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October 16, 2015 ·
Worship of a deity is necessary in every one’s life of asthikas. We reserve a very small room in our house as pooja room, keeping the images or idols of the deities in the room and perform daily pooja (ritualistic worship).
pooja articles/vessals kalash (a water vessel generally of metal), shankh(conch ), a copper plate, a copper vessel, a small spoon, a lamp etc. Every article of pooja has its own significance. What are they ?Let us see these in a nut-shell
1. Importance of lamp in Hinduism
The lamp has its own special place in 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. The scriptures say about the lamp. The following mantra which is recited during the pooja 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 desires.
2. Characteristics of Oil and Ghee lamps
Agni Purana says thus :– only oil or Ghee (clarified butter) be used in the lamp meant for pooja and no other combustible substance. The lamp with clarified butter is more sattvik (spiritually pure) as compared to lamp in which oil is used. The difference between the lamp in which Ghee is used and the one with oil is summarised :–
Generally the use of oil is more prevalent than that of Ghee. The oil (gingelly/ ground-nut) lamp kindles longer while the ghee lamp kindles for a short period. What is the difference from the spiritual view point ?
Ghee lamp has more capacity to attract the sathvika guna vibrations present in the surrounding atmosphere (sathva guna ) as compared to oil lamp.
The oil lamp can attract the sathva guna vibrations spread over a maximum distance of one meter while the ghee lamp can attract sathva guna vibrations spread over till Swarga Loka (heaven)
When the oil lamp stops burning the predominance of raja particles in the atmosphere is enhanced and lasts for half an hour. But, when the ghee lamp stops burning the impact of “sathva” (the quality of being sattvik) on the atmosphere is experienced even after four hours.
3.Effects of Both Types of Lamp on the Worshipper.
The oil lamp generates a subtle armour of inferior quality around the worshipper while ghee lamp generates a subtle armour of superior quality.
The subtle frequencies emitted from the oil lamp activate the Mind-energy (Mana shakti) of the worshipper whereas the subtle frequencies emanating from the ghee lamp activates soul energy of the worshipper many times—-.
Kundalini Yoga says– seven principle chakras or energy centres in the human body–. These chakras influence practically every aspect of human being including body, mind and intellect. The oil lamp is effective in purification of Muladhar and Swadhishthan Chakra only, but the ghee lamp purifies all chakras including Manipur and Anahat chakras effectively.
There are paths for the flow of vital energy in the human body which are called as Naadis or channels(countless Naadis ). The three principle nadis are Chandra nadi (Moon channel), Surya nadi (Sun channel) and Sushumna nadi.When Chandra nadi is active, the person perceives coolness. The activation of Surya nadi imparts energy to the person. TheSushumna nadi is activated when the person starts progressing spiritually. The oil lamp activates the Surya nadi of the person while ghee lamp activates Sushumna Naadi as well which will enable the worshipper to attain “moksha”.
5. Effect on the Subtle Sheaths of the Worshipper
The sareera–body,which is visible to our eyes is called Annamaya Kosha or food sheath.
One has to take minimum food to maintain “sareera–body ” and to take “food “–Parabrahmam ” to strenghten the Athma to attain moksha—
Besides this, there are four other Koshas namely Pranmaya Kosha or vital air sheath,
Manomaya Kosha or the mental sheath,
Vijgaanyanmaya Kosha or sheath of intellect
and Anandmaya Kosha or bliss sheath.
The Pranmaya kosha is a seat for the Pancha pranas (five vital air elements) which provides energy to the body.
Pranaayaamam is important —“resaga, pooraga, kumbaga —praanaayaamam ”
Pancha pranas—-Praanan, Abhaanan,Vyaanan, Udhaanan and samaanan —-Praanaayaamam is important to activate these and to maintain them
( There are separate duties to each Prana which will be described if and when asked )
The second Manomaya kosha is the seat of emotions.
