» Ask The Spiritual Explorer: Selecting a Photo for Meditation Mas-india.com Blog

August 3, 2010 on 11:00 am

From the desk of The Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I noticed in one of your articles that you wrote about pictures of a Guru or teacher in your space of worship. I don’t have a particular teacher at this point, so I don’t know what statue or picture to put there. Can you advise me on this? Len L. St. Louis, MO


The World of Gods and Goddesses

Dear Len:

Your question reminded me of one of my favorite stories about a young man who was told by his visiting teacher to pray to any one of his favorite deities. The young man responded that he had no favorite deity; so his teacher told him then to pray to anyone he felt a bond to in some way or loved. Six months later, the teacher came by to check on his student’s progress. When he knocked on the door, the young man advised him that he would like to come out to greet the teacher, but he couldn’t because his bull horns were too big to fit through the door. Apparently, since he had a great fondness for his pet bull, he had used him as his object of worship.

I think the moral of the story is when you focus or concentrate on anyone or something that you love or adore, it brings you to a state of stillness and meditation within and opens you to receive the gift of that love. This can also be a photograph of a holy person or a murti or statue of a particular deity, or a simple picture of a mountain or a nature scene. These pictures or representations represent your desire to gather into yourself the spirituality reflected by that person or a particular attribute.


Photo of Statue of Christ

For example, one may pray to Hanuman, the well known Monkey God, for his known qualities of bravery, loyalty, humility and service. Ganesh, the Elephant God, is known to remove obstacles to spiritual knowledge. Shiva, the great God of Contemplation, can be prayed to for meditative ability and detachment. Devotees of the great Goddess Lakshmi always pray to her for benevolence and prosperity. There is a great book at Ma’s India called  The World of Hindu Gods and Goddesses with fabulous portraits of many of these gods and goddesses. Ma’s India also has a valuable assortment of pictures of holy persons: Baba Neem Karoli, Swami Nityananda, Ma Jaya Bhagavati and others. For those of the Christian faith, there are pictures of Christ and Mary also.


Photo of Neem Karoli Baba

It is a very individual matter to decide which holy person resonates with your own spirit. We are fortunate to have so many teachers available to us, both male and female, no matter if they still reside in their bodies or not. Begin to search through some of these photographs and see if there is one that calls forth your spirit in some way. I remember when I first saw a photograph of my own guru in a New Age Magazine; I said to myself, very simply, “I like this woman,” and cut out her picture and hung it on my wall. This picture of Ma Jaya hung on my wall for two years before I actually met her in person. The rest is history as to how I came to live at Ma’s ashram 31 years ago. But that’s another story.

Keep looking, Len. Your teacher is out there somewhere, and a sincere and humble request will draw him or her to you. Thank you for writing.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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