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What is a car puja? A car puja is a Hindu ceremony blessing a car so as to keep it from bad influnences and to bless it in God's name.
Why is this done? Basically, Hindus bless all implements or items to be used which are used for daily life. This is true of things like Homes, Cars, Motorized vehicles of all types, and home implements like appliances (mixers, grinders, stoves, tvs, stereos, etc.).
When is this done? It is done at the inception of the implement- like when one buys a new car, home, etc. People try to do the puja before using the implement, but this is not always done now a days. So long it is done soon as possible after it's purchase is ok. Concluding the first puja, yearly there is a festival called "Vijaya Dasami". On this day, every October/ November (before Diwali), Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped. Goddess Saraswathi, pictured to the left, is the goddess of learning. On this day, not only are implements, vehicles and appliances worshiped, but also books as for the Goddess of Learning. Children await this day, since they get a break from studies!
These two photos are of me washing my car before the puja. In the top
most, I am hosing the car. I am standing so far from the car since the water
coming from the hose has much power, so if I stand closer, I would have gotten
very wet! In the bottom photo, I am washing the car with a special 'car
brush' which is hooked to the hose. This works very well to get off the dirt,
since for some reason when I used a rag to wipe the dirt off, when the car
dried off, you could see the wipe marks. The car was not scratched by the
rag, but the rag was hard to get clean with each wipe, so the rag was actually
wiping the car while it was dirty.|
I was washing my car in front of my sister's house.
Step 1: The person who owns the car is the one participating in the puja with
the pujari, the others are on lookers. In this photo I am with the pujari (to my
right) and my mom (to my left). The first thing I had to do was accept 'holy water'
into my right hand and wash my hands for the puja. This was repeated three times. In temples it is a rule
to accept things into the right hand, I do this by placing my left hand under
my right hand.|
|Here I am waiting for the next instructions. In these pujas, usually the person who the puja is being done for doesn't know what is going on next, unless that person has studied it before hand. This is normally true, even and especially in Hindu weddings! Hence, one reason they are so chaotic.|
Step 2: For three repetitions, I am accepting rice from the pujari to sprinkle onto the front of the car. Others in the photo: to my left, my mom, left front, my niece, Skye, and behind me, my friend, Radha.|
Step 3: Pujari draws with the third finger of right hand (An auspicious finger, once someone told me a girl should apply kum kum to her forehead with this finger) a swatsika. This is drawn on the car with turmeric powder mixed with water. It does not stain the car. It can also be drawn with sandalwood paste.|
Contrary to popular western belief, the Swatsika is an AUSPICIOUS (good luck) symbol. The Swatsika is over 5,000 years old, born in India. Swatsika means "to be well". To learn more about the Swatsika, follow these links:
The Real Swastika by Prash Trivedi
Step 4: After the swatsika is drawn, I am again given rice, for three repetitions, to bless the swatsika by sprinking rice on it. For each sprinkle, I am given mantras to recite. Following this step, in|
Step 5, I will meditate on Lord Ganesha and recite holy mantras. One set of mantras include reciting 11 (I think - it was odd numbered) of the 1008 names of Lord Ganesha.
Step 6: Here, I have lit the insence sticks. The pujari took these and circled them around the swatsika three times in a clockwise direction, then took them inside the car around the steering wheel three times in a clockwise direction, reciting mantras. The remaining steps had not been photographed since the roll expired here, so I will describe the steps below.