The Ritual Engagement


1.     What is ritual?  What is religious ritual?

a.     Definition: “A religious ritual can be defined as an agreed-on and formalized pattern of ceremonial movements and verbal expressions carried out in a sacred context.

2.     Why is ritual central to religion?

a.     Appeals to the whole person

b.     Ritual as instrumental

c.     Ritual as performance

                                      i.     Enactment of relations between human beings

                                    ii.     Enactment of relations between humans and the divine

3.     Puja in the Hindu Traditions

a.     Puja = rites of worship and honoring of a deity

                                      i.     Darshan: seeing and being seen by the divine

1.     The devotee receives darshan from the divine being – a blessing

                                    ii.     Prashad: food offerings

1.     Given to the deity and then received back as “divine leftovers” – purified, sanctified – taken into the body

b.     Enacts a relationship of reciprocity – give and take

c.     Linked to ancient Vedic ritual performed to revitalize the world