‘Satyanarayan pooja’ is the worship of Lord Vishnu to seek blessings from him for good health and prosperous life. The word SatyaNarayan refers to the highest being that embodies the supreme truth, Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is considered to be one of the three creators of this entire universe. It is believed that this pooja is auspicious and therefore is usually done for the fulfilment of any desires. It traces back its presence in one of the oldest mythological testament, the Skada Purana, Reva Kanda. Since the pooja is considered to be extremely auspicious, most of the people perform it on birthdays or as a part of house warming ceremony etc.
There are no restrictions on the time or the day on which it has to be performed, however, it is best to consult a scholarly person before setting up the day and time. Generally, it is performed on the full moon day of every month. The devotees observe a day fast until the completion of this ceremony. In Maharashtra, people avoid to perform this ceremony on the new moon day or the Amavasya.
The Satyanarayan Pooja commences by worshiping Lord Ganesha wherein the devotees pray to Lord Ganesha to remove all the hardships that may come while performing this pooja. It is followed by the worshipping of the nine planets, which are, Surya (The Sun), Chandra (The Moon), Angraka (Mars), Buddha (Mercury), Bhraspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu (The North node which is considered to be the head of Sarvbhanu) and Ketu (The South Node which is considered to be the body of Sarvbhanu). Then, the devotees pray to Lord Satyanarayan, who is the most benevolent incarnation of Lord Vishnu and ask the Lord to shower his blessings upon them for a prosperous and successful life. The offerings are made to the idol of Lord Vishnu after which the story of Satyanarayan Swami is recited. The story includes the origin of this pooja and its benefits.
It is believed that once while travelling to Earth, Narad Muni witnessed a lot of suffering and agony in the lives of human. After witnessing this, Narad Muni went to Lord Vishnu to ask for the remedies to bring an end to the suffering of the humankind. It is then Lord Vishnu recited the entire story of Satyanarayan Vrat and told about the benefits of this Vrat along with the repercussions for not doing it. Lord Vishnu ensured that whosoever performs this pooja will be blessed with all the success, good fortune and good health.
The entire ceremony is concluded by the Aarti which is recited by all the devotees and then the prasad is distributed among the devotees. Further, this ceremony does not necessarily require a priest to perform it. It can be performed by anyone on any day of the month except the new moon day. Since the true devotion to Lord Vishnu makes all his devotees free of all the sorrows and pains, this pooja is prevalent in major parts of India.