Pujas or “Rites”
Pūjā is the ceremonial worship of God in the Sanātana-dharma religion. The word pūjā is derived from the Sanskrit root pūj, which means “to worship, honor, or revere”. Essentially, pūjā can be a ritual of gratitude as well as the glorification of the mūrti, the spiritual master, great personages or important visitors. However, in practice, pūjā refers to the daily ceremony that includes the sixteen offerings.
Pūjā is described in the scriptures in two ways: the worship of the abstract form of divinity and the worship of the image of the deity. The former is frequently found in the Vedas, in which worship and oblations are offered mainly to the abstract deity. The latter, called mūrti-pūjā, is particularly recommended in tantric texts.
On the other hand, arcana can be performed as mānasa-pūjā, which is mental worship performed in the absence of any external objects or rituals. In this case, the devotee visualizes the entire ceremony within himself, offering a seat to the Lord on the altar of his heart. This type of ritual is only feasible for those who have performed pūjā for several years and who are familiar with the order of the offerings.
It is possible to combine the mūrti-pūjā together with mānasa-pūjā by making the offering with our body as well as our mind.
Pūjā is expressly recommended in the dharma-śāstras, or “treatises on duty.” Worship of the Lord is an integral part of Vimukti Yoga™.