The Nectar of Devotion – CHAPTER NINE – OBSERVING ĀRATI AND CELEBRATIONS OF THE LORD

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OBSERVING ĀRATI AND CELEBRATIONS OF THE LORD
In the Skanda Purāṇa there is the following description of the result of seeing ārati (worship) of the Deity:
“If someone sees the face of the Lord while ārati is going on, he can be relieved of all sinful reactions coming from many, many thousands and millions of years past. He is even excused from the killing of a brāhmaṇa or similar prohibited activities.”
As we have already explained, there are different ceremonies to be observed, such as the birthday of Kṛṣṇa, the birthday of Lord Rāmacandra, the birthday of some prominent Vaiṣṇavas, the ceremony of Jhulana-yātrā with the Lord sitting on a swing, and Dola-yātrā (the Lord’s activities in the month of March). In all festivals the Lord is seated on a car, and the car moves through different streets of the city so that people may take advantage of visiting the Lord. In the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa it is said,
“In such a ceremony, if even a caṇḍāla [dog-eater], simply out of curiosity, sees the Lord on the cart, he becomes counted as one of the associates of Viṣṇu.”

In the Agni Purāṇa it is stated,
“Any person who in gladness sees the worship of the Deity in the temple will obtain the results of kriyā-yoga, which are described in the Pañcarātra scripture.”
Kriyā-yoga is a system of practice much like practical devotional service, but it is especially meant for the mystic yogīs. In other words, by this gradual process the mystic yogīs are eventually elevated to the devotional service of the Lord.

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