What are homas and aartis?
A homa is a Fire Lab. This is also known as a Yagna or Fire Ritual. Enlightened Masters consider this ritual to be the most evolved spiritual technology on the planet. Fire is chosen as the medium for this ritual, as it is considered a purifying and transforming agent, a form of energy that helps us connect with the divine. Fire acts as the bridge between the gross material world and the subtle spiritual dimensions. The Fire Lab is a sophisticated use of fire, and acting as a multi-dimensional communication technology, it is used to invoke different aspects of divine consciousness known as Archetypes or Gods, Goddesses and Angels.
Archetypes exist internally as dormant potential within our psychophysical system, as well as externally as supernatural beings with whom our prophets, seers and mystics from every religion were in contact. Every one of them has unique abilities that can transform our reality in profound ways. A homa, or Fire Lab, is the most effective way to access them.
An aarti is an important religious ritual in which a traditional light or flame is shown (that is, offered to a deity). An aarti can be lit in a wick soaked in oil or ghee, or by lighting camphor. Any ceremonious or organized worship normally ends with a holy aarti, where the lighted flame is shown to the altar as a final offering for invoking the deity’s blessings. It is then presented to the devotees for their acceptance of the divine grace.
What are Chuttu Vilakku and Niramala?
The Malayalam word “chuttu” means “surround,” and a vilakku is a lamp. Chuttu Vilakku denotes the traditional oil or ghee lamps that are lit all around the temple, especially all along the outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum.
Niram is color and a mala is a garland. Niramala represents flower garlands of many and varied colors.
Lighting of a Chuttu Vilakku and offering of niramala are done for Lord Shiva.
What is the importance of Lord Shiva?
Lord Shiva is pure consciousness. He represents the soul, the very core of a being. Scriptures regard him as one among the holy trinities, the three supreme Gods among the pantheon of divine beings. These Gods take care of the three core activities of creation, sustenance and destruction and thus govern the universe. Of these, Shiva is the God of destruction. Shiva does destroy, but only to transform and elevate. He is the only God who is referred to as Mahadeva, the great God or the Lord of the Gods. Being also the ruler of three powerful planets (the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn) who exercise strong control over our lives, Shiva can be said to lord over our very destinies.
How are the Chuttu Vilakku and Niramala rituals performed and what are the benefits of doing them?
In this worship, a large number of Chuttu Vilakkus are lighted all along the outer walls surrounding the temple or shrine. Niramalas (that is, flowers or garlands of many different colors) are also offered to the deity, with which he is also adorned and the temple decorated. These worships are performed as part of the rituals involving homas (fire labs) and aartis (light offerings).
These rituals and the sincere prayers offered shall please the great God Shiva immensely and brighten up the lives of the devotees. These can also help to fill them with auspiciousness, material prosperity and spiritual wisdom.