Offering deepam (or light) is an integral part of all pujas, major or minor. This signifies the light residing within us, the true Self that we offer to the divine in a spirit of pure devotion and surrender. Element-wise, deepam refers to the fire residing inside the Atman. Simply put, light is believed to be the source of wisdom, as it dispels darkness. The Self has also been described, in spirituality, as effulgent light. Symbolically, the oil used represents the vasanas, the wick represents the ego and the fire, the flame of knowledge that burns out the ego. The lighting of the lamp is a very auspicious occasion at any puja, festival or occasion for this very reason. It is believed that god inhabits that house where the woman of the house lights the lamp every morning and evening. The Diwali, the Festival of Lights is celebrated by first lighting little diyas (earthen lamps) and then bursting colourful crackers. These diyas are made only of natural materials, like clay.
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