Personal Deities

The JIVA has been doing its work for many births. Its tendency to work exists since times immemorial. Therefore, if the work is just started with a little cooperation of the mind, it will continue to go on just like a railroad car way in the back of the line if it is just jerked and pushed by the engine. It is necessary to bifurcate the work of the mind into main and secondary. Thinking of God (PARAMATMAN) should be considered as main and giving a little cooperation to carrying on worldly activities (VYAVAHARA) as secondary. Apply your body and wealth mainly, and your mind secondarily, to run the VYAVAHARA. When the mind is mainly engaged in thinking of God, you shall receive His grace. God is all-powerful (SARVA SHAKTIMAN). Even a little of His grace is capable of bestowing on the JIVA all that is good in its entirety. The declaration of the Lord that is proved by the Vedic Scriptures is this: "WHOSOEVER THINKS OF ME WITH ONE-POINTED DEVOTION, I SHALL CONDUCT HIS NECESSARY VYAVAHARA ALSO." The experience of the Bhaktas also goes to prove this declaration of the Lord. Accumulate wealth (ARTHA) but in such a way that it is not against ultimate good (PARAMARTHA). That which hinders PARAMARTHA and results in accumulation of sin is wealth (ARTHA) but the negation of wealth (ANARTHA). As is the cloth so is the price. For carrying on the short-lived activities of VYAVAHARA, employ your short-lived body and wealth. Mind is a permanent thing which remains with you always. Even in the other world, it will continue to stay with you. Therefore, Connect it with a permanent thing. God, being the eternal existence both in animate and inanimate things, is the only permanent thing of the highest order. Connect your mind with Him. People are unhappy because they do not have a chosen deity (ISHTA). Without ISHTA, people turn out to be orphans. It is only ISHTA that saves one from ANISHTA (untoward happenings). See your ISHTA as all-pervading. That is one-pointed devotion (ANANYATHA). Of the five Deities - Shankara, Vishnu (Ram, Krishna), Surya, Ganesh and Devi, whosoever is more adorable to you, the MANTRA of that Deity should be repeated by you very day. You must get to know the MANTRA of your ISHTA, and the method of DHYAN thereof, through an experienced SADGURU and somehow or other, devote some time every day in JAPA of the ISHTA MANTRA and DHYAN. Through JAPA, Realisation (SIDDHA) will result. There is no doubt about this. "JAPAT SIDDHIR JAPAT SIDDHAIR JAPAT SIDDHIR NASAMSAYAM." See your ISHTA everywhere. There should be no place where your ISHTA is not seen. It is absolutely difficult to get the vision of your ISHTA until and unless you get one-pointedness on your ISHTA. To cure a disease, both medicine (OUSHADA) and dietary restriction (PATHYA) are necessary. To cure the disease of restlessness of mind, ABHYASA (spiritual practice) is OUSHADA and VAIRAGYA (non-attachment) is PATHYA. To apply your mind to your ISHTA is ABHYASA. To constantly think of ISHTA, meditate on it, talk always about it, and think always about it, this is ABHYASA. When the mind is engrossed in the ISHTA, non-attachment automatically comes. Therefore, we say you need to become a RAGI (person having attachment). That is to say, there is need for the mind to develop attachment to the ISHTA. "I bow down to the lotus feet of Guru Dev who is the ocean of clemency, the Almighty incarnate, Whose words are like the Sun's rays to destroy the huge heap of ignorance." Ramayan From: Strange Facts About A Great Saint: His Divinity Swami Brahmanand Saraswati Maharaj, Jagad Guru Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath, Badarikashram, Himalyas, by Dr. Raj R. P. Varma.

Source: Rocks Are Melting:
The Everyday Teachings of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati
[Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Jyotir Math, Himalayas, 1941-53]
Compiled by Rameswar Tiwari
Edited and Introduction by L. B. Shriver
Translation Edited and Annotation by Cynthia A. Humes  Clear River Press, 2001