- Topics & Settings
These gestures are not meant to elicit a tangible response from the idols, but rather to show how fervent and thankful the devotees are for divine grace.
After the short lecture begins the aarti, or the seeking of blessing after sacrifice. This consists of a series of prayers and chants mostly conducted in Hindi. The most important prayer for this temple is the Guru Vandana, which is a short series of prayers to Guru Maharaj as god. Chants are accompanied by the dholak, as well as by numerous other percussive instruments and a hollow shell played like a trumpet. A few members, usually children, commence to waive ritual brushes and flags in front of the murtis as a sign of devotion. Each member individually goes up to the altar to make their own prayers. To do this they first ring the small bell from the ceiling, prostrate themselves in front of the guru, and then travel around to the other murtis to make smaller offerings. A small gold platter holding a candle is carried around and waived in front of each idol, reinforcing the importance of fire imagery in this form of worship. After each member has approached the altar, Mrs. Balroop recites the final set of chants as she waives around a small knife. These gestures are not meant to elicit a tangible response from the idols, but rather to show how fervent and thankful the devotees are for divine grace. This portion is naturally the loudest and most active part of the service, and all members stand for the entirety.