Puja room or a prayer room is an intrinsic part of every Hindu hosehold. This is mainly because rituals such as puja are an integral part of Hindu worship. In Hindu culture God is considered the owner of all creation and we consider the puja room as His room. This is a religiously pure room, in our mind. A lamp is lit and the Lord worshipped each day. Other spiritual practices like japa – repetition of the Lord’s name, meditation, paaraayana – reading of the scriptures, prayers, and devotional singing etc are also done here. Special worship is done on auspicious occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, festivals and the like. Each member of the family – young or old – communes with and worships the Divine here.
Generally we avoid negative thoughts in prayer. We use only positive thoughts to get results. So, the room gets charged with positive energy, over a period of time. In that room, we generally keep pictures of Gods and Mahatmas. Even though we believe in one God, we keep the pictures of many deities.We light a lamp and worship the Lord. We burn incense in that room . Smelling incense while experiencing the calm silence of the puja room can be a powerful tool for the mind to experience peace of mind. All family members worship God in that room. Parayana ( reading the scriptures) and special pujas are always done in that room. We should make “ communing with God ” the specific purpose of the room.
The ideal attitude to take is to regard the Lord as the true owner of our homes and us as caretakers of His home. But if that is rather difficult, we could at least think of Him as a very welcome guest. Just as we would house an important guest in the best comfort, so too we felicitate the Lord’s presence in our homes by having a prayer room or altar, which is, at all times, kept clean and well-decorated. Also the Lord is all pervading. To remind us that He resides in our homes with us, we have prayer rooms. Without the grace of the Lord, no task can be successfully or easily accomplished. We invoke His grace by communing with Him in the prayer room each day and on special occasions.
Each room in a house is dedicated to a specific function like the bedroom for resting, the drawing room to receive guests, the kitchen for cooking etc. The furniture, decor and the atmosphere of each room are made conducive to the purpose it serves. So too for the purpose of meditation, worship and prayer, we should have a conducive atmosphere – hence the need for a prayer room. Sacred thoughts and sound vibrations pervade the place and influence the minds of those who spend time there. Spiritual thoughts and vibrations accumulated through regular meditation, worship and chanting done there pervade the prayer room. Even when we are tired or agitated, by just sitting in the prayer room for a while, we feel calm, rejuvenated and spiritually uplifted.
The pooja room in our house should be planned according to Vastu Shashtra, because it the place where we meditate and worship. So, it is important to gain positive energies to connect to God.
A puja room, or pooja area, is an indispensable part of Hindu home and the position of the Pooja room in house is very important. Usually, the puja room faces east or west side. This direction promises to bring in happiness, prosperity, health, wealth, and peace of mind. North-east is auspicious for other reasons. In morning sunrays fall directly from north-east and give us positive energy. Puja area usually never faces north or south. The ideal position according to many scholars is to position the puja room in the north-east corner.
The idols and pictures of gods and goddess should be placed facing west or east. The idols and portraits should not be placed on the ground. It should be placed on a small table or should be hung on the wall.
Vastu Guidelines for a Puja room. – Minu CP (Architect)
Since Vastu is a science, there is logic and reasoning behind every guideline. As an Architect, I have attempted to explain these guidelines rationally and scientifically, so that you can decide what you want to follow and what you don’t.
WHAT IS THE BEST LOCATION FOR A PUJA ROOM ACCORDING TO VASTU?
**The Puja room should be in the North-East, East or North: The Scientific Reason- Early at dawn, the sun is in the North-Eastern part of the house. These hours are ideal for Yoga, meditation, prayer or study as it is very quiet and peaceful. Also, the early morning Sun’s rays have a very beneficial effect on our health. Therefore, the North-East corner is the best position for the Puja Room/prayer room or meditation room.
**In a big site, the Puja room can be in the Centre of the House: The Scientific Reason- The central part of a large house should be kept open to allow proper flow of air and cross ventilation. It makes sense to have a Puja room right in the middle of this court as it can be seen from all rooms and the space is utilized.
**The Puja Room should be in the Ground Floor and not in the Basement: The Scientific Reason- A basement is a dark and dingy place and one cannot benefit from the morning sun rays here.
