By Promod Puri
When Guru Nanak Dev, in his myriad spiritual experiences, saw the frame of cosmos beauty, he expressed his gratitude to the Almighty in creating such a splendor.
The lines he wrote at that moment were his reverent commendation of Nature’s arrangements in the universality of its presentation. His few words of appreciation and gratitude were his Aarti, devotional poetry of enlightenment describing His luminous lila.
Guru Nanak captured the scene, a pageant of nature’s elements together in sync performing the Aarti in a heavenly concert.
Aarti is derived from the Sanskrit word “aratika,” where it denotes clearance of ‘ratika’ or ‘ratri,’ meaning darkness.
Guru Nanak’s offers his Aarti in the following verse:
“Gagan Mai Thaal Rav Chand Deepak Baney, Tarika Mandal Janak Moti,
Meaning: Upon that cosmic plate of the sky, the sun and the moon are the lamps; the stars and the constellations are the pearls and jewels.
Dhoop Malyanlo Pavan Chavro Kare
Sagal Banraye Phulant Jyoti,
Meaning: The fragrance of sandalwood in the air is the temple incense, and the wind is the fan. All the flora of the earth is the altar flowers in offering to You.
Kaisi Aarti Hoye Bhavkhandna Teri Aarti
Anhata Shabad Vaajant Bheri”
Meaning: Oh, God, the destroyer of fear, what a wonderful feeling it is in offering this beautiful Aarti! A lamp-lit worship service this is! The celestial vibrations are like the sound of temple drums.
Note: The original Aarti of Guru Nanak Dev has a few more additions to it by saints Bhagat Ravi Dass, Sant Sain, Sant Kabir, and Bhagat Dhanna. And then there is the final contribution to the Aarti from Guru Gobind Singh.
Nanak’s Aarti has universal appeal as to how we all share Nature’s continuous ceremony of lights, the shines of Sun and the Moon, the twinkling of stars, the fragrance of plants and flowers around us.
It is with these sentiments that Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore suggested that Guru Nanak’s Aarti should be declared as an international anthem for all humanity.
(Promod Puri is a journalist, writer, and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions. Websites: promodpuri.com, progressivehindudialogue.com, and promodpuri.blogspot.com)