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Shiva Manas Puja

Shiva Manas Puja

ratnaih kalpitamsana himajalaih snna ca divymbara


nnratna vibhsita mrgamad mdkita candanam |
jt campaka bilvapatra racita puspa ca dhpa tath dpa
dva daynidh paupat hrtkalpita grhyatm || 1 ||

sauvarn navaratnakhanda racit ptr ghrta
pyasa bhaksya pacavidha paydadhiyuta rambhphala pnakam |
knmayuta jala rucikara karpra khandjjvala
tmbla manas may viracita bhakty prabh svkuru || 2 ||

chatra cmarayryuga vyajanaka cdaraka nirmala
vn bhri mrdaga khalakal gta ca nrtya tath |
sstga pranatih stuti-rbahuvidh-hytat-samasta may
sakalpna samarpita tava vibh pj grhna prabh || 3 ||

tm tva girij matih sahacarh prnh arra grha
pj t visaypabhga-racan nidr samdhisthitih |
sacrah padayh pradaksinavidhih sttrni sarv gir
yadyatkarma karmi tattadakhila ambh tavrdhanam || 4 ||

kara carana krta vkkyaja karmaja v
ravana nayanaja v mnasa vpardham |
vihitamavihita v sarvamtat-ksamasva
jaya jaya karunbdh r mahdva ambh || 5 ||

Bhakti(Devotion) Through the Ages



Shiva Manas Puja is a beautiful topic. We all perform puja to connect with the Lord. The rishis
(sages) have given us various means to connect to the Lord within our heart with respect to
various yugas.

In Satya Yuga, the process of connecting to the core was supposedly most difficult. And
it required severe tapas (penance). Many of them have done great austerities and
acquired boons in search of immortality through existing body, mind and intellect.
Hiranyakashapu for example directly asked let me not die and forever be in this body.
He couldnt be granted this boon, so he requested another boon but immortality
through body is not possible. So Satya yuga had tapas.

In Treta yuga, the processes were yagna, yaga, and havan. Elaborate processes of
yagna had meticulous systems. For example different sizes, shapes of yagna kunda
were prescribed for different purposes. The mantras (chants) had to be invoked and


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
www.cmdfw.org

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Shiva Manas Puja

they had seven different kind of flames. A qualified person had to invoke the right flame
through the proper mantra using the appropriate materials at particular
day/time/positioning.


In Dwapar yuga we have a lot of processes for puja. Predominance of puja was seen in
this yuga to get to the core of our being. The puja vidhi (Naradiya Pancha ratra) involves
many details. The 16-steps had prior and post steps to be performed! The bell, diva,
altar, amrutas etc. are all worshipped even before the 16-steps begin. Then there are
punah puja for post-puja activities. These have to be done within certain defined
parameters.

In Kali yuga the most effective or simple process is repeating or chanting the name of
the Lord. Whether you do with understanding its meaning, or with devotion, just start
doing it. Once it acquires the attributes of doing it with devotion and dedication the
impact of doing the japa is amazing.

In and through the four yugas, the manas puja vidhi was the secret or the most powerful
process, irrespective of what yuga, time, place, you are in; or your qualification it does not
matter. It is a powerful process where the other prerequisites dont matter as they matter in
other puja processes. You can do it during your commute, or during any free time you have.
There are no restrictions, no shopping lists, nothing is required. Where you do this process does
not matter because you can directly communicate and visualize. This pattern has been followed
by great masters since Satya yuga. The most known or greatest devotees of Lord Krishna during
Dwapar yuga, were Kunti, Arjuna, Bheeshma. But Bheema was His greatest devotee and his
imagination was as big as his size! Whatever he was engaged in during the most desirable corner
of his life (cooking), hed be visualizing Lord Krishna in his heart and hed perform different
steps.

The story goes that once Arjun couldnt find Bheema. He searched in Rukminis palace,
Satyabhamas palace, and many other places, but Lord Krishna was nowhere to be found. As he
was stepping out, Narada comes to his rescue. Arjuna asks Narada who then replied that Lord
Krishna was tied up in Vaikuntha. Each night Lord Krishna would visit Vaikuntha to receive
special puja by Bheema. This seemed a bit odd to Arjuna because he had often seen Bheema
sleeping, not performing pujas! Narada recalls how Bheema was constantly performing puja
while asleep; and takes Arjuna to Vaikuntha to prove his point. It seems, en route Vaikuntha, all
the different things that Bheema had offered in sankalpa were so much in excess that there was
a traffic jam in Vaikuntha. Loads of flowers, panchanmruta sent by his manasic sanklapa (mental
projections) were actualizing in Vaikuntha as they reached!


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
www.cmdfw.org

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Shiva Manas Puja


Upasana
Such a beautiful form of bhakti is called Manas Puja which we can start doing right here right
now. There are different names of puja. In Vedic or Upanishadic period there was no word for
puja. It was aradhana and upasana. The later Sanskrit we find puja and bhakti. Upasana means
to get closest to the lord. Not in the physical sense, but directly transferring the mind to the feet
of the Lord rather than letting it run around here and there. Whatever it takes to connect with
the lord and take the mind directly to the lord is called upasana. It does not matter what
connects us to the lord. Most of us, we really connect to the Lord in times of distress. When
things are flowing seamlessly and effortlessly, we may go in front the Lord, but not with
connection. It is more like fulfilling an obligation. We go through a checklist lighting the lamp,
agarbatti, etc. in our busy schedules. In our huge homes and shining spaces, we have lots of
assigned spaces for specific things media room, dining room, dog room, etc. But we never
assign proper space of God! We place the altar in one inaccessible closet corner. There is no
connection. Upasana is to connect to the Lord within, regardless of whether it is a photo or a
memory.

