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Aarti

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For the similarly spelled Christian movement, see Arathi.
S344 durga-idol-golden
Priest performing navami arati in front of a golden statue of Durga slaying Mahisasur.

Aarti (Hindi आरती), also spelled arathi, aarthi (from the Sanskrit term Aradhana) is a Hindu ritual, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. Aartis also refer to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when offering of lamps is being offered.

OriginEdit

Aarti is said to have descended from the Vedic concept of fire rituals, or homa. The word may also refer to the traditional Hindu devotional song that is sung during the ritual. Aarti is performed and sung to develop the highest love for God. "Aa" means "towards or to", and "rati" means "right or virtue" in Sanskrit.

PracticeEdit

Incense smoke Aarti, Ganges, Varanasi
Incense smoke Aarti, Ganges, Varanasi
Evening Ganga Aarti, at Dashashwamedh ghat, Varanasi
Evening Ganga Aarti with open flames, at Dashashwamedh ghat, Varanasi

Aarti is generally performed one to five times daily, and usually at the end of a puja or Bhajan-Kirtan session. It is performed during almost all Hindu ceremonies and occasions. It involves the circulating of an 'Aarti plate' around a person or deity and is generally accompanied by the singing of songs in praise of that deva or person (many versions exist). In doing so, the plate itself is supposed to acquire the power of the deity. The priest circulates the plate to all those present. They cup their down-turned hands over the flame and then raise their palms to their forehead - the purificatory blessing, passed from the deva's image to the flame, has now been passed to the devotee.

The aarti plate is generally made of metal, usually silver, bronze or copper. On it must repose a lamp made of kneaded flour, mud or metal, filled with oil or ghee. A cotton wick is put into the oil and then lighted, or camphor is burnt instead. The plate also contains flowers, incense and akshata.[1]

The purpose of performing arati is the waving of lighted wicks before the deities in a spirit of humility and gratitude, wherein faithful followers become immersed in God's divine form. It symbolises the five elements: 1) space (akash), 2) wind (vayu), 3) light (tej), 4) water (jal), and 5) earth (pruthvi). Communal Aarti is performed in the mandir; however, devotees may also perform it in their homes.

Aarti songsEdit

Evening Aarti at Har-ki-Pauri, Haridwar
Aarti of Goddess Ganga, at Har-ki-Pauri, Haridwar

Hinduism has a long tradition of aarti songs, simply referred to as 'Aarti', sung as an accompaniment to the ritual of aarti. It primarily eulogizes to the deity the ritual is being offered to, and several sects have their own version of the common aarti songs that are often sung on chorus at various temples, during evening and morning aartis. Sometimes they also contain snippets of information on the life of the gods.

The most commonly sung aarti is that is dedicated to all deities is Om Jai Jagdish Hare, known as "The Universal Aarti" and is another common aarti song. Its variation are used for other deities as well such as Om jai Shiv omkara,Om jai Lakshmi mata,Om jai Ambe gauri,Om jai Adya Shakti.

In most temples in India, aarti is performed at least twice a day, after the ceremonial puja, which is the time when the largest number of devotees congregates.

Aarti in South Indian templesEdit

Boy with tray Bull Temple
After aarti, a boy with aarti plate, with kumkum, diya being taken to the devotees

Aarti performed at South Indian temples mostly follows the above-mentioned rituals except that they are often more elaborate in the way they are performed. Aarti is also referred to as Deepa Aaradhanai in Tamil.

Aarti in Gaudiya VaishnavismEdit

In Gaudiya Vaishnavism, aarti refers to the whole puja ritual, of which offering the lamp is only one part. A conch is blown to start the aarti, then an odd number of incense sticks are offered to the deity. The lamp is offered next, and then circulated among the devotees. A conch is then filled with water, and offered; the water is then poured into a sprinkler and sprinkled over the devotees. A cloth and flowers are then offered, and the flowers are circulated to the devotees, who sniff them. The deity is then faned with a camara whisk, and a peacock fan in hot countries.

Aarti (Name)Edit

Aarti (also spelt Arati, Arthi, Aarthi, Aarthy, Aarti or Arti) is also a name for Hindu women.

NotesEdit

  1. Akshata: (Sanskrit) "Unbroken." Unmilled, uncooked rice, often mixed with turmeric, offered as a sacred substance during puja, or in blessings for individuals at weddings and other ceremonies. This, the very best food, is the finest offering a devotee can give to God or a wife can give to her husband.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

http://dinman.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=5&id=14&Itemid=28 hindi aarti sangrahhi:आरतीmr:आरतीte:హారతి uk:Араті

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