The prayer-song Arathi is often (but does not have to be) sung at the close of a devotional singing (bhajan) session.The word refers both to the song-prayer and the waving of a camphor flame to a Deity. Arathi is sung and performed to develop highest love for God and to express devotion. In Hindu temples, one may find Arathi being sung and performed to various aspects of God, such as Ganesha, Durga, and even the Ganges river. Correspondingly, there are different versions of the Arathi song.
Arathi is sung and performed at the end of each darshan in Prasanthi Nilayam, while a camphor flame is waved in a slow circle, facing Bhagavan.
It has been said that the camphor flame has itself has been endowed by Bhagavan with the value and validity of a grand prayer, the culmination of the hour-long yearning (during the bhajan session) of all devoted hearts. Bhagavan says, "While it is being waved pray : O Lord! Make the allotted span of my life as pure, as fragrant, and as transparent as camphor; let it consume itself in the fire, scattering light and the warmth of love to all around me, and, at the end of it all, let there be nothing left of me (as the camphor leaves no ashes or residue) to render me liable to another sojourn amidst pleasure and pain."
As with all rituals, it is not necessary to sing Arathi and wave the flame. Sai Center meetings should reflect the culture of the people in the local community as well as its members, and Center meetings should be such that they are welcoming to members of all religions.
In the left column below, we give the Sanskrit lyrics with translation. There are several English versions of Arathi. Two of them appear in the righthand column. This page has another version, sung in 4-part harmony.
External show is not important. ... Devotion (bhakti) does not consist of having a photo for worship and giving it Arathi every day or shouting Baba, Baba. True devotion means that there is a transformation in your behaviour. God is within you, around you, and in you. He is omnipresent. Recognising this truth, you must arrive at the result that you and God are one. Satha Sai Baba, Summer Showers 1978, chap. 29
Sanskrit (mp3 file)
Om Jaya Jagadheesa Harey
Victory to Lord of Universe, Lord Sathya Sai, Who destroys grief, evil, and miseries of life and Who guards and protects devotees. Victory to Lord of Lords - Lord of Parthi
Sashi Vadhana Sree Karaa Sarva Praana Pathey,
O Graceful and Charming as a full moon! O Auspicious One! O Lord Sai! Thou art the Indweller and life-force of all Beings; the wish-fulfilling divine creeper to those who have surrendered to Thee; and kinsman, protector, and friend in times of distress and calamities. Victory to Lord of Universe.
Maatha Pitha Guru Dhaivamu Mari Anthayu Neevey
O Lord Sai! Thou art Mother, Father, noble Teacher, Supreme Divinity, and everything to us. O Lord Universe! Thou art Primeval Sound and art reclined on coiled serpent.
Omkaara Roopa Ojaswi Om Saayi Mahadeva
O Splendorous One! O Lord of Lords -- Lord Sai! Thy Form is Pranava. We pray Thee to accept the auspicious waving of flame of light (signifying the removal of ignorance). Victory to Thee, O Lord of Universe, Resident of Mandhar mountain - Lord Giridhari.
[Sing the following three times, each time at a faster pace than the previous one]
Narayana Narayana Om
Chant the name of Lord Sathya Sai Narayana, Whose Form is Pranava. Victory to Noble Teacher and Supreme Lord Sai, Sathya Sai.
English (mp3 file)
All praise to You, Lord of the Worlds
With captivating grace and loveliness
Mother, Father, Teacher and Lord
You are the Word of God, pure and bright
Narayana Narayana Om, Sathya
The Lord of the Universe is here
Sai with the sacred form of Om
Narayana Narayana Om Sathya