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Date:16 Sep 1996 Occasion:Ganesh Chaturthy Place:Prashanti Nilayam

The Vinayaka Principle

Embodiments of Love!

When you rub a piece of sandalwood on the grindstone, the more you rub it, the greater the fragrance it emits. As you chew a piece of sugarcane, the more you chew the greater the sweet juice you get from it. As gold is heated more and more in the crucible, it acquires greater brilliance, getting rid of all impurities. A noble being displays his good qualities, however much he might be subjected to trials and tribulations. Thereby he stands out as an example to the world (Swami explained the purport of the opening Sanskrit stanza thus).

God is the embodiment of bliss. He is eternal. Every living being originates from bliss, grows on bliss, and merges in bliss.

Among the myriad names of God, the foremost is "Sath-Chith-Ananda'. "Sath" is that sacred thing which has no change in the three worlds and in the three categories of time (past, present and future). It is permanent. "Chith" means total awareness. When "Sath" and "Chith" become one, bliss (Ananda) is realized. Hence, the Divine is described as Sath-ChihAnanda - "Being-Awareness-Bliss". This principle is all pervasive. It is present in all. The scriptures declare: "Sarvam-Vishnumayam Jagath". The cosmos is permeated by the Divine.

Failing to recognize this truth and treating the body as the only reality, man distances himself from bliss. Men identify themselves in terms of their professions or nationality. But all these are acquired characteristics and not innate to the persons concerned. Essentially everyone is an embodiment of the Atma (the Self). All the other aspects are transient. To identify yourself with the body is to mistake the dwelling for the indweller. When the truth is investigated in this manner, spirituality will become apparent.

The basis of the Advaitic doctrine is the spiritual oneness of the entire cosmos. It is the Spirit that is common to all beings. The Spirit is the source of all beings and their ultimate destination.

The Atmic principle resides in the heart of every being. Hence there is no need to go in search of God. You are the Divine.


Today the nation is racked by divisions of all kinds based on religion, language and region. People should strive to realize the underlying unity all religions, languages and regions. God is called by different names by people of different faiths. But all names signify the same God. All Of them stress the unity that underlies the apparent diversity.

Vedanta indicates the four stages in realization of the Divine. Saalokya (perception of the Divine), Saameepya (proximity to the Divine), Saaroopya (experiencing the vision of the Divine) and Saayujya (merger in the Divine). The Divine as such has no form. Whatever the form in which the devotee worships the Divine, the Divine assumes that form for the devotee. However all forms are His. "Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram'. Truth is God. Beauty is God. The unity of Truth, goodness and Beauty is SathChith-Ananda. (Swami related the story concerning Emperor Janaka's transformation as a Raja-Yogi after he learnt from Yajnavalkya that his present queen was in his previous birth his mother. This knowledge immediately made Janaka renounce everything and become a seeker of the Divine. Swami pointed out that while Yajnavalkya hesitated to reply to the King's persistent query about his previous birth, once he revealed the truth, the king considered it a blessing and became a yogi).


Today we celebrate the birthday of Ganapathi. What is the significance of this term? "Ga" means Buddhi (the intellect). "Na" means "Vijnaana" (wisdom). "Pathi" means "Master". Hence, Ganapathi is the master of the intellect and wisdom. Another meaning of the term is "Master of the Ganas" (the hosts of spirits). The name "Vinaayaka" means one who has no leader above him.

Before we commence any activity we offer prayers to Vinaayaka so that the action may be successful without any impediments. Vinayaka is worshipped not only in Bharat but in many other countries. The worship of Vinayaka has been prevailing from the times of the Rig Veda.

The Vinaayaka principle protects man from the various hurdles in life and ensures peace and security. Hence on every auspicious occasion Vinaayaka is worshipped.

The devout offer worship to Vinaayaka with the well-known prayer beginning with the words, "Suklaambaradharam" (The one who wears a white garment). Vighneswara is described as one who is white like the moon, who has four arms (two for giving worldly protection and two for spiritual benediction), who has an ever-pleasing countenance and to whom obeisance is offered for removing all obstacles. While the pious used this prayer in a devout spirit, the impious misused the words to distort the meaning and make it a prayer to a quadruped which is employed for carrying washed clothes. It is by such misinterpretation that some people have sullied the great culture of Bharat and undermined faith in God.

Students! Instead of filling your minds with scriptural knowledge it is enough if you fill your hearts with love. One ounce of practice is worth tons of spiritual knowledge. Today men should show their humanness in action and not their physical features. Students should be filled with idealism and serve the Motherland in a sacred spirit, with firm faith in God.

The preciousness of human birth is indicated by the declaration in the Gita that every human being is a spark of the Divine. Everyone should look Godward while attending to worldly duties. If you dedicate all actions to God there will be no obstacles. Good thoughts will lead to good actions, which produce good results.

Students! You should seek to earn the love of God and His grace. All other acquisitions are worthless and impermanent.

[Bhagavan concluded His discourse with the bhajan: "Prema muditha manase kaho"]