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The importance of lighting a lamp in hindu families:

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Light usually refers to visible light.The main source of light on earth is the Sun

Light symbolizes knowledge and Isana is the origin of knowledge. Knowledge is the everlasting wealth that is capable of removing ignorance just as the light removes darkness. An oil lamp is lit to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vasanaas or vices and the cotton wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards and similarly one should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals.

Traditionally the lighting of the lamp is also a part of Bhutaaradhana (element worship).

Lighting a lamp for Agni
Placing water for Jala
Incense stick smoke for Vayu
Sandal paste, Bhasma, vermilion for Prithvi
Deep meditative prayer for Akasha.

It’s a tradition to light a lamp first before starting any auspicious events or rituals. Light symbolizes the absence of darkness, grief & unhappiness. Almighty’s divine grace is spread all over the house by lighting the lamps. God’s first and foremost appearance is in the form of Light which we call as ‘Divya Jyotir’ or “Divine Light”.
Before starting our daily prayers, we light the Oil lamp by chanting a shloka:

Subham Karoti Kalyanam, Arogyam Dhana Sampadah, Shatru Buddhi Vinashaya
Deepa Jyotir Namostute.

‘ I salute the One who is the lamplight that brings auspiciousness; prosperity, good health, abundance of wealth, and the destruction of the intellect’s enemy (6 enemies - Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya)’.

After lighting the lamp we chant the following shloka or prayer:

Deepajyothi Parabrahma, Deepajyothi Janardhana, Deepo me hara tu paapam, Deepa Jyothir Namostute

I salute the Brahman, the sustainer of the creation, in the form of this light. I salute the Lord, may He destroy afflictions resulting from my omissions and commissions.

Cotton Wicks and their significance:
Single wick (Eka Mukha Deepam) for normal benefit.
Two wicks (Dwimukha deepam) brings harmony and peace in the family and relatives.
Three wicks (Trimukha Deepam) Blesses with progeny.
Four wicks (Chathurmukha deepam) brings allround prosperity and Sumptuous food.
Five wicks (Panchamkukha deepam) showers akhanda aishwaryam or Wealth.
Six wicks (Shanmukha deepam) blesses with Akhanda Gyana (Knowledge) & Vairagyam (Renunciation).

Directions for lighting lamps and their importance :
North - For success in all ventures undertaken. Most preferable direction to place and light a lamp.
East – For good health and peace of mind.
West – For freedom from debts and victory over enemies
South - Never light a lamp in the south direction. It is considered inauspicious.

In our Hindu culture, lighting a lamp denotes dispelling away darkness. The lamp is, in most Indian languages, called as “Jyoti”. When we pray to Goddesses by lighting a lamp, the belief is that we will be richly rewarded with tremendous prosperity.

Married women or girls of marriageable age are always advised to light a lamp and pray for the welfare of their family, pray for marriage to a good boy, pray for motherhood. In reality, it is said that Goddess Rajarajeshwari resides in the lamp – she represents the combined form of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi.

Propitiating the Deepalakshmi (in the form of RajaRajeshwari) with vermillion, flowers, and stotras every Friday can give you benefits that cannot be described in words.

Look at this stanza from Lalitha Sahasranamam

“Om Suvasinyay namah
Om Suvasin archanapreethayay namah”.

The philosophy of the lamp is profound. We light away lamp to drive away sadness and welcome happiness with open arms. You want to acquire knowledge and drive away ignorance, so we pray to Deepalakshmi.

Bottom portion of the lamp: (lotus seat): Lord Brahma
The middle pipe of the lamp: Lord Venkateswara
The portion where oil/ghee is filled: Rudran
The portion where wick settles: Lord Maheswara
The end of the wick: Sadashiv
Ghee/Oil: Natham

Lamp, as mentioned earlier, represents Durga, Saraswathi and Lakshmi.

The 5 faces of a lamp denote the 5 qualities that a woman needs to have: Affection- Intelligence- Resoluteness-Patience-and Caution


When you show the lamp during aarthi, rotate the lamp in the form of “OM” from the foot till the head at least thrice.

Ghee/Oil or a mixture of oil and ghee can be used to light the lamp.

Lamp is always a good omen – if someone gifts you a lamp, accept it whole-heartedly. If the lamp flickers, it is an auspicious sign.

At the least, light a lamp in front of Devi Maa every Friday with till oil.

During the Karthik month, lighting lamps in the front of homes is considered to be very powerful.

Always smear the lamp with vermillion and sandal powder.

Offer flowers to the lamp.

Pray to Lord Ganesha and then your family deity before lighting the lamp.

In almost every Indian home lamp / Villakku is lit daily before the Altar of the Lord. In some house it is maintained continuously -KAMATCHI - AKHANDA -NANDHA -DEEPAM All auspicious function commence with the lighting of the Villakku, which is often maintained throughout the function.

The lamp can be lit by Ghee or oil . Sesame oil / Gingely oil destroys all evils. lighting with castor oil brings joy to the relatives. We should not use Groundnut Oil.

Neem oil, Ghee, Iluppai( A tree name..In English it is called as Mahua ) oil gives wealth. For Kula Deivam - Ghee, Castoroil, Neemoil, Coconutoil, Iluppaioil. For Goddess Mahalakshmi—ghee. Lord Ganesha—coconut oil. Lord Narayana—sesame oil

The Cotton wick (Thiri) is best as it would give Prosperity. And wick made out of New Yellow cloth gives Devi’s blessings.

The Lamp lit towards the east removes Sorrow and Evil , West removes Debt , Enemies.
Always use two wicks for lighting the Lamp.

After lighting the lamp dont rub the excess oil on your hair; (it will make you loose your wealth) general beleif.

Also rubbing in your own dress is also not good.So keep a piece of cloth in your pooja room and rub the excess oil in it .

Never keep any lamp directly on the kolam. Always keep it on a plate ( can be brass, silver not steel).

If you like keep a few grains of raw rice below the lamp - this is necessary only when you do vilakku poojai etc & not necessary everyday.

As soon as you finish namaskarams, shlokas etc, it is customary to keep a dot of milk on either side of the burning lamp after which you can put it off. After it burns for a minimum 30 mts, you can put it off, there is nothing wrong.

After head bath, one should remove the head towel before even lighting the lamp .
Lemon (Elumichai) vilakku lighting should not be done at home at all. It is to be lit only in temples. There is no harm in lighting the usual villakku at rahu kalam & chanting Durga shlokams, particularly on tuesday & friday at home.

Why do we light lamp in front of Deities in the evening?

The transition period (sandhikāl) is the period of 48 minutes, that is, two ghatikās, before the sunrise and after the sunset. The transition period is Raja-Tama predominant. Influence of negative energies is more in this period. To get protection from these, Dharma has given importance to abiding by Conducts (āchārpalan) in this period. Scriptures have described various Conducts (achars) to be performed in the evening, so that there are good impressions (sanskārs) on man and he becomes equipped with good achars, he is able to perform spiritual practice (sādhanā) in addition to getting protection from the negative energies.

The light symbolizes knowledge, illuminating and “en-lighten-ing” us. The light emanating from the ghee lamp removes darkness, ignorance and evil. The light or knowledge shows us the way out of our problems, fears, tensions, and unhappiness. The light of a ghee lamp is believed to bring in prosperity, as knowledge or wisdom is the greatest form of wealth. The wick is a symbol of energy and light where alight emits brightness.


3. http://http://www.hindujagruti.org


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