Lighting Diya and Adhyatma

“We must cherish the role of our Rishis and ancestors who protected and preserved the vital knowledge of the universe through their persistence and intelligence.”

I always had this question when I used to see my mother lighting a Diya in a small mandir of our house. “Why do we even light a Diya?” I am pretty sure many of us had this question when we witness such things. I never understood why as I was told many things regarding this topic. None were satisfying.

What are Shakti, Urja, and polarities of the universe?
Photo: eSanskriti

understand what Shakti, Urja, and duality hold significance in the very universe we
are created. I think everything is not based on beliefs but seeking and observing the very existential shakti in the universe. Later in my life when I happen to walk on the path of Adhyatma, I began observing the existential and subtle form of shakti and Urja through nature and looking deep within.

Before we jump into the significance of lighting Diya, let us first understand Urja and shakti.

A lot of times we hear people stating “lighting Diya releases positive energy”. The creation of Bramhan (universe) happens through shakti which is a dynamic Urja. Urja is translated as energy which might be a close word, however, it cannot be translated this way all the time. Urja is a cohesive cluster of Tejas (aura), and prana.

The creation of the material universe is dependent on polarities (Dwaita). At each step of creation, polarities play a vital role. If there is positivity, there exists negativity as well. If male exist then female exist as well. Other examples such as Shiva and Shakti, good and bad, light and darkness, Maya and subtle, Iswara & jiva, purity and impurity and so on.

In many padhyatis (traditions) of Sanatan Dharma mentions that the person becomes one with bramhan who balance the polarities of this bramhan. What does that mean? In the world of Maya duality is essential for a sustainable cycle of creation, destruction as well as continuous flow of life, but in the case of pure Chetna (consciousness) duality is transcended and polarities come into balance.

Polarities keep us bound with the universe made up of matter. Hence, if something releases positive energy then it would mean that the energy released can be transformed into negative with certain methods.

Eventually, the universe will merge in Ishwara and duality will vanish. What generally people mean by positive energy is suitable urja reverberating in the atmosphere. Although Agni is an element, still it holds the quality of purity and balance. Why?
Unlike the other elements, Agni can not be contaminated.

How can we use Agni (Diya) to boost sattva Guna?

We try hard to keep steadiness in our mind but at some point, it deviates and falls into desires and Klesha. At a certain stage(s) of life, each one of us faces afflictions (klesha) such as Asmita (egoism), Avidya (ignorance), Dwesha (hatred), Abhinivesah (clinging to life and fearing death) and raga (attachment).

All these aspects of life enslave a person into the lowest state of mind (Tamas). This results in deteriorating tej (aura), personality, and consciousness of a person. Our Rishis mastered each element and gave certain techniques to remove kleshas and re-establish the consciousness.

Rishis gave a simple method which is lighting Diya. In the kaliyug almost all elements have been polluted except Agni. Diya lighting is the easiest way to keep the purity of the environment. Diya should be lit by ghee or oil only. No other combustible substance is applicable. Ghee is given more priority than oil in various padhyati like Siddha, Ayurveda, and Yagya.

We should observe that the tej of different objects and humans do exchange its urja and the more powerful one dominates the other. Similar is the case with Agni and humans.

As it holds the quality of purity, the Agni creates an abundance of Sattvik Urja that leaves an impression in the surrounding. The three types of body (Atma, mental body, and physical body) experience the warmth and tej of ghee Diya which begins the process of purifying our tej.

Agni accounts for almost 3-4% of the physical body in the form of love, hatred, compassion, anger, frustration and resentment. If this element is not in control, it may create turbulence in the mind, the body as well as our surroundings.

In yoga and Ayurveda, a concept called ‘bhut-shuddhi’ often crops up. Many people visit ashram or center to get the bhut-shuddhi treatment done. Bhut means the 5 elements and shuddhi means the purification. To balance the Agni tattva, certain methods are important such as exposing yourself to sunlight or lighting organic substance.. Exposing the front and backside of the body cleanse our tej and revitalize our Urja.

Diya is an instrument for purification. If we just a light a Diya it would help us little. It is essential that we get into sadhana or mantra jap to further intensify the reverberation within the body. A deep repository of Urja is located at the Muladhara chakra (bottom chakra) that rises to Anhata chakra. All bottom chakras are purified to the maximum extent using ghee Diya. Here I would like to mention that prana (breathing) is equally important to arouse the Muladhara shakti.

At the Adhyatmic level, Agni’s tej first touches the physical body. However, the subtle experience in the body begins when the five senses get in touch with the tej of ghee Diya. The fragrance of ghee Diya inhaled travels through Nadis with the help of Vayu (air) tattva. Unlike the oil Diya, which is related to Prithvi tattva, ghee Diya yields Tej tattva and Vayu tattva.

Diya might seem to be a ritual to many, nevertheless, if we observe the existential shakti of bramhan and how it deeply affects us then we will understand the significance of everything that nature has to offer us.