Daily Rituals

Lord Lakulish who instructed Swami Rajarshi Muni to establish the Lakulish International Fellowship having two wings, viz., Nivrutti (renunciant) and Pravrutti (worldly), also indicated as to what type of daily practices should be adopted by those who join the Fellowship for their own spiritual enlightenment. He recommended that the Nivrutti wing members should mainly follow the path of liberation practicing Divine yoga involving themselves very little in the public welfare activities. For Pravrutti wing members, he recommended a life of service for the common good while carrying out their responsibilities of the worldly life. However, they should be taught certain daily rituals and spiritual disciplines by practicing which they too can make spiritual progress.

The simple practices which a Pravrutti wing member should include in his daily routine are as follows:

Sandhya: - It is a daily religious ablution to be performed in the morning, noon and evening. It broadly includes: (a) invoking the sun-god, (b) offering libations to the sun-god, (c) reciting Gayatri Mantra, (d) performing Pranayam and (e) meditation. The whole ceremony is performed while uttering various Mantra formulae and making ritual actions.

Puja: - It is a ceremonial worship of the personal deity to be performed daily in the morning and evening. It involves rituals like invoking the deity and offering seat, bath, clothes, decoration, flowers, fruits, food, water etc. After gratifying the deity thus, the ceremonial worship is performed with the waving of the lighted lamp accompanied by the music of drums, bells, conch, and singing of the hymn. In all there are sixteen steps of service accompanied by the chanting of Mantras.

Stavan: - It is eulogizing or glorifying the personal deity. The hymns of praise or adoration are sung with devotional fervor. This routine of glorification of the deity is followed generally after the cessation of the ceremonial worship or Puja.

Japa: - It is the repetition of a Mantra, usually the one received from the mouth of one’s Guru. Repetition may be done with loud or muted intonation, silent whispering or even mental recitation. It should be done with slow speed, with faith and mental concentration. It should be done daily in a certain number as prescribed by one’s Guru.

Swadhyaya: - It is the study of sacred scriptures. It involves not only the reading of the texts but also independent thinking on the importance of what is read. Even such self-study is usually done as a part of daily devotions, regularly.

Manan: - It is the constant thinking through which any problem is reflected upon and an inference or solution is arrived at by systematic reasoning. It involves concentration of mind and contemplative reflection akin to meditation.

Vrat: - It is the observance of the vows as the religious act of devotion and as the purificatory act for spiritual advancement. It involves fasting and strict rules regarding bath, celibacy, speech, sleep, etc. It is a sort of a lighter method of practicing penance for achieving self-purification.

Satsang: - It is a mode of group devotion for elevating oneself through association with virtuous and pious persons. In company the participants either listen to the sermons from of spiritually advanced persons or sing hymns together (Bhajan), recite glories of God (Kirtan) and chant His name (Dhun). Apart from achieving the personal purification, it helps to cultivate a society of virtuous and upright people.

By practicing such daily routine one’s religious propensities, moral determination and spiritual merits are developed. After one reaches the requisite degree of development, special instruction in either Karma yoga, Jnana yoga or Bhakti yoga can be imparted according to one’s individual inclination. It may be reminded here that the Lakulish Institute of Yoga offers one week’s course for the Daily Rituals and two week’s course in Karma, Jnana and Bhakti yoga.