I recently reposted a video on my Facebook account wherein Satguru Bodhinath Veylanswami differentiates between the Hindu conception of God (as a god of love) and some other conceptions of God (as a god of fear). He briefly mentions that even within Hinduism there are superstitious branches of the faith that are afraid to not propitiate God for fear that a missed puja or something might bring God’s wrath.
God simply doesn’t work that way, obviously.
In my typical fashion, along with the repost I demanded my friends to watch it. At least one did. Another reposted it from my account. The one who watched it messaged me a question about a point the video brought up and how it connected to something else I had told him.
I’ll spare you the full-length details, but suffice to say the video names Ganesha as important because He’s the closest face of God to the material plane and is thereby the most easily accessed and the most able to assist and guide us in our life in material existence. The input I’d given my friend before the video – and unrelated to it – is that Ganesha is Om incarnate, and therefore quite cosmic and also super-natural (as in above nature). And so His question was along the lines of asking how the two meshed.
My response, sensing what his reaction might be to it, was intentionally too short. My hope was that it would lead him to spell it out – and he did, quite well.
Beyond confirming that my pal really not only does have The All within him, but also that he taps into It, this back-and-forth made me smile. For starters, I smiled because I love to see that kind of stuff come from within people. I know it’s there within each person. I can see it very much most of the time. And a big chunk of the things I say to folks is meant to expose some of That which is already within them to themselves.
Another reason it made me smile is that, in my own estimation, the carefully grown and guarded bhakti I cultivate – and mostly keep to myself – was validated. It didn’t need validated, per se, but whatever.
Scriptures pertaining specifically to the Ganapatya Marg, and many that belong to numerous other sects within Hinduism proudly and straightforward-ly (and rightly) cite Ganesha as non-different from Om. So very many places within Hindu scripture tell us that His very form is Om. In my studies of Ganesha, I find a number of His traits sometimes share common ground – even if indirectly – with some of the other Hindu Faces of God. But the one attribute I’ve yet to definitively and consistently encounter as also attributed to another deity is His literally being Om. (On that note, I can easily admit that I’ve not gone super deep into other sects’ scriptures. I have encountered plenty of references to other gods as being “supreme” and the like, but none that are flat-out called Om in the same way Ganesha is referred to as Om. The only other even remotely closest comparison would maybe be Krishna’s description of Vishwarup in the Bhagavad Gita. But that’s not really the same. If someone can correct me, I’m happy to stand corrected, although I’ll likely retain my bias. That’s fair enough, right?) To continue, in my own understanding, Om is the most universal, cosmic, and scientific aspect or manifestation of God – and the one that is verily the absolute closest to the truly inconceivable Nirguna Brahman/Formless Absolute.
Surely by now you’re able to do some simple math and see where I’m going with this. Ganesha’s intense connection/likeness to/proximity to Om, and Om practically being just “one step” away from The Formless Absolute, it would seem that Ganeshabhakti and Ganeshapuja necessarily and efficiently cut out any “middle men” on the journey back to Source. Devotion to Ganesha is devotion to Om, which is essentially (and I mean that in the literal sense of the word) worshipping Brahman as best as a human may be able.
And so when my friend spelled it all out, he affirmed the too-short answer I initially gave him, which was, “It’s true.” And now we’ve gone full-circle. For me, from where I am right now, there can be no cleaner and clearer path Home than is offered by Ganesha. This is my bhakti and it fuels my path of Jnana Yoga, which itself is furthered and repeatedly confirmed by my personal experiences. I don’t expect or even hope that others would agree with me, but I do hope that all others would realize their own truth in this way.