Guruji, is it necessary to perform Mangal Aarathi before the stone images of Gods in the temples? Also, is it necessary to offer Naivedyam?
Yes, the Naivedyam Pooja should be conducted first and then the Mangal Aarathi. Usually, the idols of Gods or Goddesses are made of black stone, especially in South India. Through Ashta Bandha, which is a specially prepared ‘divine’ adhesive, the idol is installed on the seat in the Sanctum Sanctorum or Garbha Gruha by a holy person. The black stone of the idol which emanates vibrations, contains ‘atma shakti’. This shakti can be seen in the form of an aura – light in microscopic waves. During the Mangal Aarathi, waves from the Aarathi light and waves from the stone of the idol, together fill the Garbha Gruha and blend with the Naivedyam. The Naivedyam generally consists of freshly prepared hot cooked rice, eatables, etc., topped with tulasi leaves taken from the idol. The tulasi leaves in the Naivedyam quickly absorb the emanating waves. Aarathi performed with the use of cow’s ghee by a ‘satvik’ priest enhances the ‘tejas’ of the idol and fills the surrounding atmosphere with positive energy.