Another meaning to Upasana nikrusta vastu ni utkrushta bhavaha. A photograph for example
is a piece of paper with some color pattern resembling someone you know. The paper, color or
the conglomeration put together is not your spouse or children; yet through them you connect
to. Similarly, all different altars we have, these murtis as idols where I connect to. As soon as I
connect, it directs me to the ideal that the idol represents. So connect to whoever is the lord of
your heart, dont have a dharma sankat wherein the puja altar has so many figures that we
are confused whom to worship! Through them we are identifying, but we fear that if we choose
one god, the others may get upset! Sometimes we do the entire puja kriya (actions) without
even once imagining that we are offering or connecting with the Lord to whom it is being
offered. Without the bhavana (emotion), the offering is nothing better than offering to only to a
piece of metal or a rock. Puja is meant for being able to connect your power of imagination
helps to connect. That form of God is sitting there right in front of us, alive! That is why first step
in many pujas is prana pratishta. Invoke life or Lords prana in that murti. Then offer the puja
after invoking the lord. However elaborate the process may be, when the connection is missing,
it remains only a kriya without any connections.

So what is a puja? Process which takes gross mind to the subtle aspect of divinity. The gross
mind is transported to that divinity while shredding its grossness. That act of connecting to the
divine is called puja. We cant get that attitude in one focused point. It is not necessary to sit or
be in front of the altar for this. We can use any connecting source that we can relate to; and that
source becomes the conduit which takes our mind closest to the divine. But our minds are so
untrained that it doesnt connect even with one focal point! Mind cannot go beyond name and
form. Unless it is trained through the name and form to transcend the name and form, puja or
aradhana does not find its complete purpose fulfilled. Puja is really a celebration to welcome
someone whom you love, like, adore and revere, coming to your house. When such a person is
coming, you present yourself and your surroundings in the most beautiful manner. When the
Lord himself is being invited, everything is done with that Shraddha (faith) that the Lord Himself
is coming to my house and is seated with me in the altar. All my offerings are nothing but the
best, and a little more than what I can afford. Lord doesnt expect great things, but offer with
the best intentions.


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
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Shiva Manas Puja

Puja materials can be easily procured. Once we were with Pujya Gurudev Swami
Chinmayananda ji and a lot of people offer pushpamalas (garlands) to him. A little child came up
to him, and Pujya Gurudev knew this girl from the time she was a baby. The girl had created a
mala that was just fitting around his head. Other people had beautiful ones created with roses,
different colors etc. while this one was like a Greek thing! Later on he removed every mala
except this one. Most people had purchased and given him the malas, but this girl had hand-
plucked and strung all the flowers together. Her entire heart was seen in this mala. Next time
perhaps shed do a larger one, but her intentions with which she had brought it were so pure. So
having that pratima (image) of the lord, and invited Him, howd you treat Him? Best! Whatever
connection you have with the Lord- friend, sakha, father, spouse, whatever form you connect.

Once we were attending a camp in early Jan. in Siddhabari (in Himachal Pradesh). It was very
very cold weather, and we had a pada puja for Gurudev. Almost 45 mins of puja, he sat there
silently. As soon as the puja was done, he called the priest and informed him next time can you
at least bring room temperature water? The priest may have been in a hurry and not gotten
warm water, but since then whenever I sit for puja, I ensure that the milk and curd are not
directly from the refrigerator! Even when we take showers, we never do it with cold water. Not
even in summer do we bathe with cold water, so why be so inconsiderate with the Lord? He is
Jagadishwara (Lord of the universe), so take care of these small things. Let the items come to a
room temperature; remove labels from fruits offered as naivedya. Dont perform puja without a
connection! Do we wipe ourselves with a tissue paper after a bath? No! So prepare adequately
dont get brand new towels. They dont soak any water. Wash the towels prior to using.

Naivedya is that food which is offered to Lord. We offer the sweets without even opening the
sweet packet! Would you feel comfortable if the seal of a bottle of pickle was not open and you
were asked to partake the pickle?

All the thoughts, and the visualization these forms that takes place to connect to that Lord is
called puja.

Connecting with the Lord



Can we visualize God as a form? If so, do you know Mr. Suryanarayana? He is tall, bald, black,
with big moustache and long whiskers, and constantly chews paan (betel leaf). Do you know
him? Poor fellow doesnt even have teeth. Do you know what naivedya we offer to Sun god?
Sankranti, pongal has nicely mashed up food almost like baby food because he has no teeth to
chew. Would you be able to connect to someone whom you do not know no matter how well I
describe them? That is where we bring in the form of Lord in the idol.

Ved Vyasa without whose presence wed be lost as a community or culture. We pay our respects
to him through Guru Poornima. He realized that the coming generations dont have the ability
to remember and reproduce. So he compiled and started writing it down. It was revolutionary.
Nobody had up until then documented the scriptures in writing. It wasnt an easy task for him to
write. It was a huge uphill task to convince all existing gurus to explain, convince get their


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
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Shiva Manas Puja

support, and learn all the Vedas to be able to teach to next generations. Have them
handwritten, proof read, and train another set of shisyas so that they can learn the recompiled
segments and teach them to popularize them with its essential meaning given. Mammoth task.
4 Vedas Rg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda. Yajur Veda has 2 parts, Krishna Yajur
Veda and Shukla Yajur Veda. Just the Rg Veda takes 12 years to learn (memorize), not even
meaning. Krishna Yajur Veda and Shukla Yajur Veda require 10 years each. Sama Veda 8 years;
Atharva Veda 11 years. So a total of50 years is required to study the Vedas. It is such an
intense task. On the side he had Puranas, Upa Puranas, Maha Bharata 100000 verses! Bramha
Sutras contain 550 sutras as essence of entire Vedanta.

