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Magazine Web Edition > February 1989 > Worshipped Around the World

Worshipped Around the World



No other religion offers such insight into the intricate workings of our universe than Hinduism. More importantly, no other religion offers the grace of a God that is within us as well as within all things outside of ourselves, that is both within form as Saguna Brahman and beyond form as Nirguna Brahman and that may be known my the devout seeker even in this life. Little wonder that the Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Path, has withstood the ravages of time and stands today as the most advanced system of philosophy and devotion on the earth. It is fully in accord with, and in fact its sages clearly anticipated, the advances of 20th Century science. Hinduism today stands as the religion of the village community as well as the urban family - an enlightened faith for all men in all times. The single most unifying force within Hinduism is Lord Ganesha, son of Siva/Sakti, beloved Deity of over 600 million Hindus.

It is an incontrovertible fact that Lord Ganesha is real, not a mere symbol. He is a potent force in the universe, not a representation of potent universal forces. Of course, Ganesha belongs to all mankind, not to Hindus alone, though not all men on the planet call Him by our name, Ganesha. To the Chinese He is embodied in the form of a massive dragon, whose physical immensity depicts His incredible and irresistible force. To some Chinese He is Kuan-shi t'ien or Ho Tei, the large-bellied God of Happiness. To the Polynesians He is God Lono. The Tamils call him by the affectionate term Pilliar, Noble Child. The Tibetians know Him as ts' ogs-bdag, and the Burmese worship Maha-Pienne. In Mongolia His name is Totkhar-our Khaghan. Cambodians offer worship to Prah Kenes, and the Japanese supplicate Vinayaksa or Sho-ten. By some He is envisioned as the feminine Mother Nature, and even non-believers seek to understand Him through personifying His great powers as Fate, Destiny or Numen. The Greeks called Him Janus and sought His blessings at the outset of any new venture. In the West He is revered as the corpulent Santa Claus, the giver of boons and gifts. The Buddhists and Jains also honor Ganesha. In one form or another, Lord Ganesha is honored throughout the world. Hindus worship Him at countless pujas performed daily on every continent. In temples and home shrines Ganesha is worshipped today in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malayasia, Java, Bali, Borneo, Tibet, Burma, Siam, China, Indo-China, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, Africa, Europe and North America.

Abundantly built Lord Ganesha is said to contain within Himself all matter, all mind. He is the very personification of material existence. We look upon this physical world as the body of Lord Ganesha. Hindus do not believe that God is in heaven, aloof from His creation. We believe in the divine immanence of God, that He is non-different from the world that He has created. In seeing and understanding the varied forces at work in the physical universe, we are seeing and understanding the powers and the being of Lord Ganesha. God is everywhere. Lord Ganesha is everywhere in this physical universe. In looking upon the world and all that happens in it and in our daily lives, we are learning to see God everywhere. There is nothing that exists apart from God. If we know that, then life becomes a joy, for We know that all that happens, whether it brings sorrow or happiness, whether we personally wanted it to happen or not, still we know that all that happens is right and good. This is a wonderful spirit for all Hindus to carry into our daily lives - a complete trust that all that happens is for the best, a full knowing that God's Will prevails everywhere.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.


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