Primary Schools Page 4

Hindu Practices



Any activity we do that takes us closer to God is a form of worship. In Hinduism, there are no hard and fast rules about when or how to pray. There are only some guidelines. A lot of Hindus find the best times to worship are at dawn (when the sun is just coming up) and at dusk (when the sun is just setting). These are times when everything seems so peaceful.




Worship is called Puja


Shrine is the place in the home where God is worshipped.



The Deity is the form of God being worshipped. A picture or statue of the deity is placed on a raised and decorated platform.





A lamp is lit to show that we want to go from darkness to light.  It shows that we want to find God.





 Water may be sprinkled around the shrine for purity


 Flowers may be offered to show that we are offering our heart to God.




v    Fruit and food may be offered to God to offer thanks. At the end of the worship, the food becomes holy.  This food is then called Prashad. It is shared and eaten by worshippers. 

v    Incense may be burnt. The sweet scent goes everywhere to remind us that God is everywhere. 

v    Bell may be rung to awaken the deity. The sound of the bell can be used blocks out other sounds disturbing the puja. 

v    Tilak is a mark made on the forehead when doing the worship ceremony. Hindus concentrate on this spot when they meditate. This mark is made using red powder. 

v    Prayers and Sacred Scriptures may be read or sung during the Puja ceremony 

v    Arti is the welcoming ceremony of God. Lamps are waved gently in front of the image and holy songs are sung.

v    Camphor is burnt at the end of the puja to show that we have to burn our pride.


Worship in the temple:

Hindus say that temples are the homes of God on earth. There are no hard and fast rules about when to go to the temple. Hindus go to the temple to get darshan of God. This means they wish to catch sight of God. They may take flowers and fruits, or other items to offer to God. When they arrive at the temple, they remove their shoes before entering the temple as a mark of respect.

 At the entrance to the temple people ring a bell to announce their presence to God. The main deity of the temple is placed in the inner shrine. The outer walls of the temples may have smaller shrines housing other deities. The worship ceremony is similar to the worship at home. The congregation sings glories of God. These songs are called bhajans.  The priest performs the arti ceremony by gently waving a tray with oil-lamps in front of the deity. The arti-tray is then passed around, people cup their hands over the lamps to receive blessings. Some people go around the deity in the inner shrine to pay their respects. Prashad, the food and fruit that was offered to God is offered to everyone to eat.


Religious festivals remind us about God. Some festivals celebrate special days in a religion, some festivals celebrate change of season while some celebrate special relationships. 



v   Diwali is the most popular Hindu festival. On this night, Rama and Sita returned to their city after spending 14 years in the forest. To celebrate their return the people of the city lit up the whole town with oil-lamps. These little lamps are called diwa hence the festival is called Diwali. This day also celebrates the day the Mother Goddess destroyed a demon called Mahisha. On this day, people light lots of lamps, visit relatives, have feasts and arrange firework displays.




 v    Navaratri celebrates the victory of the Mother Goddess over evil. It is a festival that lasts over nine nights with dancing and singing around the image of the mother Goddess. Some grown-ups may fast during these days to show their devotion to the mother Goddess.




v Janmasthami celebrates the birth of Sri Krishna

v    amanavami celebrates the birth of Sri Rama

v    Raksha Bandhan celebrates the special love and relationship between brothers and sisters

v    Shivratri celebrations take place in the night  to honour Lord Shiva

v    Guru Purnima celebrates special relationship between teacher and student

v    Holi celebrates the arrival of spring. On this day people sprinkle coloured powder and water on each other



Most people think that Yoga means doing physical exercises. The word yoga means to join together with God. Physical exercises help us to stay healthy, but it is not the ‘real’ yoga. The real yoga is called Raja yoga and is the way to find God by meditation. It is very difficult. Real meditation comes when we become even more awake than we are now. How can this be possible? Hindus say

that when we are successful in making our mind very quiet, we become even more awake. In meditation we can experience God.




Someone called Vivekananda was able to meditate by making his mind very quiet and seeing God. This is a picture taken when he was experiencing God in deep meditation. 


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