another reason to honor the guru’s feet. According to many Vedic source manuscripts, the shakti — the accumulated power and energy — of the guru is stored in his feet. We  offer our thanks to the source of his wisdom and understanding.

 

Adi Shankaracharaya says “Surrendering to the feet of the Guru (Master) is the ultimate happening”

The origins of Pada Pooja are deeply rooted in the history of Vedic tradition and are mentioned by many venerable sacred texts. Adi Shankaracharaya, one of the greatest sages of Hinduism, says in his Guru Ashtakam (8 Verses in Praise of the Guru: “Surrendering to the feet of the Guru (Master) is the most beautiful and ultimate happening, without which everything else seems futile (“shareeram suroopam tathaa vaa kalatram yashashcharu chitram dhanam meru tulyam”).

The science of pada pooja

Although poojas have a mystic purpose, they are not abstractions to be accepted only on faith. They have a sound pragmatic foundation.

The scientific intention of pooja is to connect our personal energy with the creative force of the universe — the frequency of the divine. When we make this connection we experience our unity with all of existence, which is the essence of divinity. Then we understand that we ourselves are also divine. This can result in profound shifts in our cognition, as well as in our material reality.  While these experiences are termed “miracles” by the uninformed, they are readily understood in light of their underlying science.

..scientific research in quantum physics has demonstrated that even “empty space” is filled with vibrating particles of energy

The leading edge of scientific research in quantum physics has demonstrated that everything around us, even “empty space”, is filled with vibrating particles of energy. Solid objects are simply collections of particles vibrating together at a specific frequency. The more solid something appears, the slower is its rate of vibration. These particles may or may not have molecular structure, so  they are called quanta, a word that includes even unstructured bits of energy.

When one sits in paada pooja at the feet of an enlightened being whose frequency matches that of the cosmos, their frequency will also rise in the process of entanglement

Quantum physics has identified an astonishing phenomenon called entanglement. When two quanta experience an energetic encounter, they adjust their frequencies to match each other. Even if they are separated by the full breadth of the universe after their interaction, they maintain the connection forever. The object with higher frequency establishes the level of vibration for the other, for it is the nature of evolution to be continually moving toward higher states of existence. When one sits in paada pooja at the feet of an enlightened being whose frequency matches that of the cosmos, their frequency will also rise in the process of entanglement.  This is how the cosmic connection is made.

Entanglement energy lasts eternally, but if the quantum with the lower frequency has “leaks” in its energy field, it may not be able to hold onto the higher energy. That is why the practice to achieve the cosmic energy level includes practices such as physical yoga, which builds a body attuned to the divine frequency.

Ancient science of the vedas

Physicists are discovering that what they learn through external experiments in the material world was in fact realized in Vedic culture through a deep understanding of the cosmos thousands of years ago. Vedic tradition contains many miracles and extraordinary events based on scientific and mystical self-development.This same inner exploration produced a highly evolved scientific technology which has been largely forgotten. The technology was based upon thousands of years of research and development by their rishis, scholar-contemplatives who were both scientists and mystics. Modern science is just beginning to grasp that the mystical phenomena  described in Vedic scriptures have a practical foundation.

Once each of us reaches that divine frequency we live a life of ultimate potential..

The main goal of Vedic mystical research was to discover methods by which one could increase one’s own frequency. The intention was to become one with God — to vibrate at the same frequency as the cosmic sea. Once each of us reaches that divine frequency we live a life of ultimate potential: we discover the peak of our possibility.

This intention was achieved through spiritual discipline: yoga, meditation, pure diet and devotional activities. Some of the manifestations of attaining a divine energetic frequency are the ability to heal serious illness, being able to float in the air against gravity, materializing objects from “nothing” (bringing them into form out of akasha),and the ability to  improve life problems such as financial, career and relationship trouble. All the difficulties which one would normally pray

to God for help with can be resolved when one attains the level of cosmic consciousness.

