Shiva-manasa-puja: Mentally worshiping God

I’ve already made a couple posts about devotional literature relating to the Hindu god Shiva, but today is Maha Shivaratri (“Great Night of Shiva” in Sanskrit), which is one of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar — certainly the most important festival dedicated to Shiva — so with that in mind, I thought I would write about another stotram (devotional poem) composed by the 8th-century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara: Shiva-maanasa-puja, “Mental Worship of Shiva.”

Specifically, the type of worship mentioned here is puja, which is the most common way in which Hindus worship God. The particular steps and objects used in different pujas varies wildly, but the basic concept is that you are treating God like an honored guest–inviting God into your home, offering refreshments and fresh clothes, etc. (This article goes more in-depth into what puja is.)

Many Hindu devotional hymns are meant to be recited during pujas and other ritual. The Shiva-maanasa-puja, however, is unique in that it is meant to simply be recited by the devotee, who mentally performs puja to Shiva as they recite the hymn. It’s short and sweet, so take a look. (The following recitation is also fantastic.)

रत्नैः कल्पितमासनं हिमजलैः स्नानं दिव्याम्बरं
नानारत्नविभूषितं मृगमदामोदाङ्कितं चन्दनम्
जातीचम्पकबिल्वपत्ररचितं पुष्पं धूपं तथा
दीपं देव दयानिधे पशुपते हृत्कल्पितं गृह्यताम् ॥१॥

ratnaih kalpitam-aasanam hima-jalaih snaanam cha divya-ambaram
naanaa-ratna-vibhooshitam mrga-madaa-moda-ankitam chandanam |
jaatee-champaka-bilva-patra-rachitam pushpam cha dhoopam tathaa
deepam deva dayaa-nidhe pashupate hrit-kalpitam grhyataam ||1||

I offer a a seat studded with gems for You to sit on, and I offer cool waters from the Himalayas for your bath. With divine clothes decorated with various gems, and with marks of sandalwood paste and the fragrance of the musk deer, I adorn Your form.
I offer You jasmine (jaatee) and magnolia (champaka) flowers along with bilva leaves, and I wave incense sticks and an oil lamp before You. O Deva, You who are an ocean of compassion and the lord of all beings; please accept these offerings made within my heart.

सौवर्णे नवरत्नखण्डरचिते पात्रे घृतं पायसं
भक्ष्यं पञ्चविधं पयोदधियुतं रम्भाफलं पानकम्
शाकानामयुतं जलं रुचिकरं कर्पूरखण्डोज्ज्वलं
ताम्बूलं मनसा मया विरचितं भक्त्या प्रभो स्वीकुरु ॥२॥

sauvarne nava-ratna-khanda-rachite paatre ghrtam paayasam
bhakshyam pancha-vidham payo-dadhi-yutam rambhaa-phalam paanakam |
shaakaanaam-ayutam jalam ruchikaram karpoora-khandojjvalam
taamboolam manasaa mayaa virachitam bhaktyaa prabho sveekuru ||2||

I offer You ghee (clarified butter) and payasam (a sweet prepared with rice and milk) in a golden bowl studded with the navaratnas (“nine gems”: ruby, pearl, red coral, emerald, yellow sapphire, diamond, blue sapphire, hessonite, and cat’s eye). I then offer five types of different food preparations, and a special preparation composed of milk, yogurt, and plantains.
For drinking, I offer You delicious water scented with various fruits and vegetables. Then, I wave a piece of lighted camphor before You, and finally offer a betel leaf to complete my food offering; O Lord, please accept these offerings I have created in my mind through devotional contemplation.

छत्रं चामरयोर्युगं व्यजनकं चादर्शकं निर्मलं
वीणाभेरिमृदङ्गकाहलकला गीतं नृत्यं तथा
साष्टाङ्गं प्रणतिः स्तुतिर्बहुविधा ह्येतत्समस्तं मया
सङ्कल्पेन समर्पितं तव विभो पूजां गृहाण प्रभो ॥३॥

chhatram chaamarayor-yugam vyajanakam cha-adarshakam nirmalam
veenaa-bheri-mrdanga-kaahala-kalaa geetam cha nrityam tathaa |
saashtaangam pranatih stutir-bahu-vidhaa hyetat-samastam mayaa
sankalpena samarpitam tava vibho poojaam grhaana prabho ||3||

I offer You an umbrella for cool shade and, with a pair of yak-tail fans, I fan You. I offer You a spotless mirror (representing the purity of devotion in one’s heart), and I fill the surroundings with divine songs and dances accompanied by music from the veena, bheri (kettle drum), mridangam, and kaahala (a large drum).
In these divine surroundings, I do full prostration (saashtaanga pranaam) before You and I then sing various hymns in Your praise. All these are created in my heart and offered to You; O Lord, please accept my mental worship.

आत्मा त्वं गिरिजा मतिः सहचराः प्राणाः शरीरं गृहं
पूजा ते विषयोपभोगरचना निद्रा समाधिस्थितिः
सञ्चारः पदयोः प्रदक्षिणविधिः स्तोत्राणि सर्वा गिरो
यद्यत्कर्म करोमि तत्तदखिलं शम्भो तवाराधनम् ॥४॥

aatmaa tvam girijaa matih sahacharaah praanaah shareeram grham
poojaa te vishayopabhoga-rachanaa nidraa samaadhi-sthitih |
sanchaarah padayoh pradakshina-vidhih stotraani sarvaa giro
yad-yat-karma karomi tat-tad-akhilam shambho tava-araadhanam ||4||

O Lord, You are my atma (soul); Your consort, the Divine Mother, is my buddhi (intellect); Your ganas (companions, followers) are my praana (life force); my body is Your temple; my interactions with the world are Your worship and my sleep is the state of samadhi (complete absorption in You); my walking about is Your pradakshina (circumambulation); my speech is hymns praising You; whatever work I do, all that is Your worship.

करचरणकृतं वाक्कायजं कर्मजं वा
श्रवणनयनजं वा मानसं वापराधम्
विहितमविहितं वा सर्वमेतत्क्षमस्व
जय जय करुणाब्धे श्रीमहादेव शम्भो ॥५॥

kara-charana-krtam vaak-kaaya-jam karma-jam vaa
shravana-nayana-jam vaa maanasam va-aparaadham |
vihitam-avihitam vaa sarvam-etat-kshamasva
jaya jaya karuna-abdhe shree-mahaadeva shambho ||5||

Whatever sins have been committed by actions performed by my hands and feet, produced by my speech and body, or my work,
Sins produced by my ears and eyes, or sins committed by my mind (i.e. negative thoughts),
Sins committed while performing actions which are prescribed (i.e. duties prescribed by tradition or allotted duties in one’s station of life), as well as all other actions which are not explicitly prescribed (i.e. actions done by self-judgement, by mere habit, without much thinking, unknowingly etc): please forgive them all.
Victory, victory to You, O Mahadeva. I surrender to You; You are an ocean of compassion.

(the translation I used)

(image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

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