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Deepa Jyotir Janaardanah
Deepo harati paapaani
Sandhyaa deepa 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.”
Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. The purpose of any ritual is to remove internal darkness and attain some knowledge.
Vedic literature recommends lighting a lamp daily as a part of puja ritual. Some do it once at dawn, others twice a day – at dawn and dusk; while some let the lamp light continuously (akhanda deepa). No auspicious functions can commence without lighting of the lamp and the same is to be maintained right through the occasion.
Knowledge represents lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. By lighting the lamp, we bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth. Knowledge about the self is the greatest wealth. It goes around achieving inner happiness by burning the negativity of mind full of lust and ego.
The traditional oil lamp defines this spiritual significance. The oil or ghee symbolizes our vasanas (lust) and negative tendencies (the wick & the ego). When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards signifying that only that knowledge should be acquired that takes us towards higher ideals.