Aarti (or the Ceremony of Lit Camphor)
Aarti is the Hindu ceremony of lighting a sacred lamp to illuminate the image of a Diety or person to be honored and to bring a realization of light and spiritual essence. While the flame burns, its dancing light reveals the beauty of the beloved deity upon the altar and the deity then blesses the lamp.
Aarti is often performed with camphor. This holds great spiritual symbolism.Camphor when lit, burns itself out completely without leaving a trace of itself. Camphor represents our material nature. When lit by the fire of wisdom which illuminates the truth, our lower natures are “burned” away, leaving no trace of the ego. (The ego creates in us a sense of separation from Spirit.) Also, we receive the gift of a clean pleasant smell even while the camphor sacrifices itself. In our spiritual progress, we should willingly sacrifice, to spread the perfume of love to all.
Using the Special Camphor tablets are available from Mermade
During Arati (Hindu ritual) , burning camphor is waved as an offering before the deity to symbolize the dissolution of the ego. Camphor is considered highly purifying and very sacred, and it is used to represent the dissolution of the ego since it burns without leaving any trace. When burned it emits a sweet, strong fragrance, which symbolizes how we too should sacrifice ourselves to serve society and in the process spread the perfume of love and happiness to all.
Puja is a form of worship which is performed to purify the mind, to express devotion, and to connect with the sacred energies of the gods and goddesses themselves.
It can be used by all to purify and bless with light and scent.Camphor pellets are sometimes lit and set to float still burning upon the surface of a vessel of water, thus creating "holy water" or water that has been purified for sacred use in ceremony.
Also see an excellent video of Ammachi blessing Holy Water with lit camphor and performing Arati
“We often wait with patience to see the illuminated Diety brought to life by the light but when the aarti is actually performed, the eye may close automatically as if to look within. This signifies that each of us is the temple, we hold the divinity within.“
At the end of the Aarti, the hands are placed above the flame and then touched to the eyes and top of the head. It means:
“May the light that illuminated the Divine, light up my vision. May my vision be divine and my thoughts noble and beautiful.”