Pooja is formed by the combination of 2 words: ‘Po’ and ‘Ja’. ‘Po’ means ‘Poornatha’ (fullness) ‘Ja’ means ‘Born out of’. That which is born out of fullness is pooja.
When our consciousness becomes so full and in that state when we do an action, that is known as pooja. When the heart is full and we are overwhelmed and any action is done out of that overwhelming state, that is known as pooja. Imitating all that God is doing to us is pooja. God has given us crops and grains, so we offer rice. God has given us water and we offer water.
Perfumes have been given and we offer perfumes. Fruits have been put on trees for us and we offer fruits. He is doing our ārati by the Sun and Moon everyday going around us. So we light a lamp and imitate that ārati. God is worshipping us everyday. We imitate all that in Pooja. Honouring from the heart, which is full, is known as pooja.
The end of the puja ritual is known as ārati. What does ‘ārati’ mean? It means complete happiness, ‘Rati’ means joy, Ārati means complete joy, that happiness which does not have sadness as its tail and that happiness which is complete in.
How is ārati done? A lamp is lit and taken round God in all the four directions.
What does this lamp signify? It signifies that life is like a ‘light’, In whatever manner you tilt the fire, its direction is always upward. Similarly life’s direction too should always be upward and where should it move around? It should always move around the divine. This is known as ārati.