Path to Siva: A Catechism for Youth

53 How Do We Use Our Home Shrine?§


A family sits in their shrine room to perform elaborate morning rites before a sacred fire. Together they chant mantras, make offerings, pray for God’s blessings and perform their sadhanas.§


The home shrine is the family’s personal temple. It is the heart of the home, a sacred place we go into to be close to God, Gods and the devas. Hindus who are wise and serious about practicing their religion have an entire room for the home shrine. They keep it just for this purpose and maintain it with a temple-like atmosphere. They know that a closet or a shelf is not enough to create a sacred space. In this special room, the family gathers to conduct puja, read scripture, meditate, sing bhajana, do japa and other sadhanas every morning. On holy days they devote extra time to these practices. As a youth, you can help with the shrine room and make it your special place. You can collect flowers from the garden, help prepare prasadam and help organize the puja items before the daily worship. Learn the Sanskrit mantras and chant along with your parents. The home shrine should be the most beautiful room in the house. It is adorned with pictures of your guru lineage. The altar has images of God Siva, Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan. There are oil lamps, incense, bells, offering trays and flower baskets. Each time we return from the community temple, we visit the shrine and light a lamp. This connects it to the temple. If the shrine is kept pure, many devas come and live there, including your own guardian devas. Gurudeva said, “A room is set aside for these permanent unseen guests. It is a room that the whole family can enter and sit in. They can commune inwardly with these refined beings. These devas are dedicated to protecting the family generation after generation.” These beings of light bless and protect you, keeping the home secure and peaceful. When we provide a home for God inside our own home, it is easy for the family to be happy. It is easy to get along and love one another. It is easy to feel Siva’s protective presence.§


GURUDEVA: Every Saivite home centers around the home shrine, a special room set aside and maintained to create a temple-like atmosphere in which we conduct puja, read scripture, perform sadhana, meditate, sing bhajana and do japa.§