How to perform Arati at home

If one has a home altar, he should perform at least one arati a day. Try and involve all the family members, especially children. By bowing down before the Lord, singing and dancing before Him, they will develop a natural affection for Him.

There are different types of aratis and the articles used in a full arati ceremony are:

1. Large conch-shell (to blow)
2. A cup of fresh water and a spoon for achaman (purification)
3. Incense sticks (at least three)
4. Ghee lamp (usually with five wicks)
5. Small conch-shell (for offering water) with a stand
6. Container of water to be offered
7. Container in which offered water can be poured
8. Cloth or handkerchief
9. Small plate of flowers
10. Lighter or matches
11. Whisk (camara)
12. Peacock fan
13. Bell

Procedure:

Offer obeisances to Srila Prabhupada and your spiritual master if you have one. Perform achaman.

Pray to Srila Prabhupada and your spiritual master for permission to offer arati to the Lord. You may also offer some flower petals at their lotus feet. The mood is that each article you offer is offered on behalf of Srila Prabhupada.

The following list shows the order in which the articles are offered and how they are offered. Items 3–9 are offered first to Krishna, then to Srimati Radharani, then Gaura, then Nitai, then to the guru parampara, to Srila Prabhupada and finally to the devotees. Before offering each article, one’s hand and the article to be offered should be purified with three drops of water.

1. Conch shell is blown to announce the beginning of the ceremony
2. Bell is rung throughout
3. Incense is offered with seven circles around the whole body
4. Ghee lamp is offered with four circles around the feet; two around the mid body; three around the head; seven around the whole body
5. Water is offered with three circles around the head; seven around the whole body
6. Cloth is offered with seven circles around the whole body
7. Flowers are offered with seven circles around the whole body
8. Fan the whole body with the whisk seven times
9. Fan the whole body with the peacock fan seven times (summertime only)
10. Conch blown to announce the end of the ceremony

For dhupa-arati, only the following articles are offered:

1) an incense holder with an odd number of sticks (at least three)
2) flowers on a plate
3) whisk
4) a peacock fan (in warm weather)

After performing arati, offer your obeisances to Srila Prabhupada and your spiritual master, and pray for forgiveness for any offences caused during the worship.

Srila Prabhupada’s letter to Hayagriva Das, 18th November, 1968 :
“This letter describes a full arati, and it is not difficult to do. It can be accompanied by a kirtana. However, if you do not have the conch shell or fan available, the arati can consist of offering dhupa (incense), followed by the lamp and then a fragrant flower, accompanied by the chanting of Hare Krishna. In temples, the conch shell is also blown at the start of arati and the incense is offered before the lamp”.