I thought I could give a quick review of how my way of making Puja has changed since I worte about for the last time.
I’ve been continuing to make Puja on an everyday base, but the ritual itself has changed. When I started, I felt offering fire (candle) and smoke (incense) was appropriate. I added flowers and food or drinks whenever I could or felt Lord Shiva wanted me to do so, but from last summer on no longer as a daily routine. I had a lot of conversation with W about it and he said that when people get more familiar with their Gods, their relationship changes. I can actually sense what Lord Shiva wants as an offering. When I first felt He was talking to me, I ignored it and offered what I had in mind, but His voice came back again and again, until I gave in and bought what He wanted. I have experimented with that and found it impossible to deny Him. I guess ignoring Him would have serious effects on our relationship. Whenever I tried to deny Him, I felt sad and incontent without any other reason than His absence or Him feeling mad with me. So I stopped trying to have it my way and began listening closer to Him. I stopped questioning what He demands from me. The incident with the deer was not amusing! But it still gives me a hard time taking this inner voice for real and not doubting my sanity.
So, for the last couple of month I have been offering milk on a daily base and alcoholic drinks whenever I had the occasion. I myself don’t drink alcohol, but when John’s having a glass of wine or so, I offer some draughts. It even happened that I brew a coffee for Lord Shiva 🙂 Instead of rice, I tend to offer bread or breadcrumbs or even some Muesli when I have some handy. First I thought that would not be good enough as bread as we know it and Muesli are not so popular in India, but it turns out Lord Shiva likes it. Since He told me He wanted blood I’ve been offering some meat every now and then, most times when I prepare some for John. Sometimes it gives me a hard time trying to decide what to keep for John and what to offer Lord Shiva, but in most cases Lord Shiva likes the parts I cut away from the meat like fat or rind.
When I started connecting with Lord Shiva I felt very inhibited when I wanted to sing for Him and I can’t say I’ve gotten used to it. I still feel ashamed for myself, including my unability to hold a tone, but obviously Lord Shiva acts like a Dom. He really likes me to do the things I think I can’t handle. He likes to keep it a bit annoying for me. Not in a rude manner, but as a challenge.
It was in late autumn when I found a bracelet of prayer beads and I’ve been wearing it ever since. To me, it’s a bit more handy than my Mala necklace. It reminds me of His omnipresence and in times I feel insecure or lost, it helps to see, feel and touch it, quite like my wedding ring.
When I began dealing with Lord Shiva, I read a lot about Him, but I have stopped that. I found that the information provided in the books fit my experiences only in about 70% and that felt a bit unsettling. W and I had a lot of conversations about that and it was him who told me that a lot of lore concerning his Gods and Goddesses doesn’t fit into his experiences (and that he doesn’t give a damn). I wanted to do it right and to get Lord Shiva right, but even if I wanted to, I can’t go to my local temple and have a goat butchered. That’s why I just try to do what I can to satisfy Him and my spiritual needs as well.
All in all, daily Puja consists of cleaning the altar, bowing to Lord Shiva 18 times, offering some milk in the morning or alcohol in the evening and chanting the OM NAMAH SHIVAYA Mantra 18 times. Wearing the prayer beads has also become a part of my daily Puja. Most times I notice it, I like to think (or chant when I’m alone) the Mantra 3 times.