What is called a ""Panchaayatana Pooja""?

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To one of my questions, one scholarly person has mentioned the following ::-- """ We have Shiva Panchayatanam, Vishnu Panchayatanam , ., Surya Panchayatanam, ...show more
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Good question. I hope no one floated this great question. i will try my level best to answer your question.

my answer:

Panchayatana puja is the system of worship in the Smarta sampradaya of Hinduism. It is said to have been introduced by Adi Shankara, the 8th century CE Hindu philosopher. It consists of the worship of five deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. Depending on the tradition followed by Smarta households, one of these deities is kept in the center and the other four surround it. Worship is offered to all the deities. The five are represented by small murtis, or by five kinds of stones, or by five marks drawn on the floor. One is placed in the center as the devotee's preferred God, Ishta Devata, and the other four in a square around it.

The shanmathas are shaiva, vaishnava, shakta, soura,
ganapatya and koumara. The Panchayatana puja applies
to the daily puja the devotee does at home. I remember
someone mentioning on the list sometime ago that
Shanmukha is used instead of surya in some places in
Tamilnadu. But then, the Agama mode of worship in
ancient temples had to be regulated too. So, I think
that Sri Shankara refined the prevalent Shanmathas
(the Agamic worship included). Examples to this are
numerous, some of them being
Shringeri,Kanchi,Guruvayoor,Badrinath, and even
Shabarimalai, the abode of dharmashasta.

In the thread about the role of Ishwara it was noted that an exclusive approach to God can end up in fanaticism. Yet the opposite extreme, to just lump everything together into one insipid mess is not good either. In the Smarta sampradaya we have a practice that attempts to eliminate both problems--the panchayatana puja. We believe it was established by Shankaracharya himself.

According to the Digvijayas the situation was not good at that time. There were many sects and philosophies that misinterpreted or were completely against the Vedas. Amongst the astikas much energy was misspent in arguing over whether Shiva Bhagawan was superior to Vishnu Bhagawan or both were inferior to Mataji etc. To alleviate this and to get people thinking of the Advaita bhava, this puja was started.

In this puja all the five major deities of Sanatana Dharma are worshipped:
Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesh Bhagawans.

There are five forms of arranging Them:

Shiva panchayata ( 1 )

Vishnu Surya

Shiva

Devi Ganesh


Vishnu panchayata ( 2 )


Shiva Ganesh

Vishnu

Devi Surya


Surya panchayata ( 3 )

Shiva Ganesh

Surya

Devi Vishnu


Devi panchayata ( 4 )

Vishnu Shiva

Devi

Surya Ganesh


Ganesh panchayata ( 5 )

Vishnu Shiva

Ganesh

Devi Surya

This way the sadhaka can put his own belowed form of God in center stage but he never forgets that He has other forms too.

The important purpose of doing the panchayatana puja is to overcome the bheda-bhava among the different deities of various sects. Among the different sects of shaivas, vaishnavas, etc., each views its own deity as the Supreme and makes the others inferior to its main deity. This creates a bheda-bhava among the deities and this is simply a trick played by maya. Says the maya-panchaka:

Other than the above, I remember
someone mentioning on the list sometime ago that
Shanmukha is used instead of surya in some places in
Tamilnadu.

Vinayagar is also one of the five Gods the worship of whom was popularized by Adi Shankaracharya; the other four being Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti and Surya. The worship of these five deities is called the panchaayatana puja. In some cases, Skanda is also worshipped.

Thanks for the opportunity and hope this will help you !!!

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Asker's Rating & Comment

5 out of 5
Haritha Saheb, Thank you. Excellent answer. Thank you again.
@@Rawney, Thank you also. It is really a new thing to me that "Panchayatana"system of worship exists in Sikhism also. Thank you again.
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Other Answers (1)

  • Rawney answered 4 years ago
    Panchayatana puja is the system of worship in the Smarta sampradaya of Hinduism. It is said to have been introduced by Adi Shankara, the 8th century CE Hindu philosopher. It consists of the worship of five deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. Depending on the tradition followed by Smarta households, one of these deities is kept in the center and the other four surround it. Worship is offered to all the deities. The five are represented by small murtis, or by five kinds of stones, or by five marks drawn on the floor. One is placed in the center as the devotee's preferred God, Ishta Devata, and the other four in a square around it.

    Smartas
    Philosophically, all are seen by Smartas as equal reflections of the one Saguna Brahman, (i.e., a personal God with form) rather than as distinct beings.
    This arrangement is also represented in Smarta temples, with one in a central sanctum, and the others installed in smaller shrines.

    Udasi
    The Udasi sect follows the Panchayatana traditions. These followers, like mainstream Sikhs, believe in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sacred Text of the Sikhs) which the Udasis interpret according to Vedanta philosophy and therefore take part in both Nirgun Pooja (of reading Gurbani from Sikh texts and fixing the mind on the omnipresent, indescribable and infinite God, the cause of all forms) but also respect Sarguna Saroop (the physical and metaphysical forms of God) by Pooja and Aarti traditions of Sanatan Dharma.
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