Whichever form of God you choose, he has a Purana or an Upa-Purana on it. How can you
connect with the Lord if you dont have any idea about the Lord? E.g. if you love Lord Shiva, you
have Shiva Purana. Similarly, we have Devi Bhagawat Mahapurana. for various avataras of Devi;
Lord Vishnu and innumerable avataras Vishnu Purana, Padma Purana, Bhagavatam; Lord
Ganesha Purana. Reading through and knowing helps us connect to that Lord. In fact in Ganesha
Atharvasheersha the last part mentions certain things Lord Ganesha likes to eat you may cook
the naivedya because you like to eat certain things, but when your guest comes, you usually
cook what the guest like to eat. So offer Lord Ganesha the type of food He likes to eat. Or
Saraswati Devi she likes to wear white (Shwetambare devi ) or Ganesha likes red colored;
Lord Vishnu likes pitambar color deep yellow. Laxmi devi always likes to wear pink. Flowers,
fruits, upacharas So these upacharas are done in satisfying the specific needs so we get joy in
giving what they like the best. To know all of that, Ved Vyasa ji helped us understand each form
of Lord whichever is your Lord. Let the puranas not confuse us. E.g. each purana will show that
lord the greatest and other gods constantly running to them for support and help. Dont get
carried away and becoming fanatics. A child saying my mom is greatest, it is comparative
analysis. They are not even comparing, not saying that other moms are pathetic, and mine is
greatest. It is just expressing love saying that my mom or dad is simply superb. Puranas also cry
out with a lot of devotion that particular Lord is the greatest. It is simply out of love and
devotion.

With these different stories, how do we connect with lord, and how do we perform puja? There
will be parallel two processes being explained. One explains how to perform the manas puja and
secondly, how to perform the physical puja. We will learn both of these through the Shiva
Manas Puja which was composed by Sri Adi Shankarachrya.

Whom are we offering to?


ratnaih kalpitamsana himajalaih snna ca divymbara


nnratna vibhsita mrgamad mdkita candanam |
jt campaka bilvapatra racita puspa ca dhpa tath dpa
dva daynidh paupat hrtkalpita grhyatm || 1 ||


There are no limits on imagination - ratnaih kalpitamsana. Even sky falls short! The devotee
Sri Adi Shankaracharya says hey daynidh the embodiment or compassionate incarnate. The
compassion or grace of Lord is not something given only to a qualified individual. In fact, His


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
www.cmdfw.org

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Shiva Manas Puja

grace is always there. We just have to open the blinds and see the sun shine through our
windows! His blessings of heat and light will permeate. Similarly Gods grace is always there for
those who want to connect to or benefit from that grace. He is not a sadistic form of God
wanting to take vengeance from devotees! God per se is compassionate. Even as parents we
find ourselves impatient with our kids. But God is not that way. He is the very incarnation of
compassion. O Lord even though I may not have recognized it or basked in your grace so far, yet
youve provided me an opportunity thinking maybe today or tomorrow may improve and turn
eyes towards grace that is already existing! Nidhi is infinite or inexhaustible amount daya
compassion towards paupat all beings. Pau doesnt necessarily mean an animal. It refers to
all creatures. He is lord of all creatures. Human beings are also included as creatures until we
dont realize our true essence or nature or the real nature, we continue to express the
animalistic tendencies. Pashyati kevalam iti Pau the animals dont have much intelligent
processing. They see and act based on reflexes. To all those who are behaving or living based off
of reflexes O Lord you are the pati. You are the daynidh. To such one, hr tkalpita gr hyatm
Your glorious form imagined in my own heart, I offer unto you and please accept my offerings.
Can there really be any worthwhile gift to that beautiful lord who has created the entire
creation?!!! It is the power of your imagination and the intensity of your connection with the
Lord.

When we do a physical puja, the first thing we do to the murti (idol) is prana pravesha or prana
pratishtha. The pandit ji touches the left hand to his heart and the right hand to the murti. O
Lord of my heart, I want you to come and be seated in this form. You are inviting the Lord in that
form itself in your heart. You begin with Dhyana shloka and visualize the form of the Lord. You
just have to visualize the form of linga for lord Shiva, In the physical puja you are invoking and
inviting the Lord in a particular form. In the manas puja you are enlivening that form in your
own heart and then inviting them to partake in your offereing. Hr tkalpita gr hyatm please
partake.

What do we offer?

ratnaih kalpitamsana Please come and be seated on this beautiful sana (seat). It is ratna
khachita hema simhasana royal throne made of gold, exquisitely delicately carved with precious
stones, diamonds, rubies and emeralds arranged artistically. On that sana, I visualize a soft
textured cloth. Gold is quite hard surface to sit on, so even if it is a golden throne, there should
be a soft textured silken velvety tender cloth. On such a beautifully decorated sana, I invite
the Lord and hold His hands and slowly go up and walk Him to the seat. There is a nice shade on
the top so that there arent any excessive lights. O Lord Shiva, please come down and accept my
invitation on this beautiful sana.

In a physical sana, there are limitations on how often you can buy a gold sana. But in your
imagination, each day you can imagine a different design! It is for the Lord of your heart.
Sometimes when guests come at home we rush to clean the house and remove all knick-knacks
from nooks and corners! But here while I am doing the puja I am prepared to offer you the
cleanest and best environment. So clean that the Lord also will notice!


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
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Shiva Manas Puja

After the Lord is seated, you start doing the pada puja His feet are nicely placed on the foot
rest and you put a plate under His feet. Lord, you mustve walked on your tender feet this far.
Let me wash it with warm water to relax your feet. Clean the entire feet with left hand pouring
the water and right hand scrubbing and cleaning. Then remove all the water, take His feet, and
with a nice soft cloth wipe His feet clean and place them back on the foot rest. Then you take
another bowl full of warm water and request the Lord to wash His hands. Be ready with a towel
for Him to clean his hands and wipe His hands softly. Then offer some refreshments based on
season.

Understand the symbolism of Purna Kumbha there are mango leaves, betel leaves, and then
there is a coconut. Traditionally the green coconut with the fiber is offered. There is also
sugandhita dravya sandalwood paste and other things that go in to sanctify, purify and
freshen up the water. You wash the athithis (guests) hands with that water. Then the cocounut
water is cut and that cocounut water is given for refreshment. Today it has become only a
symbolic gesture the kalasha, coconut and leaves are presented only symbolically. The
purpose of purna kumbha is to offer that tender coconut water as refreshment so that He can
quench His thirst after having travelled so far.