The process of raising one’s frequency has been handed down from generation to generation in an unbroken lineage that continues vibrantly alive to this day. Spiritual adepts in present-day India often manifest the abilities mentioned above, along with others which vary individually.

The scientific explanation for how an adept heals and helps others, for how a pooja or homa can increase one’s frequency was clearly understood by the Vedic culture

Everything is birthed from this “cosmic sea” and everything ultimately is recycled into it..

They perceived  “empty space” as one of the five elements. As fire, earth, air and water are four of the elements, the fifth element is named akasha. In akasha there is no form, but the teeming energy particles contained within it hold all the possibilities for creation. Everything is birthed from this “cosmic sea” and everything ultimately is recycled into it.

The Taitreya Upanishad, one of the most ancient of the Vedic scriptures, describes all of creation as emerging from cosmic energy.  From cosmic energy came the energy of space, or akasha. From space came the energy of air. From air came the energy of fire. From fire came the energy of water. From water came the energy of earth. From earth came plant life. From plant life humans were created.

Pooja ceremonies worship the divinity in earth, water, fire, air and akasha.

Vedic science understands that divine energy expresses itself through all of nature, including every living creature. Thus all poojas address the five elements which combine to create each form of life. Pooja ceremonies worship the divinity in earth, water, fire, air and akasha.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda comments:

“Humans digest four of the five elemental energies: air, fire, water and earth and ingested in one form or another by humans. We breathe air, drink water, cook and warm through fire, and feed off the earth.

“The energy of space or ether, akasha, is not directly accessible. The mind or ego layer (of the human energy field) that surrounds us prevents us from absorbing this energy, the biggest elemental energy source. This creates  the illusion of separation from the elemental energy from which we are formed, and it insulates us.

Meditation is the only method through which we can drop the mind layer ..

“Meditation is the only method through which we can drop the mind layer and open ourselves to receive the energy of the universe through the energy of space.

“Fire rituals such as homas are mass meditation techniques since they help link a large group to the elemental energy. The energy of space is invoked into the fire through the air. It is then transferred to the water kept in pots around the fire. The water is then poured onto humans or onto the earth, thus transferring the energy to them. The great Vedic sages developed this simple technique to absorb the energy of the universe.”

“Poojas are a simplified form of homas. In a small setting it is not convenient to have a large fire. So cooked food is offered to god, lamps and incense are lit, and the energy of fire is still present. Into the air around us we utter words of prayer which draw down the energy of space. Then we light the lamp and incense, welcoming the energy of fire. Our small  cup of water close to the lamp receives the fire energy, and from that we make our offerings to quench the guest’s thirst and to provide his bath. At the end of the pooja we give the offerings back to the earth, and consume the blessed food.  If we do these actions with sincerity and intensity, they connect us with the energy of the universe.”

Pada pooja in sacred scripture

Vedic commentaries include the ancient   scripture Kularnava Tantra, which  says: “The glory of surrendering at Guru’s feet is great.  Remember the Guru’s sandals, they provide protection against great diseases, great disturbances, great evils, great fears, great calamities, and great sins.”

By worshipping the feet of the Guru man becomes flawless and becomes God Himself..

The  Guru Geeta, Sloka 11, tells us: “ By worshipping the feet of the Guru man becomes flawless and becomes God Himself. (Sarva Paapa Vishuddhaatmaa Sri Guroh Paada Sevanaath |Dehee Brahma Bhaveth Yasmaath Tvath Krupaartham Vadaami Te ||)

Further into the Guru Geeta, Sloka 48: “The whole universe is contained in Him; He creates, sustains and destroys it too; Nothing but Himself in this world exists; Prostrations to the Sadguru.” (GururviShNuH sattvamayo raajasashchaturaananaH taamaso ruudraruupeNa sR^ijatyavati hanti cha)

..the guru represents the totality of the universe and emits the cosmic frequency

Contained within these references is the understanding that the guru represents the totality of the universe and emits the cosmic frequency. As we give thanks to the universe, embodied in the guru’s form, we recognize that we too can rise to the vibrational level of the cosmos.

