The Satyanarayan puja is the most commonly performed puja by almost every Indian family on, before or after any special or auspicious occasions like marriage, child birth, house inauguration etc. Many also conducted this puja before starting any good venture to achieve great success or to shy away any form of trouble or difficulties. According to Indian mythology, Satyanarayan is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and worshipping Vishnu makes his wife goddess Lakshmi happy.
The word Satya stands for truth, Nar for human and Ayan for a place where truth resides. Thus anyone who listens to the Satyanarayan Katha is educated about how speaking the truth helps you to get rid of all your tensions in life. Satyanarayan katha teaches its devotees about self-purification, truth and self-surrender.
The Satyanarayan puja starts with the Ganpati puja. Lord Ganesha is the only God amongst all gods whose mantras are chanted before the Ganpati puja and religious rituals. People make Laddus made of wheat flour, rose water and sugar, which is the favorite food of Lord Ganesh and is offered to him after enchanting the mantras.
After the Ganpati puja, the Navgraha puja is performed, followed by the puja of Lord Vishnu. The idols are placed on a red cloth placed on a clean and raised platform. They are offered rose petals, fruits, flowers, coconut, clothes, incense, flames and prayers. After this, the story of Satyanarayan Bhagwan begins whose moral lesson in the end concludes that one must never leave a work or responsibility incomplete and if he does then he may have to suffer through losses in life. Once the narration of story is done, the offerings are then distributed as Prasad amongst the devotees and this concludes the puja. Later all the guests are served with feast.
There’s also a hidden symbolism in the Satyanarayan puja which is not known to many. The holy ritual performed with the heart is more significant than performing it with the mind and body. The internal rituals that are performed with true devotion purify our soul and prepare us for liberation while external rituals ought to make us remember our duties to make good karma. It is believed by doing this, we do not gain liberation but we secure a place temporarily in the heaven.
Thus the puja is not just any Hindu ritual, but it requires a lot of substance and devotion towards the almighty and to one’s self. It involves the practice of truthfulness which is considered as a chief virtue upon which rests the Indian Dharma.