Next step is himajalaih snna ca divymbara. Lord Shiva loves abhisheka just like Lord
Vishnu loves alankara. Soft pitambara cloth, beautiful garlands, in fact Lord Vishnu is called
vanamali! He also loves tulasi and chandana all over His body. But Lord Shiva simply loves
abhisheka from the fresh waters gurgling out of Himalayas. Then offer panchamruta snna
people argue that why waste all the milk, honey, curd, sugar ghee etc. Instead you can donate
it and you can feed the rest. But one should not cut short on this process to feed the rest. Go
feed the rest also! There are both scientific and emotional reasons for doing the same.
Scientific explanation

Most statues on the altar are made from materials such as marble, granite, copper, silver, gold,
panchaloha, sphatika (crystal). When these are installed on the altar, you want that form to
continue being there for ages to come by. Most materials externally have a limited tenacity and
start chipping off after repeated use over many years. Even your own ornaments wear off after
wearing it for so long. So you dont want the external surface to chip or crack open. It is clearly
said in the scriptures that performing abhisheka to the Lord with the panchamruta (milk, curds,
ghee, honey and sugar) while cleansing each time have to be offered in the particular sequence.
This offering in the particular sequence ensures that the external surface doesnt chip or crack.
This is the science behind it.

Emotional explanation

Emotionally, these are called amruta tulya. Anything from the cow is considered most sacred. In
fact the cow milk benefits the heart and the head. The ghee benefits brain directly and the brain
is 77% fatty oils. Amruta provides life sustaining force, so milk, curds and ghee are good. Honey
is gathered as the essence from various flowers, so that is the amruta of the entire plant
creation. Sugar or jaggery is the essence of all that can be cultivated. Sugar releases into the
blood and spikes blood sugar. Experiment with jaggery it does not shoot up the blood sugar


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
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Shiva Manas Puja

that high. These five are called the amruta and with these five you cleanse the entire form of
the lord from head to toe. These ingredients are used even in spas for cleansing. We go to these
spas as extreme luxuries and lavishness! Doesnt the Lord of your heart deserve the best of the
best?

After snna ca (bathing and cleaning) comes divymbara -we adorn the Lord with beautiful
clothes. When we wear, we want clothes to be color coordinated and from head to toe! Even
the shade on eyes, lips, bangle color, nail color, flowers, etc. everything has to be perfectly
matching. Men also follow similarly their shoes, socks, shirt, tie, etc. match very well and are
coordinated. Sense of fashion is heightened. If you decorate yourself and present yourself so
pleasingly, wouldnt you want to present the Lord such that we just soak into the beauty
completely? Provide two-piece cloths, one for the bottom and one for the top (anga vastra and
dhoti). Present the color that the Lord likes. For example, Lord Shiva loves tiger skin. So find that
type of design. Else use white cloth for upper cloth. divy mbara it is said that once when a
Chinese explorer who came in India wrote that the silken cloth made in India was so exquisite
that the entire nine yards of the cloth when folded can be put into a matchbox! Thats how
beautiful and exquisite the cloth was. Imagine such a best cloth, light yet so beautiful. Offer that
type of cloth after all it is only in imagination!

After the cloth is offered, you offer the yagnopavita, the three-stringed with a knot in the
middle. Offer it from the left side of the shoulder going downwards. After that is offered,
nnratna vibhsita mr gamad mdkita candanam. Here many poets have said that I
need not perform this step of the puja. No doubt the ornaments are beautiful, but then it covers
the original beauty of the lord. I dont get to see the Lords beauty. So in Siddhabari ashram,
Pujya Gurudev purposely installed vanavasi Ram where He did not have any abhushana or
decorations, and the cloth was minimal. He wanted to see the complete glow of Lord Rama! But
then there are other devotees who plead that may my selfishness not come in way. My
selfishness wants to see you in your glowing glorious form. But you like these abhushana, so let
me adorn them in spite of how I feel. There is a nice crown for the devas, or for the devis
Chandra chudamani or surya chudamani for jewels and then one more on the hair bun. Then
there are connectors to connect all these together! Decorating Lord Shiva is simple. He had all
the ornaments on very few occasions (e.g. during His wedding to Parvati Devi.) Else His
ornaments are totally different the arms, wrist, or golden belt, necklaces so beautifully
decorated adorned and made. nnratna vibhsita studded with beautiful jewels, well made
but not gaudy.

mr gamad mdkita candanam. All around Him there is the mr gamad kastoori essence.
That is smeared all over His body. A nice tilak is made with chandam on His forehead, and then
it is also smeared on His arms, chest, and body. Dont make it a parade of chandam-kumkum
everywhere. The tilak should be done properly, not smeared as a blob on His forehead. Make
the Lord look beautiful sitting right in front of you! On the chandanam there is kumkum, and on
the kumkum there is akshata. Chandanam is put on the hands to cool it down.

jt campaka bilvapatra racita puspa ca dhpa tath dpa Beautiful flowers, even of wild
varieties those flowers have a different depth of fragrance. Flowers such as campaka or


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
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Shiva Manas Puja

jasmine, they have outstanding fragrance. Lord Shiva also loves bilva patra. There are many
different stories of why Lord Shiva loves bilva patra. It has three leaves, and all put together is
bilva patra. It also has many medicinal values such as being good for blood purification, blood
pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. In fact in summer when you crack open the hard shell of
the bilva fruit, especially in parts of Madhya Pradesh, they sell the juice made from that fruit
because it has the best cooling effect. Every part of the bilva tree is that sacred and that pavitra.
As much as tulasi is pavitra for the Vaishnavas, same way, bilva is pavitra for the Shaivas. Lord
Shiva loves this bilva patra.

