Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ganesha Saves

"Save me from myself if you ever really cared
Save me from myself, tell me you're not scared"
--Damageplan, "Save Me"

This isn't the first time I've quoted the band Damageplan in this blog - they are quite good, as short lived as they were, being the last band of legendary guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott before his untimely death in 2004. But I'm not just plugging them in this blog post, as I'm quoting them for a reason.

What's the reason? It has to do with a lesson that's taken me this long to realize: that if I am to save anyone else, I have to stop waiting for someone to save me and start saving myself. While I could say, in light of recent blog posts, that Lord Ganesha was the one who saved me from myself, one could also say He was the one who taught me the above maxim as well.

To elaborate: those readers who have stuck with this blog have seen my lamentations for the state of America, the world, and whatever negative role I play in it as a white male American citizen. The desire to change my role has been there, but the mental toolbox to do it with wasn't. I kept criticizing myself, as you have been witness to, for my inability to "save them all," as one commentator so eloquently put it. (Thanks for commenting, by the way. :-)  )

I'm not quite sure what it was that motivated me to finally start saving and improving myself, but one other thing I've learned is that for other people to be saved - for the world to be saved - they have to want to be saved. It is my belief that is one thing I've gotten out of a recent satsang hosted by Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. (You can find said satsang at http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/our-lives-should-be-rhythmic-and-harmonious if you like.)

In that satsang Sri Sri mentions the problems currently faced by India, and what must be done to counter them. He also mentioned one disparaging fact about America that is, sadly, true, at least to my knowledge: that only about a quarter of our population usually votes when election time comes. But what do those two things have to do with each other? Well, one other thing that Sri Sri mentioned in that satsang is that voting in India these days is often decided along lines of caste, social status, and religious beliefs rather than who an individual voter actually believes will genuinely help things. (Of course, the same thing could be said about America, except the caste system of India doesn't apply.)

There is a point I'm getting at with all of this. In one movie on Mahatma Gandhi that I saw part of at one point, Gandhi is in prison talking to a British Christian priest who wants to help him. When the priest asks how he can help, Gandhi replies he can best help by accepting a transfer assignment and leaving India. Gandhi elaborates that the Indian independence movement "needs to be won by Indians." When I first saw that scene, I was initially upset at it - I thought it was implying people like me wouldn't ever be able to help such movements by nature of who we are born as.

Thinking about it now, however, I think I recognize the true message of that scene - in that particular instance, Gandhi was trying to get across that the people of India have to genuinely want their freedom, and that the British couldn't simply give it to them.

In the same vein, I want to help change things in America and the world, but, well, the world has to want my help first. And seeing as I'm not Superman and can't save the world single-handedly, I can understand that America and the world don't want my help...or my help alone, anyway. At the same time, I've been wanting help all this time, and now I have it from Lord Ganesha...except it wasn't the help I expected.

Lord Ganesha essentially taught me that He couldn't give me the self-improvement I was seeking - I had to take it from Him. And I did. Hence, He saved me...because He taught me how to save myself.

Heh...I know this isn't the most articulate blog post in the world, with my thought process wandering all over the place like that. But it's 3:49 AM as of the time I'm writing this. So I better get some sleep. :-)


  1. You raise a good point in this post about how salvation can only come when one wants it (and exerts effort to change after that). I can't say I can relate to your "negative role" as a white male American citizen, but I understand that it's been bothering and I AM SO HAPPY that you're on your way to transcending this mindset. I especially like your observation about Gandhi and Indian independence.

    Urgh, I'm never the most articulate, even in the best of times, but you know that I support you in your endeavors. God bless always.


  2. Namaste,
    I concur with Niki C, you did a great observation about Ghandi's view on the help from the Priest. A good lesson is that, although separated we are one drop in the vast ocean, without the many one drops there would be no ocean.