Incense Sticks       

These following questions are discussed here

1. Why do we use lamp (light), incense sticks chanting, rotate rosary beads in rituals?

2. Whys is bell rung in aarathi or Arti?

3. Why do we close eyes in prayer?

       As we discussed in the earlier sections that seclusion helps a child to focus in studying his school books by preventing distracting thoughts in the mind. A spiritual place of worship is also meant for the very same environment that would be less distracting for the mind, so that it will be available for transcending.

       The rituals or mode of worship should lead  the individual to the awareness state. The place or ritual should help in less distraction for the mind. By the way here we do not mean by physical silence. Contrary is true because sounds of bells , prayers, songs, chanting, instrumental music drum beatings etc lead the distracting mind to the state of awareness.

       There are five sense organs (Eyes, nose, skin (hands), mouth and ears ) and the mind wanders when these five organs give stimuli to the mind. A temple or a puja room give these five sense organs stimuli that would allow the wandering mind to stay in focus. The bright lamp offers stimuli to the eyes, the smell of fragrant incense sticks to the nose, while the hands rotate rosary beads and mouth keeps chanting the prayers. In spite of these actions the mind wanders , but when the mind hears the most subtlest sense of sound through ringing of the bells, the wandering mind comes back to the present. This is called Arti or aarathi.

        The mind will can stay focus  only if there is some logic and so these logical work given to the five senses will help them to grab on it and so the mind is free to focus or transcend to the state of awareness. This transcendence is prayer. Prayer is transcending to our own Self which religion calls as God. There is no external God which can exclude this internal Self. Hence while praying we close our eyes to with draw our mind internally. This very act of closing eyes in prayer is a symbolic representation of with drawing mind to the Self.

    
  

For more details

1. "Journey to the Source" by Pradheep Chhalliyil .