Can you imagine the combination on Lord Shiva with wild flowers and beautiful green leaves? It
looks so pleasing to the eyes. On that background of white and green, puspa racita
different wild flowers that are extremely fragrant are adorned on the top. After that set is done,
you change the surroundings around the Lord. You light the lamps, and then at this particular
step we offer the dhpa and dpa to illumine the entire space. That also has to be done in a
beautiful manner. Sometimes we pull the wick in the oil lamp so long that it has a black soot
running all over. Lord wont like all that black carbon! How should this be done? The light should
be so beautiful that it should look like glowing pearls sitting on the edge of the lamp. That is how
the flame should be unflickering. So arrangement should be like this in a tiered layer.

dhpa should not be irritating fragrance. Earlier it was called dashangam, powdered from 10
different sacred herbs. When this combination is lit, even the inhalation of that essence purifies
from within. For the longest time it never made sense as to what is the purpose of the light and
dhpa at this stage? Then I went to an upscale restaurant in India. The ambiance is so
beautiful. You sit on a table and there is a lamp at the table. There is an aromatic essence candle
and a little flower bouquet decorated there. Similarly here I offer the dhpa tath dpa to
the Lord and I offer it to the Lord seated in my heart one after the other.

Developing Devotion to the Lord


What good is a mind that is not devoted to God? In spite of enjoying an abundance of fame,
beauty and wealth, at such heights that it seems to be beyond the Meru mountain; yet if you
havent developed any devotion in your heart for the Lord then there is no point of possessing
anything. If the heart lacks the devotion for the Lord, the name, fame, beauty and wealth are of
no good. Invoke the devotion in our heart by establishing the form of that Lord (whoever may
our Ishta deva). Keep that form enlivened while connecting and communicating with that form
of the Lord. Whatever may be the tapatraya, relate to the Lord. The tapa (agitations) is at three
levels the Adi bhautika (physically tormented), Adi daivika (mentally and emotionally
challenged) and the Adhyatmic levels. On one hand we want to remain balanced and we take
every effort to be at the core of our own being. However, every effort seemingly takes us away.
We appear to jump 3 feet high but fall 30 feet down! We get a burst of sudden inspiration to
something for a couple days and then have a big pause! So the real question is how does one
develop devotion?

Here Sri Adi Shankaracharya puts it very beautifully. Once you have established the form of the
Lord in your heart and you are connected to the beautiful form of your Lord, can there be any


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moment that a person is not connected to ones heart? Devotion is constantly enlivened and
kept vibrant. Weve given the sana (seat), snna (bath), divymbara (beautiful clothe)s,
nice decorations alankara (gorgeous flowers), dashangam dhpa a mixture of herbs
sprinkled on the ambers to get the wonderful fragrance of herbs. Weve even offered the
dpa, the place is lit with beautiful lamps. In such an environment we repeatedly connect to
the Lord who is firmly established in our hearts.

Food Offerings

sauvarn navaratnakhanda racit ptr ghrta


pyasa bhaksya pacavidha paydadhiyuta rambhphala pnakam |
knmayuta jala rucikara karpra khandjjvala
tmbla manas may viracita bhakty prabh svkuru || 2 ||

Pyasam is the naivedya offered to the Lord. Py means milk, and pyasam refers to
something that predominantly made of milk. Some people make sweet milk pudding with rice
(kheer) and use the pure cow milk not the 1%, 2% milk! The original milk is boiled and
condensed while the rice cooks in it on slow flame. Some even use jaggery and cook rice in it.
We offer the pyasam made of milk and rice garnished liberally (ghr tam) with roasted nuts
including cashews. The ghee is also made from pure cows milk. After cooking that on very slow
flame, the condensed milk turns pinkish. With flavored rice such as basmati rice, we then pour
this in a sauvarn navaratnakhanda racit ptre golden bowl beautifully decorated with
precious stones. The bowl is also sanctified with ghee and you add the pyasam as the main
offering.

Bhaksya pacavidha
There are five different kinds of food we take.
Bhaksya - food which we cook in one particular format, and it goes along with dal, rice,
roti, etc.
Bhojyam refers to other side dishes;
Choshyam is the food that has to be squeezed and eaten (e.g. mangoes);
Lehyam is the food that can be licked and eaten to spice up the mouth and refresh the
palate (e.g. pickle);
Peyam is the liquid form of food we can drink (e.g. buttermilk, flavored milk, or panakam,
the special mixture of water, jaggery, spiced with cardamom). These are the five kinds of
foods, Bhaksya pacavidha. Imagine serving all these various kinds of foods along with
the usual rice, roti, puri etc. we offer this nice hot meal on the green plain leaf. One
mahatma once said that dhoopa is brought in so that we dont taste the food (not even
through smell) before it is offered to the lord!

Paydadhiyutam rambhphala There are various foods made from milk (payaha), curds or
yogurt (dadhi). Rambhphala - coconut (narikela phalam) or apples (Kashmir phalam),
similarly, rambhphalam is the kind of banana that is thin layered, yet the fruit is long and
handsome. All this has to be placed on the green banana leaf and each ingredient has a special
place to be put on the plate. The smaller side of the banana leaf should be on the left hand side
because that side is still tender. The right side is the firmer part of the leaf and most of us eat


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with the right hand. The firm side of the leaf can handle the majority portion of the food. In the
front right portion, place the pyasam. Serve all other ingredients that are lightly touched
during the meal (e.g. pickle, salt, etc.) on the left hand portion along with the tender banana and
panakam.

knm ayuta - infinite number of fresh vegetables and various kinds of pakvans (delicacies)
are also served. Jala rucikaram water is flavored with lemon or thin slices of cucumber or
roasted jeera.

Usually we chant Om Bhur Bhuva swah for the naivedya and then the mantra to offer the
oblations to the pancha pranas (five vital airs). When we breath the air in, it undergoes 49 types
of physiological activities due to which the energy burns to produce hunger. Food is therefore
directed towards the pancha pranas without whose functioning we wouldnt have a good
metabolism. Even science says that the oxygen goes in when we breathe air in and energy is
produced through combustion. Transportation is required for that energy to be redirected.
Breath also maintains body temperature in a certain balance. We keep going in and out of our
surroundings so fast and the body has to go through a lot of adjustment through the ida and
pingala (our nostrils) that open and close to maintain the temperature. Only during the Bramha
muhurta (very early morning), our body temperature and pressure is in balance; both ida and
pingala are open and mind is focused. Hence it is recommended to do the saadhana or serious
studies during this time. These five vital airs do perform different activities to create hunger and
thirst. We feed these five vital airs.

