Most devotees perform this Pooja with their community, in temples. These temples house banyan trees and the priest helps them perform the Pooja. People, who are not in a position to visit temples for this Pooja, can buy banyan twigs from the market and perform the Pooja at home.
The banyan twigs are placed in a mud pot, which is on a cloth, spread on a rangoli on the floor. In front of it, a pair of sandalwood sticks or shapes made with mud can be placed representing Brahma and Saraswati. All Gods are invoked and represented by whole betel nuts to be placed in front of them. A kalash or kumbha is kept with mango leaves and a coconut.
The whole structure can be decorated as per one’s talent and affordability. The Pooja can now be begun after purifying everything. Sankalpa is taken by ladies for the long life of their husbands, begetting children and their long lives. Most of the time, it is the ladies, who perform this Pooja. Shodashopachara Pooja can be performed to all the invoked Gods. One ghee diya and one sesame oil diya are placed near the worshipping area.
The naivedyam would be milk with jaggery dissolved in it. This is our tradition. Other than that, Mukkani (3 fruits in Tamil) – Mango, Jackfruit and banana can be offered. This can be done by placing small pieces of jackfruit on a banyan leaf. One mango and one banana are tied 3 times with a red thread with 3 knots. As many such sets are made as we have invited ladies for offering the Pooja. All these are offered as naivedyam.
A white thread is dipped in turmeric water and entwined around the banyan twigs saying, “Sarvamangala Mangalye Shive Sarvartha Sadhike. Sharanye Triyambike Gauri Narayani namostute.” Then, comes the aarti. For aarti, a brass or silver plate is filled with kumkum water and a small diya is placed in the middle. Thus, aarti is performed. Post this, circumambulation is performed.
All the suhasinis should be honored with turmeric powder, kumkum, sandalwood powder and perfume. The milk is distributed as holy water. The fruit sets are served to the suhasinis with betel leaves and betel nuts. Some people offer moradu bagina or gifts placed on sieves.
The oldest lady in the group gets the best – sari, blouse, bangles and other beauty accessories. 5 types of vegetables, one coriander and one curry leaf are also added. Rice, jaggery, 5 types of lentil, cardamom seeds, cloves, some cumin seeds and peppercorns are also added. The whole thing on the sieve is covered by another sieve and offered to the lady. Other ladies get smaller gifts in smaller sieves. The ladies are either served food or some sweets to their satisfaction before they leave.
After the Pooja, couples without children can perform Savitri Homa for begetting children. Before offering the gifts, the story is read among the ladies. The story will be shared in the next post.
To be continued…