Education About Asia: Online Archives

Puja: Hindu Expressions of Devotion

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PRODUCED AND DISTRIBUTED BY THE ARTHUR M. SACKLER GALLERY OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

202-357-4880

1996. VHS VIDEO. 20 MINUTES

This video is part of a larger packet the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution has produced in conjunction with the exhibit of the same title. The packet also includes a teacher’s guide with reproducible handouts and Indian pop-art posters of various Hindu deities. The materials in the teacher’s packet are also available on a Web site, http:// www.si.edu/asia/puja/start.htm.

The video has three parts in which three types of puja, or Hindu devotional practice, are illustrated and described. These are: a general description of puja; worship in the home; and worship at a temple. This gives some idea of the diversity of puja practices. The video depicts the significance of various items which are used in different types of puja and well illustrates the significance of puja to the worshipper. It explains that images and various items used in puja are representative of meanings and connections not immediately apparent to the uninitiated observer, such as that images of gods are considered to be representative, not actual deities themselves, or that various substances in which images are bathed represent geographic or essential forms.