After food, the best way to avoid cravings is to rinse mouth thoroughly while washing our hands.
Thats why we have the uttara portion, first we wash hands (hastau praskshalayam), wash feet
(padau prakshalayam) and then wash our mouth (mukho achamaniyam samparpayami).

Tmblam is a special preparation of betel leaf, betel nuts in numerous varities such as raw or
roasted, flavored or sweet, etc. Reverse the betel leaf and remove the veins to that the fibre
doesnt lodge in between our teeth. Then apply a bit of chuna (calcium), add betel nuts,
cardmom, cloves, gulkand (rose petals sweetened with sugar syrup) and a small amount of
coconut. Fold it in a conical shate and then offer it to the Lord. This cleanses our mouth from
any breath issues and Tmblam is offered with dakshina of fruits and money.

Hey Prabho, imagine you wake up daily, take a bath, light the lamp, agarbatti and imagine
invoking the Lord in your own heart and start the puja. How beautiful and refreshing is the
Manas puja! Sky is the limit in imagination. O Lord I am visualizing this and offering it at your
feet. tmbla manas may viracita bhakty prabh svkuru.


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
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Rest and Recreation

chatra cmarayryuga vyajanaka cdaraka nirmala
vn bhri mrdaga khalakal gta ca nrtya tath |
sstga pranatih stuti-rbahuvidh-hytat-samasta may
sakalpna samarpita tava vibh pj grhna prabh || 3 ||

chatra cmarayryuga vyajanaka cdaraka nirmala
The Lord has just had a sumptuous meal with delicacies you offered. After an elaborate meal,
we need a small siesta to rest and relax. The sana (seat) provided to the Lord should be big
enough for placing nice round pillows on the side. Feet are rested. While you are pressing His
feet, one of you can be doing the chatra (round umbrella).In orthodox temples we find this
torch like structure with white feathery hair on top. In the Himalayas, a deer called cmar
m ryuga was blessed by Lord that itd always be serving the Lord all its life and even afterwards.
So all temples have the feathers of this deers tail and it is used to fan the Lord. The breeze cools
us down when the air passes through. Imagine you as the lead pujari, one family member
holding on to the umbrella, and other pressing Lords feet while He rests. Then there is some
entertainment cdaraka nirmalam. Youve just offered this beautifully decorated puja to the
Lord, then you take a mirror to show the Lord and ask Him whether He is pleased with the
dcor. It is as though asking the Lord, have I done a pleasing job today? Imagine the smile on
Lords face and His satisfaction. The devotee will also naturally be satisfied.

vn bhri mr daga khalakal gta ca nr tya tath different instruments are fine tuned
and sometimes you sing geetams. Sing amazing songs. The Lord loves to listen to Veda mantras,
and portions of Rg Veda, Krishna Yajur Veda are chanted. Imagine chanting all these so you can
sing them to your Lord. After chanting mantras from the four Vedas, some portions of itihaas
(Ramayana and Mahabharata) are chanted. The Lord is Purana priya, He loves the puranas, so
chant some puranas to Him. All shruti is chanted and we sing bhajans along with beautiful kritis
to the Lord. Offer these and please Him with offerings in various ragas. Some are talented with
dance so with accompaniment of vn, bhri, mr daga all instruments are orchestrated. So Lord
relishes and enjoys this music. Then take the Lord in an elephant procession or a horse
processing and show your neighborhood surroundings on various chariots.

sstga pranatih stuti-rbahuvidh-hytat-samasta may
When the Lord is about to sleep, offer sstga ( touching eight limbs of our body while
prostrating to the Lord.) With hands stretched forward, head to toe lying in front of the Lord.
This is only for the men. The women offer panchayana namaskar wherein they kneel down and
bend in front of the Lord. This namaskar should be with the bhaav that Lord, I am trying to offer
everything I am unto your feet. I offer Tan (body), mann (mind), dhan (wealth) everything I am
or I won into your feet. stuti-rbahuvidha offer all these steps with an understanding of the
greatness and grandeur of the Lord. O Lord, right from invoking You on the asana up until now
hytat-samastam all these different steps may sakalpna samarpitam I offer these with my
pure intense intentions.

tava vibh pj grhna prabh Master of everything, Hey vibh please accept all my offering
at your feet.


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
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Meditate Upon the Lord

After this step of puja is done, there is one more step after main darshan. We are expected to
sit down for few minutes NOT for distributing Prasad and dirtying temple premises, or breaking
coconuts, peeling bananas etc. Process is to go in sanctum sanctorum and in most temples the
garbha griham or the sanctum sanctorum is not usually well lit. It is dark inside and there are 4-
5 lamps inside on each side. After each step of puja, at the end there is aarti done The altar is on
a high rise platform and pujari starts with lighting camphor producing bright light. You get the
first glimpse of this beautifully decorated feet and the pujari then raises it to the right side
enabling us to see the right side of the Lord. Then slowly the light stops at the face for us to
admire beautiful form of the Lord. Then the light is shown to the left side and they rotate it
around clockwise thrice while chanting mantras. Youve just grasped and seen the beautiful
form of the Lord in the sanctum sanctorum.

When we step out, that part image of the Lord is still fresh in our minds. Let that form be
meditated upon in the very premises of the temple. Your process of contemplation and
meditation on the form of the Lord is immediately initiated. Right from the time you step out of
the sanctum sanctorum, you come out and sit. Close your eyes and think of that form. Offer
your stotra stuti to Him and try to mediate and bask in the glorious form youve visualized so
that it is etched in your own heart. After puja is done you should meditate on the Lord.


In the first three shlokas we saw a beautiful way of worshipping the Lord by invoking a physical
form for worshipping and then meditative process of visualizing and doing a manasic puja. There
are four potent effects of visualizing the 16-steps of physical puja. Yad bhavam, tad bhavati As
we think, so we become.

