The Importance of Lighting a ‘Deepa’ (lamp)
In most Hindu homes, a deepa (lamp) is usually lighted at the altar. Some even maintain an ‘akhanda deepa’ or a continuous lighted lamp. The light of the deepa represents the divine light of God. It also symbolizes knowledge and enlightenment that eradicates the darkness of ignorance.
Another belief is that the oil/ghee in the deepa symbolizes one’s ‘vaasanaas’ or basic instincts and the wick represents one’s ego. When illuminated by spiritual knowledge, the basic instincts get exhausted and ego gradually perishes. Notice that the flame of the deepa always burns upwards; likewise, spiritual knowledge elevates a person.
Apart from daily worship in temples and homes, the deepa is also lit on all auspicious occasions, festivals such as Deepavali and Karthigai Deepam. Customarily, the deepa is also lit at educational and social events such as inaugurations, cultural dance events and spiritual talks and seminars.