Ganesha: A profound symbol for the seeker

This Sunday, Daaji was at the Monroe Meditation Center. He led the group of over hundred people through a beautiful meditation session. It was a different experience for me. It was a session where I was lost and aware, an interesting paradox. As the meditation ended I was left with the question “Is this the glimpse of a new degree of awareness?”

After the session, Daaji spoke for a few minutes. He spoke about the purity of knowledge and how over generations, it’s passed on through discourses, books and word of mouth. Saying so, he unveiled an archival copy of the “Complete Works of Ram Chandra Volume VI“. Later in the day, he spent a couple of hours in informal conversation and also signing copies of the book for those interested.

It was during this time, that I remembered that it was Ganesha’s Birthday. Growing up, this festival was a cornerstone in my life. The preparations at home, the story recital by dad, the pious food by mom, the decoration help by my sister and the subtle environment at home. It was joy all over. It was special.

Later in life, the group fervour, long evenings in the neighborhood with friends, the many discussions and of course the gossips and romances of life. The form and nature of celebration changed, but the importance stayed.

I have heard many interpretations of symbolic significance of Ganesha. The mythological story fascinated me during childhood years. As the years went by, my reasoning mind wanted more. I looked for more profound interpretations. There was one I read during my college days. It took up the entire anatomy of the lord and explained the virtues. I don’t remember all the details. Some bits and pieces I remember are “The long ears and small mouth signify that we must listen more and talk less. The eyes narrowed shows the intense concentration etc“. It was interesting and this description made sense.

However, it was during my conversation with Daaji during the Fall of last year that I gained a deep insight into Ganesha. I have been thinking of writing about this for a while. Somehow it never happened. As I was leaving the Meditation Center with a signed copy of the book that I resolved that its time I write.

Ganesha: 3 key symbolic messages to take away

Ganesha with mouse

It was late in the evening and Daaji had finished addressing some interesting questions on the Gita. Somehow the topic veered to the cute idols of Ganesha that dot households all over. You would have seen some of them. Beautiful idols of baby Ganesha reading a book or dancing away in the rain.

Daaji said “You look at Ganesha and all you feel is joy. Happiness. You don’t have to be religious or spiritual. It’s usually a natural reaction to smile. I think that’s the first message of Ganesha. Be Joyful. After all only Joy attracts Grace.” There were a few of us around Daaji that evening. It was a quiet evening. The windows were slightly open and there was gentle breeze wafting across.

Joy attracts grace…and we felt the joy.

Daaji continued ” Look at Ganesha, Animal Face, Human body, Divine function. Isn’t that the clarion call of spirituality? From animal to human to divine. We all have animalistic tendencies. Through love, acceptance, understanding and forgiveness we become human. As the journey continues we slowly divinize our existence and merge with the ultimate. Ganesha symbolizes this journey.”

I was lost in this commentary. Ganesha, in whose name numerous evenings of my life were spent, so many memories were made, was unravelling the importance of the possibilities that exist.

There was a pause in the room. Just when I felt that this was it, Daaji commented “Now comes the mouse. Why should a big guy like him be riding a puny country mouse? This is where Ganesha teaches us that we need to make our ego so light that even a mouse can carry us! “

This was the master stroke! After all the biggest burden we carry is the burden of our egos. The “I” of existence. When my path becomes my journey, I enter a state of joyful surrender. I fly like a feather, free from the weight of the ego. Ganesha wants all of us to become that.

I wish you all a very fulfilling day and end with a prayer that we all discover the Ganesha within.