The meaning of Ishta Devata is the personal deity with whom a devotee feels the greatest affinity. According to Swami Sivanananda, our worship of a God is defined by the element which is predominant in us. Our body and mind are composed of five elements. These are earth, water, fire, air and ether. Our elements have to be in harmony for us to tread on the path of self-realization. What ensures that our elements are in balance is the flow of prana.
The flow of prana unblocks our psychic centres (chakras), psychic nadis (72,000) psychic breath (ujjayi), psychic sound (mantra) and the psychic symbol. The Vedas have described five categories of worship and this is according to the element which is strongest in us. The Gods who are worshipped are Ganesha, Shakti, Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. If our earth element is prevailing then we worship Ganesha. If the water element is ascendant then we worship Hari. If the fire element is prominent then we worship Surya. If the air element is paramount we worship Shakti. If the ether element is paramount we worship Shiva.
Worship is called Aradhana. There are many ways to practice Aradhana. Meditation is mental aradhana. Singing the name of the lord is kirtan or vocal aradhana. Karma yoga is physical aradhana. As we pass from one stage of worship to another we are seeking union with the Lord, who is manifest everywhere. Start today, light a lamp, concentrate on your breath and visualize your Ishta Devata in the space between your brows.
Aim Hrim Klim
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