Today we celebrate Lord Ganesha with an afternoon abhishakam in Kadavul Temple. We wish you all a bountiful and blessed Chaturthi. Today's lesson from Merging With Siva had a perfect topic for today. Here it is:
Lesson 134 from Merging with Siva
Lord Ganesha, The Gatekeeper
Lord Ganesha is the first God a Hindu comes to know. As the Lord of Categories, His first objective is to bring order into the devotee's life, to settle him into the correct and proper flow of his dharma--the pattern of duties, responsibilities and expectations suited to the maturity of his soul. As the Lord of Obstacles, He deftly wields His noose and mace, dislodging impediments and holding avenues open until the individual is set in a good pattern, one that will fulfill his spiritual needs rather than frustrate them.
Always remember that Ganesha does not move swiftly. He is the elephant God, and His gait is slow and graceful. As the God of the instinctive-intellectual mind, His darshans are carried on the slower currents of mind, and so His response to our prayers is usually not overnight or sudden and electric, but more deliberate and gradual. Yet, our patience is rewarded, for His work is thorough and powerful, of matchless force persisting until our lives and minds adjust and our prayer has become reality.
Lord Ganesha is also known as the Gatekeeper. Access to all the other Gods comes through Him. It is not that He would want to keep anyone from another God, but He prepares you to meet them and makes the meeting an auspicious one. This preparation can mean lifetimes. There is no hurry. It is not a race. Ganesha will faithfully bar access to those who do not merit a divine audience and an ensuing relationship with the other Deities whose darshans are faster. Should a devotee gain unearned access and invoke the powers of other Deities before all preparations were concluded, karma would accelerate beyond the individual's control. Worship of Lord Ganesha, however, may begin at any time.
Ganesha is the ubiquitous God. There are more shrines, altars and temples for Lord Ganesha than for any other God. Ganesha bhakti is the most spontaneous worship and the simplest to perform. It requires little ritual. Just the ringing of a small bell at the outset of a project before His picture or the burning of camphor or the offering of a flower is enough to invoke His presence and protection. Throughout India and Sri Lanka, there are small, unadorned shrines to Ganapati under shaded trees, along country roads, at bus terminals, along footpaths and in the city streets. His blessings are indeed everywhere. Helping Ganesha, whose powers of mind outreach the most advanced computers we can conceive, are His ganas, or devonic helpers. These ministering spirits collect the prayers of those in need, ferret out and procure the necessary information and bring it before Lord Ganesha's wisdom.
As we come closer to the wonderful Gods of Hinduism, we come to love them in a natural way, to be guided by them and to depend on them more than we depend on ourselves. The exuberant enthusiasm so prevalent in the West, of holding to an existential independence and expressing an autonomous will to wield the direction of our lives, loses its fascination as we mature within the steady radiance of these Gods and begin to realize the divine purpose of our Earthly sojourn.
One might ask how the Hindu can become so involved in the love of the Gods that he is beholden to their will? Similarly, one might ask how does anyone become so involved and in love with his mother and father, trusting their guidance and protection, that he is beholden to them? It works the same way. Where you find the Hindu family close to one another and happy, you find them close to the Gods. Where they are not close, and live in a fractured or broken home, the Gods will unfortunately have been exiled from their lives. They will not be invoked, and perhaps not even believed in.
Key concepts: Naalupadasaivam: "A Saiva doctrine that the initiate should pass successively through charya, kriya, yoga and jnana stages and thence obtain moksha." The charya pada, the dasa marga, path of servitude. Sharing the world of God. The kriya pada, satputra marga, true son's way. Nearness to God. The yoga pada, sakha marga, way of the friend, experiencing inner light, sharing the superconscious mind. We talk to God. The jnana pada, san marga, sayujya patavi, union with God. There is no difference between Siva and the soul. God is our dearest Beloved. The three types of temples provide training and experience leading to worship and meditation in the Atma kovil.