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The light of hope

india Updated: Nov 22, 2011 00:54 IST
PP Wangchuk

Why do we do what we do? When you try to realise it, you will be surprised that we do most of the things that we do without knowing why? And we are contented that we get a sense of satisfaction by doing what we do. Great, I suppose!

A booklet ‘Why Do We’, tells you about so many things in life that we do day in and day out routinely, and yet without knowing why?

Written by Swamini Vimalananda and Radhika Krishnakumar, the booklet has 20 ‘Why we do’ things. The first of these is on lighting a lamp.

We light a lamp because of a number of reasons. The most important one is that we do it as an offering to the gods and goddesses we worship. It is done in order to remind ourselves to dispel the darkness around us and give us wisdom and knowledge enough to be kind, loving human beings.

It is an attempt to dispel the ignorance that we are enveloped with, and have a clear and positive vision that could benefit our fellow beings.

Lighting a lamp is invoking the Lord (Chaitanya) who is supposed to be the source that enlivens us and is the illuminator of all knowledge. That is why we worship and pray to light as the Lord of Knowledge.

The ‘light’ that we get after lighting a lamp enables us to understand that knowledge is the greatest wealth one can possess and it builds up one’s inner strength for good action and behaviour.

No wonder, before the daybreak or after nightfall and on any function or auspicious occasion, we light lamps as a witness and reminder to our thoughts and actions to be good and beneficial. That is why Swami Chinmayananda wrote, “What else shall adorn the mind but the light of wisdom ‘deep’; what else shall beautify a home but the flame of a lovely lamp? And I would like to add: What else can remove darkness and ignorance the way a ‘deep’ does by sacrificing itself?