Blowing out candles

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Wed Jan 28 17:13:24 CST 1998

On Wed, 28 Jan 1998, Gregory Goode wrote:

> I've heard that one should not blow out the candles/oil lamps on an altar,
> but extinguish them in some other way.  True?  Why?  I've seen priests
> fanning them with their hands.

Because of the pollution associated with saliva. If one blows out the lamp
with the lips, there is a chance that saliva would get spilled onto the
lamp. So one either fans it out, or snuffs out the light using a flower.
The same reasoning holds for incense sticks, camphor etc.

This is the same reason why orthoprax Hindus look askance at blowing out
candles on a birthday cake, and at licking the gum on a stamp/envelope.
Although my grandmother would bemoan my deficient orthopraxy in many
respects, I can't bring myself to lick stamps or envelopes. My American
friends stare at me, when I go to the water-fountain for this purpose!

>From ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU Thu Jan 29 08:54:41 1998
Message-Id: <THU.29.JAN.1998.085441.EST.ADVAITAL at TAMU.EDU>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 08:54:41 EST
Reply-To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Gregory Goode <goode at DPW.COM>
Subject: Re: Blowing out candles
Comments: To: ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU
In-Reply-To: <Pine.SUN.3.96.980128150717.1740B-100000 at mripc>; from
        "Vidyasankar Sundaresan" at Jan 28, 98 3:13 pm

Thanks, also thanks for the word "orthoprax"!

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