- 1. Importance of lamp in Hindu Dharma
- 2. Characteristics of oil and ghee lamps
- 3. Five wicks and single wick lamp
- 4. Why should a straight wick be used as compared to puffed up wick?
Worship of a deity is a subject of faith for all of us. We build a temple room in our house and decorate it well. We also keep the images or idols of the deities we like and perform daily puja (ritualistic worship). We purchase the articles of puja according to our capacity. We are also quite familiar with such articles like kalash (a water vessel generally of metal), shankh (conch), a copper plate, a copper vessel, a small spoon, a lamp etc. Every article of puja has its own significance. Let us understand the significance of an important article of puja that is lamp.
The lamp has its own special place in Sanatan Vaidik 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. We shall try to understand what the scriptures have to say about the lamp. Amongst the articles of puja the lamp is an important article. The following mantra which is recited during the ritual of puja explains its significance.
भो दीप ब्रह्मरूपस्त्वं ज्योतिषां प्रभुरव्यय: ।।
आरोग्यं देहि पुत्रांश्च मत: शांतिं प्रयच्छ मे ।।
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 wishes.
Agni Puran clearly states that only oil or Ghee (clarified butter) be used in the lamp meant for puja and no other combustible substance. Let us see the difference between the the lamp in which Ghee is used and the one with oil.
Generally the use of oil is more prevalent than that of Ghee. The oil containing lamp kindles longer while the ghee containing lamp kindles for a short period.
According to yogic path of Kundalini Yog there are seven principle chakras or energy centers in the human being. These chakras influence practically every aspect of human being including physical body, mind and intellect. The oil lamp is effective in purification of Muladhar and Swadhishthan Chakra only to certain extent but the ghee lamp purifies Manipur and Anahat chakras to a significant extent.
Now let us see the points to be noted while actually using a lamp.
Do not kindle an oil lamp with a ghee lamp and vice versa
As per tradition, kindling one lamp with another similar lamp is to be avoided. For example if there are two niranjans (a type of lamp) in an arti platter then do not light one niranjan with another niranjan. Similarly do not light one pillar of lamps with another.
There are other varieties of the lamps also such as lamp with a single wick and lamp called niranjan wherein five wicks are used. The Niranjan with five wicks is symbolic of duality that is the manifest energy of a deity. The niranjan with five wicks denotes the relation of Panchpran (five vital air principles) with the Atmajyoti (flame of soul). Niranjan is used for waving Pancharati. Every single flame of niranjan is symbolic of Atmajyoti. Pancharti means invocation of God with the help of panchparanas. While performing Pancharti we should have such a spiritual emotion that the Atmajyoti is kindled in me with the help of five panchaprans present in the body and I am performing the arti with such flame.
Now let us understand about straight wick and wick with one end puffed up (fulwat). During puja ritual a lamp is offered at various steps of the ritual according to purpose. For example performance of arti. Two types of wicks are used in the lamp namely Puffed wick and straight wick. Nowadays a puffed wick is used in a ghee lamp or niranjan and used as lamp of worship. The wick is puffedup from below to offer it stability to stand in the center of niranjan. The puffed wick is used in a ghee lamp. This type of wick is relatively of recent origin. The second type of wick which we all are familiar with is straight wick. Two straight wicks are joined together like a thread and used in a lamp.
The lower portion of the fulwat is puffed up while the straight wick is whole like a thread.
The fulwat is representative of various raja thoughts in the mind while straight wick is symbolic of detachment and also represents the thread which joins Panchaprans with Atamjyoti.