This whole revival of deity worship, Sanatana Hindu Dharma, which I am doing, started just with one small Ganesha gifted to me when I was the age of three. If that same Ganesha was gifted to me, or even bigger Ganesha, when I was eighteen, I don’t think this revival would have happened. Just that one Ganesha at the age of three got into my very bio-memory, became experience! That is why I could transmit that experience to tons and tons of people, and this whole Sanatana Dharma is revived!
Just yesterday, one participant, yesterday or day-before-yesterday, few days, one participant in Inner Awakening, when she came and said, ‘Swamiji, It is so sweet to talk to deities and relate with them! I saw them blessing me, relating back to me, responding to me!’,
I said, ‘Wow! I have done my job!’
They are not dead statues; they are living deities!
I would have never been able to tell this to the world so authentically if I started practicing deity worship after some eighteen, twenty, something like that, when life beats me, I just go and fall at the feet of some deity and catch hold of it. No! I might have had some experience for myself, but never be able to inspire millions by transmitting this experience. The transmitting the experience and inspiring millions is happening because I got that Ganesha deity when I was three. So that it could get into my bio-memory, become part of me, and my very cognition, living, understand? How I am thankful to my father and grandfather for giving me this deity and teaching me to relate with the deity!
My mother’s father, he is solely responsible for whatever revival I am doing through the deity worship. He is solely responsible! Because, I have seen, he may come back from the shop night one o’clock. He was a rice merchant. So, the rice loads will come from the villages in the bullock carts. Those days, bullock carts. And, lorries were not that popular. Bullock carts, or tractors. I have seen, bullock carts will come with the fire torch, or the lantern lamp. And they will unload the rice bags. Night one o’clock, he may come back to the house, but he will wash himself, do the “achamana”, means, apply the vibhooti, and “anushtana”, keep the shop key at the feet of Mahadeva. He had a beautiful family deity, Mahadeva, Ganesha, and other two-three deities like Nandi, small Subramanya, and Devi, one Surya. It is a “panchayathana”, Shiva “panchayathana”. With Vishnu also….Ranganatha. And Venkateshwara. Venkateshwara was the family deity. So, all of them were there. He will always keep the key to them, at the feet of Mahadeva, and go and sleep. And, whatever time he may come back to bed, next day morning he will be up before the sunrise; it is called “brahma muhurtha”, the time a Shaivite is supposed to wake up. I have never seen him missing till the day he left the body! He will wake up before the sunrise, the “brahma muhurtha”, and take bath, do all his “anushtana”, come back to the deity, and do all his morning worship, pick up the key from the deity with the permission, and go to the shop. And, every time, when he took the major decisions, or every time he leaves the house for even a small action like going to the local temple and coming back, he will go and take the permission of the deity and then go. Once he comes back, he will wash his feet. If he comes back from the temple, he may not wash his feet. If he is from any other place, he will just go to the shrine again, means where the family deities were kept. If he is from the temple he won’t wash the feet. If he is from other places, he will wash the feet, but he will walk to the deity, and do namaskar, respond to them, or report to them what he has done. Only then he will continue with the other activities. I tell you, just that one seed at that age!
And, every night, every night, without missing, before going to bed, he will sit and chant all the verses, Shiva Stotras. Sometimes, my uncles and all will be feeling a little annoyed. ‘What is this, in the middle of the night?!’ It is one hall where all the kids sleep. Only the married people, couples will have a separate room. Others all will sleep in the main hall only. And he will be sitting and chanting so beautifully, just lost in himself, lost in himself, reciting the verses on Mahadeva! Sometimes it will be stotras, sometimes it will be sutras, sometimes it will be shaastraas….whatever it is. Sometimes it will be in Sanskrit, sometimes it will be in Tamil. I picked up the exact lifestyle. Never I slept without reading a spiritual scripture till I started my public life, till I realized my Avatharic mission. After that, I was not able to read for more than one-and-a-half to two years. Then, when I started my public life, naturally falling into Samadhi, no need to read any books. And, after I started teaching, I started reading for the sake of teaching. But, till then, never missed reading a spiritual scripture before falling into bed, understand?
When something goes inside you when you are a kid, and becomes part of your bio-memory, muscle-memory, it becomes experience, cognition; you just radiate it with so much of strength and power! I can see, when my kids are declaring, speaking the truth about death, conscious death, conscious birth, “kshana”, all that, it is reality for them, understand! It is not that they just repeat like a parrot whatever they heard from me. It has become reality! That is why they are able to repeat so properly, and so much of courage and confidence is there in their eyes! It is lifestyle for them.