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» Hindu Puja, Meditation Accessories » Why do we light oil lamps during prayer ceremony?

Why do we Light a Lamp (Oil Lamp) during Worship? Why Do We Light a Lamp Before a Function?

Did you ever think about the significance of Lamp lighting or Oil Lamp lighting during an auspicious event or during Puja? Lighting lamps in Hindu tradition is mandatory. Be it in Temples, at home, in Puja Altar Oil Lamps are lit while performing worship or Puja. Fire and Oil have been considered holy from ancient times, by the Hindus. The Oil Lamps are called Diya, Divaa, Deepam, Deepa, etc, in India. The fire element has a lot of significance as mentioned in Vedic rituals, it is pure energy.

In most Hindu homes, lighting a Diya or an Oil Lamp is a regular ritual, especially during performing daily Puja. Lighting the Diya ushers positivity in the house. Oil lamps are also lit at dusk in Puja Altar, near the Tulsi plant at home which is an old ritual. This is done to create a Divine protective shield around the Vastu and all family members, to be protected from the negative energies that are created during the evening hours.

In ancient times, people use to light Oil Lamps during dusk and recite “Shubham Karoti” Shloka:
शुभं करोति कल्याणं आरोग्यं धनसंपदाम् ।
शत्रुबुद्धिविनाशाय दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तु ते ।।

Meaning: O flame of the lamp, you bestow auspiciousness and wellbeing, health and wealth. You also destroy the intellect of enemies. Therefore I pay obeisance to you.

दीपज्योति:परब्रह्म दीपज्योतिर्जनार्दन: ।
दीपो हरतु मे पापं दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तु ते ।।

Meaning: Light emanating from the oil lamp is in fact, a form of Parabrahman (Supreme Brahman) An oil lamp is Parameshwara (Supreme God), eliminating the sorrow in the world. O lamp, absolve me of sins. I offer obeisance to you.

Popular and Effective Lamp (Oil Lamp) products

Decorative Diyas

Lovely Decorative Diyas in sets, made of different Gemstones and Earthen ones. Carved in traditional style, these Diyas or Oil Lamps are of different colors depending on the Gemstone it is crafted from, like the Agate gemstone Diyas are in multiple colors. Earthen Diyas look irresistible in bright colors and designs, apt for festive occasions. The Gemstone Diyas are reusable, add to the decor, and when lit, not only look beautiful but also give the benefit of the gemstone.

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Ganesha Urli bowl with Lamp in Brass

Ganesha Urli Bowl with lamps made of heavy shiny Brass. The Ganesha idol in the center of the Urli Bowl is crafted intricately. Brass Lamps/Diyas Circle the rim of the Bowl. The Urli Bowl is used to fill water and decorate with Flowers and Floating Lamps. It serves as decoration, to be placed in the exterior or interior of homes, workplaces, celebration halls. With Lamps lit, the Ganesha Urli Bowl looks Divinely beautiful and adds a mesmerizing touch to the atmosphere.

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Brass diya, Samai oil lamps

Useful Brass Diya Samai Oil Lamps made of shiny Brass for Puja Altar at Home, office, etc. Brass metal draws positive energies which make these Oil Lamps perfect for worship and decoration. Crafted smoothly, the Lamps include simple designs, in various designs of Flowers, like Lotus, Rose and with Gods and Goddesses, as Kuber-Laxmi Lamp set, etc. Lamps when lit purifies the energies of the space. These Brass Diya Samai Oil Lamps are excellent and auspicious gifting ideas.

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Paanch Aarti oil lamp in pure silver

Paanch Aarti Oil Lamp is made from the best quality pure Silver, with intricate floral design engraved on it. The holder is comfortable and decorated with a hooded Snake(Naag). This Oil Lamp has a place for five wicks and a round hollow space in the center for Camphor(Kappu). Performing Aarti is an integral part of Hindu worship to express gratitude and seek Divine blessings. This Silver Panch Aarti Lamp makes performing Aarti special every day and on festivals, like Diwali, Navratri, etc.

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Significance & importance of lighting diya lamp

Diyas look visually appealing when lit, it makes the place look Divinely blessed. During the festival of Diwali, we are treated to the visual delight of Oil Lamps burning outside the main entrance of houses. Besides this, the importance of Diya and the significance of Lamp lighting have spiritual meaning to it. In ancient times, when there was no electricity, the Diya was lit in homes of India as a source of light and it was also lit in Pooja Altars at home.

Fire is one of the 5 elements and is considered pure, so, when Diyas is lit it purifies the energies by transmuting negative energies. The Oil in the lamp signifies our negative thoughts, intentions, lower emotions like greed, envy, etc. The wick symbolizes our ego. Lighting the Lamp meaning is to be in total surrender to Divine/God and burn away our ego and negativity.

Lighting Oil Lamp at home, in Puja Altar, reminds us that God is the only truth. The flame signifies knowledge that dispels the darkness of the mind and illuminates our path.

During a Puja ceremony, the first thing which is done by the Pandit is to light the Diya, this is to invoke the Gods/Goddess or Deity who is being worshipped and to set the Sankalp or intention for the Puja which is being performed by the individual.

The flame of the Diya represents our soul, the Atmaprakash, or light of the soul.

The energies which are created when Diya is lit helps to connect with the Divine better and communicate with Him.

