Who is Lord Ganesha

Path to Siva Lesson 26, Commentary


We need stability and calmness to prevail in the muladhara chakra, not experiencing serious fear, anger or jealousy for deeper teachings to prevail. Ganesha is the Lord of Obstacles, Vighneshvara. If you have a question for Lord Ganesha, hold His image in your mind. You can get an answer from Lord Ganesha in a subtle, indirect way; signs may occur.

Path to Siva, Lesson 26.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

This morning we're reading from Path to Siva, Lesson 26.

"Who Is Lord Ganesha?

"Lord Ganesha is the elephant-faced Patron of Art and Science, the Lord of Obstacles and Guardian of Dharma. First son of Siva, He is worshiped before any of the other Gods, including Siva Himself. His vahana, or mount, is Mushika, the mouse, symbol of this God's ability to access all places in the mind. Gurudeva taught, 'Wherever His devotees are-in the home, the factories, the offices, the hospitals, the marketplace, orbiting in space or tilling the soil on the farm-Lord Ganesha is ever there.' We worship Him before beginning a new project, taking an exam, or making a major decision such as where to go to college. When we feel the need for Ganesha's blessings, we attend puja to Him in the temple or pray to Him at our home shrine. You can get to know Him as a good friend. To contact Him, (Do you think it gives an e-mail address? No!) To contact Him, hold His elephant image in your mind. Look into His eyes. Speak your questions and problems into His right ear. When you are finished, open your eyes. Ganesha's guidance will come in a subtle, indirect manner. Over the next several days, watch for signs, perhaps a suggestion or even a casual comment from a teacher, parent or friend that suddenly makes it clear what you should do. The shakti of Lord Ganesha is a gentle, soothing force. Even a subtle encounter has the power to bring us into the secure consciousness of the muladhara chakra, the force center of memory where Ganesha resides. This blessing keeps us above the seven lower chakras, home of the base emotions such as jealousy, fear and anger. Lord Siva, the Supreme God, created Lord Ganesha, Murugan and all the other Hindu Gods. They are souls like us, but of a higher evolution, destined to enjoy union with Him. They are very old and mature souls, mighty beings who live in the Sivaloka. Though commonly depicted as male or female, they are actually beyond gender."

Then we have Gurudeva's quote here. Gurudeva says:

"Lord Ganesha was created as a governor and interplanetary, intergalactic Lord. His knowledge is infinite, His judgment is just...This Lord of Obstacles prevents us from hurting ourselves through living under an incomplete concept or making a request unneeded or beginning an endeavor not well thought out."

So Gurudeva's teachings on Lord Ganesha are very insightful. And, as you know, from other talks, most teachers when they start talking about the chakras, what are we talking about? Oh, we're talking about the higher chakras; we want to experience the higher chakras. We want to obtain some profound inner light, some deep realization. That's where they start.

Gurudeva says: Well, let's how learn to live in the muladhara chakra. Instead of starting up here, he's starting down there. He's starting at the base of the spine and making sure we're stable in that chakra. What does stable in that chakra mean? That we don't experience serious fear, serious anger, serious jealousy. It doesn't mean we don't have a little flash of anger when we hit our thumb with a hammer or something, you know. Doesn't mean we're a hundred percent free. But it means we don't end up in these states of mind for a significant amounts of time. It passes very quickly if we go there.

Gurudeva's point is we need stability in the muladhara chakra. Why is that? There's a key word here. Secure consciousness, soothing force. So we need calmness. For the deeper teachings to work we need calmness to prevail. We can't be going up and down on a daily basis in our emotions. We won't be able to make spiritual progress. We need a calmness to prevail. A secure consciousness. And that's what not falling below the muladhara chakra is all about. And, the worship of Lord Ganesha is very helpful in stabilizing us there. So obviously, if we have challenges, significant jealousy, fear or anger, then we should focus more on worshiping Lord Ganesha. And as Gurudeva points out, in how to ask your question to Lord Ganesha, the temple or the shrine room are the appropriate places. And if we're working on lessening those lower emotions, we should use the temple cause Lord Ganesha's presence is stronger in the temple. If we're doing well at the temple, we're able to feel Lord Ganesha when we're going to the temple, then, when we worship Ganesha in the shrine room, that's effective as well.

