How to Relate to Various Gods and Goddesses

Question

Hi, I was raised a Hindu and have been worshiping and loving the Gods and Goddesses of my faith.Image and idol worship has always been the norm. And I was fine with it all along. But now as I am trying to live more consciously I’m disturbed about the images/idols. Disturbing thoughts grip and shake me. I’m constantly, inconsolably in fear of wronging my Gods and Goddesses. I fear this is partly some mental issue. Any advice for me would be very helpful. Thank you for your time. Love, Aishwarya.

—Aishwarya , India

Answer

Dear Aishwarya,

In worshiping and loving the various Gods and Goddesses, we are really tuning into the various expressions of the one Divine God. These different expressions allow us to feel a more intimate connection with the Divine and helps us open our hearts.

Another way of looking at this is that we should endeavor to tune into the ideals that these expressions are offering us. An example is Ganesha – here we find the quality or ideal within the symbol of Ganesha, of removing obstacles. The image of Ganesha helps awaken within us this emphasis of seeing everything as opportunities for growth rather than being limited by obstacles.

Here is a suggestion – let any image you feel attuned to, be an instrument to take you deeper into higher consciousness. Enjoy the image or expression, but then go beyond the form and merge into the infinite. Feel yourself going to the center of whatever experience you are having, and then offer yourself completely in oneness with the Divine.

I would recommend reading Swami Kriyananda’s book, Hindu Way of Awakening, for more clarity around images and ideals.

Many blessings on your spiritual journey,

Nayaswami Pranaba