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Q: They say God is omnipresent and they have vahanas (vehicles). Like Nandi (the sacred cow) for Shiva and the mouse for Ganesha. What is the significance of these?
Sri Sri: The Divine energy is carried through different symbols. The Parmatma is One.
Yet different aspects of that Divinity are carried through different symbols.
It is so interesting. Our ancient people had the concept of opposites. The mouse is so small and the elephant is so big. Yet, the knowledge of an elephant (Ganesha) is riding on a small mouse (his vahana).
Kabir (a renowned Indian saint) did not study in a university. He had his Guru mantra. With one little mantra, he went into Samadhi (the deepest meditative state) and his consciousness blossomed.
The Divine Mother comes on a tiger. The Divine Mother is the most delicate feminine form of Divinity and She comes on one of the most ferocious of animals.
The commander-in-chief of the armies of the Gods, Karthikeyan, comes on a peacock. The peacock is associated with art and music.
There is a deeper significance to these symbols.
Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge) is sitting on a rock. The rock does not move anywhere. Goddess of Wealth (Goddess Lakshmi) sits on a lotus flower in water. Wealth is unstable. You don’t know when the share market is going to be unstable – how money can come and go.
The very fact that most Gods and Goddesses are sitting on a lotus flower depicts a fully blossomed consciousness. Only when the consciousness is fully blossomed, does Divinity ride on it.
Like the lotus flower whose petals transform from being concave to convex. Perhaps in those days, there weren’t any chrysanthemums. Otherwise, they would have put some Gods and Goddesses on chrysanthemums.
Your real wealth is your inner strength. Your inner sense of fullness and not your bank balance is your real wealth.
You may have lots of money in the bank, but if your mind is fearful and small, then what is the point?
Today a gentleman came from Mandya (a small town in Karnataka) to meet me. He has two houses and doesn’t have a job. He wants to sell one house and use the money to start a business. He wants to donate the other plot for a meditation centre.
He insisted that I take the land. The land costs several millions of dollars. He had even come with the land papers. I took the papers and told him: ‘This is mine, but it will be with you. You take care of it. You keep it. You start your business, make your life stable, make your finances better. I’m not going to accept it.’
What I’m saying is that those who have very little have big hearts to give. I appreciate it. This is the most precious offer. That man came with his wife and mother. They kept saying, ‘Guruji, please make a Temple of Knowledge over here. We have benefitted so much from the courses, we want others to enjoy.’
Just the gesture is enough. The heart that wants to do gets blessings.
Isn’t it so interesting? Values of humanness and generosity are still alive on this planet.
People with big hearts are still alive.
I remember on the last day of the Silver Jubilee (The Art of Living celebrated 25 years of service in 2006), I met all the volunteers. As I was leaving, a 25-year-old boy came up to me, gave me an envelope and began to cry. He grabbed my feet and hands and sobbingly said: ‘Thank you, please accept this.’
I took it and asked him what he did for a living. He was a labourer from Kerala (an Indian state) and had come to do seva for 15 days. ‘Guruji, I don’t know how to express my gratitude. My life has changed. Please accept this.’ (Pointing to the envelope.)
I opened it and saw that it had Rs 5,000. It must have been his salary of two months.
I asked him about his family responsibilities. He has a mother, sister and is the eldest of two sons. I took Rs 100 from the amount and told him: ‘This money is worth millions to me. Take the rest of the amount home.’
All that we need is to have a heart to do something. Nature will help you.
God will help you.