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Arartika In Hinduism – Aarti

In Hinduism, Aratrika, popularly known as Arati, is the light which is waved devotionally before an image of the divine. The image can be any form that a devotee worships. The rituals performed in the worship of the deities or manifestations of the divine are many, but their minimum number is five and among them arartika is an essential one. It consists of waving of a lamp (or lit camphor) before the image of the divine, which can be a deity or anything worshipped as divine.

But before doing so, the priest or the worshiper purifies the blazing lamp by uttering a mantra that says – o you are great lamp, the illuminator of everything, the remover of all darkness. You are the light inside and outside, please receive this light.

The worshiper waves the lamp in front of the deity from the eyes to feet and vice versa, thrice making the movement of drawing the Devanagari ‘OM’. Before extending the lamp, the offering of incense is essential. The priest then sanctifies it by saying – The best of incense, well-fragrant and produced from the juice of the big tree, is fit to be smelt by all divinities, let it be received by you, O deity.

The worshipper, placing both the lamp and the incense in front of the deity, sanctifies them with the prescribed mantra; then, raising the incense stand in his hand, he utters the seed-mantra of the deity silently and brings the incense just below the nose of the deity. This is accompanied by the ringing of a bell.

According to Agamas, the number of wicks of the lamp may vary. The lamp with one wick is considered to be good; with five, better, and with nine, the best. The presiding deities of the lamp with nine wicks are the ‘navagrahas’ (nine planets). The five elements are the deities of the lamp having five wicks. The presiding deity of the lamp with one wick is the fire god.

While the priest is engaged in arartika, Vedic hymns are chanted on musical instruments. The well-known mantra chanted at the time of arartika is Mantra Pushpam (yo apam puspam veda….). There are several aarti songs in different languages specific to each deity.