Importance of Flowers in Puja
India is having a vast diversity in terms of Ancient Temples, Traditions, Cultures, Religion, where people celebrate vast number of Festivals, and show Hinduism. Every now and then when performing puja's, the flowers had a great significance. Although we are doing puja, may it be the Lord, may it be the Mother, while worshiping them, the flowers only had great significance. While there are so many means of items used to perform puja's, why we feel the flowers are so important? Many texts mention the importance of the flowers.
Worship of Shiva Linga with Sacred Flowers
Puspamule vasedbrahma madhyeca kesavah
Puspagreca mahadevah sarvadevah sthitadale
There is Lord Brahma seated at the initial stage of the flower, Keshava (Lord Vishnu) in the centre, and Mahadeva (Lord Shiva) at the corner of the flower. It is known that all these three gods are present in the flowers.
Paranjyotih puspagatam puspenaiva prasidati
Trivarga tool flower pustisri svargamoksadam
The God present in flowers is happy with the flowers used to worship them. That's why flowers are trident in aspect, as riches, heaven and salvation (mingling with the god).
Puspairdevah prasidanti pushpadevascha sansthitah
Kinchati bahunoktena puspasyokti matrandrikam
The gods are cherished by the flowers as they are present in them. In other words, the flowers will be reviving.
However, according to our Hindu Mythology, The Deities are also mentioned about their favourite flowers. Vishnu, Durga, Lord Ganesh were stated to be worshipped by various flowers, but Lord Shiva is happy with the Maredu leaflet, resembling his three eyes. This is said by the great poet Srinadhha.
Bela Patra or Maredu Leaflet with Fruit
Shivune shirassu meda kassine neelu jalli
Pattirisumanta nevvadu paravaicu
Kamadhenu vatadinta gaadipasara
Malla surashaki vanninta mallechetu
By pouring some water on Shiva Linga and keeping the Maredu leaflet, the Kamadhenu (sacred cow) will be present as domestic animal in the devotees house.The Kalpatharuvu is present as the fragnant mogra plant. Lord Shiva embodies and personifies innocence, that's why he is called Bhola Shankarudu. In that aspect, praying the lord with Maredu leaflet, is the only source to worship Lord Shiva other than flowers?
Answer to this question is given by the texts present in Shivadharmasangraham, Shivarahasyakhandam, Lingapuranam and Karthikamahatyam.
When worshipped Lord Shiva with flowers, it is said to be equivalent to the yangya performed to ten horses. Whoever worships Lord Shiva with eight flowers they get Kailash Prapti. The flowers which are being used to worship Shiva shouldn't be dried and also not bitten by the insects. Even they should not be plucked by others garden as it is equal to robbery and carry sin and will not give us the fruitful result as we want.
Types of Flowers used to worship Lord :
The flowers bloomed in the forest and garden are considered the utmost important flowers used for Shiva puja. Oleander, poggada, jilledu, datura, kaligottu, peddamulaka, telladintena, katlatiga flowers, asokapuvvu, hibiscus, visnukranta, jammi, pink nemmipulu, uttareni, lotus, nutmeg, cengaluva, sampenga, khuskhusgrass flowers, nandivarthanam, nagakesaram, laurel(ponna), green henna, Tummidi, medi, Jayanthi, jasmine, Christmas trees, maredu leaflet, kusumapuvu, kumkumapuvu, errakaluvalu, nilipulu are auspicious for the puja of Lord Shiva. When worshipped by any other flowers, along with these flowers the Shiva accepts them happily. It is said to Umadevi by Lord Shiva in Hindu Mythology.
Lord Shiva with Umadevi
The Significance of Flowers used in a Particular Month :
In the same way in which month, which flower, when used to worship Lord Shiva gives what results is also said in Hindu Mythology (puranas). In Chaitramasam when we worship Shiva by chanting songs with dance and using the darbha flowers and durva grass the gold gets increased. When worshipping in Vaishakmasam, abhishekam with ghee and white hibiscus flowers, gives us the blessings equivalent to the eight horses yagnya performed.
Durva Grass- Cynodon dactylon plant
In Jyeshtamasam when one worships Shiva doing abhishekam with curd and offer lotus flowers they get paramagati. In Ashadamasam when one worships Shiva by bathing on krishna chaturdasi with incense of guggilam and tummi flowers gets brahmalokam. The one who offers prayers to Shiva during meal time with ganneru flowers receives veyigodanamula (thousand cows donation) success is available.The one who worships Shiva in Bhadrapadamasam with uttareni flowers seeks hansadhvajam plane to reach the feet of Lord. When worshipping Shiva in Asvayujamasam with jilledu flowers they seek the peacock plane to reach to the feet of Lord Shiva.
Lotus Flower (Nelumbo nucifera)
Kanera Flowers or Ganneru Flowers- Cascabela thevetia
Jilledu Flowers or Akand or Madar Flowers
(Calotropis gigantea) -Crown flower
The one who does puja, abhishekam with milk and offers jaji flowers in Kaarthikmasam can have a darshan of Lords feet. The one who prays Shiva with pogada flowers in Margasiramasam can visit all the three lokas and come back to their origin. The one who offers ummetta (Datura) flowers to Shiva in Pushyamasam seeks the grace of god in joining him.The one who worships Shiva with bilva patraalu (Maredu leaflet) in Maghamasam reach god in the plane of leta sun and moon. The one who bathes Shiva with fragnant water and offer tummi flowers gets half the throne of Lord Indra.