Second idea is about obstacles. Ask the question: Is Lord Ganesha the remover of obstacles? It's a trick question. You're not supposed to say yes. But we tend to think of Him as the remover of obstacles. He's actually the Lord of Obstacles. Vighna Ishvara. Obstacle-Lord. Vighneshvara. He's the Lord of obstacles. Well what's the difference between the Lord of Obstacles and the remover of obstacles? Well, to understand it, the example I always use is the small child. Mothers at home taking care of the small child. Let's say the child is two. The mother is the lord of obstacles in this case. Where is most of the effort? In placing obstacles, right? We have to put something over the power circuit, power outlet on the wall so the finger doesn't go in. We have to be sure the stairs can't be fallen down by putting a blockage in front of the stairs. We have to make sure about this and that. Or we put a lot of obstacles in the child's way. We've placed obstacles to keep the child from going in a certain direction. So, Ganesha does that too. And we need to be open to that, that's Gurudeva's point.

"This Lord of Obstacles prevents us from hurting ourselves through living under an incomplete concept or making a request unneeded or beginning an endeavor not well thought out."

Therefore, Ganesha can place an obstacle in those instances so that we don't go that direction unnecessarily if one of those conditions is in place. We really haven't thought it through. It's not really the best choice, etcetera. An obstacle is placed. And of course, the more common one, an obstacle can be removed.

Another common misunderstanding of Lord Ganesha and obstacles is: I've thought this all through, major decision, I'm embarking on it and I hit a major obstacle. Must be the wrong thing to do. Ganesha must be putting an obstacle in my path. Well that may not be the case, may not be the case. The more complicated a project is the more obstacles you will encounter. It's the nature of complexity. Iraivan Temple. We've been carving since 1990 so that's twenty-seven years ago. Maybe five more years to go. Thirty-two years. Have we ever had an obstacle? What about when the barge got stuck in the middle of the ocean on sunken submarine, right? Was a submarine I think. Our barge got stuck on a sunken submarine. The cargo had to be rescued. That a sign we shouldn't be doing the temple? No, its a sign that shipping is dangerous. Then there was another time we sent in a group of silpis in our normal way into the consulate in Chennai. And the visas were refused. Well did we give up? No, we hired one of the best immigration attorneys in Washington D.C. to sort it out. It took a number of months of hard effort and working closely with her to figure out what was going on and to reapply and finally get it approved. So, we didn't give up just because we hit a major obstacle. Just because there's an obstacle doesn't mean Ganesha put it there. It could just mean it's a complicated project. And we need to take that into account in anticipating the number of obstacles you'll encounter.

One of the beauties of Gurudeva's teachings is they're very abstract but they're also very practical. And in this case Gurudeva says: If you have a question for Lord Ganesha, you hold His image in your mind, look into His eyes, and speak your questions and problems into His right ear. That's pretty specific, right? Not the left ear. Not to His face. Speak it into His right ear holding the image in your mind. Very specific practice. And clearly Gurudeva found this to work to be so specific in his approach.

And then the second part of it is the answer is indirect. Ganesha's not going to speak back into your right ear. That's an unrealistic expectation. No one's going to come up to you and say: Ganesha told me this. I'm supposed to deliver the message to you. Indirect! Meaning, someone may say something unusual which catalyzes an idea in your mind. Something unusual may happen. If you believe in signs. Lizards chirp. Things like that at certain psychological moments. Not at other moments. There's a whole book on how to interpret the movements and chirps of lizards. It's a very detailed study. So different signs can occur, people can say things that just seem to be talking to you in a specific way. And in that way, in an indirect way, you can get an answer from Lord Ganesha.

Well thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.

Aum Namah Sivaya.

Photo of  Gurudeva
We have one duty to perform, which is to pass our religion on to the next generation, the next and the next. And how do we do this? How is this done? It is done by causing the children to memorize the precepts of our scriptures.
—Gurudeva