Aarti is an ancient ceremony, originating from Jainism and Hinduism, which is performed with fire to honor one’s Guru, spiritual Master, or favored deity. There are dozens of interpretations of the traditional aarti ceremony, many of which are very elaborate. The primary offering during the ceremony is the flame, which is waved before the Guru to symbolize the dissolution of the ego. The purpose of this ceremony is to invoke the illumination that Louix brings into our lives and to surrender to Him for Divine guidance and transformation. The following is a guideline for the aarti ceremony that will be performed to honor Louix during His birthday celebrations. We invite you to perform your own ceremony, using the Master’s portrait. Have the following items prepared and placed in front of the altar before beginning the ceremony:
• A bell, finger symbols, or chime;
• Flower petals;
• A small, open container of water;
• Flame: Traditionally, camphor is burned in a special spoon for the aarti flame, but a special candle allocated for this purpose can also be used; and
• Matches or a lighter to light the flame.
All offerings are made with the right hand, representing the giving of your self.
Ring bell: Begin the aarti ceremony by ringing the bell with your left hand. Traditionally, the bell is rung consistently throughout the ceremony. (This may not be possible if doing the ceremony alone, which is fine.)
Singing: Begin chanting “Pranananda-Om,” repeating this mantra 108 times. Aarti is always accompanied by singing beautiful prayers that glorify God and Guru. Continue singing and ringing the bell throughout the ceremony as much as possible.
Flower petal offering: Offer flower petals to the lotus feet of Louix. Incense: Next, light a stick of incense or sage, rotating it in graceful circles three times in a clockwise direction before Louix’s image, then place it upon the altar. The incense represents a purified state of mind.
Water: At this point, place a small container of water upon the altar to represent emotional purification. The container will remain on the altar for all three days.
Aarti flame: Holding the flame with your right hand, wave the flame in a circular clockwise direction to light the entire form of Louix. When finished, pass your hands over the flame and then gently touch your eyes and the top of your head. If in a group, the person holding the flame passes the flame before all present so that they, too, may pass their hands over it. Perform the ceremony with loving intention:
May the Light of God illuminate my consciousness, may my vision be Divine;
and may my heart be filled with the unconditional love of God.
Water anointing: Finally, place the flame in front of Louix’s picture and place the tip of your middle finger from your right hand into the bowl of water, then press it upon your third eye to represent the clear eyes with which you now see. If in a group, a person will bring the bowl to everyone present, and then place it back upon the altar, giving the blessing to him/herself last.
Closing: The singing draws to a close as everyone bows to the Master.