Shape of an Idea

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

When a mango tree is reborn, it is always reborn as a mango tree. When an olive tree is reborn, it is always reborn as an olive tree, not as an apricot, mango or lemon. Olive will become olive. One can only improve the olives by giving them the right food, fertilizer, protection and pruning. That's all.

Food of ideas

Your child is what it is. You cannot change its destiny, for destiny cannot be changed. A mango becomes a mango, a rascal becomes a rascal, a saint becomes a saint, and guava becomes a guava. However, the quality of the guava or olive can be improved.

To improve the quality, the right food has to be given. For a child the right food is not food, but thoughts and ideas. Human beings eat ideas. The cow eats grass, the tiger meat and birds eat insects, but man does not live by bread alone, as it is written in the Bible. Man lives by idea. An idea is a thought that comes to the mind.

If you have no idea, you are not a man. And if you cannot give your idea to your child, you are not a good parent. If your child believes that it can live by bread alone, it is an animal.

Idea with a shape

The people of India give a shape to an idea. In the West, people reject it. They say, an idea or God has no shape. Islam and Zoroastrianism say, God has no shape, but the Vedas say, God is an idea and we should have a shape for it. Intelligence is an idea and everybody has intelligence. What is its shape? Lord Ganesha is the shape of intelligence, he is an idea put into a shape.

Shiva is an idea. It is in you, but what is its shape? Shiva with matted locks, with Ganga, with snakes, with a tiger skin, naked and with a beautiful woman by his side, lives like a sannyasi, lives like a yogi, lives like a madman, lives like God; that is the shape of Shiva. Similarly we have shape for intelligence, for talent. The Gods and Goddesses in Vedas are the symbols of idea.

Ganesha is the Lord of intelligence. Whatever work one does, be it cooking, killing, shooting, loving, destroying or creating something, the first thing is intelligence without which one cannot begin anything. Even if one wants to do wrong things one should have intelligence first. In India whatever people do, they first say Sri Ganeshaya Namah. Ganesha is the first God in India who is worshipped, not Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, or Saraswati, not even Guru. First comes Ganesha, for intelligence is the beginning of an action. If someone is not intelligent, he cannot begin.


I have not made the world, I am not the creator. If it is a nice world, He wants it. If the people are materialistic today, He wants it. If people are spiritual today, He wants it. You and I are not the creator. The Secretary of the United Nations is not the creator, nor the President of America, China, India or any country. Man is not the creator, he is the creation. If the creator wants that I should be a stupid fellow, I will be a stupid fellow. If the creator wants this stupid fellow to be a great sannyasin, I will be a great sannyasin. All that we see is not the creator, it is creation. The sun, moon, stars and the galaxies which are objects so far in time and space are creation.

Many times people tell me that the world is becoming violent and materialistic, everybody is becoming bad in such a bad world. We should not have anything to do with this idea of bad and good. We should only be a sakshi, witness, to what is happening, no matter if it is right or wrong. The house is burning, I see it. The flood is coming and millions are dying, I see it. Love, compassion, grace is not my business. I am only a witness to the glory of God.

—8 July 2009, Rikhiapeeth, India