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Ganesh pooja after morning aarti.

The Sanskrit word pratiṣṭhā, which in general usage means “resting” or “position”, used in connection with a murti is translated by Apte as “the consecration of an idol or image”. The corresponding adjective pratiṣṭha means “installed” or “consecrated”. Prana means “life force, breath”. The phrase Prana Pratishtha is a ritual that means, state Bhame and Krusche, “bringing life to the temple”. It is also referred to as Murti Sthapana (image placement inside the temple), or the composite word Pranapratishtha. Traditionally, this was the step when the eye of the murti was sculpted open, inside the garbhagriya (Purusha space of the temple) of a Hindu temple.

The ritual typically involves a Puja, chanting of Sanskrit mantras as the deity is moved from outside into the center place, inviting the deity as resident guest of the temple, bathing and cleansing the deity whose feet may be washed just like a revered guest arriving after a long journey, dressing and seating in a place of comfort, placing the image’s face towards east (marking sunrise), followed by Nyasa with hymns (act of touching different parts of the deity murti signifying the presence of various gods as sensory organs – Indra as hand, Brahma as heart, Surya as eyes, and so on), spraying of scented water and flowers, with the Chaksunmilan (Sanskrit: चक्षन् मिलन, meeting the eye opening) ceremony marking the high point of the ritual. The image is then considered as consecrated. In large and ceremonial public temples, the murti may be retired at sunset just like a guest retiring to bed, and then woken up at sunrise with pleasantries, washing, offering of fresh clothes, food and interaction with the devotees. Some temples may include elaborate procession, as community events such as traditional singing and dancing events to mark the celebration.

A special type of consecration is used for festival icons (Sanskrit: utsava vigraha) for the purpose of parading the deity for the community to receive the vision (Sanskrit: darśaṇa) of the deity.

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