The offering of food and Lamps (Aarti)


What is aarti?
Aarti, is simply the offering of articles of worship to a Deity, the primary object being a lamp. An aarti can be performed formally in a temple at a scheduled time with a priest, or informally in a person's home after a puja such as a Satya Narayana katha. A priest can offer the aarti or devotees themselves can do it. An aarti thali is a tray that people hold that contains the flame that is offered during aarti. Each Deity has its own aarti song that is sung during the offering of the lamp
Why do we offer food to the Lord before eating it?
Anything offered to God during puja or worship falls under the category of bhoga. The word bhoga means enjoyment and pleasure. In other words, while worshipping we offer enjoyable, pleasing things, to the Deity, such as fragrant incense and flowers, nice cloth, jewels, fresh milk, delicious foods, and so on. All of these things are different forms of bhoga, enjoyment. Once these things have been offered they cease to be bhoga, but instead become prasada. The word prasada means mercy, grace, and blessings. So once an article of bhoga has been offered to God it become prasada, a form of blessings or mercy. So we might say that during worship we offer enjoyment to God and receive blessing in return. Receiving blessings is a good thing! And so we offer food to God before we eat so that our eating is not just ordinary eating but "spiritualized" eating. And as they say, we are what we eat
Why do we offer lamps to god? (Aarti)
Virtually every puja includes the offering of a flame to a Deity. This is aarti. This lamp is usually made with a ghee wick or a camphor (kapoor) flame. There are two basic reasons why a lighted lamp is offered. The first is purely practical. In ancient times the lamp provided illumination to see the Deity since electrical lights were not available. The lamp would be offered to the feet of the Deity, then slowly moved up to illuminate the knees, the waist and the chest, to finally illuminate the face. This would allow meditation on each part of the Deity starting from the feet

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