Kalash puja is the ceremony that is undertaken to purna-kumbha or Kalash as it is known. The kalash consists of a brass/copper pot filled with water and other auspicious articles on which mango leaves are placed in the open neck of the pot. Onto the mango leaves is placed a coconut. The kalash itself is the vessel into which the deity is invoked and worshipped.
Initially, purification of the pujari (the person(s) doing the puja) and the surrounding environment and puja items is undertaken. Following the purification, Guru puja is done so that the pujari may receive the Guru’s blessing and guidance.
The space in which the ceremony is conducted is sealed energetically so that there is no interference with the ceremony from external sources. We then invoke Varun (God of water) into the water of the kalash to purify the water prior to invoking the main deity. The main deity is then invoked into the kalash as well as into ourselves through a series of invocations known as the praana pratishta. We then offer puja to the main deity now residing within the kalash.
At the end of the puja we light a camphor and offer the arati to the kalash. After arati, we light the yagna with the arati camphor and invoke the presence of Agni – God of fire. We then conduct the yagna to the main deity that was invoked into the kalash and end the yagna by offering a coconut into the fire. The coconut represents the heart of man – the outer shell being hard like the ego, whereas the inner part of the coconut is pure and clean, much like the inner sanctum of the heart of man.
If we have a murti of the deity, we then carry out abhishekam to the deity and finish the abhishekam by pouring over the deity the energised water from the kalash. Before the water is poured over the deity, we recite a mantra to thank the deity for the help and kindly ask the deity to leave the kalash and return to where it normally resides.
The ritual is powerful and very uplifting for the devotee; the ceremony helps to purify oneself and to connect with one’s beloved deity. Many times after performing a kalash puja, we are blessed with rain. The rain is a very auspicious sign from Mother Earth and the deity that the ceremony was very beneficial for the environment, and that much purification took place for all people present and for the whole area.