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Spiritual Instructions

by Swami Jyotirmayananda

Just as seeds grow with the aid of sunshine and rain, in the same way, the seeds of spiritual aspiration grow in the atmosphere of dedication and Divine Love.

Learn the art of relaxation in both the body and in the mind. The understanding that the world is a Divine Plan and every development has the Divine Hand behind it, will enable you to develop mental repose in all conditions. Develop Divine Love and adore the Supreme Self in the shrine of your heart through devout meditation.

All forms of human love are refractions of the deep rooted need for Divine Love. Human sentiments of love are fulfilled when the Divinity is recognized behind the mask of human personality. It is this Divinity who is loved through different passing forms. Love of God should become the underlying basis of all spiritual movements.

Just as vessels of food are cleaned daily with detergent, so too the body must be regularly purified by the Hatha yoga practices of asanas and pranayamas, by an intelligent system of diet, and by observation of the laws of health. The secrets of physical health and vitality also lie within the mind. Therefore while one attends to the body, the mind should not be ignored. You should not wait for the body to become perfect before you adopt the mental practices of meditation and reflection.

Proceed with your mind in spite of the limitations of the body and its conditions. As inner fulfillment is progressively acquired, and creative horizons of the soul are encompassed, the physical body will begin to vibrate with an increased supply of prana (vital force). The maladies that were acute and chronic will now fade from your view as if they did not exist.

In the same way, do not wait to perfect your mental personality. Continue to move on the path of spiritual movement without lingering on the psychological problems of the mind. The vices that seem so strong and deep rooted will drop out of your existence as you continue to assert your inner Divine nature, and express it through your thoughts, words, and actions.

No matter how limited your devotion to God may be, no matter how defective the meditation on the truth, every effort that you put forth towards the recognition of the Divinity within will enable you to overcome great miseries of the future. You will be mysteriously led to a deeper understanding of the secrets of life and will become victorious in the battle of life.

Learn the art of abhyasa (repeated effort) in yoga. Whatever aspect of yoga you have adopted, be regular, persistent, devoted and constant, until success is achieved.

May the Lord bless you! OM Sri Ganeshaya Namah!

Symbolism of Sri Ganesha

by Swami Jyotirmayananda

Bhagavan Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles, is one of the many manifestations of God adored and worshiped by seekers throughout the world.  Though God is one without a second, Hindu culture recognizes the differences of the human mind, and thereby advocates the worship of the Supreme Being in diverse ways through diverse forms. Lord Ganesha’s image is rich in symbolism and holds valuable insight that can benefit spiritual aspirants of all faiths.

“Ganesha” literally means the Lord of the Ganas, the spirits presiding over the five elements (Tattwas) which constitute the world. This aspect of the Divinity is worshiped first, when commencing all forms of sacred worships, festive celebrations, and auspicious undertakings. In its wider and mystic implications, every aspect of the Divinity means the Divinity Himself in all His Glory. Every finite aspect is a mirror reflecting the Infinite and is a channel leading to the Supreme.

Ganesha’s trunk represents double-consciousness. The elephant trunk is an organ of action. Actions such as bringing down a tree, picking a fruit, bending a branch, etc., are all achieved with the trunk. The elephant trunk is also an organ of smell and can detect odors five miles away. Therefore, the
trunk symbolizes double-consciousness. As you advance spiritually, you begin to progress toward double-consciousness, towards becoming a Liberated Being (Jivanmukta). Double-consciousness implies that you live in the world as others do, however, internally your world is
sublime. Your consciousness becomes absorbed in samadhi and this allows you to experience Pure Consciousness. You perceive both levels. Although you may be facing challenging situations, inwardly you are calm. That is the characteristic of
profound spiritual growth.

He has only one tusk which symbolizes the non-duality of existence. Two hands carry a lotus bloom and a ball of sweet. The lotus is the symbol of spiritual unfoldment; the sweet is the symbol of the experience of the bliss of the Self. The other two hands carry weapons and a noose which are used for destroying the evil forces operating through the minds of aspirants.  His large stomach symbolizes the Cosmic Consciousness that includes, yet transcends all.

His vehicle, the rat, is the symbol of the intuitive intellect (Prajna) which like a rat, cuts asunder the network of subtle desires, and burrows into the depths of the unconscious to reveal the Glory of the Self. The Divinity rides on the intuitive intellect, and having destroyed all limitations of the mind and senses, reveals the Infinite Grandeur of the Self.”

As we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, may your lives be filled with the boundless blessings of Bhagavan Sri Ganesh!

May God Bless You! Hari OM Tat Sat!

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