**If there is no space for a Puja room, the Mandir can be placed in the North-East corner of the Kitchen: The Scientific Reason- In apartments it may not be possible to have a separate Puja room, but since one starts the day by entering the Kitchen, having a Puja here helps one to spend a few quiet moments in meditation.
**Avoid Puja mandirs in the Bedrooms: The Scientific Reason- Many people may feel uncomfortable to lie around with their feet pointing towards the religious idols, as they believe it is disrespectful to god.
**Avoid a Toilet near or above the Puja Room: The Scientific Reason- A Toilet causes disturbance when people use it and also the smell can distract while one is meditating.
WHAT IS THE BEST LOCATION FOR THE IDOLS IN A PUJA ROOM ACCORDING TO VASTU?
**Idols can be in the North-East, East or West of the Puja: The Scientific Reason- The morning sunlight streaming in from the North-East, East and the evening light from the West will light up the idols enabling you to see them better.
**Avoid idols facing North: Because then the worshiper has to face South which is not advisable. The Scientific Reason- When a worshiper sits facing South, his feet are towards the south and his head is in the North. This causes the magnetic North of the body, namely the Head to repel the Earth’s magnetic North Pole.
**Avoid broken idols or torn pictures: The Scientific Reason- Praying to a broken idol or torn image of a deity can be distracting.
**Avoid idols facing each other: The Logic: The purpose of having idols in a Puja room is for one to be able to see them and meditate on them.
**Idols should be kept at least an inch away from the wall: The Scientific Reason- Keeping the idols away from the walls, ensures that there is proper movement of air and incense smoke through the room.
WHERE SHOULD THE PUJA THINGS BE PLACED IN THE PUJA ROOM ACCORDING TO VASTU?
**The lamp should always be in front of the idol: The Scientific Reason- The idea of having a lamp is to light it and if it is placed in front of the idols, one can see them better.
**The puja things should be stored in the South-East of the Puja room: The Scientific Reason- All the puja stuff should be kept away from the North-East and East, so that there is no obstruction to the morning sunlight.
**Avoid photographs of dead people in the Puja room: The Logic- While many people believe in showing respect to the dead, it is better not to have their photos in the Puja room as they may be distracting or bring back painful memories.
**Food offerings should be placed in front of the idols: The Logic- Whatever is offered to god should be always placed in front of the idol as a mark of respect. Moreover, it is less cumbersome to remove and replace if it is right in front.
**A cupboard lower than the idols can be placed against the South or West wall: The Scientific Reason – This way, it will not be an obstruction to the useful morning sunlight.
Avoid storing or hiding money or valuables in the Puja room: The Scientific Reason- Many people may feel they are being disrespectful to God by keeping things and hiding stuff here.
WHAT ART THE VASTU GUIDELINES FOR THE INTERIORS OF A PUJA ROOM?
**The Puja room should have a lower ceiling: One can use false ceiling for the same. The Scientific Reason – A Puja room is generally a small room and so having a low ceiling will make it appear more proportional.
**The Puja room can be a pyramid shaped space: The Scientific Reason- It is known scientifically that sitting in a pyramid especially while meditating can create positive effects on the health of the person.
**Keep the Puja room clean always: The Logic- By cleaning the Puja room everyday, it ensures that one spends a few moments in prayer. Also it is a way of showing respect to God.
**Door to the Puja room should have two shutters: The Logic – When doing puja or meditating, the door is kept open outwards and can come in the way if it is one shutter.
**There should be a threshold at the entrance to the Puja room. The Scientific Reason- A threshold prevents ants and insects from entering and this is useful in a Puja room, as foodstuff may be offered in prayer.
**For lengthy meditation, sit facing East and avoid facing the idols: If meditation is going to last for more than 15 minutes one should not sit exactly facing the idols. The Logic-When meditating it is best to face East as the morning sun’s rays are beneficial to one’s health. If one keeps looking at the idols, it can be distracting. Moreover the energy that radiates from them can be very strong.
WHAT COLOURS DOES VASTU RECOMMEND FOR A PUJA ROOM?
Colours in the Puja room: Can be white, light yellow or light blue. White or light yellow marble work in the room is preferred. The Scientific Reason- White marble shines and reflects light, thus enhancing the bright and well-lit look of a space. The same is true in case of light colours.