What is a diya?

Updated: Sep 30

The simple answer is a diya is clay or metal container into which you place oil and wick and burn it much the way westerners do candles. The reality is that a diya is so much more. A diya is divine sacred light.



My love for the diya began years ago in a meditation class. The fire from the wick, the scent from the oil that filled the room, the energy I felt coming forth from this object was undeniably enchanting and it started a love affair within me with a country and culture that has only grown stronger with time.


I use a diya on a daily basis; however, my non-yoga friends are often confused by this practice and I get many questions about what a diya and these oils are. In this this blog I’ll explain the general benefits of burning a diya, and the meaning of the different oils you can burn in a diya. Welcome to the blessings of the diya.


A diya is made from clay or metal. It is a small bowl-shaped vessel that has a spout where the cotton wick is placed. Diyas can have multiple spouts for more than one wick. Wicks are made from cotton and can be bought easily on amazon or at your local Indian grocery. I prefer to make mine (Keep your eyes open for the YouTube video). Ghee or oil is poured into the vessel and with wick is lit.


Lighting of diyas happens every day in temples and households across India and around the world. Lighting the diya is an important part of prayer, honoring the Gods and Goddesses, and is a common practice for festivals. Diwali is the festival of lights and is a magical time in India.


The light from the diya signifies purity, goodness, good luck and power. The light from the diya reminds us that the darkness of negative forces, such as wickedness, destruction, violence, lust, envy, injustice, greed, oppression and suffering can be overcome with light and frees us from all kinds of grief. Light from the diya brings wealth, health & prosperity & bestows us with knowledge, leading the path to enlightenment. The flame symbolizes knowledge and wisdom, the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.


The Oils


The traditional diyas were lit using ghee (clarified butter) but today people also use a combination of Ghee with various oils. Different combinations of oils offer their own vibration and meaning to the intention while burning a diya.


According to Ayurveda, cow ghee is considered pure in essence and nature and is considered to have a calming effect on the brain; as well as, produces positive vibrations and emotions in the mind. Ghee is very auspicious and contains positive divine particles and attracts spiritually pure energy. Ghee has the capacity to attract all the positive vibrations in the surrounding space and clear negative energy. Ghee bestows wealth, health and heavenly bliss.


Sesame oil is considered a pure oil and is known to eliminate that which causes us problems and repel evil spirits. It helps to eliminate long term problems and will remove obstacles from one's life.


Mustard oil removes problems or negativities related to planet Saturn and wards of diseases. Mustard oil helps in purifying the air and has a pleasant aroma.


Coconut oil is the preferred oil for Ganesh and provides wisdom.


Castor oil is known to be used for a happy family life, growth, spiritual development, fame and prosperity. Castor oil is thick in nature and lets the lamp burn for a longer time.


Mahua oil attracts the blessings of Lord Shiva and excellent for getting rid of debts, opening financial blockages and is said to free one from health problems.


At A’lainn Cottage the base for our diya oil is mixture of 5 oils in a 3:2:1:2:2 ratio.

Sesame oil 35% 30

Cow’s ghee 20% 20

Mahua oil 20% 10

Mustard oil 15% 20

Castor oil 10 % 20


Shiva Oil is for Devine Masculine energies. The essential oils of Palo Santo, Champaca, Cypress and Frankincense are added to our base along with the herbs of Juniper berry, Bay Leaf and Sage.


Shakti Oil is for the Devine Feminine in all her representations. To glorify the Goddess, we have added the essential oils of Jasmine, Rose, Ylang Ylang and Lavender along with Rose petals, and the herbs of Lavender, Basil and Sage.


Lighting a diya daily is a beautiful practice to add to the spiritual path you are practicing.


These oils are for use in a diya only to aid in prayer and meditation. Do not use these oils on the skin and do not ingest these oils.


We are willing to customize your diya oil, substituting Coconut oil for one of the oils used in our recipe, using different ration amounts, and using different essential oils upon request. Minimum order for customized diya oils is 1 gallon (128 ounces).





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