why do we light deepam for Kathigai?

Thanks to Shri Ramesh Swamy for sharing this article……

HH Sri Sri Paramcharya explained this in 3rd Volume of Deivathin Kural.


We light up a series of earthen lamps on the day of the star of Kruttika in the month of Kaartigai. At that time we are to sing this sloka as given in the saastraa-s:- 

keedaa: patangaa: masagaascha vrukchaa: jale stale ye nivasanti jeevaa: I drushtvaa pradeepam na cha janma baajaa bavanti nityam svabasaa hi vipraa: II

This means, “We pray that, whosoever sees this lamp that we are lighting, they be worms, birds or mosquitoes or trees and such plants; all life forms which live in water or on earth; or may be human beings of whatever caste or creed; seeing this light may have the effect on them that all their sins are washed away and they may transcend the cycle of life and death and reach ever lasting happiness”!

Not only life forms in land and water. By saying ‘patangaa:’ (birds) and ‘masakaa:’ (mosquitoes) all flying birds and insects have been included. Though they fly in the air, the mosquitoes lay the eggs in water only. Birds similarly have to come down to a nest to rest and lay eggs. There are fishes which can live only in water while some animals like frogs and crocodiles which are equally adept in land and water. Having identified each such variety, the prayer is for cancellation of all their sins and crossing over the ocean of life.

This Kaartigai Deepam seen by any of these life forms may give them ever lasting merit, it is prayed! The word ‘drushtvaa’ in the slokam means, ‘having been seen’. ‘Vruksham’ the tree is also mentioned. The tree cannot see. As per science, the plants do have some senses. But, we do not know if they have any capacity to see. They do differentiate between sunlight and shadow and grow towards the sunlight! I feel that the interpretation is that, it does not matter even if they cannot see or do not see this light. The prayer is that, still the effect of cancellation of all sins should be there!

As light does not differentiate between Tom, Dick and Harry; between all castes, creeds and sects; between birds, animals, plants and insects; between mobile (jangama) and static (staavara) life forms; the Love from our hearts should be universally applicable and effective! With such inner intension, the outer earthen lamp should be lighted, with the prayer as quoted above to make the Kaartigai Deepam effective.

In the past during festivals, it was the custom to light up what is known as ‘chokkap paanai’, which was a massive earthen lamp. In Thiruvannamalai, it is a practice even in modern times, on Kartigai evening as the Sun goes down, to light up a huge Deepam in which several Kilo Grams of Ghee is poured in a wide hole in the rock face on top of the hill. The wick is several feet thick. It is a sight to be seen and heard some ten lac people shouting, ‘Arohara’ as the light comes on to be seen miles away.

Similarly as the pilgrimage season ends in Sabari Hills in Kerala, the light comes up on ‘Kaanta Malai Hill’ known to Ayyappa devotees as ‘Makara Jyoti’ on Makara Sankranti evening! The idea is to instill universal unconditional Love in the minds of all onlookers!

Normally there are more animals with two and or four legs. The fly, roach and beetle have six, spider has eight and some of the creepers like the centipede have many legs. There are prayers in the Veda-s seeking the welfare of two, four, six, eight and many legged animals and those without legs, such as the snake and the fish!

The fully realized soul does not differentiate between Brahmin and Non-brahmin, says Bhagawat Gita (5.18.). Though we may differ in our occupations and Karma Anushtaana, when it comes to compassion and love, there should not be any differentiation whatsoever! That is how, Rantideva did daanam to a brahmin and finally gave his last bit of water to a sudra. In this Kaartigai Deepam slokam too, all human beings are included as ‘svabasaa hi vipraa:’, meaning ‘the whole range of people from non-brahmin to the brahmin’! Our saastraa-s do not differentiate even between the good and bad, when wishing well. Our saastraa-s go even beyond and conveys its best wishes to all those residents of the Naraka (Hell) too.

Categories: Deivathin Kural, Upanyasam


13 replies

  1. Respected Sir,

    Hereby, I acknowledge the receipt of Rs.10,001. Thanks & Pranams. The amount was credited yesterday itself. As I was in our Melvenpakkam Perumaal Sannadhi to celebrate the monthly Uthraadam & as there is no network at all, I could not instantly see the confirmation sms sent from our bank.

    Sir, your contribution is a timely help. I told AMR Swaamy also about this. He conveyed his blessings to you.

    Sir, my appeal to you is to spread the news about this holy work in all your known circles, if you are willing to. There are many NRI Tamilians, Telugus, Keralites & Kannadigas who might be willing to contribute.

    Kindly propagate this sir.

    I conclude with the words of Mahaperiyavaa: “If you donate even one brick towards the renovation of an ancient temple, it is assured in the Vedas that, you will live in Kailaasaa or Vaikundhaa, 1000 times of the years, that brick lies in that temple. This holy Kaingaryam not only helps your present life & your future but also your ancestors who are caught in Soonya Thithi & are struggling to attain Moksha”.