Pada pooja as spiritual practice

During Pada Pooja, devotees seat themselves around the feet of the guru. Ceremonial offerings are arranged for them and are given in a certain order, accompanied by chanting. Each item has a special significance. The basic pattern for the offerings follows the welcoming of an honored guest into one’s home. They are offered a bath, then fresh clothes and scented oil, then seated among flowers, lamps and incense and served a meal. Afterward they receive water to cleanse the mouth and wash the hands.

After the offerings are completed, devotees can speak with the guru about their concerns and present their thanks. This is a precious private time of one-on-one sharing and advice.

Pada Pooja does not take place only so devotees can honor the guru, however. All rituals of worship give benefit to the worshipper.  Being in close a proximity to the guru brings us into the scope of his immediate energy field. His super-conscious vibration pervades the space around him, and the closer we are the stronger its influence.

Markers for cancer, arthritis and cholesterol have been dramatically reduced, most with lasting benefit..

Paramahamsa Nithyananda has created extensive experiments to explore how Vedic practices can be quantified. Controlled groups of volunteers have been examined through vital signs monitoring, blood testing, brain wave scans and MRIs to demonstrate that exposure to his energy field profoundly impacts cellular energy levels, enhances genetic function, decreases abnormal blood sugars and improves cardiovascular efficiency. Markers for cancer, arthritis and cholesterol have been dramatically reduced, most with lasting benefit.

Through his research he has concluded that sincerity and devotion establish an avenue of energy through which entanglement can take place. This devotion opens the door for entanglement to occur during the ritual of Pada Pooja, as we enter the breathing space of a being attuned to the cosmic frequency.

The wondrous gift of entanglement is the sacred secret contained within the ceremony of Pada Pooja

The wondrous gift of entanglement is the sacred secret contained within the ceremony of Pada Pooja. When  we melt into a deep mood of gratitude and devotion, we receive the beautiful return flow of divine compassion and the uplifting of our consciousness.

The benefits of entanglement are not limited to intangible sensations of well-being. Raising our inner frequency can produce profound changes in our external daily lives. One devotee says:

“I wanted very much to present introductory classes for Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s teachings. I succeeded in the teacher training, but I felt nervous and awkward about actually managing a class.The day I left the ashram after my training, I offered Pada Pooja. At the end of the pooja I asked Paramahamsa Nithyananda to support me as a new teacher. He promised that I would be successful. To my astonishment I found that I could teach eloquently and that whenever I spoke of him to anyone, I didn’t have to struggle. Words and ideas flowed to me magically. I was even able to open a center for him in a foreign country where I was visiting. I discovered a new dimension of myself that I never knew about previously, as well as enjoying improved confidence, resilience and creativity.”  SV, Seattle Washington USA

Another devotee, speaking of the Sri Vidya Pooja which she attended in the presence of Paramahamsa Nithyananda, relates: “I was invited to attend the Sri Vidya Pooja, which I was studying in books and which I was keen to know more about. It was a strange coincidence that I got invited to attend, it was a miracle. I was overwhelmed that I could actually see this pooja for which I was craving. After two hours in the pooja, I’m a totally transformed person. A lot of energy was flowing out!  I could feel it everywhere. It is the blessing of Sri Vidya Devi and Guruji (Paramahamsa Nithyananda). I am so proud to be his devotee.” IR, Singapore

.. many wishes are miraculously granted in the aftermath of Pada Pooja.

The science of gratitude is based on the principle that we already have much in our lives in our lives to be thankful for. Once we recognize this, we extend our self-perception: we feel rich, unlimited, creative. As that feeling entangles with the high energy of the divine breathing space, we expand our capacity to receive. Whatever aspirations we have stored, not believing that we can manifest them, can be activated. Thus many wishes are miraculously granted in the aftermath of Pada Pooja.

If you have faith in the Guru’s feet

If you have deep feeling for the Guru’s feet,

If you imbibe the state of the Guru,

Then you don’t have to look for God

God will come looking for you

– Bhakta Tukaram

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