Unfortunately, a person like, who has absolutely no qualification is writing about a very holy and divine topic, which typically should be done by authorities in this field. My apologies to begin with! We do not need epics, history or scriptures but a simple conversation with our elders in the house would reveal that there were times that Shiva puja was the center-piece in every Smartha household in India. This worship varies from household to household in terms of the magnitude.
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Sandal-paste a tea-spoon of this to be made for each pUjA day An Asana for sitting. One is supposed to sit facing East or North A seat Peetham for keeping the deities and other accessories. A PujA Bell, which usually has a nandi at its top. It may have a hole in the centre so that the Abhisheka-water may collect in a vessel below; or it may have a channel-like outlet by which the abhisheka-water may flow into another vessel.
Flowers for the PujA. These are to be arranged on a plate, one in the centre, one each in the four directions of the centre. Note: Metals used in the above articles should, as far as possible, avoid steel or iron.
My own compromise is: except for 17 above, all are either silver or brass or bronze. This much is a minimum. If Recitation can be done without the book, it will be wonderful; for, both the hands and all your attention would be needed for the pUjA. To hold a book in one of the hands would be most inconvenient. Anything else that you can recite would be valuable. Obviously, the assumption is that you have been initiated into these japas formally by some one whom you consider to be your guru for that purpose.
This is the ideal situation. Compromises are 54 or Ten time japa is only an apology. Also sprinkle it three times on yourself. Any remaining water in the shankham to be poured into the panca-pAtraM. Now the panca-pAtram water has been purified. So pour a little from it into the stored water-vessel No. In the course of the rest of the pUjA, as and when the water in the panca-pAtram gets emptied, fill it up from No. Before opening it learn what is supposed to be in it.
There are five deities. The deities or divinities are not in their human-like forms but in certain symbols in the form of stones, which are nothing but certain rock-formations available in specified locations in the country. Surya, the Sun-God is inherent in certain crystals normally found in Vallam in Tamilnadu. It is by the worship of these formless deities that the devotee trains himself to take the mind from the forms to the formless while at the same time allowing full scope for his devotional feelings.
Key to Transliteration of Sanskrit words
The important purpose of doing the panchAyatana pUjA is to overcome the bheda-bhAva among the different deities of various sects. Among the different sects of shaivas, vaiShNavas, etc. This creates a bheda-bhAva among the deities and this is simply a trick played by mAyA. As advaitins, we should understand that this bheda-bhAva is due to mAyA only.
Daily Worship of Five Deities Panchayatana Puja