There are five elements which comprise our offering to the deity. I write deity for the God as statue or image is a word used by persons who do not recognize the divine status. The puja can be conducted physically or mentally.
We offer a flower first and this represents the Prithvi (earth) element. The earth element is connected to the mooladhara chakra which is the first chakra in our system. The sense of smell is associated with it. The fragrant flower represents the purity of earth and its benevolence. Our mooladhara chakra is the chakra which works on our grounding and nurturing. The mantra is Lam and it is our basic framework of existence.
Then we offer water, and this is the offering of the Jal tattwa. The jala tattwa is our nature which is unstable. Water is always moving. The connecting chakra is swadhishthana which is a vermilion lotus. It represents our own abode. The mantra is Vam and it represents our sense of taste, our appetites, our creativity, our phantasy, our nature.
Then we light the lamp, and this is the offering of fire, the agni tattwa. The chakra connected to agni is Manipur chakra. The manipura chakra is a yellow lotus and is the centre for our vital energy. The mantra is Ram. We work on the purification and our rajas guna.
The next offering is air, vayu tattwa and this is the lighting of the incense. The fragrance of the incense purifies the air. The chakra connected with the vayu tattwa is Anahata, a blue lotus, which is the centre for our emotions and feelings. The mantra is Yam and the sense of touch is associated with it.
The fifth element is akasha (ether) tattwa and it is offered through mantra as sound is an attribute of space. The chakra is visshudhi, violet lotus representing the purification centre and the auditory sense is connected to it. The bija mantra is Ham.
These five elements compose a puja. It can be performed either physically or mentally. A puja requires a precondition and that is we must balance our prana. Before we perform the puja we must practice Anuloma Viloma. We sit down and close our eyes. We visualize the breath flowing in and out of our left nostril. We are unblocking the left nostril so that the Ida nadi can flow. We do this 54 times, counting backwards. We repeat the process with the right nostril, unblocking the right nostril so that the pingala nadi can flow. Now we visualize our breath flowing in and out of both nostrils, so that the Sushumna nadi can flow. We repeat the process of counting. Now we are ready as we have ensured that our prana is flowing and we can perform our puja.
Aim Hrim Klim