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Does any scriptures mention use of candles on the night of Diwâlî ?

Lighting a seasame oil or ghee based dîyâ is considered auspicious. However, these days it's more common for people to light up candles rather than an oil-lamp (dîyâ) on the night of Diwâlî. Not to forget the artificial lightings too.

So, does scriptures mention anything about candles and the significance of lighting them, either on Diwâlî or in any other setting in general?

More broadly, does candles even find a mention in any canonical scriptures?

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    Interesting Q. From Skanda Purana, Kartikamasa Mahatmya, Vaishnava Khanda, they don’t mention candles but deepaka without mentioning the word ‘oil deepaka’ or whatever. Purana is supposed to have been written 5000 years ago. As per Wikipedia, the earliest candles were 200 BC in China and before they’ve found evidence for the use of oil lamps. Hence we take deepak to mean diyas only. Technically Deepak means light only so I guess any light should do? They’re mainly concerned with illumination. Light is from fire electricity is also fire so is wax lit up
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 15:31
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    Well, we call the divine of the form: jyotirûpam, @Archit, and thus the significance of lighting a lamp. The ghee or seasame oil being specifically used as fuel, might have some significance too. However, any light should do? I don't think so. I might be wrong. IMO, A deepak specifically lit with cow ghee or some specific oil are generally recommended. Thus any random lighting product seems a bit far streching.
    – Vivikta
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 15:50

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As per dharma, only dīpa with ghṛta (ghee) and tilataila (sesame oil), should be offered in devapūjana, this is clearly stated in Viṣṇusmṛti -

na ghṛtatailaṁ vinā kiñcana dīpārthe / ~ Viṣṇusmṛti (66.11)

Nandapaṇḍita's Vaijayantī commentary -

ghṛtam ; gomahṣiyajānāṁ nirdaśāhānām ; "gomahiṣyajānāmanirdaśāhānām" iti vasiṣṭhasmaraṇāt / payoniṣedhe tadvikārāṇāmapi niṣedhaḥ / anyeṣām " auṣṭramaikaśaphaṁ straiṇamāraṇyakamathāvikam" iti vikāramātrasyaivaḥ niṣedhaḥ / tailaṁ tilodbhavam .... etadubhayātiriktaṁ dīpaṁ na deyam

ghṛtam (ghee) ; sandhinīkṣīranmavatsākṣīram / gomahiṣyajānāmnirdaśāhānām / [the milk of cows in heat or whose calves have died, or of cows, bufflaoes, or goats during the first ten days after giving birth should not be consumed], says Vasiṣṭha (in Vasiṣṭha dharmasūtra 14.34-35). The niṣedha regarding such milk also applies to the vikāras (products) of milk. Also, auṣṭramaikaśaphaṁ straiṇamāraṇyakamathāvikam // [milk of camels, single-hoofed animals, women, wild animals, and sheep should be avoided] (in Yājñavalkya smṛti 1.170), implies the niṣedha of the vikāras of such milk too, in this context. Tailam (oil) here, is that produced from tila (sesame seeds)..... Apart from these two substances (ghṛtam and tilataila), a dīpa of something else shouldn't be offered.

In the dharmanibandha Dharmasindhu, Kāśīnātha Upādhyāya states regarding the dīpa-

athadīpaḥ ghṛtenadīpodātavyastitailenavāpunaḥ vasāmedādidīpovarjyaḥ...
~ Pariccheda (3.2), p. 596

Now about dīpa- dīpa with ghṛta or tilataila should be offered, an offering of dīpa lighted with the grease, fat or marrow of māṁsa, and other substances, is varjita.

In the dharmanibandha Caturvārgacintāmaṇi, Hemādri quotes the following from Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa regarding offering of dīpas to devatās in pūjana -

dhṛtena dīpā dātavyāstailairvā yadunandana //
vasāmajjādibhirdrīpā na tu deyāḥ kathañcana /
~ Dāṇakhaṇḍa 13th adhyāya, p. 945

Only ghṛtam and taila of tila is to be used in dīpas, no kind of fat or marrow of bones or flesh of animals is to be used in dīpas

In current-day, most candles are primary made from paraffin wax, which is a petroleum-product. Apart from that, there are alternatives such as soyawax, coconut wax, etc. too, available in the market too, in present day. In the olden days, candles were made from beeswax, spermacitty, tallow, etc. These are all varjita to be lighted and offered in devapūjana, as is clear from both smṛti (+ comm.) and dharmanibandhas. So, Hindus should avoid burning them in utsavas (or tyohāras), such as Dīpāvalī, etc. and even in the celebration of their own birthdays (which they seem to currently celebrate in primarily western mleccha way), because it's simply aśubhakarma on their part.

