Imagining the manifest form of a Deity or Guru and worshipping It/Him ritualistically, in the mind, is called mental ritualistic worship (manaspuja).
A. Performing ritualistic worship as per Path of Rituals (Karmakand) is at the gross level, whereas doing so in the mind, is at the subtle level. Based on the principle of going from ‘the gross to the subtle’, mental worship is superior to ritualistic worship performed at the physical level.
B. Despite the desire to perform ritualistic worship of God physically, some are unable to do so due to jobs and profession. So, when travelling or at other times they can perform mental ritualistic worship. Even those who perform gross ritualistic worship daily can try to do mental worship.
Reference : Holy text produced by Sanatan ‘Science underlying worship with five substances and sixteen substances’.
3. How to perform mental ritualistic worship ?
An example of mental ritualistic worship of Shri Mahalakshmidevi is given further. Accordingly, devotees can perform ritualistic worship of Shri Shantadurga, Shri Vitthal-Rakhumai etc.
4. Mental ritualistic worship of Shri Mahalakshmidevi
Substances used in the ritualistic worship
A gold platter, a gold basket with flowers, a gold pot and plate, five gold lamps (niranjan) and turmeric and vermilion powders in two metal bowls.
5. Ritualistic worship
‘Today is a blessed day in my life as I have received an opportunity to perform ritualistic worship of Devi. I am bathing the idol of Devi with mildly perfumed water from a gold pot (kalash). I am sprinkling panchamrut (mixture of milk, ghee, curd, sugar and honey) from a gold petal-shaped vessel onto the Devi very gently and then bathing Her with water. I am wiping the idol dry with a soft, silk cloth.
Deity Mahalakshmi is dressed in a red silk sari with a gold border and a yellow brocade blouse with beautiful creeper designs on it. She is decked with numerous gold ornaments. Devi is changing Her form based on the spiritual emotion in my mind. Seeing Her varied forms is making me happy.
The gold bowls in the gold plate have turmeric and vermilion powders, saffron, ashtagandha and musk perfume. I am applying all this unto the Deity forehead gently. Now I am offering fragrant flowers which devi likes – white jasmine (mogra), lotus, frangipani (chafa), Spanish cherry (bakuli) etc at Her Holy feet. Then I am lighting and moving two fragrant incense sticks lovingly in front of Her amidst ringing of the bell. I am now offering Her puran poli (soft chapati stuffed with ‘puran’ made from brown chickpeas (chana) lentil and jaggery) as naivedya (offering of food). I am praying fervently to Mother Devi to partake of the offering of food. I am lighting five ghee filled lamps. As I wave these lamps in front of the Deity, I see Her different forms. Surrendering completely unto Devi’s Holy feet, I am pleading with Her to uplift me spiritually. Devi is looking at me with motherly love. With her mere blessed look at me, all my unhappiness has vanished. Placing Her hand which blesses, onto my head She is blessing me and is giving me a mogra garland to wear in the hair, as prasad. I am expressing gratitude in several ways to Her. O Mother I am grateful a million times unto You for allowing me to serve You.’