Which Oil is Good for Lighting Lamps?

For Puja and for auspicious occasions there are a few Oils which are prescribed as per the ancient Hindu texts and are used for lighting at home, Puja Altar, or even at the workplace. Each Oil has its own significance and benefits.

1) Desi Ghee - Clarified Butter made of Cow's Milk
2) Sesame Oil - Commonly called Til Oil, extracted from Sesame seeds.
3) Mustard Oil - Extracted from Mustard seeds and called Sarson Oil.
4) Pancha Deepam Oil - It is a perfect blend of 5 types of Oil to bring out its mystical qualities. The Oils are - Cow Ghee, Mahua Oil, Castor Oil, Neem Oil, Sesame Oil or Coconut Oil.

Best Oil for Pooja Deepam(Diya): Benefits of Lighting Ghee Lamp (Diya) at Home

Among the Oils which are suggested, you may choose any to use as Pooja Deepam. The oils which are used are organic and they are extracts of seeds or made from Cow's milk(Ghee). The mystical significance of these Oils will give you clarity in choosing.

Desi Ghee: Desi Ghee or Cow’s ghee (oil) is considered sacred. Though these days authentic Desi Ghee or milk from native Indian cows is rarely available. But this Ghee is naturally charged with positive energy. Desi Ghee Deepam benefits in maintaining our physical, mental, and spiritual balance. According to the Agni Purana, the Ghee Lamp helps in cleansing of the Chakras (energy centers) and Nadis. It purifies the Manipura and Anahata Chakras. It is also believed that lighting a lamp with Cow’s Ghee/Desi Ghee attracts positive vibrations, removes poverty and improves health, and maintains wealth in one’s family, which is an important Desi Ghee Deepam benefit, which is appreciated and understood by everyone.

Sesame Oil: Popularly known as Til Oil, Sesame Oil Lamp benefits by removing Doshas (Planetary Doshas as per Vedic Astrology), banishing evil spirits, it is known to remove obstacles from one’s life. Til/ Sesame Oil Lamp is also especially lit by people who do the mantra Japa or Sadhana of Lord Bhairava (a form of Lord Shiva).

Mustard Oil: Lighting Diya with Mustard Oil is also a common practice in homes. Mustard Oil Lamp benefits by eliminating Doshas that are related to Planet Saturn and it is also believed that it keeps diseases out of the house.

Pancha Deepam Oil: The Pancha Deepa Oil or Panchadeepam Oil is believed to neutralize all the negative and evil vibrations. The Pancha Deepam Oil Lamp benefits by bringing good health, wealth, prosperity, fame, and knowledge into your home. This Oil when used to light Diya is said to fill your house with happiness, health, wealth, fame, and prosperity.

Coconut Oil: Coconut Oil is mostly used in Southern India for lighting Oil Lamps or Diyas. It is a sacred belief that lighting the Lamp with Coconut Oil pleases Lord Ganesha.

The vibrations that are generated from the Oil lamps are believed to work in three dimensions namely, as the Vastu (Place/house) protector, as one that emits positive energy, and the one that bestows harmony, peace, and prosperity.

How many Diyas to Light Daily?

You may light one Diya or two Diyas for daily worship, as per your choice. It is said that one should use two wicks for a single Diya. There are Lamps available that have the facility to hold more than one wick, like Panchmukhi Diya which has 5 faces for five wicks. A Diya should not be kept directly on the ground. It should be kept on a proper Lamp holder.

Brass, Silver, and Clay/Mud Lamps are traditionally used in homes. Clay or Mud Oil Lamps are the purest form of Oil Lamps and are bestowed with good spirit. Brass Lamps are very widely used, look beautiful, are good conducting of positive energies and so bring in the good vibes.

Which Direction to Light Lamp?

The best direction to face the Oil Lamp is East and North or North East as this is direction has the fire element. East facing Oil Lamps are harbingers of good health, peace, and longevity. It is also said to remove obstacles, grief, and sorrow.

When you light Oil Lamp and place facing North, it invites good fortune, wealth, and all-around success.There are diverse opinions about placing Oil Lamps to face the West direction. Some believe it is inauspicious and may cause conflicts and fights in the family, among siblings, etc. However, West facing Oil Lamps helps to conquer negativity, overcome struggles, helps to get relief from debt, and brings prosperity.

Lighting Oil Lamps in the South direction is not allowed as per Shastras as it brings inauspicious energies because it is said to be the direction of Lord Yama (God of death).

Can Mustard Oil be used for Pooja?

Mustard Oil has been used to light Oil Lamps for centuries as it was the only oil widely used and available in our country. During the auspicious festival of Diwali too, Mustard Oil Lamps are lit to date. It is affordable too. So Mustard Oil can be used to light Diyas for Pooja,

The Kalika Purana summarizes the importance of lighting Oil Lamps, which is explained by Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati as,
दीपेन लोकान् जयति दीपस्तेजोमयः स्मृतः । चतुर्वर्गप्रदो दीपस्तस्माद्दीपं यजेत् प्रिये ॥
Deepena lokan jayati dipastejomaya smrutah chaturvargaprado deepastasmaddeepam yajet priye
Meaning: Due to a lamp we can obtain victory over people. The lamp is lustrous. It is the giver of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. Hence O dear, lamps should be lit.

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