Public worship

Key facts about HinduismBBC Religion & Ethics; Swaminarayan.org; National Council of Hindu Temples (UK), all retrieved 2013

Most Hindus worship a personal God in the form of one of the main deities, which they believe to be forms of Brahman. Some try to communicate directly with Brahman through meditation, but many use prarthana or puja.

Features of a community puja include:

  • water, fruit, flowers and incense may be offered
  • a bell is rung to 'waken' the deities
  • arti is performed by the priest
  • personal prarthana may be offered and communal prarthana may be chanted together

Some Hindus use images to assist puja. Murti are statues of deities, which have been consecrated. Many Hindus have consecrated murti around the home and some encourage their children to play with murti as part of learning about God.

At a community puja, the arti tray is passed around. Worshippers often put money on the tray, which is used for the upkeep of the mandir.

Many puja services end with the sharing of prashad. This is distributed among the worshippers.