Lighting a lamp
Contd. From : http://www.oneworldnews.com/lets-understand-and-start-living-hinduism-iv/
Every Indian lights a lamp in the Mandir in front of the main deity at least once daily. Some of the Indians, however, light the lamp twice a day – mornings and evenings or thrice a day – morning, evening and noon, while some light it 24/7, which is called the Akhandjyoti.
A lamp is lit before starting any auspicious occasion because it is thought that Agni Dev has to be a witness of the occasion and his blessings needed for permanent joy and prosperity in the family.
Light illuminates, light keeps away darkness (the evil, ignorance), light is a form of energy and hence spiritually, light is knowledge or illuminator of knowledge, getting us out of darkness into light where everything becomes clear and all doubts are washed away. God is also a form of light and by lighting lampwe invite God to be a part of happiness.
Just like light illuminates and keeps away the darkness, Knowledge also illuminates our inner self and kills ignorance and ego within us and hence helps us to achieve our goals and targets in life. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.
The Indian lamp is made up of a wick and has ghee or oil in it. The wick symbolizes the ego and the oil our desires or vasana. When the lamp is lit by spiritual knowledge, the ego is burnt. Also, as the oil slowly finishes, our desires are also exhausted and get minimized. The flame of the lamp burns upwards which spiritually shows us that knowledge leads us to the path of progress and higher ideals.