    *D.Manivannan,* *Managing Trustee,* *Melvenpakkam Srilakshmi Narayana Perumal Charitable Trust (Regd),* *No.11, 4th Main Road, Ram Nagar, Nanganallur, Chennai-61.* *9003177722 / 9383145661 / 9444970066* *www.melvenpakkamperumal.com* *e-mail:** melvenpakkamthaayaar@gmail.com*

  2. Kindly furnish the full sloka for all of us to share Can we ever get such a great Mahan as Paramacharyal to guide us from the present day chaos My hearet melts at Karuna moorthy’s benign advice while lighting the Deepam on Karthigai Let there be good days for suffering humanity animals birds in this period of heavy rain Let us all pray to Our Maha Swamigal to save tamil nadu from further catastrophy

  3. Reblogged this on Sage of Kanchi and commented:

    Karthigai Deepam Special 1

  4. Sorry for the late post!

    Here is the article about “Karthigai”


  5. The HANUMAN Chalisa (40 Slokas of Hanuman)

    Hanuman have jumped up from the EARTH to catch the SUN.
    one of the SLOKAS says :


    Means…….BHAANU is Surya ( Sun)..

    It says…the SUN is 1 Yug, 1 Sahastra and 1 Yojana away from Earth.

    Now 1 Yug is 12000 miles; 1 Sahastra is 1000 miles; and 1 Yojana is 8 Miles; PAR is = distance away from.

    1 MILE = 1.6 KILOMETRES.

    Now to the meaning of the SLOKA.

    THE SUN IS 1 Yug times 1 Sahastra times 1 Yojana = 12,000 into 1000 Yojanas = 12000 into 1000 into 8 miles away from Earth.

    = 12,000 into 1000 into 8 into 1.6 Kilometres away from Earth
    = 1536000000 Kilometres away from Earth.

    This is exactly what NASA has calculated , the distance between Sun and Earth.
    And our ancients have done it. Great

  6. Greetings to all devotees on the occasion of Kaarthigai Deepam! Om Nama Shivaaya! Deepa MangaLa Jyothi Namo Nama! Jaya Jaya Shankara, Hara Hara Shankara!

  7. What our Periyava says is “if we light the lamp and that light seen by every creation of the God,will be benefited.,The hidden meaning of this is this much only ” when you understand what is right and what is wrong,and when you select the Good,you are fully benefitted and your life will become outstanding.there is a saying,light is not enough,you have to see the subject.”Kannirundal Mattum podathu,Adai Kondu Parkavum vendum”,endral than nam Vazvu Parimalikum. Hara Hara Sankara..Jaya Jaya Sankara.

  8. *Subject: An interesting point from Hanuman Chalisa*

    *In Hanuman Chalisa, *

    *it is said :*

    *”Yug sahastra yojan per Bhanu!Leelyo taahi madhu phal janu!!1 Yug = 12000 years1 Sahastra = 1000 yojanaa1 Yojan = 8 Miles1 mile = 1.6kmsYug x Sahastra x Yojan = par Bhanu12000 x 1000 x 8 miles96000000 miles = 96000000 x 1.6kms =1536000000 kms to Sun*

    *NASA has said that, it is the exact distance between Earth and Sun (Bhanu).Which proves Hanuman ji did jumped to Planet Sun, thinking it as a sweet fruit (Madhu phal)..It is really interesting how accurate and meaningful our ancient scriptures are.*

  9. Well translated.
    At the moment at Tiruvannamalai for the Deepam – most inspiring

  10. Really touching – two places I liked much:

    There are prayers in the Veda-s seeking the welfare of two, four, six, eight and many legged animals and those without legs, such as the snake and the fish!
    Our saastraa-s do not differentiate even between the good and bad, when wishing well. Our saastraa-s go even beyond and conveys its best wishes to all those residents of the Naraka (Hell) too

    Regarding trees to have vision of jyothi – as per Mahan Sri Anna Subramanium’s details on Sandhya Vandhana Bhashyam, each and every entity in universe has two components – Athi Boudeegam ( physical ) and Athi Deiveegam ( Spiritual ). When Vedas say of devas of water or calling Agni to take or when it says peace to Vanaspathi, when it says of holiness of mountains, when it says of surya watching continuously – they are all components of Athi Deiveegam ( spiritual ) – they have super science or meta physical connotation – Same like how Sri Krishna asked Vraja vaasis to worship Govardhana – there are inherent meanings in them, that only realized beings like Maha Periyavaa can only grasp. For commoners like us, just faith on our Acharya vaakya as Veda vaakya alone is sufficient.

  11. This prayer makes you all the more sublime. What a generosity of heart!

  12. Very topical. Thanks. One suggestion . We are writing about Hindu scriptures and our festivals. Instead of Tom, Dick, Harry I suggest the usage of ” Ram, Dixit, Hari”.Nothing orignal from my side. I read somewhere.

  13. You wont believe this coincidence !!!
    It’s nearly 5 pm in Australia, we were going to light deepam in another 1 hr or so. I remembered this sloka ( I had heard about this in one of periyavaa’s upanyasam CDs). But somehow had forgotten that. I was searching Internet and had got this and just wrote it down. And now I see this you have posted the same sloka.. I am overwhelmed at this karunai from HIM..

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