How can we improve our behavior? Making good use of the Hindu temple is one of these ways. Bodhinatha also discusses how the worship of Ganesha can help us to be "in the right place, at the right time." Our choices in life guide how our karmas manifest, and this is helped by connecting with the Deities through temple worship.
Once that is said, the question arises, "Well, how can we improve our behavior? Are there any suggestions you have? What does Gurudeva say about our behavior? What are some of the ways in which our behavior can be improved spiritually?"
Well, making good use of the Hindu temple is one of these ways. Gurudeva had a wonderful way of bringing the Deities to life in peoples minds so that they would conceive of them not as mere symbols but as a real Being, as a real person.
For example, imagine an eight-year old child relating to a seventy-year old grandmother. Wise, compassionate grandmother. The child just loves to go to the grandmother and hear stories and all. It is really, really inspiring.
Well, that is how we should feel about the Deities in the temple. They should be that real to us, that inspiring to us. We feel they are wise and compassionate. By being with them, we feel a little more knowledgeable and a little more peaceful, more serene about life.
Gurudeva once said, "Ganesha and Muruga are real Beings just like you and me. The only difference is they don't have a physical body. But they can use mine any time they want. What else are friends for?"
That is what he said. It made it very real. Very real that to him they are only real beings just real as each of us is to one another. They were not symbols or something abstract. They were real beings. It is just they don't have anything physical about them. Because they are not physical, not even astral, they are harder to see, they are harder to relate to. But they are there and fortunately we have the Hindu temple and their blessings do come to us through the Hindu temple and can help us be uplifted, become centered, overcome sense of fear. A lot of people are in fear these days, fear of terrorism, fear of things going wrong. Going to the temple can help us rise above all these concerns.
How? Just like being with the grandmother. By getting close, by learning how to feel the Deity, feel the presence of the Deity in the murthi and be uplifted because of it. Have our problems solved because of it.
We are working on a 'Publisher's Desk ' which incorporates some of these ideas. We sent out an e-mail request to a few individuals we know, who are young adults but when they were younger, when they were going to school, had some wonderful experiences with Lord Ganesha.
This one young woman was really close to Lord Ganesha and would often go to Lord Ganesha before important examinations. This is an important time in your youth when you have a major examination. So before a major examination, she would not just stay up all night studying, she would go to the temple. Go to the temple before the exam and worship Lord Ganesha. She gave some wonderful testimony to us all on occasion on how close Ganesha was to her at that moment and how Ganesha's presence helped her do so well on the examination, that she never would have done as well as she did without the blessings of Ganesha. That shows how close the Deities can be in our life.
One of the points that this editorial is going to develop is that this is important to try and instill in children when they go to the temple. That they learn how to feel close to the Deity and how to have the Deity help them in their life, such as the practical way when they go to school for examinations. They should do better on examinations because they go to the temple. It should be that practical.
Yesterday we gave some advise. Someone was looking for a job and not finding one. So we said, "Well, first thing to do is to go to the temple. Worship Ganesha sincerely. Explain you are looking for a job. Then, go out and look for one."
The person did that the next day, went to the temple, worshiped Ganesha, went back to a place of employment he had previously been to, walked right in and the person said, "Oh, you are here for the job. Wonderful!"
That is what really happened. It so happens they had an opening subsequent to his last being there and they had just placed an ad in the newspaper that was coming out that morning. So, the person thought he was responding to the ad. Of course, he had not read the ad, he was responding to Ganesha who helped him be in the right place, at the right time.
That is one of the wonderful things about Ganesha's worship. Sometimes it seems we are in the wrong place and the time is wrong. We kind-of get stuck in the cycle of life or our timing is off. Nothing seems to work right. We go somewhere and we just miss someone. We do something else and they are gone. We do this and it does not work out. We are just kind-of in a cycle where everything seems to be blocked. Our timing seems to be off somehow much worse than it usually is. Usually, some things work and some things don't. But, in this instance nothing quite works right.
What do we do? We worship Lord Ganesha to get back in to the natural flow. Somehow we have gotten out of it. We have gotten too externalized. We have gotten too burdened by life. We need to turn in a little bit and get our natural sense of timing back, so that we are more intuitive. We are not so externalized in how we are doing things but we are more open to an inner flow of consciousness, which is what Lord Ganesha helps us experience.
The consciousness is actually ours. When we first do it, we may think, "Oh, Lord Ganesha told me to do this and I did it and that happened. Ganesha is so smart!"
Actually, Ganesha is putting you in tune with your own smartness, your own intuition, your own superconscious or inner voice. He is helping you to be attuned to it, by the vibration He emanates. When we are attuned to that part of us, our timing is better. Opportunities can just drop out of the sky, so to speak. Because, we are at the right place at the right time.
These opportunities are still in our karma. Even though they are in our karma, it does not mean they will manifest. In our karma means it is possible for them to happen to us at this time. But, we also have free will. So what happens to us is not predetermined, it is like it is a multiple choice question always. What is predetermined is A, B, C or D, you know. Choose. It is a constant series of choices, the choices are given to us by our karma. But exactly what choice we make and therefore what choice that leads to on the next question, depends on us.
It all works out much better when we have the blessings of the Deities and that occurs when we really feel that they are real Beings. Just like Gurudeva did. When they are real Beings, just like the wise grandmother if we are an eight year old. We love to run to grandmother and hear stories. We feel so much better, we are uplifted.
The temple should be the same kind of experience. A very practical experience.