CULTURE: If there is one moment that one does look forward to during a Hindu prayer, is to seek blessings of the sacred flame. What is the real meaning behind the ritual of Aarti? This act of devotion is performed to conclude prayers or auspicious rituals that venerate presiding deities in a home or religious gathering at Hindu temples.
After the Aarti is completed, all present would posture their open palms over the sacred flame. This act allows one to capture a momentary flicker of celestial energy within your palms as if one was caressing the flames transferring that warmth washing it over your face and head. This act of devotion is your final moment to capture the essence of divinity and a personal moment between the devotee and the deity. The literal meaning of Aarti or Veneration is ‘Aart- Nivaran,’ that translates to ‘removal of sorrows’.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path“Psalm 119:105
Everyone has a different way of ‘turning the lamp‘? Are you doing it right?
One has to rotate the lamp four times at the feet area of the idol, twice at the pelvic area, once at the face and crown area and seven times around the whole idol. Always remember that your veneration, no matter how you do it, is a personal relationship between you and your spiritual godhead.
The universal praise song
The bhajan, Om Jai Jagdish Hare (Hindi: ॐ जय जगदीश हरे) is a religious song dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, however it also considered to be a monotheistic song around the globe. Although the religious hymn is a Hindi language composition, it is widely performed song by many within the Indian diaspora and beyond for its universal message. The prayer is ideally performed by an entire congregation at the end of ritualistic worship during Aarti.
Here’s Aks & Lakshmi rendition of Om Jai Jagdish Hare
An interesting verse from the Bible also captures the essence of aarti, in Psalm 119 ,
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path“
Expanding on the meaning of this psalm, SABC’s Ronesh Dhawraj explains,
“The first part, His teachings & wisdom lights up his life ahead, it guides him or her (you) wherever life takes them. The second part, His or Her word is his or her (your) compass. I will never experience darkness and/or ignorance as long as that light illuminates my road ahead.”
The presence of God, through his word, is the lamp that dispels the darkness of fear and lights up the path even when times are most difficult. So go on make your aarti count especially during this crisis of the coronavirus pandemic.
To learn more about the act of Aarti visit here