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Lord Ganesha

Bodhinatha shares part of the Educational Insight section of "Hinduism Today" featuring Lord Ganesha. He lists eleven ways in which Lord Ganesha can benefit each of us in our everyday lives. He also explains that developing a closeness with Ganesha through temple worship, and the blessings from temple experience transforms the temple from a cultural hall to a truly sacred place. He gives examples on the nature of the "Lord of Obstacles" not just as the "remover of obstacles" but also at times having obstacles in our way can be beneficial so that the natural timing of events occur in our life and things work out even better. He reminds us that in working with Ganesha we need to be patient.

Unedited Transcript:

Good Morning Everyone.

All so quiet, all our Guru Purnima guests!

We're almost finished with the insides section on Lord Ganesha, so this is the last page of that I thought I'd share this morning.

We sincerely hope that this Educational Insight will serve to bring you closer to Lord Ganesha. We are deeply grateful to Gurudeva for his inspiring words of wisdom. One comment that he makes especially stands out to me as central: "Among all the wonderful Hindu Deities, Lord Ganesha is the closest to the material plane of consciousness, most easily contacted and most able to assist us in our day-to-day life and concerns."

In giving this some thought, we developed a list of eleven ways in which Ganesha can benefit your everyday life. These benefits were written for youth, as that is the best time to develop a closeness with Ganesha, but they apply equally to adults.

Strengthen memory. Stimulate intelligence. Solve problems easier. Study well in school. Stabilize emotions. Improve your character. Experience good timing. Increase domestic harmony. Increase self control. Remove obstacles in your path. Be more successful in life. Through the worship of Lord Ganesha, we feel better about life, rising above the lower emotions of insecurity, fear, anger and jealousy and instead experience peace and contentment. Tuning in to His shakti and being, through attending puja at the temple or even just visualizing Him in your mind, helps raise you up into the muladhara chakra and therefore out of anger and fear into a calm state of mind. In fact, you can slowly seal off these lower states of mind and keep awareness permanently lifted above the animal instincts of fear and anger through the regular worship of Lord Ganesha. He sits on the chakra of memory, and when we are stable in that chakra, focused and concentrated, our memory is strong and our intellect is keen.

Lord Ganesha's worship can enable us to tune in to the natural flow of events that allows us to be in the right place at the right time. Have you noticed that some days our timing is excellent and yet other days everyone we go to see has just left, the store just closed, we missed our bus by one minute? The worship of Ganesha quiets the aggressive intellect, allowing you to be guided by intuition, which can change a day of bad timing to one of perfectly good timing. Everyone knows Lord Ganesha is the Lord of Obstacles, able to both place a barrier in our path when our direction is less than perfect and to remove barriers that keep us from achieving our highest aspirations in life. By bringing our consciousness close to Him, we give permission for Him to positively influence our life in these subtle, often unseen, ways.

When you start each day's study, or come upon a difficult subject, pray for Ganesha's clear mind. See and feel a bright yellow light around your head. Feel smart. Strongly desire to understand. When you have a problem in life, at school, home or work, Lord Ganesha will help you. Ganesha knows everything about you and everybody you know, from the past into the future. But you must ask for His help. See Ganesha's majestic face and with mental force ask for help and explain the problem. Lord Ganesha will send you ideas and thought power, introduce you to new attitudes, help you to understand other people, help you use wisdom and not emotions to face life's many experiences, and when that happens you will be more successful in all you undertake.

It is very clear that worshiping Lord Ganesha can benefit our life in many ways, provided we have developed a closeness with Him to the point where He is our friend. Ganesha is then able to help us become happier, more successful and more cultured Hindus who value the temple as an indispensable part of our life. Knowing that the Gods are real beings and that the purpose of going to the temple is to experience their blessings is what transforms the temple from a cultural hall to a truly sacred place.

Two thoughts on Ganesha, I remember we did an article on "Hinduism in Thailand" the beautiful Ganesha Temple on the front cover of Hinduism Today. So Rajiv Malik was there, he was fascinated by the fact that not only Hindus got to the Ganesha Temple but lots of Thai Buddhists are going too. And of course in Buddhism you're not suppose to worship Hindu Gods. So He asked around and got an opinion as to why so many Thai Buddhists are worshipping Ganesha and the answer was "well worshipping Buddha is great for enlightenment but worshipping Ganesha and Hindu Gods, that's what helps with our everyday life." Right in tune with this article, that Ganesha in particular among the Hindu Gods is very helpful in helping us meet the challenges that we face in our everyday life in a wiser way, in a way that we're more successful.

Second thought I had was on "Ganesha as the Lord of obstacles." When everyone thinks about it the initial approach is, well Ganesha is the Lord of obstacles so I pray to Him and He removes the obstacles from my path. That's the natural thought of course but that's not what the name says, it says "Lord of obstacles," it doesn't say "Remover of obstacles." Sometimes obstacles in the path are good and you don't want them removed because by their being there events work out better.

A simple example is a small child. Parents of a small child are the small child's "Lord of obstacles" shall we say, usually the Lord of obstacles for a small child is not removing obstacles from their path but putting them in the path. You want to prevent the child from falling down the stairs so you put a little gate in front of the stairs, you want to prevent the from sticking his finger in the electrical socket so you cover the electrical socket, and so forth. So you're putting all these obstacles in the way of the child so that the child does not hurt him or herself. We can easily identify with that. You're not removing obstacles you're putting them there and in that way you are protecting the child from events that could happen.

Ganesha does that too. And sometimes we're not patient enough, we're not wise enough to see that so we get frustrated with life, things aren't going forward, this isn't happening soon enough, we wanted it to happen last month it hasn't happened, this is bad. What's the matter Ganesha, you're not removing the obstacles that are in my path. Well maybe He put them there in the first place. The key is to seek the natural timing in any event and not to become frustrated, emotional, impatient with the obstacles that occur in life. Also not to give up trying to remove them. We're not saying that if something doesn't work give up, it must be Ganesha's will. We're not saying that, we're saying if something doesn't work keep trying but don't become impatient, don't become frustrated, don't lose contact with your inner wisdom. Which happens if we get emotional and frustrated with the obstacles. We lose contact with our inner wisdom, we lose the natural sense of timing.

So next time a big obstacle sits there and throws off what you think is a natural timing, give it a second thought. Maybe it's supposed to be there, maybe things will work out better because they're delayed or happen another way. To ask Ganesha in the end what the wisdom was in this working differently than you thought it would.

Have a wonderful phase.

Aum Namah Sivaya.

For the full, online version of Loving Ganesha, go to Jai Ganapati! Bodhinatha

Photo of  Gurudeva
All Hindus feel they are guests on the planet with responsibilities to nature, which when fulfilled balance its responsibilities to them.