Saturday, 2 July 2011

Why do we Light a Lamp

Why do we Light a Lamp

by Mantra & shlokas on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 1:08pm

The lamp has its own special place in Sanatan Vaidik Hindu Dharma. It is a form and a symbol of Tej (Absolute fire principle). The lamp is invoked as, ‘तमसो मा ज्‍योतिर्गमय ।’ meaning the lamp leads us from darkness towards light. It burns only to give message of peace and light to the man. This is its greatness. In this Satsang we shall try to understand what the scriptures have to say about the lamp. Amongst the articles of puja the lamp is an important article. The following mantra which is recited during the ritual of puja explains its significance.

भोदीपब्रह्मरूपस्‍त्‍वं ज्‍योतिषांप्रभुरव्‍यय: ।।
आरोग्‍यंदेहिपुत्रांश्‍चमत:शांतिं प्रयच्छमे ।।

Meaning: O Deity of lamp, you are of the form of Bramhan (the absolute truth). You are full of radiance. You never wither. Please bestow me health and good progeny and please fulfill my wishes. In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day – at dawn and dusk – and in a few it is maintained continuously (Akhanda Deepa). All auspicious functions commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion. Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. The Lord is the "Knowledge Principle" (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself.

Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.

Why not light a bulb or tube light?
That too would remove darkness. But the traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes.The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly we should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals.
Characteristics of oil and ghee lamps
Agni Puran clearly states that only oil or Ghee (clarified butter) be used in the lamp meant for puja and no other combustible substance. According to the Science of spirituality the lamp with clarified butter is more sattvik (spiritually pure) as compared to lamp in which oil is used. This is an important aspect which we will try to understand in details. So let us see the difference between the the lamp in which Ghee is used and the one with oil.Generally the use of oil is more prevalent than that of Ghee. The oil containing lamp kindles longer while the ghee containing lamp kindles for a short period. Now let us see the difference from the spiritual view point.* Ghee lamp has more capacity to attract the sattvik vibrations present in the surrounding atmosphere as compared to oil lamp.* The oil lamp can attract the sattvik vibrations spread over a maximum distance of 1 meter while the ghee lamp can attract sattvik vibrations spread over till Swarga Lok (heaven)* When the oil or ghee gets exhausted or the lamp stops burning for some other reason then both the oil and ghee lamps are affected at spiritual level to some extent.* When the oil lamp stops burning the predominance of raja particles in the atmosphere is enhanced and lasts for half an hour. On the other hand when the ghee lamp stops burning the impact of sattvikta (the quality of being sattvik) on the atmosphere is experienced even after four hours. Now let us see the characteristics of kindled lamps containing oil and ghee from spiritual angle with the help of a subtle drawing. Here we have to take into consideration the fact that while the vibrations of a subtle drawing are three dimensional we see them in the subtle drawing in a two dimensional form. For example the sphere will appear as a circle. Now let us look at the subtle drawing:

The yellow coloured circles seen in this drawing emit divine consciousness (chaitanya) in the atmosphere. The red coloured circles are of radiant energy. The burning flame is emitting frequencies full of Tej tattva (absolute fire principle) in the atmosphere. The red particles which you see here are the emitted particles of energy. So you have seen in this drawing how a oil lamp emits energy in the atmosphere. Now let us observe the subtle drawing of ghee lamp. The blue colour just besides the flame is indicative of spiritual emotion (bhav). The yellow circles which you see here are of chaitanya in the form of Tej tattva projecting in the atmosphere. You can also see the red particles and rays consisting of energy projecting into atmosphere.

Whilst lighting the lamp we thus pray:
Deepajyothi parabrahmaDeepa sarva tamopahaha
Deepena saadhyate saramSandhyaa deepo namostute

I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp; whose light is the Knowledge Principle (the Supreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved in life.

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