Mind and emotions should not be wasted on useless worldly affairs
The third Vijgaananmaya Kosha is the seat of intellect
Mind and Knowledge–intelligence–should examine everything and throw away which are unfit to utility
and the fourth Anandamaya Kosha is the seat of Soul which gives supreme bliss. Athma should surrender to Him who gives Paramapatham ——-
permanant supreme bliss –moksha–
Even these subtle sheaths or koshas are affected by the oil or ghee lamps. The oil lamp imparts power to the raja paricles ( raajasa guna ) in the Pranamaya kosha which makes the individual restless. The ghee lamp strengthens the sattva particles( sathva guna ) of Pranamaya kosha and Manomaya Kosha and as a result of this the jeevathma (individual, embodied soul) becomes peaceful,stable and happy.
6. Spiritual Experience Imparted by Oil and Ghee Lamps
We are experiencing pleasure or sorrow in this world ( worldly pleasure or sorrow—sexual one –sirrinbam in tamil ) through the media of five sense organs( Jaanenthriya ) namely nose, ears, eyes, tongue, skin( body ). But we should convert this as spiritual ectasy — spiritual experience. The oil lamp gives us spiritual experience and the ghee lamp is giving more such experience
7. Ghee from Cow’s Milk should be used.
Generally any oil lamp emits frequencies consisting of raja (raajasa guna ) particles but the sesame oil emits some sathva ( sathva guna ) frequencies also. Therefore the lamp with sesame oil is comparatively more sathvik. However the ghee lamp emits the sathvik frequencies in maximum amount compared to any oil lamp. But, the ghee from Cow’s milk is most useful to lit a lamp in the pooja room. This is because in such ghee the Deites’ principles are already existent. Such a ghee which is dominant in sathva component emits luminous figures in the atmosphere. Such luminous figures are forms of Thejas tathva or absolute fire element. Thus even though the use of ghee is recommended because of its capacity to emit maximum satva guna frequencies,
Sometimes while performing pooja we unknowingly touch the lamp. We should immediately wash our hands then. This is because when we worship a deity the sathva component of the lamp increases. When we touch the lamp the rajasa—thamasa particles from our body enter the lamp by way of touch. This reduces the purity of the lamp. The water has the property of encompassing everything. Anything which is offered to a deity through the medium of water reaches Him/Her faster.
When we wash our hands we are one way dissolving our sins in the water. The spiritual practice of water is to assimilate in itself sins done by all. The extremely merciful Deities absolve us from our defects when we offer them at their feet through the medium of water.
8. Should Electric Bulbs Be Used Instead of Ghee Lamps?
Now a days we see electric bulbs in use during the pooja ritual instead of ghee lamp. What is the difference between two from the point of view of Spirituality ?
Some people may be finding it funny to worship a lamp of oil or ghee when the modern scientific era has offered us so much glitter by way of electrical bulbs. But our ancestors have given priority to the worship of lamp after profound experience and through the attitude of gratitude. The light emitted from the electrical bulb blinds our eyes while the gentle flame of ghee lamp reminds us of our Jeevathma-Jyothis or flame of soul. The electrical bulb makes us extroverted and then the mind runs towards external objects. The ghee lamp makes us to look inwards. .
9. Five Wicks and Single Wick Lamp
There are other varieties of the lamps also such as lamp with a single wick and lamp with five wicks (five faces ). The five wicks lamp is symbolic of duality that is the manifest energy of a deity, whereas the lamp with a single wick attracts sathvik frequencies. The lamp with five wicks attracts waves with destroyer property and dominant in rajsaa component. The lamp with five wicks denotes the relation of Panchpranan (five vital air principles) with the Atmajyoti (flame of soul).
10. In temples, there are so many lamps including “sahasra deepa” , ” Kumbha Aarthi ” etc Vaikanasa, Paancharaathra Agamas explain these in detail.
Soundararajan Desikan added 4 new photos.from Face Book dt