Why do we light a lamp at home?
When there is no light, we light a lamp. simple. It can be a lamp or a bulb or a tube light. And when there is no power, obviously a lamp comes to our rescue
The practice of lighting a lamp once or twice a day at Hindu homes is an age old practice, as old as civilization Our shastras tell us to light a lamp. A lamp has a container where we pour oil and dip a wick in it. Then we light the wick. The wick burns and lightens the surroundings.
The inner meaning is:
Light symbolizes knowledge and darkness stands for ignorance.
The wick is the ego in the jeevatma. The light is the knowledge. The flame burns upwards meaning that we need to derive knowledge in order to reach higher ideals in life. Knowledge is not the maths or physics or history that we do in our materialistic life. It is the knowledge of the soul, of the one who rules the soul. The oil is the ignorance. As the light keeps burning, the oil in the container reduces and finally vanishes. This means as the knowledge in us grows, the vasanas, the ignorance in us starts to vanish. So, when we light a lamp, we have to think and pray to the lord to remove the ignorance in us and to enlighten us with true knowledge instead of doing it as a mundane job.
Now, someone will ask me, when the oil burns out , so does the brightness. Does that mean, when the ignorance is lost, knowledge is also lost?? Well, if we are blessed enough, by the time the oil becomes nil,
we must have attained knowledge and renounced ourselves from the pangs of birth and death. We then wont be asking such questions. The significance of the lamp is only symbolic. So, let us take it in the positive sense
The bulb or a tube light is man's invention and has come into existence in recent times. Something which has a beginning will have an end. So, one day we may see the lights and the bulbs will become non-existent. But the light of a lamp will always stay, as agni can never be perished and if it is perished, then it is delusion to the world. Sounds illogical?? Well, many things which we have thought will stay for generations to come have vanished (think of the pagers that were popular a decade back !!!). So, it wont be a surprise when the world will live only with the benevolence of agni and nothing else.
I would leave this page with a small note. I have said that true knowledge is what we have to seek and not mundane knowledge like maths, or physics or history. When I say this, I don't mean to shun these and start living like a sanyasi which none of us can do.
The intention of telling this is to start having a thirst for true knowledge while acquiring the knowledge of the loukika (materialistic) world. This worldly knowledge and the fruits of it like money, possession are important in this birth because these are essential for us to feel comfortable. All of us do good things only when we are fit physically and mentally. We have been like this for many many 100s of births, so let us accept that this realization will not come soon unless we are so blessed that HE will suddenly redeem us. Presently, most of us are at the lowest ring in the spiritual ladder. We cannot change all of a sudden. But at least we can start with a change in our thinking, the ego will slowly follow.
Just like someone rightly said, "Eat to live and not live to eat", We have to re-frame our minds as "Earn to live and not live to earn". It is difficult but definitely not impossible. Once we start this thought process , maybe in another 100 or 200 births, we will get the maturity of mind and go to the next ring in the ladder