Panchayatana puja is a form of bhakti found in the Smarta tradition of Hinduism. It consists of the simultaneous worship of multiple deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Surya and an Ishta Devata such as Ganesha or Skanda or any personal god of devotee’s preference.
Philosophically, the Smarta tradition emphasizes that all images (murti) are icons of saguna Brahman, a means to thinking about the abstract Ultimate Reality called nirguna Brahman. The five or six icons are seen by Smartas as multiple representations of the one Saguna Brahman (i.e., a personal God with form), rather than as distinct beings. The ultimate goal in this practice is to transition past the use of icons, then follow a philosophical and meditative path to understanding the oneness of Atman (soul, self) and Brahman – as “That art Thou”