Ishta Devata – an explanation

This is an extract from a longer satsang given at Satyananda Tapovanam, in January 2004. (The new years eve satsang appears earlier in this blog). At the end is a simple rendition of a Shanti Path, Invocation of Peace.

Since time immemorial, symbols have been used worldwide in mystical circles as a focus for the mind.

In Yoga, a symbol is known as an Ishta Devata, a symbol that has special meaning for an individual practitioner. For example, in Christian circles, the figure of Christ would be an Ishta Devata; in Hinduism there are thousands of possible Ishta Devatas in the forms of gods and goddesses. 

A symbol helps us to explore the deeper realms of our existence. It is a means to awaken the subliminal and higher forces within.

A symbol is a catalyst which can evoke and invoke forces which normally lie beyond our mundane perception. It is used as an anchor when exploring the unknown depths of our Being.

A symbol always points beyond its apparent meaning – a pointer to the Ineffable.