|Date:25 Aug 1998||Occasion:Ganesh Chaturthi||Place:Prashanti Nilayam|
The Glory of Vinayaka
Embodiments of Love,
As long you are egoistic, you will not be liked by anybody including your wife and children, though they may exhibit love externally for the sake of the world. So long there is ego in you, you will never attain bliss. Therefore you must kill the ego in the first instance. You will be miserable as long as there is anger in you. The day you give up anger, you will experience happiness. So long there are desires in you, you will never attain wealth and prosperity. The day you give up desires, all forms of wealth will follow you. So long there is greed in you, you will not find any happiness.
Embodiments of Love! The whole world is based on atomic power. This atomic power is smallest among the small and biggest among the big. The entire creation is centered on this atomic power. This atom is Atma and vice-versa. No one can actually estimate the power of an atom. Atom is a combination of various types of energy. It is the atomic power that lies behind the words we utter, the sounds we hear, our looks and all our activity. Every moment of every living creature is based on this atomic power. Whatever we experience is the effect of the atomic power. It took a thousand years for the scientists to comprehend this Truth. But this Truth was proclaimed by the child Prahlada, long ago. He declared, "Never have the feeling that the Divine is present in a particular place and not present elsewhere. Wherever you search, He is there." Prahlada did not conduct any experiments to understand this Truth. In fact, a heart which is steady and unpolluted will find Divinity everywhere. In all forms of material objects, you find atomic power. You will not find any object or place devoid of atoms. The entire earth is full of atoms. In this world, every individual can be compared to a generator. The magnetic power in him gets transformed into electric power. Due to this electric power latent in man, he is able to perform his daily activities. The Hridaya(spiritual heart) of every human being can be compared to a radio. The atomic energy in man enhances the magnetic principle. Einstein said, matter and energy are one and the same. Scientists said that the entire world consists of only atoms; whereas the Vedantins said, the entire world is pervaded by Brahman. Names are different, but the underlying principle is the same.
What is the meaning of the word Ganapathi. Ga stands for Buddhi(intellect) Nastands for Jnana (Wisdom), which means 'Ganapathi' is the master of intellect and wisdom. Acquisition of knowledge and wisdom amounts to worship of 'Ganapathi. The name 'Ganapathi' is apt in the sense that He is a combination of various forms of Anushakthi(Atomic power). Not only this, He is also the master of all Ganas and powers. He has another name 'Vinayaka', because He has no master above Him. He is also called 'Vighneshwara', as He is the remover of all the obstacles and the master of all forms of Wealth. As the same current is responsible for the bulbs to glow, fans to rotate, and the machines to function; similarly the same atomic power is responsible for various forms of energy, be it heat, light, laser or magnetic. Water extinguishes fire, yet you find fire in water, which is referred to as 'Badabaagni'. Forms may vary, but the power is one and the same. Basing on this, Vedanta says "Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma" ( Brahman is all-pervasive), " Sarvam Vishnu mayam jagath" (the entire world is pervaded by Vishnu). We should give up observing differences between 'Ganapathi', 'Vishnu', 'Shiva', 'Shakthi' and human beings. The Divinity is uniform in all. Observing differences is only pravritti lakshana (external trait) and not nivritti lakshana (inward trait). The inward trait refers to the atomic energy, which moves about formlessly in everybody. To sustain this external world, the atomic energy assumes many forms.
On this auspicious day, we offer kudumulu and undraallu to Vinayaka, which do not have oil content in them. Til seeds are boiled and are mixed with jaggery and rice flour, which is made into balls and offered to Lord Vinayaka. We should enquire into the purpose of making such an offering. All these steam-cooked offerings will get digested quickly. The til seeds reduce the ill effects of bile and phlegm. Jaggery improves the eyesight. These are the offerings, which are meant to improve our health and are not to be treated as mere ritualistic practices.
Vinayaka is highly intelligent. Many derive happiness seeing the form of Vinayaka. The form itself is wonderful and mysterious with a fat belly, big trunk, attractive eyes and beautiful ears. Why is Vinayaka is elephant-faced? Elephant is very intelligent. It has a huge body, compared to other animals. Even the footprints of the mighty lion get erased, when the elephant treads on them. No other animal can match the intelligence of an elephant. Elephant also acts as a guide to mankind, in the sense that it clears the way as it treads along in a dense forest. Similarly in the forest of life, to clear the thorny bushes of pain, sorrow and suffering, one should tread along the path shown by the intellect. 'Ganapathi' has the elephant face as a symbol of high intelligence.
