Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. The lamps we light signify that that we should cleanse ourselves and remain on the spiritual path.
Today it is Diwali. We are spending money on gold, clothes and sweets. Yesterday there was a crush in the jewelers’ shops. Some people have collected so much gold over the years and they anticipate that one will have more and more gold. I have been having serious thoughts about our beautiful festival of lights which represents good triumphing over evil. My prayer is that we perform Arati’s and if any of you have been to Varanasi, Rishikesh, Prayag Raj or Ayodhya you will understand the collective power of the Arati.
Look around you there is war and children are dying. This festival is a joyous time for children, new clothes, crackers and sweets. How can we rejoice? My request is that we perform Arati. Arati is performed for offering thanks and awareness of the presence of God.
What is the origin of Arati?
It is an ancient practice descended from the Vedas. It was also conducted to illuminate the deity in the dark recess of the temple’s womb (sanctum sanctorum). The priest would allow the devotees darshan by waving an oil lamp from the Deity’s head to toe, while singing a prayer. This is the origin of the Arati. Arati means aa complete, and Rati means love. Thus, the Arati is an expression of one’s undying love for the deity.
How does this come into our celebration of Diwali? My dear ones, if we can just perform the Arati, it will bring us closer to the Deity. The Arati includes incense, water and flowers, and we are invoking the five elements by waving a white cloth. These represent the space (white cloth) air (wisp), light (flames), water and earth (flowers). By performing the Arati, we are offering the whole world to the deity. We are praying for cleansing the elements of the universe and in turn cleansing us.
In Yoga Vidya, we perform Arati twice a day.
Aim Hrim Klim