The big event for today was going to Maha Aarti Seva at 6pm in the Sri Puram (Golden Temple). It involves walking the star path to get to the center of the Temple complex where the black Lakshmi is (the Goddess of wealth and abundance). Here we wait for the priests running the Aarti to be ready and for the band to get organized. When we are called we are invited by the guards to enter the inner sanctum about 6 meters away from the Lakshmi statue, which is probably about 3.5 meters tall.
As it is Navaratri, the nine days of the Goddess, Lakshmi is dressed in different “clothing” every day to represent the Goddess being honored. Today the Goddess is Sri Rajarajeswari. A goddess I have not heard of before. She is dressed in gold finery and an actual dress, it is very cute.
When we approach she is hidden behind a curtain whilst the priests light a huge candelabra for the first Aarti. The practice of Aarti involves lighting a flame or many and moving it in a circle in front of the Deity to honor it and draw energy through it.
We spend a few moments sitting and waiting on the black marble floor and I look around where I am sitting. It is completely covered with sheets of gold. Everywhere I can see from that point is covered in gold. There are detailed Lakshmi statues, elephants, peacocks, lotus blossoms, flowers and pillars covered in gold sheets. Above me are beautiful gleaming chandeliers. The sun is setting and the lights that enliven the Temple are coming on. I connect with the Temple by sending it love and it responds with a wave of love in reply.
The music begins. Loud horns, drums, bells. All announcing the beginning of a sacred ceremony. The many Indian people visiting the Temple all start to stand around the back of where we are to try to get a look at the blessings that are to come.
The curtain draws back to reveal a gleaming Lakshmi. The Priests then begin a series of Aarti with different holders. The whole ceremony takes about 45 minutes and the energy is profound. By the end of it I am extremely expanded and feeling blissful. It is like sitting for an hour in a huge vortex of spiritual energy.
This is a very special place and I feel blessed every day am I here.
Om Namo Narayani.