First we mentally invited the lord, provided the most exquisite beautiful seat made out of gold
carvings studded with precious stones and jewels (ratnaih kalpitamsana). Abhishek Priya
Lord Shiva is then offered the abhishek from the Himalayan waters that are abundantly available
around Him (himajalaih snna ca). We also saw the significance of the panchamrtuam
snanam. Adorned with beautiful clothes (divymbara) and beautifully balanced decorations
(nnratna vibhsita mr gamad mdkita candanam)smeared with chandan
(sandalwood) and flowers to adorn Him (jt campaka bilvapatra racita puspa ca dhpa
tath dpa dva daynidh paupat hr tkalpita gr hyatm). We offered naivedya in a gold
vessel (sauvarn navaratnakhanda racit ptr) filled with varieties of payasam (ghr ta
pyasa). Five kinds of foods, namely, bhaksyam, bhojyam, chokshyam, leshyam, and peyam,
were offered (bhaksya pacavidha paydadhiyuta rambhphala pnakam), beautifully
decorated on a banana leaf and organized methodically along with flavored water
(knmayuta jala rucikara). After food, mouth freshner was offered with the tmbla
(karpra khandjjvala tmbla manas may viracita bhakty prabh svkuru).

After the puja is offered, what kind of meditation should one perform?

This is very powerful in practice. The bhaav is yadyatkarma karmi O Lord, let me elevate myself
to be a devotee in your worship so that each action performed through the body, mind, or
intellect, including the actions, emotions or thoughts, may they all be so pure indeed that they


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become your worship (tavrdhanam). It takes immense effort to raise to that level of
devotion. In the field of activity, it is easy to lose the focus on even the purpose for which we
started the activity. We often start something but are easily distracted and start doing
something else and in effect, we dont accomplish anything and all tasks are left half done. We
see this lack of focus as a pattern of behavior across all ages from kids to old people. O Lord
(ambh)help me to raise to the level wherin whatever actions performed through my body,
mind and intellect (yadyatkarma karmi) all of them (tattadakhila) are pure in thought, word
and deed so as to be worthy enough to be offered in your kind of service. What kind of service?

Worshipful Attitude

tm tva girij matih sahacarh prnh arra grha
pj t visaypabhga-racan nidr samdhisthitih |
sacrah padayh pradaksinavidhih sttrni sarv gir
yadyatkarma karmi tattadakhila ambh tavrdhanam || 4 ||

tm tva girij matih - This body of mine is your abode and the sharira is called devalaya.
Deho devalaya prktaha jivo sanatana: The body is enlivened with the life force, or spark of life
within. This spark is also referred to as the conscious principle which enlivens everything. It isnt
your mind. Your eyes and ears may be open but you are busy thinking of something else. You
can clearly make out when someone is paying attention or is already lost in thought! Once you
off on a trail of thought, you dont even realize you are not there. Eyes may be wide open but
there could be a glazed look. When the mind is absent, even though eyes may be open, the
information doesnt reach the mind. Even that mind can be controlled, ordained, and directed
by the conscious principle. That conscious principle is God. O Lord of my heart, this entire body
is your abode. This house has various gates of entry and exit. We have five organs of perception
(eyes to see, ears to listen, mouth to taste, skin to touch, and we smell through the nose). We
also have five organs of action and together these are the ten gates. Entire body is your house,
so how should the Lords house be?

It should be a temple or place of worship. It should not just be clean, but it should be sacred and
a place of worship in every aspect of its presentation. As soon as you enter the altar, the entire
space is so serene that you feel like bowing down to the Lord. That is the presence you want to
create in everybodys heart. So when you go to a place of worship and it is not clean, would you
even want to step inside? We dont even feel comfortable if friends drop in when our own
house is not clean. We feel awkward to invite somebody in such a house. Imagine the place of
worship it has to be kept clean, sanctified and sacred. You should feel the divine vibrations
right as you enter. Similarly for this body to be considered as a house of the Lord, how should
you maintain the body? It should be clean in all respects. Lord isnt a guest, but He lives in this
house! External cleanliness should be maintained by keeping oneself clean and pure. Everything
we eat or drink to form this body should also be carefully scrutinized. The ingredients should be
pure and sattvic because the Lord Himself lives in this body. Dont eat or drink anything that you
know has after-effects. Dont ruin your body with such intake. Eat things sattvic in nature and
engage only in pure and natural things. Even processed foods mess up our bodies. The additives
in processed foods are very harmful and destructive to the body. Eat sattvic foods such as fresh
fruits and vegetables. Their purity enhances our life. Frozen foods kill the essential life principle.
Sattivic foods give us bala (strength) while eating and after eating. They energize us and keep


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the body in well primed condition. Of course we are also responsible for doing appropriate
exercises regularly to maintain the House of Lord.

sahacarh prnh the breath, the five prana koshas (sheaths) are Lords attendants doing
various activities for the Lord. The five pranas are Prana, Apaana, Vyana, Udana and Samana.

1. The breath we inhale is called prana vayu and it brings in oxygen in the system.
2. That part of breath which we exhale and which triggers a process of reaction to
remove foreign particles from the human system is called apaana vayu. For
example, when the beautiful eyelash falls into the eye, the body doesnt excuse the
eyelash. It doesnt think poor eyelash protected me for so long, so let it remain in
my eye even though I may be discomforted. The eye immediately bulges out with
tears and until the eyelash is pushed out, the eye is irritated. Similarly, if a foreign
particle lodges itself in the body, the body creates pus around it so that foreign
particle can be thrown out.
3. Samana vayu maintains the entire body in a regulated temperature and pressure.
When it is hot, the bodys natural tendency is to sweat so that it can cool the system.
It maintains balance. When it is really cold, it generates heat to compensate and
balance. The pressure on average should be 120/80. If it is any less, you feel the
world is spinning! If it is any more, then hypertension causes various emotional
issues. So the body should be perfectly balanced.
4. Vyana vayu Once oxygen is gathered in lungs, it has to be supplied to the various
parts of the body depending on its movement and use so that the cells are
energized. Oxygen goes there and produces the burst of energy.
5. Udana vayu raises Kundalini. Even to have noble thoughts you need udana vayu.

