Pamba Aarati – Dispell the Engulfing Darkness

By HK Correspondent published on April 21, 2019

Arati – It seems the word “arati” stems from the word “aratrika”. That which makes it not night or removes darkness and gives light is called “arati”. The picture that readily comes to mind when I hear the word “arati” is the Ganga. The Ganga Arati in Varanasi is world famous. The gathering blackness of the night is dispelled and mother Ganga is bathed in the rays of lighted lamps. This beautiful sight can never be forgotten by anyone who has seen the Ganga Arati in Varanasi. The beauty of the sparkling and immense mother Bhagirathi shining in the rays of the lamps is a sight that I can never get enough of. The yearning for this sight never ends. I have picked up and looked at the photos of the Ganga Arati innumerable times and I have yearned for the light of those lamps.

I used to wish that something like this would also happen in this little Kerala too. As if in answer to my wishes, with the blessings of Sabarigirisha Swami Ayyappan, the Arati Mahotsav is coming to the Bhagirathi of the south, the sacred Pampa. The sands of Pampa Devi which were thrilled to be blessed with the divine touch of the feet of Sri Ramachandra, which offered a pause to the wait of Sabari Devi, now have the opportunity to witness another historical moment.

Today, 21st April, on the banks of the Pampa, Aranmula Sathrakadavu, Idayaranmula Sri Krishna Tapovan Ashram will be conducting the Pampa Arati Mahotsav to dispel the darkness surrounding the Pampa, as part of its Chaitra Purnima celebrations.

History says that all civilisations in the world have their foundations in river systems. Any civilisation that has been written about in glowing terms in history pages has had a flowing river behind it as a support, a shade provider and a harbinger of peace, whether it be the Nile or the Euphrates or the Tigris or the Sindhu (Indus). However, there is a peculiarity and difference between the dwellers of other civilisations and the Sindhu one. The people of the Sindhu civilisation called the rivers that were the bedrock of their lives and its nurturer and sustainer, as their mothers.

Yes, as far as it concerns any Indian, every river is like a mother who feeds and sustains her child with water and food through her umbilical cord. That is the reason the Ganga is a mother for a whole people. And that is why, before entering a river you take a little bit of water and place it on your head in order to beg forgiveness for stepping on the mother. However, somewhere along the way, we got alienated from this culture. We got trapped in the allure of the material world and Ganga, Saraswati, Yamuna, Kaveri, Godavari, Brahmaputra, Nila and Pampa became tired victims of man’s selfishness. We stopped calling rivers other than the Ganga as mothers.

River banks became dumping grounds for garbage…and at least now we have to make a come back from this. If rivers have to be called as mothers, then it is necessary to have love towards them. We have to become conscious that our sustenance is dependent on the elements. And that we need to respect them. Tomorrow, preparations are on, on the sandbanks of the Pampa to pay her respects and renew this ancient relationship between us and the rivers. Tomorrow, a community will come together as one, to bow down with humility and gratitude to the intrinsic goddess quality, the motherly aspect of the Pampa. When many, many lamps are lit and lighted torches are waved on her banks, and when the surrounding darkness is removed by this light, let the minds of the devotees also be filled with this light.

Let this paying of respects to the mother be the harbinger of better times for this beleaguered community. Let it light up and show us the path to remove this bad time for us. Thus, let the darkness that has penetrated into the minds of devotees, the Pampa and the Sabarigirisha Sannidhi be dispelled.
With the happy hope of welcoming light and dispelling the darkness, and with a prayer, I will also say that those who are called upon tomorrow to receive the blessings of mother Pampa are truly those who are lucky. Inviting all good atmas to witness a historical moment tomorrow on the banks of the Pampa.

Even taking a dip in the Pampa is believed to cleanse one of papas and bestow goodness. Pampa, the cleanser of papas, the bestower of goodness, that mother who is considered poetically as being even greater than the Ksheerasagara, will be celebrated and felicitated in that auspicious moment tomorrow. Let the devotees who gather there in that historical moment receive the blessings of Sabarigirisha too.

As guests, humbly seeking hospitality, I pray that we imbibe the breastmilk of love flowing through the channels of the mother, the south Indian Bhagirathi, beautifully decorated with lamps.

Sastharam Pranamaamyaham!!!

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