Make sure the following items are present:
For all aratis:
1. a bell on a plate
2. an acamana cup containing fresh water and a spoon
3. a conch (for blowing) with a water-filled lota for purifying it
4. a receptacle to catch the water from rinsing the conch (just outside the deity room, in the temple room).
In addition, for full arati:
1. an incense holder with an odd number of incense sticks (usually three)
2. a camphor lamp (for midday arati)
3. a ghee lamp with an odd number of wicks (at least five)
4. a conch for water, with a stand
5. a small container for the water that is offered in the conch
6. a handkerchief
7. flowers on a plate
8. a camara (yak-tail whisk)
9. a peacock fan (only in warm weather).
1. an incense holder with an odd number of sticks; (usually three)
2. flowers on a plate
3. a camara
4. a peacock fan (only in warm weather).
Preliminary Activities for Arati
After performing acamana (if not already done for previous services), offer obeisances to your spiritual master, requesting to assist him in the worship.
See to it that there is an acamana cup containing fresh water and a spoon.
After cleaning the place where the arati paraphernalia will be set up (either on a low table, on the floor, or, if space allows, on the altar itself), bring the tray with paraphernalia and place them in the order of offering.
You may now light a standing or hanging oil or ghee lamp for lighting incense and arati lamps.
Ringing the bell again, open the deity room doors or curtains on the altar. Then, take the blowing conchshell and lota with water just outside the deity room (without the bell), blow the conch three times, rinse it off over a receptacle placed outside for that purpose, and then bring the conch and lota back inside. (You may place the conch horizontally on top of the lota.) Next wash your hands with water from the acamana cup and open the curtain while ringing the bell.
During the arati ceremony, it is nice if your family members or other devotees perform kirtana. If there is no one to chant, the pujari performing arati may either sing or have a recording of kirtana played.
Purifying the Items (Upacaras)
Before picking up and offering each item, first purify your right hand and then the item by sprinkling them with water from the acamana cup. You can purify the item by taking the spoon in your right hand and sprinkle water on the item directly from the spoon.
While standing on a mat (asana) and ringing a bell, present the incense first to your spiritual master by waving it in three or seven graceful circles, and then present it to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya in the same manner.
Arati paraphernalia should be offered gracefully, in a meditative mood. But do not be either too slow or too fast, and do not perform it in a showy manner, but as a humble servant of your spiritual master and the assembled Vaisnavas. Stand to the left of the altar (as viewed from the temple room)—not hidden entirely from view but also not distracting by your presence.
For devotees who are not direct disciples of Srila Prabhupada: Along with the worship of one’s own spiritual master, devotees in ISKCON worship His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedänta Swami Prabhupada as both the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON and the siksa-guru for all devotees of ISKCON. In addition to the worship of Srila Prabhupada in his guru-puja, one should also honor him when performing arati by presenting the arati items to Srila Prabhupada after presenting them to one’s own spiritual master.
Then, with the consciousness that you are offering it on behalf of your spiritual master and with the blessings of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya, offer it with the full number of circles (listed below) to the main deity.
After offering the incense to the main Deity, offer it as prasada to the Lord’s associates in descending order, and to the guru-parampara – senior to junior. This may be done with seven or three circles for each personality, depending on time allowance. (Some manuals say that when offering items as prasada in arati, one should not offer below the waist.)
Then “distribute it” (with one or three circles) to the assembled Vaisnavas as the prasada of the Lord and His associates.
Offer the remaining items in a similar way. When offering each item, say softly the name of the item and the appropriate mula-mantra of the deity being worshiped. Or in simplified worship, simply say to each personality, “Please accept this offering of [incense, lamps, etc.].
Offered items should not be mixed with unoffered items. You may place offered items back on the plate that was used to bring in the paraphernalia, provided no unoffered paraphernalia remains on it.
How to Offer Each Item
Offer all the items, except the camara and fan, by moving them in seven clockwise circles around the Lord’s body while ringing a bell with your left hand (above waist level), fixing your attention on the deities. The flowers should be offered in seven circles around the feet.
Completing the Arati
Full aratis, including fanning and blowing of the conch before and after the arati, may last up to twenty-five minutes; the duration of short aratis (in which incense, flowers, and camara are offered) is from five to eight minutes.
After completing the arati, blow the conch three times outside the deity room, as at the beginning of the arati. Then distribute the arghya and flower prasada to the assembled devotees.
Then with joined palms offer pranama prayers softly to your spiritual master and Their Lordships.
Next remove the arati paraphernalia from the deity room, clean the area and articles, and at last offer dandavat-pranamas (prostrated obeisances) outside the deity room.