Ishta Devata

Swami Gyanshakti Saraswati

There is nothing on earth which is everlasting unless you see it in cosmic terms. No love, feeling or desire is permanent; everything is temporary on the material level. Fortunately life changes from day to day, giving us a chance to evolve according to our karmas and samskaras. Eventually this movement will take us off the wheel of birth and death and enable us to see life in its real dimension, not determined by our experiences or impressions.

In this life we see friends coming and going, we are successful and we fail. We love and we are loved. We dream and we see the sparks of other worlds. We travel with our thoughts everywhere, but though we understand many things, still we do not know what we should know. We have seen life and we love it for being such a good teacher, but still there is one aspect which is unknown to us. And this is the sweetest and most beautiful lesson which we can learn from life.

Within us we can really feel that there is something beyond experiences of good and bad, something that will never end. Relating to that gives us inspiration and a higher aim for our growing soul. Thus we come to know that we are not just our hands moving, our heart beating, or our legs walking; we begin to realize that we are something far more than this body of ours. Still we clearly understand that the body is the instrument to express this inner being.

The problem is now how to project that soul which we find in us, what to do with it? We need help, but who can guide us in this matter? At this time we must search inside for the ishta devata, the inner deity. Then we must learn to hold the image steadily or else communication will not be natural.

At first most of us try one ishta and then another until we come to understand that the only ishta we can really hold the image of is our guru.

The only thing that can give us light and peace when we close our eyes is the guru's presence in our eyebrow centre. He is the only one we can talk to. We may become angry with him, play with him, consult him. He is always inside, in the place where we meditate. There we can often hear him, chat with him. Sometimes he guides us, scolds us, gives us a hint, or tells us to leave him alone. Then again we just open our eyes, move our body and go on with our duties. Now we know to whom we can ask anything at anytime. We know to whom we can give our awakening soul. And it doesn't matter whether we are good or bad, a success or failure, an intellectual or idiot, if we remember our ishta devata we will always have a guide in life, we will always have a way.