What is the importance of performing Aarti in Hinduism, why is it done?

Hinduism is a tradition which has deep routes and every action has a meaning and purpose. It has been embedded with values and culture which teaches a man to lead a life of righteousness and ultimately seek moksha from the cycle of life and birth.

The rituals followed in Hinduism have a divine meaning which when performed in the right way will yield positive results. But unfortunately, most of the ancient scripts were lost in various attacks during the Mughal and British invasion which literally disconnected ancient India from the present generation. The true meaning and essence of most of the rituals and traditions were lost and people rather than learning the true meaning started to follow them blindly.

One such ritual is Aarti, which is most commonly done in almost all Hindu rituals. But sadly many would not know the true meaning and significance behind this tradition. We often see during all poojas people perform Aarti to God. It is either rotated in clockwise from Anāhat-chakra ( heart area) to the Ādnyā-chakra (mid-brow region). The aarti plate usually contains cotton wicks in odd numbers, with oil placed on a metal plate. It also contains rice/flowers which is immersed in turmeric. The entire plate symbolizes the 5 elements which are linked with every living thing…that is Sky (akash) 2. Wind (vayu) 3. Fire (agni) 4. Water (jal) 5. Earth (prithvi).

The  Bhagavad-gita (7.4-5) explains and analyzes the  deep meaning of Aarti which says that the material world to be made of eight elements: earth (representing all solids), water (representing all liquids), fire (representing all radiations and energies), air (representing all gases), ether (the substratum for the existence of space and the transmission  of sound), mind (the subtle faculty for emotions), intelligence (the subtle faculty for rational thinking) and false ego (the invisible bond that causes the soul to misidentify with the body).

Here, the flower and represent earth, the water represents the element water, the ghee lamp represents fire, the yak-tail fan represents air, the sound of the conch and the bell represents ether, the emotional involvement in the songs sung and the mantras chanted represent the mind, the intellectual focus on the purpose of the aarti represents the intelligence, the obeisances represent the ego and the pujari represents the assembled worshipers. (The spiritual Scientist).

When the plate is rotated front of the deity, it produces the Sattva frequency ( one of the three Guṇas or “modes of existence”)  which is then converted to Raja’s frequency (one of the three Guṇas -tendencies, qualities, attributes).

To be precise, Sattva is the quality of goodness, positivity, truth, wholesomeness, serenity, wholeness, creativity, constructiveness, balance, confidence, peacefulness, and virtuousness that is drawn towards Dharma and Jnana (knowledge). While Rajas is sometimes translated as passion, where it is used in the sense of activity qua activity, without any particular value and it can contextually be either good or bad.

These frequencies developed by the action of hands surround the soul of the worshiper or the person who is performing the Aarti which forms a ‘tarangkavach’ and increases the focus of the person in God and makes him involve in the pooja completely.

The meaning of the word Aarti is, “before night.”. This is exactly why at all temples the first Aarti is done in the dawn or early morning. As the darkness of forgetfulness of God tends to envelop us repeatedly, the aarti is performed repeatedly to end the night of forgetfulness.

So, the main reason for offering Aarti to God is to humbly and gratefully acknowledge the supremacy of God and bow our heads to him. When we stand in front of God with Aarti, our mind gets illuminated with the light of God and our heart gets purified with the beauty of God. The items offered to God during Aarti becomes the elements of energy. The fire which we touch to our forehead, the water sprinkled on us, the flowers given, the Prashad we eat and the fragrance of Camphor energizes a person and fills the mind with positivity.

This is why we say, in Hinduism every action and tradition has deep meaning and scientific reasons which will help a person overcome negative thoughts and clear ones mind.

Credits: Speaking Tree

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