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Ijya Meaning And Importance In Hinduism

The meaning of Ijya in Hinduism is any object or person to be revered. It also means an image, and from this, the form of worship in which an image or idol is used. Ijya also means a teacher, in particular the teacher of gods, Brihaspati. It also meant ritual worship and it was very widespread in ancient India.

In the Bhagavad Gita (IX.25), Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that the worshippers of the different gods merge ultimately into those gods, whose worship the elements into those elements (bhutani yanti bhtejjyah) and those who worship God go to Him, never to return (yanti madyajinopi mam). This is explained in VIII.16.

There are many other words used as synonyms of ijya, such as puja, arca, vandana, saparya, and so on. In Lakshmi Tantra (XXVIII 26) the name give to ijya is antaryajna.
A tantric text called sripancharatraraka (a continuous text without chapters) has given eight aspects of worship involved in ijya, which it calls astangayaga (eight fold yajna).

The eight parts are
  1. Abhigama (establishing contact with the deity)
  2. Bhoga (offering flowers, incense etc to the deity)
  3. Madhuparka (offering honey, milm curd, melted butter)
  4. Anna (offering cooked food)
  5. Sampardana (charity)
  6. Vahnisantarpana (making ritual offerings into fire)
  7. Pitryoga (making offerings to the ancestors)
  8. Pranagnihavana (making a special ritual offering.)
In the tantric tradition it had had one very special feature, namely, that it was not restricted to the Brahmins or to the higher castes. Practitioners of Tantra belong to any caste, higher or lower, could worship the deity as prescribed by the texts.

Source Tantra of the Great Liberation (1913) Arthur Avalon – Luzac and Co London
Letters from Sri Ramanasramam (1962) D S Sastri – Sri Ramanasramam
Encyclopedia of Hinduism – Volume V – page 130 - IHRF



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