by Swami Sivananda
Manasic Puja or mental worship is more powerful than external Puja of the Murti with flowers, etc. Arjuna thought that Bhima was not doing any kind of worship. He was proud of his external worship to Lord Siva. He offered Bael leaves. But Bhima offered to Lord Siva mentally the Bael leaves of all the Bael of the whole world. He was doing Manasic Puja of Lord Siva. The attendants of Lord Siva were not able to remove the Bael leaves offered by Bhima from the head of Siva. Arjuna once saw a large band of people carrying baskets of Bael leaves. He thought within himself that these leaves must be those offered by him to the Lord and questioned them thus: "Brothers, wherefrom do you carry these Bael leaves." They replied: "O Arjuna, these leaves are offered to our Lord by Bhima through his Manasic Puja." Arjuna was struck with wonder. He came to know that Manasic Puja was more powerful than the external worship and that Bhima was better devotee than himself.
He who has done Puja with flowers and other articles of worship for some time can do mental worship. In mental Puja the devotee offers mentally all offerings to the Lord. This is advanced form of worship.
Manasic Puja can be done by advanced students. Beginners should certainly do worship with flowers, sandal paste, incense, etc. You will have more concentration when you do Manasic Puja. Mentally enthrone the Lord in Simhasan seat with diamonds, pearls, emeralds, etc. Offer Him a seat. Apply sandal paste to His forehead and body. Offer Arghyam, Madhuparka, and various sorts of flowers, clothes, etc. Burn incense, Wave lights. Burn camphor. Offer various kinds of fruits, sweetmeats, and Maha Naivedyam. Offer to the Lord the fruits of the whole world.
Do not be miserly even in Manasic Puja. In Manasic Puja one man offered only one stale plantain fruit and a handful of gram. A miserable miser! Even in Manasic Puja he cannot be very generous and liberal. This world abounds with such deplorable misers. In the end mentally repeat: "kayena vacha mansendriyairva, buddhyatmanava prakriteh svabhavat karomi yadyat sakalam parasmai narayanayeti samarpayami."-Whatever action I do by the body, by speech, by the mind, by the senses, by the intellect or by my own nature, I offer all of them to the Supreme Lord Narayana." Also say "OM Tat Sat Brahmarpanamastu." This will purify your heart and remove the taint of expectation of reward.