Abhishekam with milk to Lord Shiva
Thummi or Thumbai Flowers - Leucas Aspera
However, their is different significance for the different flowers used to pray Lord Shiva. Those who pray Lord with jilledu flowers seeks the blessing of donating a buffalo.
Important Flowers used to pray Lord :
While performing puja to Shiva with thousand jilledu flowers it is better to offer one ganneru (Oleander) flower.
One maredu leaflet is better than a thousand Oleander flowers.
One lotus flower is equal to thousand maredu leaflet.
One pogada flower is better than a thousand Lotus.
One ummettu flower is better than a thousand Pogada flowers.
One mullaka(Datura) flower is better than a thousand ummetta flowers.
One tummi flower is better than a thousand mullaka(Datura) flowers.
One uttareni flower is better than a thousand tummi flowers.
One darbha flower is better than a thousand uttareni flowers.
One jammi flower is more sacred than a thousand darbha flowers.
It is literally said by the god himself, that one nallakaluva(black lotus) flower is equal to thousand jammi flowers. Among all the flowers available the nallakaluva flowers are the utmost important one to be used in the Shiva puja. Those who offer garland made up of thousand nallakaluva, they get the same hundred parakramangalavarai fame as Shiva and get chance to live in kailasham. Even those devotees who worship the lord with these flowers, or other flowers, they get the results according to that flower.
The importance of Pogada flower in worshipping Lord Shiva :
The passion of Lord Shiva is pogada flowers. When one worships Lord Shiva with one pogada flower he attains the result equal to donation of thousand cows. When the pogada flower used to worship god for a period of month, they get all the swarga (heaven) sukha (happiness) in their lives. When worshipped Lord with pogada flower for two months it gives the result as they performed yagnya. When worshipped Lord with pogada flower for three months it gives them brahmaloka access. Those who worship the lord with pogada flower for four months get their task acheived. Those who worship the Lord with pogada flower for five months get yoga siddhi. Those who worship Lord with pogada flower for six months get rudralok access.
Usually Lord Shiva loves maredu leaflet (bilvapatram). What about the different leaves are they important or not? The Lingapuranam (mythology) gives us more details of the other leaves (patralu) used for the worship of Lord Shiva. Maredu, jammi, sock galagara, addarasamu, asokapatralu, Tamale, dark tree, ulimidi, am, solanumnigrum, macipatri, black datura, tamaraku, nitikaluva, mettakaluva leaves, sage sampenga, Tummidi, uttareni are the leaves used for Puja. That is, when we get these leaves, their flowers can also be used for the puja.
As concerned, regarding offering the flower or the fruit to the Lord, in both the cases the top (face) should not fall down. If it falls then we will get sorrow (sadness). To overcome this problem one should hold the flowers in his arms and offer,if then also it falls, it is not considered fault. Datura, and kadimi flowers must be submitted in the night to Lord Shiva. And the rest of the flowers in the morning. At night jasmine, nutmeg flowers in the afternoon and ganneru flowers anytime can be used to worship.
Offering flowers to fullfil Desires :
Till now we have known with which flower when worshipped Shiva we get what phalam. One should submit flowers to Lord Shiva by wishing in our mind (like I want this,that) to fulfill that wish.For example,those who want money should offer ganneru flowers, likewise for moksha (salvation) ummetti flowers, for Sukhashanti (happiness) nallakalavu flowers, for chakravartitva tellatamara flowers (white lotus), for rajyaprapthi (ruling) erra tamara (red Lotus) flowers, with nagakesara and kesari flowers one fulfills his desires planned, those who worship with ganneru (Oleander), ashoka, udugu tellajilledu flowers gets mantrasiddhi, with rose flowers labhasiddhi, with danti cotton flowers one gets the soubhagyam (prosperity) . In order to get the desired virgin one should worship with flowers of sannajaji to Lord Shiva. With malle flower (Mogara) when worships Lord Shiva they get children. With Darbha flowers one gets Health, from rela flowers money, from tummi flowers vasikara (sorcery), with kadimi flowers get satrujayam. One who is Worshipping with Bilvadala eliminates poverty. When worshipping with Marjorana (marvam) flower gives comfort and happiness, with lodduga flower gosampada. When worshipped lord with moduga (Christmas trees), burugu (cotton) flowers gives ayurvedic properties.
Japa Kusum-Hibiscus Flower
Bela or Mogara Flower- Jasminum multiflorum
However, as noted in our epic texts some flowers cannot be used for the Shiv puja due to curse.
Mogili, Madhavi, adavimalli, dirisena, Sala, mankena are unsuitable flowers for the worship of Lord Shiva. Bavanchi leaves (Sense leaves), flowers, kanuga flowers, Tandra leaves, Dasa, erramaddi, hibiscus, nux vomica, adavimolla, visnukranta white, red, white roses, dirisena flowers are unsuitable for the worship of Lord Shiva. Margo, velaga, gurivinda flowers are also excluded to perform puja to Shiva.
Dasasaugandhikam flower nirgandhiyadi bhamini
Satasahasri kamala infinite lingapujase
Ten scented flowers (if there is absence of the perfume in them also) when used to worship the Shiv Linga, one gets the eternal punyaphalam of sata sahasranamavali, as noted in Shiva dharma text (compilation).
Namahsivaya Om ...
One can also check the below link for further information on some more flowers used to worship Lord Shiva:
Ancient Lord Shiva Temples: