A prerequisite to the puja........
Before performing the worship of the Supreme Lord, the bhuta-suddhi is necessary. Bhuta-suddhi means a particular meditation for purifying one's existence and consciousness. This meditation should be as follows:
"I am by nature the eternal servant of Krsna, but by misfortune, due to being inimical towards Him from time immemorial, I have been identifying with this body and have been wandering in the cycle of birth and death again and again in this material existence, being burnt by the threefold miseries. Now, as a result of some unimaginable good fortune, by the mercy of my spiritual master, I know that I am the eternal servant of Krsna, that I am an infinitesimal spiritual being, completely apart from the gross and subtle body. Now, by the order of my spiritual master, following in his footsteps, I have obtained the good fortune of being able to serve his lotus feet as well as the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Shyamasundara."
Thinking in this way, the pujari should recite the following mantra and meditate upon himself as follows:
naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na ca grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
kintu prodyan nikhila paramananda-purnamrtabdher
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah
"I am not a brahmana; I am not a ksatriya; nor am I a vaisya
or a sudra. Neither am I a brahmacari, nor a grhastha, nor a vanaprastha,
nor a sannyasi, but I am simply the servant of the servant of the servant
of the lotus feet of the eternally self-manifesting ocean of nectar of
the highest bliss, the master of the gopis, Sri Krsna."
divyam sri-hari-mandiradhya-tilakam kantham sumalanvitam
vaksah sri-hari-nama-varna-subhagam sri-khanda-liptam punah
putam suksmam namambaram vimalatam nityam vahantim tanum
dhyayet sri-guru-pada-padma nikate sevotsukam catmanah
"The devotee should meditate, with great enthusiasm for serving the
lotus feet of his spiritual master, on his own body, completely pure and
cleansed from all contaminations, with the temple of Sri Hari on his forehead
(tilaka), on his neck beautiful tulasi beads, on his chest the syllables
of the holy name and sandalwood pulp which has been offered to the lord
on his forehead and wearing on his body light and shining new garments."
Guru Puja (Worship of Guru):
One does not directly worship ones worshippable deity. One must begin by worshipping the spiritual master. Only by pleasing the spiritual master and gaining his mercy, and only by obtaining him as the via medium, can one offer anything to the Lord. Thus, before worshipping the Lord one must always worship the spiritual master. This is the injunction of pancaratrika scripture.
prathamam tu gurum pujya tatas caiva mamarcanam
kuran siddhim avapnoti hy anyatha nisphalam bhavet
Hari Bhakti Vilasa 4.344
He who first performs worship of the spiritual master and then performs worship of me (bhagavan) attains perfection. If one does otherwise, there will be no results from ones activities of worship.
gurau sannihite yas tu pujayed anyam agratah
sa durgatim avapnoti puranam tasya nisphalam
Hari Bhakti Vilasa 4. 345
The person who performs someone elses worship before the worship of the guru attains simply misfortune. His worship is useless.
pujayisyams tatah krsnam adau sannihitam gurum
pranamya pujayed bhaktya dattva kincid upayanam
One should first come before ones spiritual master, pay obeisances to
him, present him with some offering and worship him with devotion.
Having gained his grace, one should then worship the Supreme Lord.
Hari Bhakti Vilasa
Or one may worship his shoes, which are considered non different from him. Or one may worship the spiritual master in a yantra, ghat (water pot) , picture or murti. By this worship one demonstrates ones realization of the fact that surrender to the spiritual master is the fundamental step in approaching the Lord.
In Hari Bhakti Vilasa, this worship is performed before entering the deity room. In other texts however guru puja is performed after entering the deity room and performing preliminary purification.
Before beginning the daily worship of the Lord the scriptures prescribe that one must worship the spiritual master. As one must respect the spiritual master in the same way that one respects the Lord, the procedure for worship follows the method of worship of the Lord, that is, by offering asana, foot water, arghya, acamana, madhuparka, bath, cloth, thread, gandha, flowers, incense, lamp and mahaprasadam.
If one does not have opportunity to personally perform guru puja he can at least perform mental worship, and participate in the guru aratrika at the conclusion of the guru puja.
One may perform worship of guru with sixteen upacaras, ten upacaras or five upacaras, depending on ability and circumstance. As in all types of worship, articles should be offered in manasa puja, then in exterior puja. If possible one should perform the worship with actual articles, or one may offer flowers and candana as substitutes for the articles while saying the mantras, or one may offer pure water in substitution for the articles. If this is impossible, then one should worship the spiritual master by manasa puja alone.
One should remember to keep the upacaras to be offered to guru separate from those to be offered to the deity so that there will be no contamination caused by mixing unoffered items with offered items.
The worship of guru should be performed according to the rules for deity
puja: ie. one should first perform dhyana or meditation on the spiritual
master, situated below the throne of the panca Tattva to the right, in
the spiritual abode of Navadvipa; one should then perform manasa
puja, offering all the articles to the guru mentally; then one should
perform exterior worship with the articles available, offering them according
to the rules, using guru mula mantra; one should then recite verses of
praise, perform japa of guru mantra and gayatri, and pranamas. Finally
one should beg the spiritual master's permission to serve the Lord.