Why do we perform aarti

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Towards the end of every ritualistic worship (puja or bhajan) of the Lord, we perform the aarti. This is always accompanied by the ringing of the bell and sometimes by singing, playing of music.Manas DresswallaIt is referred to as the auspicious light. Holding the lighted lamp in the right hand, we wave the flame in a clockwise circling movement to light the entire form of the Lord. Each part is revealed individually and also the entire form of the Lord. As the light is waved we either do mental or loud chanting of prayers or simply behold the beautiful form of the Lord, illumined by the lamp. We experience an added intensity in our prayers and the Lord’s seems to manifest a special beauty at that time. At the end of the aarti we place our hands over the flame and then gently touch our eyes and the top of the head. The philosophical meaning of aarti – the sun, moon, stars, lightning and fire are the natural sources of light..Therefore as we perform  the aarti chant.It is there where the sun does not shine, Nor the moon, stars and lightning then from this small flame everything shines in front of  Lord and by his light alone,we all illumined.

The ancient holy Haridwar

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Ganga Aarti Har Ki Pawri in the evening

The Ancient City of Haridwar (Hardwar) is the gateway to the Holy Shrines on the mighty Himalayas in Garhwal  and Kumaon. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometers from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier for the first time enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains at Haridwar (to begin its     march to the Bay of Bengal), which gave the Haridwar its ancient name, Gangadwára. It is one of the oldest living cities in the World.

Ganga Aarti Har Ki Pauri in the eveningHar Ki Pawri in the afternoon

Haridwar finds mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures and is held as one of the seven holiest places (Sapta Puri) to Hindus. Samudra manthan mentions Haridwar,Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag (Allahabad) are the four places where Amrit, (elixir of immortality), spilled over accidentally from the pitcher while being carried by “Garuda”. Thus the Kumbha Mela, is celebrated every 12 years in Haridwar.

Archaeological findings show that terra cotta culture between 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE existed in Haridwar region. Haridwar came under the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE) and later under the Kushan Empire (1st–3rd centuries AD). Haridwar is mentioned by the Chinese traveler, Huan Tsang in his writings, who visited India in 629 AD, during the reign of Harshavardhan (590–647). Haridwar fell to the Uzbek conqueror Timur Lang (1336–1405) in January 1399.

During his visit to Haridwar, Guru Nanak (1469–1539) bathed at ‘Kushawart Ghat’, where the famous, ‘watering the crops’ episode took place. Ain-e-Akbari, of Abul Fazal written in 16th century during Akbar’s reign, refers to Haridwar as Maya (Mayapur), known as “Hardwar on the Ganges”.

Ganga Aarti at Har Ki Pawri in the evening with priests Chanting Vedic Mantra before evening Aarati

Hindus believe that there are within Haridwar, the ‘Panch Tirth (Five Pilgrimages) within Haridwar, are “Gangadwar” (Har ki Pauri, the fulcrum of religious activities in Haridwar), Kushawart (Ghat in Kankhal), Bilwa Tirtha (Mansa Devi Temple) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi Temple), apart from several other temples and ashrams located in and around the city. Also, alcohol and non-vegetarian food is not permitted in Haridwar.

Contributed By: Dr. Amitava Mukharjee

(He is the most renowned world economist on poverty alleviation and empowerment today. He has long association with United Nations for launching their initiatives on fight against hunger and providing micro assistance to most marginalised societies. He is a great scholar and has been teaching in University of London and Stanford University. He has travelled over 130 Countries and written numerous books. Deeply religious he has visited various holy shrines. We bring you glimpses of his travelogue.)

Sacred shrine of Badrinath

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The holy shrine of Badrinath is located in Garhwal, along the banks of the legendary Alaknanda River on the mighty Himalayas located at 10,279 ft above the mean sea level. The Nar Parbat Mountain is located opposite to the temple, while the Narayana Parbat is located behind the Neelakanta Peak.

In the main shrine is the 1 m Shaligram (black stone) image of Badrinarayan, which is housed in a gold canopy under a Badri Tree also made of gold. The image is said to hold a Shankha (conch) and a Chakra (wheel) in two of its arms in a lifted posture (which I could not figure out in my many visits) and two arms are rested on its lap in a Yogamudra (Padmasana) posture which I clearly saw. Legend has it, that Badrinath ji is swambhu.

The Tapt Kund, a group of hot sulphur springs just below the temple, are considered to be of medicinal value and many pilgrims bathe in the springs before visiting the temple and praying before the Lord. (Neela bathed here every year we visited). The springs have a year-round temperature of 55 °C (131 °F).

There is no historical record about the temple, but there is a mention of the presiding deity Badrinath in Vedic scriptures, (ca.1750–500 BCE). As per some accounts, the temple was a Buddhist shrine till the 8th century and Adi Shankara converted it to a Hindu temple. A traditional story asserts that Shankara expelled all the Buddhists in the region with the help of the Parmar ruler king Kanak Pal. The architecture of the temple resembles that of a Buddhist Vihara (temple) and the brightly painted facade is typical of Buddhist temples. As per other accounts, it was originally established as a pilgrimage site by Adi Shankaracharya in the 9th century. Hindu followers assert that he discovered the image of Badrinath Ji in the Alaknanda River and initially enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs.

The holy Shrine

The Holy Shrine of Badrinath Ji opens on Akhaya Tritiya (early May) and is closed on Diwali, when the Lord’s abode is shifted to Josthimath.


Contributed By: Amitava Mukherjee


Diwali Puja Aarti

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shubhpuja.comThe blissful festival of Deepawali is an occasion to fill our mind, body and soul with the blessings for knowledge, strength, wealth and divinity. The perfect way to adore Mata Lakshmi is by singing her prayers which is mentioned below.

लक्ष्मी जी की आरती

जय लक्ष्मी माता, मैया जय लक्ष्मी माता ||
तुमको निशदिन सेवत, हर विष्णु विधाता!!

जय लक्ष्मी माता..

उमा, रमा, ब्रह्मणि, तुम ही जग माता ||
मैया तुम ही जग माता ||
सूर्य चंद्रमा ध्यावत, नारद ऋषि गाता !!
जय लक्ष्मी माता..

दुर्गा रूपा निरंजनी, सुख सम्पति दाता ||
मैया सुख सम्पति दाता ||
जो कोई तुमको ध्यावत, रिद्धि सिद्धि धन पाता !!
जय लक्ष्मी माता..

तुम पाताल निवासनी, तुम ही शुभ दाता ||
मैया तुम ही शुभ दाता ||
कर्म प्रभाव प्रकाशनी, भवनिधि की त्राता !!
जय लक्ष्मी माता..

जिस घर में तुम रहती, सब सदगुण आता ||
मैया सब सदगुण आता ||
सब संभव हो जाता, मन नहीं घबराता !!
जय लक्ष्मी माता..

तुम बिन यज्ञ होते, वस्त्र हो पाता ||
मैया वस्त्र हो पाता ||
खान पान का वैभव, सब तुमसे आता !!
जय लक्ष्मी माता..

शुभ गुण मंदिर सुन्दर , क्षीरोदधि जाता ||
मैया क्षीरोदधि जाता ||
रत्ना चतुर्दशा तुम बिन, कोई नहीं पाता !!
जय लक्ष्मी माता..

महा लक्ष्मी जी की आरती, जो कोई जन गाता ||
मैया जो कोई जन गाता ||
उर आनंद समाता, पाप उतर जाता !!
जय लक्ष्मी माता..

The audio of the prayer along with English lyrics by Anuradha Paudwal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyqgAt-T0iQ