Once, the Divine Parents Parvathi-Parameshwara wanted to test the intelligence of their sons, Vinayaka and Subramanyam and arranged for a competition as to who between the two would circumambulate the entire universe faster. The second son Subramanyam started off immediately on His celestial vehicle, peacock; whereas, Vinayaka remained with His parents. Subramanya took great pains and went around the universe and ultimately returned to His Parents. On seeing His younger brother fast approaching at a distance, Vinayaka hurriedly went around His Divine Parents and claimed Himself to be the winner. Mother Parvathi was surprised at Vinayaka's claim and said, "Vinayaka, it is only Subramanya who went around the world taking great pains; whereas you have not put a step forward, your belly did not move an inch. How can You claim Yourself to be the winner?" Vinayaka replied, "O Mother, the entire Universe is but a combination of matter and energy, which are nothing but the manifestations of Divine Parents. So if one circumambulates You, does it not amount to going around the entire Universe?" Eswara was also surprised, at the same time felt very happy hearing this. He complimented Vinayaka, saying, "O son, You are very intelligent and have understood the Truth. You will be an ideal to everybody." Eswara continued saying, "Though I have got the crescent adorning My matted hair, and the third eye on My forehead, snakes as ornaments adorning My dark neck and hands, tiger's skin as the garment, with the body smeared with sacred ash (Poem), l am not as intelligent as You are. So, let this world worship You before they worship Me. I grant this boon to You." Thus Eswara gave His son Vinayaka a higher position than Himself.
The principle of Ganapathi is not an ordinary one. It is the very manifestation of various forms of energy and intelligence. The wisdom of Saraswathi is contained within His belly. We will not have any obstacles, if we undertake any task paying our first respects to Vinayaka. On this day students keep their books in front of Ganesha and worship, so that they may be bestowed with good intelligence.
People have a wrong notion that this country is named after the brother of Rama, Bharatha. But in reality, the name of Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning is contained in this. The name 'Bharath' is not derived from any individual, but has its origin in Divinity. In fact, Goddess Saraswathi is described as Bharathi, which speaks, of the Totality. In this word ' Bharathi', Bha stands for (Feeling), Ra stands for Raga(Tune) and Ta stands for Taala(Rhythm). Today any musical concert begins with a song in praise of Ganesha. He confers auspiciousness in our life. A true education inculcates the following qualities: virtues, good intellect, truth, devotion, discipline and duty. Vinayaka confers all these to students. How should we pray to Ganesha? We should not ask for petty things like jobs and other worldly matters. We should pray: Let there be no obstacles in our path. We should ask for Ganesha Himself. Once you have Ganapathi on your side, you will become the master of all. Today the principle of Ganesha is not understood by many. They go by the external form. But there are only a few who try to understand the inner significance. We celebrate the birthday of Rama without understanding His ideals. If you want to be a devotee of Rama, you should imbibe His qualities. If you call yourself a devotee of Krishna, you should be ever blissful with a smiling face. If you want to be a devotee of Sai, you should be full of Love, and should love everybody. Pots are nothing but clay, jewels are nothing but gold. Similarly, all the actions of God, who is the embodiment of love, are full of Love, which cannot be gauged with an external outlook. So you should have total faith in God.
The principle of Ganapathi has got a lot of inner significance. The form itself is mysterious. Vyasa in Bhagavatham says, the stories of God are mysterious, sacred, and comprehended only by sages and saints. All that is related to God is mysterious. Whatever God says and does are suffused with sacred meaning. Sainath mentioned in his speech about a person who went abroad in haste, even after Swami had asked him to wait. There, he had to wait for a long period of time, in vain and ultimately returned to Swami. Swami asked him, "Why did you go, when I asked you to wait? There is inner significance in whatever Swami tells or does." But some take it in a foolish manner. For example, "When I walk among the devotees and when someone gets up and asks Me for something, I might say, "Wait, wait, don't be in a haste, sit down". They go by the literal meaning and continue to sit there, even after Darshan, when all the other devotees leave. They do not pay heed to the volunteers' request, and continue to sit there, saying Swami asked them to wait. This is a foolish interpretation. One should act according to the time, place and situation."
