Before electrical lighting was introduced, an aarti would be waved in front of a Murti so every part of the Lord murti could be seen.
The aarti is done by in a circular motion moving it in the clockwise direction, highlighting the five kamars (lotus flowers) of the Lord’s Murti;
- Mukh kamar – face
- Hrday kamar – heart
- Hasta kamar – hands
- Naabhi kamar – naval
- Chaaran kamar – feet
Aarti is performed both at homes and in mandirs. It enables the devotee to focus his/her mind on the Lord.
The vaat (sticks burned during aarti) are dowsed in ghee (purified butter) because milk derivatives are considered pavitra (spiritually pure and purifying). (Amongst all mammals, the cow is considered to be pavitra and sacred.)