AARTI: The word Aarati is a combination of two words Aa (without) + raatri (night), According to popular Hindi diction, Aarti means: “that
which can be done even if it is not night i.e. lighting of earthen (or any other) lamp. It is a form of Hindu worship. The Hindus place small earthen
lamps in a platter, place it before some idol or deity, and then take the platter around that idol/deity, in the mornings and in the evenings. It is, in
fact, worship of mythical Hindu ‘god of fire’. Sikhism strictly prohibits such worship (of god of fire or the otherwise). Some Sikhs, who are ignorant about Sikh philosophy (or are under the impact of Hinduism), though they do not burn lamps, still sing Guru Nanak Sahib’s hymn captioned Aarti by treating it as a formal Aarti. Guru Nanak Sahib’s hymn Aarti is a rejection of the hypocrisy exhibited by the Hindu Aarti ritual and of the idol worship and those Sikhs who consider it as a Sikh- Aarti, in fact, practice blasphemy. Guru Nanak Sahib, in the hymn about Aarti, has rejected all types of Aarti rituals and said that the real Aarti is being offered by Nature. The meditation of the Name of God and aneffort to live a “truthful life” is also like performing Aarti. Guru Nanak Sahib’s poem, named Aarti, says, “The whole of the Nature is worshipping God. The sky is the platter (for Aarti); the sun and moon are the lamps in this platter; the whole sphere of the stars are the diamonds and the pearls (for decoration of the platter); the fragrance of the sandalwood trees of Mallay region (known for its sweet fragrance) is the incense; the waving breeze is the royal Chaw and the whole of the vegetation is offering flowers (for the worship of God). This could be the worship of God.” Meaning
thereby that the real worship of God is not done with the earthen lamps or such-like meaningless rituals. The show/exhibition of worship by lighting
lamps in a platter before a deity is mere hypocrisy:
Sky is like a slaver; the suns, the moons are lamps (therein)
The planets of stars are like studded pearls.
The incense is of sandalwood; the fanning is by air,
The whole vegetation is the flowers (in platter for worship)
What a wonderful Arti (worshipping song with lamps).
O Destroyer of fear, Your Aarti.
The unfrictioned world is the sounding bells.
You have thousands of eyes, so no eye.
You have thousands of forms, so no form.
You have thousands of feet, so no feet,
You have thousands of noses, so no nose,
Thus, I am charmed by You (O Great God!).
In every one the light (of God) is same.
With that light, the light is in everyone.
With Guru’s teaching the light manifests.
The one that is liked by You that will be Your Aarti
(Guru Granth Sahib, p. 13)