| God can be
worshipped and prayed in the form of a chosen deity (Ishta Devatã) in the temples
and in home shrines. Being a God-loving religion and not a God-fearing one, Hindu
Dharma relies upon self-knowledge through yoga and meditation rather than on dogma or
Ishta Devata is that aspect of God
which a follower of Bhaktiyoga chooses for worship and contemplation. Once chosen either
willingly by oneself or at the. behest of the Guru it should not be changed.
The name of the Ishta Devata is 'Mantra'. The Mantra
usually includes Pranava (Om) and often has additional letters called Bija (seed letters)
also. These Bijaletters are different for different deities.
Pranava or the syllable `Om' comprising the three
basic sounds a, u and m is considered as the origin of all sounds and all words, and hence
of all created objects, by our scriptures. That is why it has been given the status of
the, highest or best symbol of God.
The Mantra concerning the Ishtadevata has to be received by the
disciple from the Guru is a ceremonial way, the rite itself being known as
When the mind is able to flow in a constant and continuous
stream like the oil that is being poured from one vessel into another towards the
Ishtadevata, it is called Dhayana.
Japa is the repetition of the divine name or sacred formula,
received from the Guru through Diksha. However, this repetition should be done with full
faith and knowledge of the Mantra.
Based on Hinduism
Through Questions and Answers and Bansi Pandit, Hindu Dharma
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