The above photographs are of the “Deepa Pooja Festival” held this morning at “The Zoroastrian Club”, which is behind our house. More than a thousand ladies participated in this well organized and successful Pooja.
One important form of worship is prayer to a Deepam that is a Jyothi, a Lamp or the Flame. In the absence of a Deity, an Idol or a Picture of a God or Goddess, worshipping the Lamp as a form of Deity of one’s choice that is Ishta Devatha is normal. Vedas say that God exists in five elements that is Pancha Boothalu that is Earth, Water, Air, Fire and the Sky. People may worship God through any of these elements. Light or fire, the Deepam or Jyothi represents one of these five elements and is a manifestation of God. Many people perform prayer rituals to the lamp every day. Before any Pooja the oil lamps in front of the deities are well decorated, lit and maintained till well after the Pooja. In my childhood and for many years later we had the tradition of respectfully offering a Namaskaram / Namasthe to the first lamp, lit at dusk, oil or electrical!