Nīrājana

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nīrājana (‘[waving of] water or light’) Ritualistic worship of God in and through an icon (either at home or in a temple) is a common feature in Hinduism. The various upacāras (items of honour) are a part of this. They remind one of the way one has to receive an important guest visiting one’s house. Such upacāras may be five (pañcopa- cāras), ten (daśopacāras) or sixteen (ṣoḍa- śopacāras). In all these, waving of a lighted lamp called ‘nīrājana,’ is a must. It may be of burning karpura (camphor) or cotton wicks dipped in ghee or oil, their number being 3 or 5 or 7. Some āgamas declare that by such waving of light, one’s life and happiness increase and all evil beings are driven out. Sometimes, coloured water kept in a shallow plate is waved before a sick person, to ward off the evil forces that might have caused the disease. This is also called ‘nīrājana’ (nīra = water).