Questioner: Namaskaram. My Ishtadevata is Lord Hanuman. Can one truly experience the presence of one’s Ishtadevata? If so, how do we differentiate between hallucination and true experience?
Sadhguru: Ishtadevata is a god of your choice. That means it is not a god who landed somewhere from heaven. You created the god – either just emotionally, or as an actual energy form with which you can transact in some way. It is like a tool. A tool is an enhancement of our existing abilities but tools can do things that you yourself cannot do. For example, you can speak to a large crowd because of a microphone, but the microphone only enhances your voice. Human beings have become a dominant force on this planet only because of our ability to use tools.
We created energy forms with which we can have a very profound relationship. But not all deities are energy forms. Many of them are purely based on emotion. A bhakta or devotee does not care whether his object of devotion exists or not. All he knows is the strength of his emotions. As you can use the strength of your intellect, you can also use the strength of your emotions to do wonderful things.
If you become a devotee, it does not matter whether you are devoted to one god or another, to a monkey or a buffalo, as long as you are devoted. Because you are devoted, you will be transformed – not by the god, but by your devotion. If you fall in love with someone, the person you fall in love with may be an idiot, but because you are in love, something about you becomes beautiful. The advantage of falling in love with a god is he will not disappoint you. Human beings invariably disappoint you, not because something is wrong with them, but because your expectations are unrealistic – it is impossible for anyone to live by them.
Hanuman however, is a superman. He has the tail and facial features of a monkey – the rest is a super-superman. If you have been to a consecrated deity of Hanuman and have a certain relationship, there may be an element of reality to it. Otherwise, it is just your emotion. It does not really matter if it is hallucination or reality because anything that happens in your mind is hallucination. Your thoughts and emotions are your psychological drama. You have the choice to use it to enhance your life or to defeat yourself. You can sit here and think whatever you want. It need not have anything to do with reality. The question is, are your hallucinations working towards your wellbeing and growth, or are they working against you?
A few years ago, when I walked into the Isha Home School, an eight-year-old boy came up to me and asked, “Sadhguru, is life a dream or is it true?” I said, “Life is a dream, but the dream is true.” The dexterity of living is in making your dream work for you, not against you. Please make Hanuman work for you, not against you. Hanuman represents immense strength and devotion. Let that become a part of your life. Life will work wonderfully well. Do not split hairs by asking if it is real or not. Your thoughts come and go – they do not exist by themselves, but you can make them work for you. You can choose to turn this psychological drama either into a devil or into a divine form. Please turn it into a divine force. Then your very mind will become the source of the Divine.
Editor’s Note: Linga Bhairavi is a feminine deity at the Isha Yoga Center consecrated by Sadhguru. One can take Devi’s grace home through the Linga Bhairavi Yantra, which is offered during the Yantra ceremony, a powerful process in the presence of Sadhguru. The next Yantra Ceremony is on August 2, 2016. Find more info at LingaBhairavi.org or call +91-94890 45131/32/33/35/36