By Swami Harshananda
Prāṇapratiṣṭhā literally means ‘infusing life into an image’.
Definition of Prāṇapratiṣṭhā
Worship of God through an image is a common aspect of practical religion. The image, however, whether established in a temple or in one’s house, has first to be infused with life. This process is called ‘prāṇapratiṣṭhā’.
Ritual of Prāṇapratiṣṭhā
The basic idea is that God who is in one’s own heart, has to be ceremonially transferred to the image and then worshiped. In the consecration of temples, after several rituals, both major and minor ones. the prāṇapratiṣṭhā is done by uttering the mantra by placing one’s thumb on the heart of the image.
am hrīm devasya vāñmana-ścaksus
This is to be followed by the recitation of another mantra "om asyai prānāh pratisthantu" which completes the process. In pujā or worship also, a similar procedure is followed, at the time of every worship.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore