Practice of Havans and Pujas

Posted by the Central Committee & filed under Communications.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings and best wishes from all of us on the Central Committee! We have recently been asked to provide official protocols for havan and puja. This has sparked some very interesting discussion amongst us all, and we would like to share some of these reflections with you.

Generally, what we have seen over the past many years is a tendency to over-formalize the protocols in performing puja and havan. In an effort to be certain not to make any errors or omissions that might displease the Divine, to be thorough in pleasing the Divine or maybe in feeling that more worship and more protocol equals pleasing the Divine more, these ceremonies have sometimes turned into more and more complex sets of steps – almost like a checklist of procedures and required mantras. This has led to a more ritualistic experience of puja and havan than was experienced in Shri Mataji’s Presence. There are certain basic and fairly simple guidelines in performing puja and havan, to be sure. But when the focus becomes process and procedure – often down to the minutest detail – elements of what make the offering really pleasing to the Divine – and the experience profoundly deep for us – are lost.

In terms of how to perform puja or havan, the most fundamental protocol is that we are established in meditation, feeling our oneness with Shri Mataji to the greatest extent possible. From there the ceremony will naturally be performed with humility, respect, awe and devotion. Those leading the event need to focus on their connection, be alert to receive from Shri Mataji the understanding of what is needed in that moment to open the hearts, to invoke the Divine and help the vibrations flow. There must be room for responding in a spontaneous manner to the needs of the moment. Rigid adherence to a list of protocols and procedures can seriously limit the possibility of doing exactly what is called for at that time. It is always a living process and a creative interaction between us and the Divine.

There have been a number of puja and havan protocols written and distributed over the years. Some of them get into the minutest details – how long and how wide each piece of wood in the havan fire should be, for instance. Some have also expanded the mantras and other steps over time. Rather than send around a new list of protocols, we would like to encourage people to take the basic, simple elements of what a puja or a havan consists of (which most people are aware of) as a starting point, and to keep the focus on our connection, our devotion to Shri Mataji and on being alert to understand what is needed in the moment in terms of offerings, names, silence, etc. – essentially to allow Shri Mataji to lead the havan or puja through our surrendered attention.

If one speaks to any of the people who have served as pujaris at pujas with Shri Mataji they often emphasize that pujas were never the same – that one never knew what Shri Mataji would want to do. They had to remain very alert because it always changed. Similarly, if one goes onto Nirmala Vidya ( there are a number of recordings of havans with Shri Mataji, and one will notice that they are all different. This gives a sense of a range of possibilities, but also shows us that with Shri Mataji these events were never defined by rigid protocols. She left room for what was needed at the moment to manifest and also to some extent for the creativity and preferences of the yogis. It’s very educational to watch/listen to these.

Lastly, just a short story – one Indian brother who was in a leadership position many years ago spoke to the collective about puja, and reminded us that puja means worship. His comment was that if we put our attention on Mother in our heart, and say with devotion “Mother, I worship You”, that is a puja. So while there are many beautiful ways that we have learned to express our devotion symbolically through the outward offerings, this has to be kept in balance with the inner offering of heart, attention and sincere surrender.

You may also wish to refer to the previous cc communications on similar topics:

Jai Shri Mataji!
Your brothers and sisters on the CC