The Panchayatan Puja System in Hinduism

Categories : Spirituality

From the days of primitive man, the concept of the Sun as a divine power must have taken root. Sun continued to be revered as the primordial God by all who belonged to the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Indian Vedic, Sumerian and Mayan civilisations. Sun came to be worshipped as a symbol of light. The light became the symbol of knowledge. The system of starting with a light exists in all religions. Sun is the most visible solitary God in which the world believes. In Hinduism Sun is called Suryadeva or Suryanarayan (the manifestation of Vishnu himself). Sun fulfils all the wishes of the living entities as a regulator of everything in the universe. All the planets including the earth originated from the Sun. All planets are kept under strict control by the Sun which causes them to revolve around itself at very high speeds at almost fixed distances from itself. The ideal distance of Earth from the Sun is the reason for our existence. We pray to Suryadeva for knowledge and for taking us to light from darkness.

“Asato Ma Sadgamaya

Tamaso Ma Jyotiragamaya

Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya”

The Hindu belief system holds that the entire creation is the manifestation of Pancha Mahabhut i.e., Ether (Sky), Water, Fire, Air and Earth. The five Gods are the Adhipati lords of the Pancha Mahabhut.

  1. Akash – Vishnu (Ether, Sky)
  2. Vayu – Surya Sun (Air)
  3. Agni – Shakti (Fire)
  4. Jal – Ganesha (Water)
  5. Prithvi – Shiva (Earth)

All the above-mentioned five lords are instrumental in the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the Universe. Hence, all five are held in great esteem and are worshipped together in temples as Pancha Deva. The combined worship of the five deities is known as Panchayatan Puja. This factor governs the selection of Vigrah (Murti, images) for the finalisation of the construction of temples and the installation of images.

There are separate Sampradaya (sects) relating to the five deities known as Vaishnav, Shaiva, Shakta, Ganpatya and Saurya. No God finds a place in the Panchayatan system unless God is endowed with the power of creation sustenance and dissolution. It clearly shows the importance and supremacy of the Surya Deva in Hinduism. Followers of each sect keep their presiding deities as the supreme and assign slightly secondary positions to others. In a temple, the five idols should be installed per the rules described in the Yamal tantra of Tantra Saar. Haphazard installation of idols may prove detrimental to devotees. The following system has been recommended for the installation of images for different sects.

For Vaishnava Sampradaya:

  • Vishnu – Centre
  • Shiva – Isan (North-East)
  • Ganesha – Agneya (South-East)
  • Surya – Nairitya (South-West)
  • Shakti (Parvati) – Vayavya (North-West)

For Shaiva Sampradaya:

  • Shiva – Centre
  • Vishnu – Isan (North-East)
  • Surya – Agneya (South-East)
  • Ganesha – Nairitya (South-West)
  • Parvati – Vayavya (North-West)

For Shakta Sampradaya:

  • Bhavani (Parvati) – Centre
  • Achyuta (Vishnu) – Isana (North-East)
  • Shiva – Agneya (South-East)
  • Ganesha – Nairitya (South-West)
  • Surya – Vayavya (North-West)

For Ganpatya Sampradaya:

  • Ganapati – Centre
  • Keshava (Vishnu) – Isana (North-East)
  • Shiva – Agneya (South-East)
  • Surya – Nairitya (South-West)
  • Parvati – Vayavya (North-West)

For Saurya Sampradaya:

  • Surya – Centre
  • Shiva – Isana (North-East)
  • Ganesha – Agneya (South-East)
  • Keshava (Vishnu) – Nairitya (South-West)
  • Ambika (Parvati) – Vayavya (North-West)

Sun’s importance gets enhanced in various ways during the ritualistic puja as described below.

  • The sun gets worshipped during Navagraha Puja.
  • Surya Arghya is a regular and daily offering by millions.
  • Surya Puja is performed with complete piousness on different occasions.
  • In Panch Deva puja the Surya Deva becomes inseparable.
  • In Panchayatan Puja in temples, the images are installed as per the rule for Surya Puja also.
  • In yoga, Surya Namaskar is the most important Asan.

The rays of the Sun act as a sanitiser because they kill germs. Entry of Sunrays has been recommended for sanitization of bedrooms, living rooms and other nooks and corners of the house. The direct rays of the Sun regulate the hydrological cycle, all the bio-geo-chemical cycles and are reflected in the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the earthy entities.

The number ‘Panch’ (Five) is very important in Hinduism. Pancha Gyanendriya, Pancha Karmendriya, Panch Tanmatra, Pancha Vayu, Pancha Deva, Pancha Amrita, Pancha Ratna, Pancha Mahabhut and Panchayatan Puja system found in temples are examples. Surya Deva is non-separable for those also who call themselves atheists.