From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Nīrājana literally means ‘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 the religion. The various upacāras[1] 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,[2] ten[3] or sixteen.[4] In all these, waving of a lighted lamp called ‘nīrājana,’ is a must. It may be of burning karpura[5] 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 colored water kept in a shallow plate is waved before sick person to ward off the evil forces that might have caused the disease. This is also called ‘nīrājana’.[6]


  1. Upacāras means the items of honor.
  2. Five means pañcopacāras.
  3. Ten means daśopacāras.
  4. Sixteen means ṣoḍa-śopacāras.
  5. Karpura means camphor.
  6. Nīra means water.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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