In the Indian tradition, with the change of every season, different aspects of nature are held in high reverence. Paying obeisance to the five elements is an important part of the rituals. The Fire element and the rituals connected with it are of great significance.
Nearly all the indigenous and ancient cultures in the world, had at least one, if not several, deities that govern fire and its vibrational nature. It is fire, that we and our ancestors used to warm our homes, cook our food, we sit around it; to ward off the darkness of night, light our homes and invoke our deities. It is the same fire that fuels our passion and creativity. It fuels our metabolism, that by which what is eaten, gets completely digested. We have to keep replenishing this fuel because the element Fire is forever leaving: radiating from our skin, wafting away through the air that is exhaled and lost in the warmth of our daily excretory processes. With the change of seasons, if we do not adapt to the change in nature, the fire element can go into an imbalance. This makes us vulnerable and susceptible to different kinds of fever, digestive issues, skin diseases, increased heat or cold in the body etc. So there are rituals that were designed to take care of these imbalances.
Invoking the fire element through rituals, serve as a reminder to strengthen the fire element in our system.
Deep Pujan (ritualistic worship of lamp) is one such ritual to invoke the fire element which is performed on the Amavasya (no moon day) during the months of July-August. This day is also known as ‘Deep / Deepanvit Amavasya’ when one expresses their gratitude unto the Agni or the sacred fire principle.
As part of the rituals, organic lamps made of wheat flour are prepared and they are lit as an offering. Besides, on this day, all the lamps in the house are gathered, cleaned and then placed together. Kumkum ( Vermillion) and Haridram (Turmeric) are applied to the lamps. A rangoli is drawn around them with eco friendly materials like rice flour or natural coloured powders. Some offer flowers and garlands as well. Then these lamps are lit and an offering of various delicacies is made to these lamps.
Here is a simple method to prepare eco-friendly home made lamps, as shared by Dr.Bharati Lele. Take one bowl of wheat flour and mix it along with 1/2 bowl Of Jaggery ( Raw cane sugar) syrup along with one tablespoon of ghee or oil. Now in a mixing bowl, add all these ingredients and mix well. Knead the mixture into a dough and give it the shape of earthen lamps. Steam it for about 10 mins and then let it cool. Once it is dry you may add Desi Ghee ( pure clarified butter) in the lamp. Place a cotton wick and light the lamp. The interesting aspect of this ritual is that we can consume these wheat lamps later.