Aarti is a Sanskrit word which means praise giving. Apt to its meaning, it is a sacred ceremony and a daily service in temples which is performed by waving lamps to the Idol and singing devotional songs. The devotional songs are sung with musical support of drums and other instruments and offerings like flowers, prasada, incense and more are kept.
The literal meaning of the word Stuti is poem. It is a poem written in praise of Lord to sing his virtues and grace. It consists of several paragraphs composed of shlokas meaning couplets in Sanskrit. Singing Stuti is a traditional culture of eastern countries specifically of India. Through it the devotee expresses his indebtedness towards the Lord.
In India, it is a daily ritual in temples to perform aarti and recite Stuti. In Hinduism, the flame is considered to represent the soul and thus, it is said that the purpose of aarti is offering our soul to the deity and salute the Lord for giving us a beautiful life. And singing Stuti is believed to take one deeper into the self. Thus, a beautiful blend of aarti and Stuti brings the soul in complete harmony with the self often termed as the ‘atman’ in Hindu religion.
Though it is mandatory to perform aarti and Stuti in temples during sunrise and sunset, devotees also perform it at home. The significance of performing both these is to bring the wandering soul into present moment so as to focus completely on the deity. The combination is like a salutation to the Lord for all his grace and blessings. Thus, with aarti and Stuti, the devotees give a tribute to the Almighty for all the favors done.
Gayatri mantra – the most powerful mantra in the Universe!
Gayatri Mantra is the most powerful mantra in Hinduism. It is believed that it is taken from the verses of Rigveda and Yajurveda. The mantra is in Sanskrit language and is considered very effective. Goddess Gayatri is said to be the incarnation of Goddess Saraswati and had married Lord Brahma who is the creator of the Universe. The Goddess is believed to have created all the four Vedas of Hinduism.
And thus Gayatri Mantra is also found in all the four Vedas. The significance of mantra is to invoke the spiritual intelligence in mankind. There are many translations of the mantra according to the spiritual beliefs of varied translators. The translation of the mantra according to Indian sage Swami Vivekananda states that:
“We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds.”
As per the translation, this powerful mantra praises the glory of the Lord and seeks spiritual wisdom from Him. The five senses of those who chant the mantra are protected by the Goddess Gayatri and are thus purified.
The mantra can be recited at three time periods of the day – dawn, noon and at dusk. The chanting positively affects all the seven chakras (energy centers) of the human body and thus generates power and wisdom within. Chanting the mantra without any rites is termed as Japa meaning repetition of the name of God or mantra.
Thus, reciting the most powerful mantra of the universe called the Gayatri Mantra brings harmony in all the five senses of the human body, awakens the spiritual intelligence and guards the soul from obstacles and eventually gives stability and enlightenment to the wandering soul.