So these pranas are constantly working incessantly to keep the body perfectly balanced and
operational.

tm tva girij matih You are the Self within and the matih is your shakti (energy). God and
His shakti are inseparable. I have the capacity to speak and I can control speech to express
myself through speech. But can you separate the speech as something other than myself? This
ability is called shakti. Shiva and Shakti are inseparable. The Self has this Shakti. He can remain
without expressing the Shakti. We can retail all our Shaktis and just be. But if we have to
express, the conscious principle cannot express without the corresponding shakti. Earlier
condition was just be. This condition is Just do it. Without shakti you cant express or do
anything. But Shakti and conscious principle cannot be separated from each other. Self within is
that Lord and capacities of the intellect or intelligence is matih which is girij (mother Parvati).

pj t visaypabhga-racan - When I am consciously involving with the world around I ensure
I perceive, hear, smell, see all positive around me. We are exposed to all sorts of things
positive, negative and indifferent. As an initial seeker, wed want to weed out and listen only to
that which we consider as good. The definition of good is also relative and dependent on time,
place and maturity of that individual. When we make a mistake we rarely learn from those
mistakes. We repeatedly do it thinking itd produce a different result this time! But change has
to be from within such that mistake has to be stopped. But does life give us the luxury or


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freedom to have only positive things around us? Everything comes our way. We have to be
diligent in receiving good from things that come our way.

In all our interactions at the level of organs of perception and action, all that we should be
diligent in receiving positive from it. Sometimes we jump too quickly and decide something is
not good. But when put in perspective, we realize there is nothing which is not good or bad.
Everything was placed appropriately in making me who I am at this moment! Every experience
should be taken with this attitude such that it has been given unto me so that I can step up on it
and move ahead in a positive direction. Instead we go oof feeling sad, bad, sorry, or why me?
We go into loops for which we have no answers. Straighten up and get a grip on your life. Learn
to grow from that stage given that it is the unavoidable experience. Take one step at a time and
grow diligently. That attitude is the worship of the Lord.


arra grha pj t visaypabhga-racan nidr samdhisthitih O Lord youve been
running show from the time I wake up till I fall asleep. My sleep is your Samadhi. May you also
get little rest. This is out of devotion. If Lord really rests, heart will not pump or enliven!
Wherever I travel, whatever I am going around to do, every step is not lying but sacrah
padayh pradaksinavidhih. Circumambulation wherever I my feet go to do various jobs, all of
them are an act of dedication to you alone. Every word I speak living consciously and awarefully,
each word is sttrni or hymn to the Lord.

sttrni sarv gir - One of Lord Shivas great devotee from Tamil Nadu would chant Shiva
Purana daily as a hymn. One day his dad sent him out on a two-day journey and he forgot to
carry his Shiva Purana book with him. While he wondered how could he spend day without
chanting the Shiva Purana, he had a brilliant idea. He used the entire varna mala alphabets
which were there and he chanted each alphabet 1 lakh (100,000) times . He said O Lord, I dont
know all the words or their sequence that go in the Shiva Purana. You know the sequence. Ive
chanted them in excess, now rearrange all that I have chanted and make a hymn for yourself!
The extra words are a bonus. Attitude was that all spoken words were the very words which are
hymns to Lord Shiva.

Thus yadyatkarma karmi tattadakhila ambh tavrdhanam all actions performed,
thoughts, words and deeds are an act of dedication as a worship to you O my Lord. To
whomever I am serving, whatever I am giving or doing - whether to spoise, children, parents I
am invoking that Lord in my heart. Through every action I remind myself that service to
humanity is service to the Lord of Lords. While doing so, inadvertently or unconsciously we lead
our lives and do many things unawarefully. Sitting right in front of the lord we have our daily
confession as seen next in the 5th shloka.


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
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Seeking Forgiveness

kara carana krta vkkyaja karmaja v
ravana nayanaja v mnasa vpardham |
vihitamavihita v sarvamtat-ksamasva
jaya jaya karunbdh r mahdva ambh || 5 ||

We commit two kinds of sins regularly. Everything which creates mental agitations, abrasions
within us and others is a sin. What leads to that sin? One, doing what we arent supposed to do;
and two, not doing what we are supposed to do; both of these are causes of sin.

As human beings, we all have certain responsibilities towards family, parents, children, siblings,
neighbors, society, country, nation, humanity, nature, towards the entire universe. We talk a lot
of recycling. But see if there is an opportunity to reuse so that we reduce carbon footprint.
Dont even indulge in recycling things. Instead of using paper or plastic bag, carry a cloth bag.
Simple tips can help us. You can always wash the cloth bag. Conscious responsible living is not
limited only to living with human beings, creatures, plants, but we should act responsibly with
everything in creation. We dont suffer for lack of things, but for abundance of things not
knowing what to do with them! So reuse before you recycle.

Do not indulge in things that are prohibited. Be conscious of that. Do what we are supposed to
do and firmly avoid doing what we are not supposed to do. Give me clarity on things I am
supposed to do and not supposed to do - kara carana krta (hands/legs) vk (speech) kyaja
(body actions) karmaja v ravana nayanaja v - mnasa vpardham done through
different organs of perception, action, mind and intellect. O Lord I may have missed something
by mistake and sinned inadvertently. Please forgive me in my own mistake of having done this
while not living consciously; and dont consider this as a sin.

jaya jaya karunbdh r mahdva ambh - You are the Lord of compassion, an ocean of
compassion. Youve given me numerous chances so that I could change and improve myself. Let
me not waste this chance. May I use it to move towards perfection. Let me carry that inspired
heart to constantly improve myself to be next to perfection so that I may be at peace knowing
that You dwell in my heart.

Thus this beautiful treat Shiva Manas Puja comes to an end. Composed by Sri Adi
Shankaracharya as his dedication to Lord Shiva, we will conclude with the Shanti Mantras.


Swami Sarveshananda Saraswati
Discourses held at Chinmaya Chitrakoot Oct. 08 11, 2012
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