Each one understands and experiences Divinity according to one's own capabilities. But, whether one is theist or atheist, saint or scientist, all will agree that the atomic energy is all pervasive. The basis for this is Divinity. A great devotee, Ramadas of Bhadrachalam sang: "Anthaa Rama Mayam, Ee Jagamanthaa Ramamayam", which means Rama is everywhere. There is no place without atom, which means there is no place without Rama. Ramadas sang that the body is like a wick, the sustaining force is oil. When the oil is exhausted and the flame leaves the body, no one follows it. So while you are alive, develop devotion to Ramachandra and sing His glory. Each devotee describes the Divine basing on his feelings. Ramadas sang that the garden of Divinity is surrounded by seven forts, the way to which he did not know. What are the seven forts? They are nothing but Sapthaswaras. What is the way to the garden of Divinity? It is nothing, but Love. So, "Start the day with Love; Spend the day with Love; Fill the day with Love; End the day with Love. This is the way to God." For a sapling to grow and yield fruits, you have to water and manure it. In the same way, for your devotion to grow and yield fruits, you have to water it with love and manure it with faith.
Once there was a young man who went all the way from his village to a nearby forest to listen to the discourse of a saint. It became dark and was about to rain. So the saint advised him to stay back in the ashram for that night. The young man did not agree to this, saying that his wife and parents were attached to him so much that, they would not take food and water and would not sleep until he returned home. So he insisted that he should go. Then the saint said, "O mad man, all this is not true Love. If you want to understand this Truth, do as I say." The young man readily agreed. Now the saint gave him a tablet and asked him to take it, when he returned home. The saint said that he would fall as if dead, but he would know everything happening around him. The young man returned and did exactly as he was instructed by the saint. Immediately, he fell flat on the floor. All his friends and relatives including his wife and parents surrounded his body and started wailing. Exactly at that time, the saint appeared there. Everyone held the saint responsible for the young man's death as he had just returned from his ashram. The saint asked for a glass of water and sanctified it with some mantras and said: "Whoever drinks this would die, and the young man would be revived instantly." First he asked the father, whether he was ready to drink the water. Father refused saying, he had to take care of his family and property. The mother also refused, saying that she had many daughters to be married. Then the saint asked the wife, whether she was ready to give up her life for the sake of her husband. She too refused, saying that she was the only daughter to her parents. Then the three of them went inside, had a brief discussion, came out and said, "We are all leading a worldly life, and have got many responsibilities, whereas you have no attachment whatsoever. So why don't you sacrifice your life and revive him? As a mark of gratitude, we will build a big tomb with marble stones." Hearing this, the saint asked the young man to get up. Having heard what had transpired till then, the young man said: "Swamiji, whatever you had said is the supreme Truth. Maatha Naasti, Pitaa Naasti, Naasti Bandhu Sahodarah, Artham Naasti, Griham Naasti, Tasmaath Jaagratha, Jaagratha (Sanskrit Sloka). In fact, there is no mother, no father, no wife, no children, that is only worldly love. It is only the Divine Love that is True Love. In this world, everyone appears to be loving, but it is not true love. However parents have definitely love for their children, so you should satisfy them and make them happy to the extent possible. But, we should never forget God's love, which is permanent and eternal. Have steady and unwavering love for God. That Love is God, that Love is Ganapathi, that Love is everything. You are also essentially Divine. So consider yourself as God. From the body point of view, you are a human being, but from the Atmic point of view, you are verily God. So lead your life with the feeling, "Aham Brahmaasmi' (I am Brahma). Once Rama asked Hanuman, "How do you worship Me?" Hanuman replied, "O Lord, physically I am your servant and you are my master; mentally I am a spark of Your Divinity; and from the Atmic point of view, I and You are one and the same." Bodies are different, but Atma is the same. Ultimately everyone should understand this Truth.
The festival of Vighneshwara is not an ordinary one. All the faculties and powers are latent in Vighneshwara. It is not enough if you pray to Ganapathi only today, you have to pray everyday. We should think of God every moment of our life. We should offer all our actions to God. For example, you eat an apple. Are you eating for the satisfaction of the apple? No. You are eating it for your own satisfaction. You go to Mandir wearing white dress. You do not wear the dress for the satisfaction of the dress, you wear it for your satisfaction. Likewise, whatever you do is for your own satisfaction and not for its satisfaction. Whatever you do, do it for the love of God. You will achieve success in everything, you will attain the state of bliss and peace. Consider everything as Divine.
[Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, Prema Mudira Manase Kaho...]