Prayer and worship (Shri Aarti-Pooja) is a ritual of adoration of the Divine with a lighted flame. The word Aarti means the enamoring love of the soul towards the Immanent Supreme Power. The lighted flame depicts that the soul is a ray of the Empyrean Flame, ever radiant and luminous. Light symbolizes knowledge.
The Lord is the Source, the Enlivener and the Illuminator of all knowledge. Knowledge dispels ignorance just as light disperses darkness. Transcendental knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished.
The traditional oil lamp has further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our negative tendencies and the wick, the ego.
When lit by spiritual knowledge, our frailties get slowly exhausted, and the ego too finally perishes. Just as the flame of a lamp always burns upwards, similarly we should acquire such knowledge to take us towards higher lofty ideals.
The movement of the light flame in a circle around the E Form of the God Immanent Benign M, the Divine Beacon, depicts the aura of radiance that always surrounds Him.
Bright, lustrous rays are always emitted from the Holy Demeanor of the Divine Master. After the lighted flame has been circled around the Ever-Effulgent Form of the Benignant Master, it becomes consecrated with the Radiant Rays of His Divine Halo.
Prayer is a spiritual conversation with the Supreme Being. It is not words that are just expressed through our mouth or from our mind, but words sourced from our heart. When one prays, one should pray with one’s entire being and attention engrossed in the prayer, the true outpourings of the soul.
Prayer is the time when we focus on the Radiant Form of the Spiritual Maven, direct all our thoughts towards His Divine Demeanor and wait to hear His intuitive revelation that arises from deep within our spirit.
Through earnest prayer, we pray to the Beneficent Master to accept us as His humble devotees and lead us to salvation. It is a time when all glory must be given to the God-Incarnate Maven and all attention must be directed towards Him.
Faith is the most essential thing in prayer. In order for prayer to be effective, it must be based on the fact that the Lord is the sole refuge under all circumstances, and one must pray from the depths of their heart.
Emotions must support the words that we speak in prayer. The true devotee while praying resigns ‘self’ to the Lord’s Will. We should cultivate the habit of always turning to the Mystic Seer seeking divine guidance in all things so that we may, in truth, be led by the Spirit of the Lord.
True prayer is an expression of soul’s longing for freedom. Prayer changes lives. Prayer changes history. Prayer changes us. It is a way to feel God’s heartbeat.
Knowing who the Almighty really is makes us to conform to the spiritual disciplines as expounded by the Benignant Spiritual Master as a means to attain Holy Communion with that Supreme Power. The Lord slowly and graciously reveals Himself to us while we pray, and it is during those moments that we can breathe deeply in His love.
Prayer is a very important source of power and strength. It builds up one spiritually as a person, puts one continually in touch with inner true ‘self’ and allows the power of the cosmic Spirit to flow in and through one’s body and soul.
We need to remember that the Divine Master wants to eventually get us to a point where a formal prayer time, although essential, will be a daily supplement to our communion with Him throughout the day.
He is with us always so we must never think that our prayer should be restricted to our daily scheduled prayer times.
Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we should always remember that the All-Compassionate Master is beside us and we can pray at any time.
As we live for Him and in His Divine Will, His plan will unfold. We must dedicate even the most menial daily tasks unto the Divine Spiritual Adept throughout recognizing everything as His Holy Will and ensure we performed our duties to the best of our ability with a thankful and prayerful heart.
This is so important for many of us who become dismayed that so much of our time is taken up in the conduct of worldly obligations that are important or unavoidable but appear to provide very little spiritual benefit. A life lived each moment abiding in the Divine Subtle Presence of the God-Incarnate Spiritual Master is a life of unremitting prayer.
The result of prayer becomes apparent in the nobler lives of those who are disciplined in its exercise. In many cases, a heart that overflows towards the Lord results in an inability to express itself with words and in these situations the Lord knows our heart and understands even when no words are spoken.
The Perfect Divine Master and God are identical in Their essence. He alone is worthy of all devotion and is the only Supreme Being on earth whose worship is the worship of God. Worship is our way of expressing our innate love; it means singing the unbounded glory of the God-Incarnate Holy Master.
The word Aarti consists of two syllables Aa: meaning from all sides and Rati: meaning love. Gathering one’s attention from all sides and filling one’s entire being with the consecrated love of the Holy Master while concentrating on His Magnificent Divine Form and thus singing His Majestic Glory is regarded as Shri Aarti-Pooja.
Our hearts should be filled with thankfulness by focusing our mind on our blessings rather than on our needs and wants. There is so much for us to be thankful to the Lord for. Worship is our human response to the Lord’s divine initiative.
Joining both our hands together as we render prayers unto the All-Pervading Master, we offer unto the Supreme Lord our entire being subjugating all the ten senses: five senses of cognition Indriyan) and five senses of action (K Indriyan), and the mind totally directed towards the Almighty Lord.
There is also significance behind the Jaikara (slogan of Lord’s victory) that is sung at the beginning and the end of the prayer. Its recitation in the beginning of the prayer enables one to draw strength from the Divine to conquer the mind.
After the prayer it is sung as the slogan of victory implying that the mind has been overpowered by true prayer.
As we lift up our heart in true worship we are worshiping with far more than just empty words and this worship from deep within ourselves is the worship in spirit that the Spiritual Adept inspires in us.
Under the Divine Master’s guidance, as we become aware of the Eternal Truth, we are able to express our worship to the Almighty from a perspective where our life is based on that Eternal Truth. We must forever remember who God is, His power, His greatness, His might, for as we do, we will humbly come before Him to worship Him with the great respect that He is worthy to receive.
People were created to live in a close relationship with God. Worship is something that would have flowed naturally from this relationship. However, with our spiritual separation from the Supreme Being, we lost the relationship and the knowledge of the
Ultimate Truth. It is only after restoring the spiritual relationship between ourselves and God that we can come to love, revere and know Him. Therefore, the restoration of the spiritual relationship enables us to enter into the worship of God that we were originally created to experience.
Every soul sings prayers full of the Lord’s Glory; the humble supplications and outpourings of the soul, offered to the Lord in form of worship. These humble prayers are sung at dawn and dusk, both when the sun rises and sets.
The tranquility that prevails during such hours can be attributed to the human mind that becomes still and calm then implying that the soul may be submerged in the rapturous ecstasy of the prayers and Lord’s remembrance, both at the beginning and the end of life.
If we are sincere in rendering prayers and worship, fully alert and attentive towards the words while performing them the spiritual benefits are immeasurable.
At the end of Shri Aarti-Pooja, we place our hands over the flame and then touch our eyes and the top of the head with much reverence. It means: May the Gracious Radiance of the Divine Master, light up my inner ‘self’; may my vision be divine and my thoughts noble and beautiful.
O Benevolent Master mine,
You are a boundless ocean of Grace Divine.
Repository of all righteous virtues benign,
In the world Your Glory does shine,
How should I sing Radiant Glory Thine,
Cannot encompass this intellect mine.
Let me ever, O Divine Master, be,
Whole-heartedly devoted to Thee.
Surrender do I at Your Lotus Feet,
Yearn for Your Grace, ever so sweet.
May I ever be a humble servant Thine,
For Your Gracious gaze do I pine.
Your Holy Name, O Master True,
Instantly liberates the man, surely do.
Let me ever recite Your Name Divine,
Which paves the way to Abode Thine.
Pray, illumine, O Lord, this being mine,
May it ever be in ecstasy of Love Divine.