The Essence of Satyanarayana Pooja in a Kamma Wedding

Every important ritual in our Hindu religion has its own share of symbolism entrusted behind it. Take Satyanarayana Pooja for example; being one of the most eminent of all the poojas especially in the Kamma community, it is performed on the onset of important events in our life. And what possibly could be more important than a marriage?
Hence ’Satyanarayana Puja’ has always been the first of all ceremonies performed by the couple in their new home.

The Back Story:
Naaradha who is deeply hurt by the sufferings of mankind goes on to request Lord Vishnu to show him the possible way to relieve the miseries of the mankind. The way offered by the Lord Vishnu has come to be known as the ‘Satyanarayana Pooja ’.The Pooja which allows the devotee to enjoy his pleasures while staying true to the path of liberation.
There are various mythical stories that reflect the importance of this great Pooja. There is this story of the good-hearted, yet poor Brahman beggar, who upon performing the ‘Pooja’ is relieved of his poverty and then goes on to spread its greatness. Then there is the story of a wealthy merchant who is alleviated from his childlessness with a baby girl right upon following the ‘Pooja’ procedure. And then there is this story of a righteous king, who suffers the wrath of the lord for his ignorance of the ‘Pooja’. Every story serves its purpose by giving us the small tablet of vital information. But, in due course of time, the symbolism behind these stories is not properly explained to the Gen-y folks or their even their predecessors for that matter.
The Essence of the Pooja:
The word Satyanarayana is a combination of Sat (Truth) and Narayana (Lord of Nara), thus it represents ‘Truth’ and is a personification of the same truth that is in action (Dharma). So, the advice of lord Vishnu to pray lord Satyanarayana is to pray the idea of truth and dharma. The procedure here is not a mere external ‘Pooja’ that everyone believes to be, but it is following the way of truth in both words and action.
So what is this ‘truth in words and action’ you ask? It’s as simple as performing your duties to perfection in a truthful way. As a father, it’s job to provide a rightful livelihood for your dependents. As an employee, it’s your job to perform your responsibilities to perfection. As a player, it’s your job to play well to support your team with your play. Not staying true to our roles in our life is the root cause of all miseries. And performing your roles to perfection is the only way to attain the much celebrated ‘Liberation’.
Every ritual has two aspects: The outer one that is the done by the external organs and an inner one that can only be performed by the mind when the devotee completely understands this spiritual aspect of the ritual. The external process of ‘Pooja’ is only a mere way to transfer this spiritual aspect into the devotee.
All along the stories above, the beggar, rich merchant, the king, everyone’s instructed to follow the ‘Vrath’. The ‘Vrath’ here is the not the one time ritual but the process of truly performing their duties with perfection throughout their life. It is not about the simple ritual but about the following the path of truth both in action and words. So, ‘Satyanarayana Pooja ‘is not all about the chants and ritual proceedings, it is the practice of truthfulness that helps us get relieved from the miseries of our lives.
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