Hindu forms of worship

For Hindus, worship is a significant part of daily life. Worship expresses devotion and love to the gods and goddesses. Hindus believe they have atman, a soul, which connects all living things to Brahman. Devotion to the gods and goddesses, known as bhakti, is a way of connecting with Ultimate Reality. Daily worship is often done at a shrine at home, and sometimes at the mandir.

There are some key ideas that Hindus use when worshipping. The four most important concepts are havan, puja, arati and darshan.

  • Havan – fire worship. The god of fire, called Agni, is worshipped by Hindus using fire. Hindus burn offerings such as rice while reciting prayers and mantras.
  • Puja – ritual of prayer and devotion. Puja is the general term for Hindu worship and devotion to gods and goddesses. This worship may take place at home or in the mandir.
  • Arati – receiving the blessing of the deities. Arati is a common worship ceremony where Hindus receive the blessings of the deities. Worshippers waft their hands over a flaming ghee lamp and then over their faces.
  • Darshan – ‘to see’. Hindu worshippers believe they see and are seen by the deities during worship. They sing hymns, called bhajans or kirtans, and repeat holy phrases and mantras. Prayer beads (known as japa) may also be used.
Hindu worship aims to enable the devotee to see and be seen by the gods and goddesses.

What is arati?

Arati is the Hindu ceremony in which a person receives a blessing by warming their hands over a candle lamp and then over their face.