What are the essentials in religious ceremonies conducted by Hindus?
Religious ceremonies have an important role to play in the lives of most Hindus. A Brahmin Priest usually conducts these ceremonies. He must be well versed with the shlokas and mantras recommended for specific ceremonies. Many of these are from the old religious texts, most of them in Sanskrit. If the ceremonies are done personally, it is necessary to understand their basic procedures.
Before any special ceremony a bath is very important. In the Kurmpuran, 18/6-9, it is said that everyone must take a bath early every morning. This has both tangible and intangible benefits. A mouth that is foul with stale saliva gets cleansed. Laziness, the effect of bad dreams, thoughts and actions are washed away. Nothing cleanses the body better than a good bath. It is a must before all religious activities.
Sanctity, purity and cleanliness are qualities that uplift mankind. Cleanliness plays an important role in keeping the body healthy, the mind content and the soul peaceful. A good bath does all this and prepares one for religious activity.
One must be pure both externally and internally. External purity is attained with the use of water, soap, shampoo and other cleaning agents. It is also affected by the food one eats. Internal purity comes only with control over passion, anger, greed, selfishness, attachment, pride, jealousy, deception, envy and other like activities. One must overcome these bad habits to become pure and tranquil.
In the Bhagavad Gita, it is said that a true devotee of God transmits pure vibrations. The character of the person becomes so pure that meeting, conversing and even touching him positively influences another immediately. Wherever such pure people live, the residence, environment and atmosphere becomes pure.