रविवार, 15 मार्च 2009


INTRODUCTION – Customs and rituals are part and parcel of Sanatan (सनातन ) Dharm . Sanatan Dharm means something which is Eternal and it does not relate to a particular religion or sect. Sanatan being something which cannot be destroyed by fire , weapons , water , air and which is present in all living being . Dharm means the way of life which is the total of all customs and rituals. Rituals are to be followed based on understanding their merits and only after self experience these could be propagated and one need not follow these rituals blindly.

Rituals are followed for :-
1. Psychological and Physiological health and long life.
2. Prosperity and wealth
3. Strong family and social bondage
4. For improving personality and outlook towards life.

But it is important to understand scientifically , rationally and logically the meaning of each and every Ritual and thereafter follow them systematically .

In series of articles , I would give reasons why few importance rituals came into existence. One needs to practice these only after being convinced about its significance. After following them , if one feels , the benefit , it could be preached to others in family , friends and neighborhood.

In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn and in some houses twice a day- at dawn and dusk and in few it is maintained continuously – Akhand Deep ( अखंड दीप ).

All auspicious functions commence with lighting of the lamp which is often maintained throughout the occasion.

Light symbolizes knowledge and darkness – ignorance. The lord is the source of knowledge and illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the lord himself.
Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.
The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly we should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals. Due to these reason lighting a lamp cannot be substituted by lighting an incandescent bulb or a tube light.

Whilst lighting the lamp we must pray :-
दीपज्योती परब्रह्म
दीप सर्व तमोपहः
दीपेन साध्यते शरण
संध्या दीपो नमस्तुते

I prostate to the dawn / dusk lamp , whose light is the provider of knowledge ( the supreme lord ) which removes the darkness of ignorance by which all can be achieved in life.

Most Indian homes have a prayer room or altar where we start our day by praying to almighty. A lamp is lit and the lord worshiped each day.Other spiritual practices like japa , meditation , reading of the scriptures , prayers and devotional singing etc are also done here. Special prayers are done here on auspicious occasions like birthdays , anniversaries and festivals. All members of the family pray the lord here and taking his blessings. The family assembles here not only during any difficulty , hardship , pain or trouble but also during joy , happiness or pleasure.The lord is the entire creator and hence he is the true owner of the house we live in .The prayer room is the master room of the house. We are the earthly occupants of his property – this notion rids us of false pride and possessiveness. The ideal attitude is to consider lord as the true owner of house and we as care takers or lord should be considered as an important guest of the house and a prayer room should be created and it should be kept neat and tidy and well decorated at all times.
Lord is all pervading and a prayer room in house serves as a constant reminder of this to us । Sacred thoughts and positive vibrations pervade the place and influence the minds of those present in the house. Even when one is tired or agitated by just sitting in the prayer room for a while one feels calm , rejuvenated and spiritually uplifted.

ॐ नमः शिवाय

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