What to Offer During Arati
During Arati several articles are offered to the Deity while ringing a bell: incense, ghee lamp, water, cloth, flowers, yak-tail fan and peacock fan.
The articles used in Arati represent the material elements in their pure form and correspond to the sense objects. In other words, the Arati articles are satisfying to the senses and represent our offering all the elements in the Lord’s creation back to the Lord for His satisfaction.
The conch shell blown at the beginning and end of each Arati drives away inauspicious elements. The sound of the bell is dear to the Lord and embodies all music. Flowers and incense provide beautiful aromas for the Lord’s pleasure. The ghee lamp represents lighting someone’s way. Offering water in the conch shell represents offering a mixture of auspicious items offered above or touched to the head of an honored guest as part of reception. It is a way to welcome the Lord and make Him feel at home. The handkerchief represents offering new cloth.
The yak-tail camara and the peacock fan are both aspects of kingly service. The camara keeps flies away, while the peacock fan provides a cooling breeze.
Aratis must be accompanied by the singing of the Hare Krishna mantra. Srila Prabhupada taught that chanting was the most important part of deity worship. Worshipers attending the Arati may sing, or the devotee offering the Arati may sing or play a recording.