flowers are intrinsic part of hindu worship and rituals. the fragrance of the flower pleases the deity. they create a pleasant and aesthetic value to the pooja ritual. they are symbol of happiness, prosperity and completion of purpose of life.
its good to follow the rituals correctly like offering right flower to the deity. but its also important to have a deep devotion and trust in the deity. have a child like innocence and love for your chosen deity, whom you worship regularly. any prayer done with sincerity is heard by the almighty.
while offering flowers use all five fingers. usually they are offered at the feet of the deity. if you are doing regular sadhana then its best to have the flower plant at home so that you can offer fresh flower to the deity. always offer fresh flowers to the deity. pluck the flowers after taking the bath but before the evening.
when you visit any temple then you will normally find a flower shop outside the temple. they know best which flower need to be offered to the main deity of the temple.
flowers offered to hindu gods and goddess:
- lord ganesha – any red color flower will do. however the red color jaswanti flower (hibiscus) is favorite to ganesha. jaswanti flower comes in many different colors. so choose the red color if possible. you can also offer lotus, champa, rose, jasmine, yellow and orange marigold flowers. apart from this you can offer dhurva grass blades (1,3,5,7), bilva leaves and herbal leaves. usually 21 different varieties of flowers and leaves are used while performing ganesha pooja.
- lord shiva – any white flower will do. you can offer maulshri, blue lotus (if blue lotus is not there then you can offer pink lotus or white lotus) and kaner. bel leaves (9 or 10), dhatura flowers, naagkeshar, harsingar, and aak (aakamda) flowers are also favorite of shiva. however bilvapatra is most important in shiva pooja. in the bilvapatra the chakra and the bajra should not be there. the chakra is a white mark made by the insects on the bilvapatra, while the bajra is the thick portion towards the stalk. this part should be broken. the bilvapatra half eaten up by the insects is also not considered good for worshipping shiva.
- goddess durga – most red color flowers like hibiscus. you can also offer lotus, mogra flower and bel leaves (1 or 9)
- goddess parvati – she is fond of all flowers offered to lord shiva. apart from them you can offer bela, white lotus, palash, madar, apamarg, champa and chameli.
- lord vishnu – he is very fond of lotus. you can offer pink lotus, maulshri, juhi (jasmine), kadamb, kewra, chameli, champa, ashok, malti and basanti. tulsi leaves are dear to vishnu. so you can offer tulsi leaves: (1,3,5,7,9).
- ma lakshmi – she likes the lotus most. you can offer pink lotus, yellow gaindha (marigold) and desi gulab/rose (not hybrid). in fruits you can offer one shriphal (bel fruit)
- lord rama – chameli flower (4).
- lord hanuman – chameli flower. garland made up of tulsi or aak leaves.
- lord dattatreya – juhi/jasmine (7), bilva leaves, audumbar leaves. audumbar tree is associated with guru dattatreya
- lord krishna – tulsi leaves are very dear to krishna. blue lotus (3), parijatha (coral flowers) and nandhyavattai. generally most local flowers are offered to krishna.
- lord brahma – tagar and white lotus (6)
- goddess saraswati – any white flower or white lotus (9) or palash flowers.
- goddess mahakali – yellow kaner (9)
- lord saturn – worship with blue color flowers. its done on saturday.
- sun god (surya devata) – lotus flower
which flowers are not offered to gods:
1. lord shiva – champa (champaka) and ketaki or kewda (fragrant screw pine). because it was cursed by lord shiva along with lord brahma for lying.
2. lord ganesha- ketaki flower and tulsi (holy basil). read why tulsi is not offered to lord ganesha.
3. goddess parvati – arka (milkweeds) and amla (indian gooseberry)
4. lord vishnu – ‘aksada’ is not used in pooja
5. lord rama – arali (nerium oleander)
6. sun god (surya devta) – vilva (bilva or bael leaves)
7. lord bairava – nandyarvattam (east indian rosebay, crape jasmine)
rules for offering flowers:
1. never pluck flowers during evening. always express gratitude to plant while plucking flowers. traditionally a mantra is also chanted while plucking the flower.
2 don’t offer flowers which are picked up from ground.
3. offer fresh flowers and not stale flowers. that said, don’t offer flower which is not bloomed up fully or the flower whose petals have withered away.
4. flower buds are not offered. but buds of champa and lotus are two exceptions.
5. don’t steal the flowers or beg for them.
6. don’t offer flowers which are washed with water. however you can sprinkle some water on them.
7. don’t offer flowers which have diseases or infested with insects or damaged.
8. don’t pluck tulsi from plant on the eve of sankranti, dwadashi (12th), amavashya (no moon), purnima (full moon), sunday and during evening hours.
9. lotus stay fresh for around 5 days.
10. if you are not getting new leaves of bilva patra, then the leaves which are already offered to god may be reused after washing.
1. hindu rites and rituals book by k.v.singh
2. hindu rites, rituals, customs and traditions book by prem p. bhalla
note – if you have some more info on this subject then do share.