As for the history of candles, their making and use does seem to be foreign to India and Indians, until the 18th century, even then which it seemed to be confined to the pure luxury of some Marāṭhā royals such as Śāhu (grandson of Śivājī), not in mainstream use or utilization in Hindu rituals. For more info on this, you may check Gode (1951) which details history of wax candles of India, as per past records.

On the occasion of Dīpavalī, many current-day Hindus are seen decorating the exterior of their homes (including the entrance) with strings of sparkling electric lights (LED strips, bulbs, etc.). Although, this has become a custom in many cities, due to being observed by many since decades, it's not actually a śāstriya prathā, nor is it actually really very old. This practice is at most 100 yrs old for most families of current-day city Hindus as well. The śāstra doesn't recommend or enjoin Hindus to light up the exterior of their homes with electrical lights, during Dīpāvalī. However, the śāstra do say to light up dīpas in one's homes and surroundings during Dīpāvalī (from Āśvina Kṛṣṇacaturadaśī onwards) and Āśvina Kṛṣṇatrayodaśī, it also mentions the phala of doing such puṇyakarman, in Skanda Purāṇa (2.4.9) and Padma Purāṇa (6.121-122).
I would be quoting some relevant Saṁskṛta ślokas from both the sources below -

āśvinasyāʼsite pakṣe trayodaśyāṁ niśāmukhe /
yamadīpaṁ baliṁ dadyādapamṛtyurvinaśyati //
~ Skanda Purāṇa (2.4.9.20)

dūtā ūcuḥ - yathā na jīvitādbhraśyedīdṛśe tu mahotsave / tathopāyaṃ brūhi yama kṛpāṃ kṛtvāʼsmadagrataḥ // yama uvāca - āśvinasyāʼsite pakṣe trayodaśyāṃ niśāmukhe / prativarṣaṃ tu yo dadyādgṛhadvāre sudīpakam // mantreṇāʼnena bho dūtāḥ samāneyaḥ sa notsave / prāpteʼpamṛtyāvapi ca śāsanaṃ kriyatāṃ mama // mṛtyunā pāśadaṃḍābhyāṃ kālena ca mayā saha / trayodaśyāṃ dīpadānātsūryajaḥ prīyatāmiti // mantreṇānena yo dīpaṃ dvāradeśe prayacchati / utsave cāʼpamṛtyośca bhayaṃ tasya na jāyate // ~ Skanda Purāṇa (2.4.9.22-26)

kārtikasyāsite pakṣe trayodaśyāṃ tu pāvake /
yamadīpaṃ bahirdadyādapamṛtyurvinaśyati // ~ Padma Purāṇa (6.122.4)

narakāya pradātavyo dīpaḥ saṃpūjya devatāḥ // ~ Skanda Purāṇa (2.4.9.42b)

madrājye ye dīpadānaṃ bhuvi kurvaṃti mānavāḥ / teṣāṃ gṛhe tava strīyaṃ sadā tiṣṭhatu susthirā // mama rājye gṛhe yaiṣāmaṃdhakāraḥ patiṣyati / lakṣmīsaṃtānāṃdhakāraḥ sadā patatu tadgṛhe // caturdaśyāṃ ca ye dīpānnarakāya dadaṃti ca / teṣāṃ pitṛgaṇāḥ sarve narake na vasaṃti ca //
~ Skanda Purāṇa (2.4.9.54-56)

dīpadānaṃ tataḥ kuryātpradoṣe ca tatholmukam / bhrāmayetsvasya śirasi sarvāʼriṣṭanivāraṇam // dīpavṛkṣāstathā kāryāḥ śaktyā devagṛhādiṣu / catuṣpathe śmaśāne ca nadīparvataveśmasu //
~ Skanda Purāṇa (2.4.9.91-92)

narakāya pradātavyo dīpaḥ saṃpūjya devatāḥ / tataḥ pradoṣasamaye dīpāndadyānmanoharān // brahmaviṣṇuśivādīnāṃ bhavaneṣu viśeṣataḥ / kūṭāgāreṣu caityeṣu sabhāsu ca nadīṣu ca // prākārodyānavāpīṣu pratolī niṣkuṭeṣu ca / maṃdurāsu viviktāsu hastiśālāsu caiva hi //
~ Padma Purāṇa (6.122.14-16)

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