From Academic Kids

Aarti, „rti, arathi, or „rati is a Hindu ritual in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. It may be 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 in the ritual of the same name.

Aarti is generally performed twice or three times daily. For example, in the morning and in the evening, and at the end of a puja or bhajan session.

Aarti in Hindu temples

In mandirs (Hindu temples) aarti is performed daily by pujaris (priests). There is usually a 'mangala-arati' first thing in the morning, another later in the morning, one at lunchtime, and the final arati of the day at sundown.

The assembled devotees in the temple sing various types of kirtana and bhajans during the arati ceremony. The pujari performing arati first purifies his hands with sacred water from the acamana cup. He then sprinkles three spoonfuls of water over a conch, and blows it three times. He then lights an odd number of incense sticks (usually three) from a ghee lamp standing beside the altar. While ringing a small bell, he waves it seven times around the deities, and then he waves it once to the assembled devotees.

The pujari next lights a five-wick ghee lamp from the large lamp and offers it; four circles to the deities' feet, two to their navel, three to their face, and then he waves it seven times around the deities' whole bodies. He then gives it to another devotee, who presents the lamp to each devotee in the temple room. When offered the ghee lamp, devotees touch the flame with their hands, and then touch their hands to their foreheads.

The pujari then takes a smaller conch and fills it with water. He offers it by waving it three times around the deities' heads and seven times around their bodies. He then pours the water into a shaker; which another devotee takes and walks around the temple room shaking it, ensuring that everyone has been touched by the water.

The next item offered is a cloth, offered seven times around the deities. After the cloth has been offered, the pujari takes a plate with flowers on it and offers it seven times around the deities' bodies. The plate is then taken by another devotee and offered to the rest of the devotees, who each sniff the flowers.

After that, the pujari takes a camara (yak-tail whisk) from beside the altar and waves it before the deities, to keep the flies away from them. In warm weather, he will also wave a peacock fan before the deities.

Aarti Lyrics

Aarti lyrics may vary but most share a common theme, as follows:

Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshvara, Guru Sakshat Parambrahma Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah
Supreme teacher is Brahma (creator) Supreme teacher is Vishnu (protector/preserver) Supreme teacher is Maheshwara (Siva, destroyer/transformer) Supreme teacher is the source (the Absolute). I offer all of my efforts to that great teacher.

One of the Swaminarayan Aarti sung in the Temple begins with:

Jay Sadaguru Swami, prabhu jay Sadaguru swami

Swaminarayan Aarti in mp3 (http://www.baps.org/publications/audio/clips/arti.mp3)

Aarti in South Indian temples

In North india, most Aarthis follow the format of 'Om Jai Jagadeesahare' meaning ' Hail Protector of the Universe'. This Aarthi is often ascribed to Lord Vishnu. Several other Aarathis are ascribed to other deities. They are very popular and used in workships, festivals and even in Bollywood. What makes them so unique is the universal theme in the prayers as well as simple lyrics in Hindi

Aarti performed at South Indian Temples mostly follows the above mentioned fashion only that it is more elaborate in the way it is performed. Aarti is also referred to as Deepa Aaradhanai in Tamil . The following Sanskrit Shlokha accompanies the ritual of Aarti in South Indian Temples. It goes as follows

Rajadhi Rajaya Prasahya Saahine,
Namo Vayamvai Shravanaya Kurmahe,
Tumekam Kamakamaya Mahyam,
Kamesharovai Shravano Thathathu,
Kuberaya Vai Shravanaya,
MahaRajaya Namaha
Topics in Hinduism
Shruti (primary Scriptures): Vedas | Upanishads | Bhagavad Gita | Itihasa (Ramayana & Mahabharata) | Agamas
Smriti (other texts): Tantras | Sutras | Puranas | Brahma Sutras | Hatha Yoga Pradipika | Smritis | Tirukural | Yoga Sutra
Concepts: Avatar | Brahman | Dharma | Karma | Moksha | Maya | Ishta-Deva | Murti | Reincarnation | Samsara | Trimurti | Turiya
Schools & Systems: Schools of Hinduism | Early Hinduism | Samkhya | Nyaya | Vaisheshika | Yoga | Mimamsa | Vedanta | Tantra | Bhakti
Traditional Practices: Jyotish | Ayurveda
Rituals: Aarti | Bhajans | Darshan | Diksha | Mantras | Puja | Satsang | Stotras | Yajna
Gurus and Saints: Shankara | Ramanuja | Madhvacharya | Ramakrishna | Vivekananda | Sree Narayana Guru | Aurobindo | Ramana Maharshi | Sivananda | Chinmayananda | Sivaya Subramuniyaswami | Swaminarayan | A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Denominations: List of Hindu denominations
Vaishnavism | Saivism | Shaktism | Smartism | Agama Hindu Dharma | Contemporary Hindu movements | Survey of Hindu organisations

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