We often see in temples, priest holding harati in one hand and a bell in the other hand. And at home also we hear bell ringing during daily puja. So, what is the reason to ring bell at the time of performing puja?
There are reasons for every custom and tradition in Hindu culture. In fact everything has been formulated for the well being of humans. We ring bell as a welcome note to the gods and goddesses. Daily ritual or puja is a process to welcome deities to home, give them water to take bath, wash hands and legs, clothes to wear, food and water, tamboolam after the meal, music and dance, ask them to rest for a while and then send them off in a grand way. Ringing bell in between is to note the arrival of Gods and Goddesses. This is a kind of avahana process.
There is a sloka explaining why ringing bell is mandatory during puja.
ll Slokamll Aagamaarthantu Devaanaam Gamanaarthantu Raakshasaam
Kuru Ghantaaravam Tatra Devataahvaana Laanchanam
The above sloka says that, to note the arrival of Devatas or gods and goddesses, to note the departure of Rakshasas of demons, we ring bell as a protocol to welcome gods and goddesses.
Ringing bell increases our concentration towards deities and instils stability in to our mind and stops wavering. Omkara sound emerges from the bell which destroys negative energy fields and kills bacteria. These are the reasons why bell is rung during rituals.