Significance of Arati

Amma UK
2 min readAug 22, 2022

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Arati is performed at the end of almost all Hindu devotional ceremonies
such as pujas. It entails moving a lamp or a plate containing various
items such as a lit wick or lamp, burning camphor, and other holy items
like incense, flowers, raw rice, etc. in a circular fashion around the deity
or Guru or their photos or idols. Generally during this waving of the
flame, the devotees sing songs of praise and produce holy sounds such
as ringing bells, blowing the conch, playing some musical instruments or
even clapping hands.
After having worshipped the Guru or God with love and devotion, during
Arati we see in the circling sacred light or flame, His or Her entire form in
all its glory from all sides. Our minds are focussed on Her totally as if we
are meditating on Her total beauty. The accompanying song or bhajan
and the auspicious sounds of bells, conch etcetera add to the devotion
and joy of having such a divine sight.
The significance of Arati is that the Guru/deity is the centre and all our
activities and even the entire universe moves around Her and the light of
the lamp is just a reflection of Her infinite effulgence. She is the centre
and all worldly activities revolve around Her; everyone and everything,
every thought and every deed is peripheral to Her.
Camphor is often the main part of the Arati plate. The significance of
camphor is that it burns to emit fragrance and burns out completely
without leaving any ash or any other residue. This represents our
vasanas or tendencies, our evils, our attachments and afflictions, which,
with the grace of the Guru will burn out completely. And, while we are
performing the good deeds to burn these, we will emit the sweet
fragrance of love and compassion.
After showing the flame to the Guru or Her photo, flowers are waved
over the flame and placed at Her feet. The flame is then passed around
the gathering when the devotees can place their hands above the flame
and touch their eyes and the top of their head. This symbolises our prayer
that may the light that went around Her illumine our vision and thoughts
and may the fragrance that was around Her fill us with, love, compassion
and joy.

-Written by Shanker Nair

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