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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Arati and Santmat Special on the Auspicious Day of Guru Purnima!

Arati and Santmat

Special on the Auspicious Day of Guru Purnima!

Sant Mat Fellowship:
{"Repeat the Name of your Beloved, day and night, again
and again. With care in thought, word and deed, you will
cross to the other shore."
-- Sant Dadu Dayal}

Param Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras

Arati and Santmat

- Pravesh K. Singh

(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sant_santati, http://blog.360.yahoo.com/praveshksingh )

Most of the Hindu religious ceremonies end by performing a ritual called 'arati/aaratee' (a ceremony performed in adoration of a deity or a deeply respected religious figure of highest spiritual accomplishments by circular movement of a lighted lamp accompanied by ringing of bells, blowing of conches, beating of drums and gong etc.). The lighted lamp is usually placed in the centre of a large flat metallic plate or platter which is decorated with 'akshat' (whole unbroken rice grains), camphor, flowers, fruits, sandalwood paste/powder, betel leaves, confectionery sweet dishes, incense sticks, camphor etc. Use of light and sound in some form or the other are found to be generally associated with most of religions worldwide. In a mosque, for instance, 'chirag' (lamp or some other source of light; as 'namaz' is not offered in darkness) is kindled and 'namaz' (prayer) is rendered by the 'Imam' (priest) through microphone. Candle and bell can be found in churches. While, in the Buddhist temples a lamp is kept lit and a gong is hung.

Therefore, it emerges that light and sound are central to almost versions of worship. Sants say that this emphasis on worship of light & sound is, in fact, a hint at the fact that the true worship consists in worshipping (focusing one's undivided attention on) the divine Light and the divine Word which are pervading the whole of universe/creation - gross or astral. Even our own life depends on the presence of these two – Light and Sound. Absence of Light (indicated by the complete loss of body warmth; light and heat are mutually inter-related to each other essentially) and sound (manifested in the pulse-rate and heart beat) implies our bodily death. So, sants explain that these outer light and sound are symptomatic or suggestive of the more important inner Light and inner Sound. God has made the creation with the help of these two. Maharshi Mehi Paramhansji Maharaj, one of the all-time greatest exponents of Santmat, would say that Light and Sound are like the two arms of God so that if we wished God to embrace us with all His love and affection, we must try to catch hold of these two limbs of His. Thus, a different notion of 'arati' is found in Santmat. The 'arati' of Santmat is an internal activity and should be accordingly performed within the temple that is, our own body. Sants like Tulsi Sahab of Hathras (U.P.), Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj etc. have composed wonderful verses exhorting seekers to perform 'arati' (signifying meditation on inner Light & Sound) within. Below is presented essence in English of one such 'arati' by composed by Sant Tulsi Sahab of Hathras, based on its Hindi Translations by Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj and his worthy disciple & successor Maharshi Santsevi ji Paramhans. This 'arati' is sung at the end of Akhil Bharatiya Santmat (the branch of Santmat started by Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj) Satsangs (spiritual gatherings):

"Perform 'arati' (within you) in the company of the True Guru, and behold the Light that keeps illuminating the inner sky. ||1||

Manifest Divine Fire within this body, made of five elements, (this may also be construed as to make the five characteristic colours of the five elements forming the gross universe around us including our own body appear within the body) and spread light by lighting lamp from this fire. ||2||

Placing (decorating) the Sun and the Moon as fruits & flowers on the plate or platter of the inner sky, install the pitcher of camphor i.e. the white luminous Point, in the beginning of 'arati'.||3||

Make 'akshat' (whole, unbroken grains of rice used in arati and other religious ceremonies) of stars and wear the garland of pearls visualized in the inner sky.||4||

[N.B. The spiritual practitioner comes to visualize stars, the Moon and the Sun in the inner sky in the course of meditation. These celestial bodies may be thought of as resembling small grains, flower, fruit etc. (articles used in the ritual of 'arati' performed outside in the gross world) kept on the plate or platter that is, the inner sky itself.]

Different forms of bright light seen within are like the betel leaves, sweets, sandal, incense sticks, lamps etc. used in 'arati'.||5||

While visualizing the refulgent Light within, melodious Sounds of various musical wind and percussion instruments are heard by the mind-fish (just as the fish can swim upstream against even very strong currents of water, mind also ascends in the inner sky and, therefore, has been likened to tiny fish by Sants. Thus the method of 'Surat Shabd Yoga' or 'Naadaanu-sandhaan' – meditation on the inner divine Sound - is also referred to as the 'meen-maarg' or the path of the fish).||6||

Just as the black bee is lost completely in the sweet fragrance of, and gets willingly trapped within, a lotus flower, focused surat plays in the inner sky joyfully, captivated by the fragrance of divine Sound.||7||

The pure Light that appears within destroys all the sins of the beholder.||8||

In the inner void or sky the currents of Light and Sound keep pouring. The spiritual seeker who can ascend himself unto this gateway (of divine kingdom) merrily drenches or soaks himself in this rain.||9||

The surat drinking the nectar (of Divine Light & Sound) gets intoxicated with the resultant joy, and thus marches jubilantly forward.||10||

Brilliance of Light seen within is comparable to the luminance of crores of Suns taken together. Connect yourself (to God) by seeing (ascending) beyond the Unseeable (Quintessential Sound) ||11||

Every moment keeping your surat focused in the inner sky, sip the rare Imperceptible juice by the Guru's grace.||12||

The path to Guru's abode is illuminated with sparkling Lights and reverberates with divine Sound. Sant Tulsi Sahab advises us to forsake the body (rise above the body) by reverting inwards just as the bird 'alal' does. ||13||

[N.B. In Hindu Scriptures there is a mention of a bird named 'alal' which is said to live pretty high above in the sky. This bird never comes down to the earth. The eggs laid by the 'alal' begin to fall down towards the earth. However, these eggs are laid at such great heights that before these can reach the earth's surface, their hatching period is over and the young kids come out of them and fly back towards their homes high above in the sky. Using the allegory of the 'alal' Sant Tulsi Sahab advises our individual souls to climb back, through meditation, to the great heights, our own true Native Abode i.e. the Realm of God.]