Before You Light the Deepam: 10 Essential Things to Know

Before You Light the Deepam: 10 Essential Things to Know

Lighting a deepam, or oil lamp, holds a profound significance in many cultures, particularly in Hinduism, where it symbolizes the dispelling of darkness and the ushering in of light and knowledge. Whether you’re preparing for a festival, a religious ceremony, or simply wish to bring positive energy into your home, here are ten essential things to know before you light the deepam.


1. Understanding the Significance

The act of lighting a deepam is more than just a ritual; it represents the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. When you light a deepam, you invoke divine presence and blessings. The flame of the lamp is considered a symbol of the soul, which is eternal and shines brightly even amidst darkness. It is also believed that lighting a deepam helps to ward off negative energies and brings prosperity and peace to the home.


2. Choosing the Right Lamp

Selecting the appropriate deepam is crucial. Brass and silver lamps are traditional choices. Brass is preferred for its durability and auspicious properties. Silver, though more expensive, is believed to have purifying qualities. Ensure the lamp is clean and in good condition before use. Some people also use clay lamps, especially during festivals like Diwali, due to their natural and biodegradable nature.


3. Selecting the Oil

Different oils can be used, each with its own significance. Sesame oil is commonly used for its purifying qualities and is believed to attract positive energy. Ghee (clarified butter) is another popular choice, known for its pure and divine nature. Coconut oil, mustard oil, and neem oil are also used in different regions and contexts. The choice of oil can vary based on personal preference, availability, and the specific deities being worshipped.


4. Wick Material

The wick, often made from cotton, plays a vital role in the lamp’s flame. Ensure the wick is fresh, dry, and properly twisted. Some traditions use specific numbers of wicks, like two or five, based on the occasion and deity worshipped. For instance, a single wick is often used for daily worship, while multiple wicks might be used during special ceremonies or festivals. The wicks can also be soaked in ghee or oil before use to ensure a steady and bright flame.


5. Timing Matters

The timing of lighting the deepam is important. During daily worship, it's typically done in the morning and evening. Morning lighting symbolizes the welcoming of the day with divine blessings, while evening lighting signifies the removal of the day's negativity. For specific festivals or rituals, follow the prescribed timings to align with auspicious moments. For example, during Diwali, lamps are lit at twilight to honor the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya and to welcome prosperity.


6. Placement of the Lamp

Place the deepam in a clean and sanctified area, preferably facing east or north. The eastern direction is associated with the sunrise and new beginnings, while the northern direction is linked to prosperity and positive energy. Ensure it’s on a stable surface and away from flammable materials. The area should be free from clutter, symbolizing a clear path for divine energy. Placing the lamp at the entrance of the house is also considered auspicious as it welcomes guests and positive energy.


7. Preparation and Cleanliness

Cleanliness is paramount. Wash your hands and feet before handling the lamp. The space around the deepam should also be clean. This act of purification extends to your thoughts and intentions as well. It's advisable to take a bath before performing any ritual. The lamp itself should be cleaned regularly to remove any residue from previous use, ensuring it remains pure and effective in its role.


8. Chanting Mantras

Accompany the lighting of the deepam with relevant prayers or mantras. This can include slokas like “Shubham Karoti Kalyanam” or the “Gayatri Mantra.” Chanting enhances the spiritual ambiance and connects your mind to the divine. Each mantra has its own significance and benefits. For instance, the Gayatri Mantra is known for its powerful ability to purify the mind and surroundings. Regular chanting can also enhance concentration and bring inner peace.


9. Safety Precautions

Safety cannot be overlooked. Never leave a burning deepam unattended. Keep it away from children and pets. Ensure there's proper ventilation and no flammable materials nearby. Always have a means to extinguish the flame safely, such as a snuffer or a damp cloth. It’s also a good practice to place the lamp on a metal or ceramic plate to catch any dripping oil or ghee and prevent fire hazards.


10. Intention and Mindfulness

Lastly, your intention and state of mind matter significantly. Approach the ritual with a positive, focused, and serene mindset. Lighting the deepam with a pure heart enhances the spiritual benefits and brings a sense of peace and fulfillment. It’s essential to be fully present during the ritual, focusing on the light and what it symbolizes. This mindfulness transforms the act from a mere tradition to a deeply spiritual experience.



Lighting a deepam is a beautiful and meaningful ritual that carries deep spiritual significance. By understanding and respecting the essential aspects of this practice, you can enhance the experience and invite auspiciousness into your life. May the light of the deepam illuminate your path and bring joy, peace, and prosperity to your home.

By following these guidelines, you ensure that the act of lighting the deepam is conducted with reverence and awareness, making the experience both spiritually enriching and fulfilling.