The aarti is a form of worship and is one of the most prominent rituals in the Sanatan Dharma. The aarti is performed by gently waving lighted wicks, soaked in ghee candle before the murti of Bhagwan, together with the ringing of the bell, the beating of drums, and a song that praises Him. The flame is held either in both hands or in the right hand and gently waved around the Murti of Bhagwan. The flame is waved in a clockwise direction: first, it is waved around Bhagwan’s feet four times, then the belly twice, then the face once, and then seven times around the entire body. Once the aarti is complete, a conch shell is used to offer water to the flame. At times, flowers, drum beats, dhoop (incense) and kapoor (camphor) are also used. The flame is then offered to Bhagwan, and then to others.
When the aarti is performed, all those present should be standing, clapping and singing along to the song that is praising Bhagwan. It is also very important that the mind is fixated on following the flame around the deity, as the purpose of the aarti is to remove the darkness inside with the image of Bhagwan.
The flame acquires the power of Bhagwan. Bhaktas then pass their down-turned hands over the flame and then raise their palms to their forehead – the blessings of Bhagwan pass from the flame to the bhakta. A person can also acquire the blessing by just seeing the aarti flame.
That aarti of a dev or great person can also be performed (but not at the same time as Bhagwan’s aarti).
At the time of the aarti, 330 million (33 karor) devs and devis come for the darshan of Bhagwan. It is for this reason that the aarti is one of the most important events of the day in a mandir.
The major Swaminarayan mandirs in India perform the aarti five times a day.
- Mangala – Performed before sunrise, when Bhagwan wakes up
- Shangar – Performed after Bhagwan is dressed
- Rajbhog – Performed before lunch
- Sandhya – Performed after sunset
- Shayan – Performed before bedtime
There is a different aarti song for each of the five artis. However, the most commonly sung aarti song is “Jay Sadguru Swami”, which was written by Muktanand Swami.