Why do we light a lamp?

Lighting a lamp

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.

Chinmayananda says
“Where there is light, darkness cannot be;
Where knowledge has come, ignorance must quit.”

Advertisements

About Ratna and Hiro Malkani

Love to dare and accept facts. Love to learn. Seek truth and speak truth all the way. Enjoy tough situations. I'm learning to know, gain knowledge and understand the real purpose of life whilst accepting the changes in the environment.
This entry was posted in Hindu Rituals and Routines and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s