The Symbolism and Significance of Ärati in Jain Worship

The Symbolism and Significance of Ärati in Jain Worship

In the sacred rituals of Jain worship, Ärati holds a significant place, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness, virtue over negativity, and knowledge over ignorance. With its five lamps representing the divine principles of Jainism, Ärati serves as a potent reminder of the path towards spiritual enlightenment.

The Ritual of Ärati

Ärati, derived from the Sanskrit word “ārātrika,” involves waving lamps in a circular motion before the idol of a Tirthankar. This ritual is typically performed at the conclusion of a worship ceremony and also before the temple closes at night. The lighting of the lamps symbolizes the offering of light to the divine, inviting blessings and dispelling darkness from the surroundings.

Symbolism of the Five Lamps

The Ärati consists of five lamps, each carrying deep symbolic meaning within Jainism:

  1. Panch Parmesthi: The lamps represent the five supreme beings in Jainism – Arihanta, Siddha, Ächärya, Upädhyäy, and Sädhu, collectively known as Panch Parmesthi, who embody the highest spiritual ideals.
  2. Five Types of Jnäns (Knowledge): Each lamp symbolizes one of the five types of knowledge revered in Jain tradition – Matijnän (Knowledge of Scriptures), Shrutjnän (Hearing Knowledge), Avadhijnän (Clairvoyance), Manah Paryäyjnän (Telepathy), and Kevaljnän (Omniscience).
  3. Five Great Vows: The lamps also represent the five great vows, central to Jain ethical principles – Ahimsä (Non-violence), Asteya (Non-stealing), Satya (Truthfulness), Brahmacharya (Celibacy), and Aparigraha (Non-possesion).

Symbolic Significance

The darkness surrounding the Ärati symbolizes negativity, fear, and ignorance, while the light signifies divinity, virtue, and knowledge. As the lamps are waved, the light of Ärati dispels the darkness, signifying the triumph of positivity, courage, and wisdom over their counterparts.

Spiritual Implications

Through the ritual of Ärati, Jains seek to invoke divine blessings and purify their surroundings. By offering light to the Tirthankar idol, they express their devotion and commitment to the path of righteousness. The act of waving the lamps signifies the eradication of darkness from both external surroundings and internal consciousness, paving the way for spiritual enlightenment.


In Jain worship, Ärati serves as a powerful symbol of spiritual enlightenment and ethical conduct. With its five lamps representing the highest spiritual ideals, knowledge, and ethical principles, Ärati reminds practitioners of the importance of virtue, courage, and wisdom on the path towards liberation. Through this sacred ritual, Jains reaffirm their commitment to living a life guided by the principles of non-violence, truthfulness, and compassion, ultimately leading to spiritual fulfillment and inner peace.

You can explore the fascinating stories of all Jain 24 TirthankarasJain Stories Exploring Jain Symbols on the Jain Sattva website. Delve into their lives and teachings to gain insights into Jain philosophy and spirituality.

Author: Admin
Jain Sattva writes about Jain culture. Explore teachings, rituals, and philosophy for a deeper understanding of this ancient faith.

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