View Full Version : Offerings
18 March 2010, 10:42 PM
How are offerings generally made, and what kinds of things can one give as offerings? I remember reading early on that offerings are traditionally burned so that the god Agni can bring them to the god they're offered to, but I'm not sure whether this is still done this way. Can anyone help me to understand?
19 March 2010, 06:12 AM
Lord Krishna says what ever we do should be done as an offering to him.
Sorry for long copy paste, but who else can define what offering is but the Lord himself.
Whosoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water with devotion; I accept and eat the offering of devotion by the pure-hearted. (9.26)
O Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever charity you give, whatever austerity you perform, do all that as an offering unto Me. (See also 12.10, 18.46) (9.27)
The Devas, nourished by Yajna, will give you the desired objects. One who enjoys the gift of the Devas without offering them (anything in return) is, indeed, a thief. (3.12)
The righteous who eat the remnants of the Yajna are freed from all sins, but the impious who cook food only for themselves (without sharing with others in charity) verily eat sin. (3.13)
Brahman is the oblation. Brahman is the clarified butter. The oblation is poured by Brahman into the fire of Brahman. Brahman shall be realized by the one who considers everything as (a manifestation or) an act of Brahman. (Also see 9.16) (4.24)
Some yogis perform the Yajna of worship to Devas alone, while others offer Yajna itself as offering in the fire of Brahman by performing the Yajna (of Self-knowledge). (4.25)
Some offer their hearing and other senses (as sacrifice) in the fires of restraint, others offer sound and other objects of the senses (as sacrifice) in the fires of the senses. (4.26)
Others offer all the functions of the senses, and the functions of Prana (or the five bioimpulses) as sacrifice in the fire of the yoga of self-restraint that is kindled by knowledge. (4.27)
Others offer their wealth, their austerity, and their practice of yoga as sacrifice, while the ascetics with strict vows offer their study of scriptures and knowledge as sacrifice. (4.28)
Those who are engaged in yogic practice, reach the breathless state by offering inhalation into exhalation and exhalation into inhalation as sacrifice (by using short breathing Kriya techniques). (4.29) (Deep spiritual meaning and interpretation of the practical yogic verses (4.29, 4.30, 5.27, 6.13, 8.10, 8.12, 8.13, 8.24, and 8.25) should be acquired from a Self-realized master of Kriya-yoga.)
Others restrict their diet and offer their inhalations as sacrifice into their inhalations. All these are the knowers of sacrifice, and are purified by (theirs) sacrifice. (4.30)
Those who perform Yajna obtain the nectar (of knowledge) as a result of their sacrifice and attain eternal Brahman. O Arjuna, even this world is not (a happy place) for the non-sacrificer, how can the other world be? (See also 4.38, and 5.06). (4.31)
Thus many types of sacrifice are described in the Vedas. Know them all to be born from Karma or the action of body, mind, and senses. Knowing this, you shall attain nirvana. (See also 3.14)
Jai Shree Krishna
19 March 2010, 08:21 AM
When you go to a temple, watch what others do. Not all will bring offerings, but most do. Usually there is a place to set them in front of the God. Bringing an offering is like taking a gift to someone's house. At the very least, as whole fruit or a flower should be brought. Usually fruits are cut at the end to expose some of the fragrance. This opens up a channel.
Often devotees will make a whole tray of offerings, almost always fruit and flowers. It varies from sect to sect, temple to temple, but the priests will let you know.
There are other things such as clothes for the deities, incense, Ganga water, etc.
Most temples will have a donation box called a hundi where you can put money as well.
The real offering is your ego and your heart.
19 March 2010, 10:36 AM
this is a sincere question but extremely difficult to answer . as hinduism is vast and its practices are often in conflict with each other owing to regional differences .
bhakti yogis agree that its undesirable to go to a temple emprty handed . just as you carry a gift for ur loved ones its advisable to carry something to meet with your loved lord -- be it a furit , a flower a incense stick , a lamp , a garland or a box of sweets . the main thing that shoul be remembered here is that lord is " bhavagrahi janardan " ------ he accepts only the mind .
there's a vaishnava saying -- " if you can give your mind tulsi and bhakti sandal to lord feet there's no need to rub sandal wood over stone everyday " . so the mood of the offering remains the vital point to be taken into consideration .
secondly there r some things that are to be strictly avoided for certain forms of lord -- for example you cannot bring in a non veg dish for a vishnu deity !! or you cannot offer raktachandan(red sandalwood) to vaishnava deities .
but things like sweets , fruits , flowers incence etc remains the most common offerings .
if you happen to step into a temple quite by chance and have nothing with you it is advisable to make a donation of a small sum as a token substitute in the donations box . you can also carry in assorted objects in a tray and offer it to the priest who will offer it to lord on ur behalf . in that case its a norm to offer the priest a small sum as dakshina .
19 March 2010, 11:02 AM
How much money is usually good for the dakshina and what kinds of offerings are recomended or not acceptable for Saiva deities?
19 March 2010, 11:21 AM
The south Indian temples will have a poster listing all the services available. The most common one is archana. The priest will say your name and introduce you to the deity. At our temple archana is $5, most in the west will be between $5 and $11. You can also sponsor pujas like homas, or abhishekhams.
There is no obligation to purchase anything as darshana is free. Most people wouldn't give dakshina to the priest on an ordinary visit.
Here's an example:
In my experience, often North Indian temples don't do this routinely, but the priest might if he knows how.
Often dakshina is a percentage (50%) of the puja purchased. Every place varies. In some temples, as in some restaurants, it is already in the payment. Here I give quite generously as I happen to know the priest salary roughly and feel they are underpaid.
You never really know what's going on. It's always fun to find out. At one temple I went to recently, we sponsored an abhishekham for $101, but there was no temple manager, so all the payments were going through the priest. I paid cash, so really I have no idea if he forwarded it to the temple or kept it for himself. Its hard to tell.
Sometimes other devotees feel compelled to give dakshina to religiousworkers besides priests. Examples are if you see silpis (stone carvers) or musicians. They may not be getting paid much so often one makes an offering. For the festival here, the temple hires two professional musicians from Toronto for the annual festival. I and several others top up their salary with gifts. its kind of like having a free concert of devotional music every night for 10 nights. if I had to pay.. well it would be substantial.
For offerings, if you are sponsoring an abhishekham, the temple will most likely provide a list which would include milk, non-gelatin yogurt, rosewater, etc.
One wonderful offering in the summertime is to hand make a garland for the deity. It shows you put effort into it.
Don't get frustrated if it sounds confusing. I've been at this 35 years and am still learning stuff every time go.
20 March 2010, 10:21 AM
There are somthing best to offer
offer grass to Ganesh, its the best offering
never offer rice to Vishnu
vBulletin® v3.6.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.