Aarti is also known as the Ceremony of Lit Camphor.
It is a Hindu ceremony which consists of lighting a lamp, in order to bring light to either an image of a deity or an honored ancestor. As the flame burns and dances, it is thought to garner attention from the deity, and bring about their presence, in order for them to bless the lamp.
Quite often this ceremony involves camphor.
Camphor has a strong symbolism within many cultures. It’s a natural material which burns clean, leaving no trace of itself. This is similar to states of spiritual progression, where impurities of the mind are washed away, without leaving any trace.
During Aarti, the burning camphor is thought to symbolize the dissolution of ego.
As the camphor burns away and leaves behind a beautiful fragrance, it is thought to symbolize how important individual sacrifice is for the happiness of the world.
It is common for Aarti to be part of a larger puja, or prayer ritual.
How To Perform Aarti
To practice Arti, you simply burn a camphor lamp in front of an image of your deity, or your altar.
It’s mostly an act of symbolism.
The light is offered up as a gift in order to show gratitude and humility.
After Aarti, the practitioner places their hands above the flame, and then touches them to their eyes and the top of their head.