Heart can throb in love towards something (or someone) that has properties: form and colour, sound, smell, taste and/or touch. In the path of devotion, the devotee is invoking the Supreme Reality through his love for the Lord. The Supreme is the mere Presence in every being, in Whose Gracious Light we recognise the "qualities"; and therefore the Inner Illuminator must be something other than the illumined: something beyond the "qualities" -Pure Consciousness without any of the perceived "qualities". This Eternal Subject with reference to Whom everything else can only be an "object" of Consciousness, this Self, is the Ultimate Goal to be realised.
But, in the early stages, a devotee's mind is chained to and engaged in the pleasure pursuit of our fascinating world of names and forms; the very initial step in the spiritual path is, therefore, to wean away his mind from all its continuous engagements and total preoccupations with the "objects".
The technique employed is called Upasana. Since our mind cannot directly conceive the Truth that is beyond all "qualities", the teachers had to supply us with a symbolic altar for our mental attention to rest continuously, an altar which should suggest richly the Supreme in all its Formless Glory!
For providing such altar of devotion, Vyasa had supplied us with a host of deities in his Puranas.
Ganesh, the son of Lord Shiva, is one of the most prominent altars, faithfully invoked and dedicatedly worshipped by a large group of Hindu devotees. How this elephant-faced Lord of all obstacles represent Him, Who, in His Ultimate Essence is formless, and how Ganesh has again and again appeared to His devotees in their inner intimate experience, the fascinating stories that unfold the divine perfections and wisdom of this Modaka-priya, are devotedly described in our literature - often they peep out and bloom here and there, scattered all over the sacred literature. Jamshedpur has brought much of them together in this volume and I congratulate them for their spirit of research and industrious enthusiasm. This volume is a boon.
Jai Jai Vignesa!
Brahma Sutras (81)
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