Aspirants require divine light and inspiration in their lives to help them on the spiritual path. Jyoti aradhana, simply lighting one small fame, is a way of invoking the divinity into one's life. It is a five-minutepractice that can be done daily or during special times of sadhana or remembrance. By lighting the fame with feeling and sincerity, you connect with your own source of divine inspiration.
In many religions around the world, the candle fame is associated with light and divinity. In the Christian faith the symbol of the fame represents the light of Christ and candles are placed at the church altar at the time of prayer.
Traditionally, since vedic times, a clay, brass or silver deepak is used to burn the fame. A deepak is a vessel specially designed to hold oil and a cotton wick. A natural cotton wick is used along with natural oils, such as mustard, sesame, olive or vegetable oil. If oil deepaks are not available, then tea light candles may be used. If available, an incense or essential oil burner can also be lit to purify the air of negative thoughts and vibrations. Sweet, natural earthy scents of flowers and wood relax the mind and influence the environment of a room immediately.
The practice of jyoti aradhana is very simple. In your sadhana room or a quiet space indoors, place and light the prepared deepak or candle. You may like to keep the fame in front of a photo of your guru, ishta devata or any source of inspiration that you wish to connect with through love and respect. Once the jyoti is lit light the incense and say a prayer of thanks and gratitude to the object of your worship and sit quietly for a few minutes. The jyoti may be left to extinguish naturally, which may take a few hours depending on the size of the vessel. According to vedic tradition a fame symbolizes the eternal, everlasting atma and is therefore never blown out.
Soon, you will findthat the room in which the jyoti burns becomes a place of sadhana, bathed in the energy of peace and beauty; and through this fame you begin to feel and create the link between the individual consciousness and the cosmic consciousness. In this way, you begin to communicate with and invoke the divine into your life.
Akhanda means 'unbroken'. Akhanda jyoti aradhana is the practice of keeping a jyoti burning continuously for days, months and even years. The akhanda jyoti in Jyoti Mandir at Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yogapeeth has been burning continuously since 1964. People from all over the world come to have darshan of the akhanda jyoti. Every year its light spreads more beauty, peace and auspiciousness.
At Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yogapeeth, akhanda jyoti and aradhana jyoti aradhana are performed on a daily basis and at special occasions as a practice. You may also wish to per form jyoti or akhanda jyoti aradhana in your home as it is per formed in the ashram in order to maintain and strengthen the connection between you, the ashram and your source of inspiration.
Guru Bhakti Yoga, every 5th and 6th of the month, ashram residents, students and guests remember the life, inspiration and maha samadhi of Sri Swami Satyananda. From 12 noon on the 5th until evening of the 6th, akhanda jyotis are lit in the sacred places of the ashram. Throughout this period the burning jyoti magnifies the connection to Sri Swamiji, his life, teaching and the tradition. It is this simple practice of regularly lighting the akhanda deepaks that will continue to inspire aspirants for years to come.
Twice a year on Navaratri, an akhanda jyoti burns for nine days in the sacred places.
Every Poornima and Ekadashi, jyoti aradhana is performed before the chanting of the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita respectively.
Every evening at sunset, special garden jyoti aradhana is performed to the trees and garden murtis of all deities in Satyam Udyan.
Since the time jyoti aradhana started at Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yogapeeth, the residents have been witness to many miracles. Deepaks have been seen burning unattended for days without oil or against all odds in wind, rain and storm. These phenomena indicate a connection and communication between the ashram and the divine. They help remind us of the grace that flowsthrough our lives and strengthen our faith, fillingus with inspiration and guidance.