Recently, I traveled with my guru, Swami Sri Atmananda, and a small band of devotees to the source of the holy River Ganges, the sacred river that represents to Indians the Divine Mother flowing as the goddess Ganga. The Ganges’ source is at a place high in the Himalayas called Devprayag, which means Godly Confluence. Here, three sacred rivers are said to join to become the mighty Ganges. Two of the rivers, Alaknanda and Bhagirathi, are visible to all. The third river, the mythical Saraswati, is said to run underground to meet the first two at the confluence. Thus, the source of Mother Ganga is both visible and invisible.
When we humans investigate our own source or origin, we often point to scientific knowledge, the facts of genetics, biology, and even cosmology. We may not consider another force, a subtle invisible energy or spirit that weaves through and joins with physical matter at the confluence of life. Like the invisible river Saraswati (which literally translates as the flow or essence of the self), there is a force within all of us that is invisible to the human eye and the instruments of science but that nonetheless eternally flows within all beings. Some call this source “lifeforce” or “prana.” In Kali-Ki Reiki, we call it “loveforce” because we see it as the force of pure, eternal, and Limitless Love, the Source of everything, what many call God.
That Source lies even beyond its force. In my book May the Loveforce Be With You, Kali-Ki Reiki: Healing through Divine Mother and Yogic Wisdom, I refer to the “hidden fourth” in the first symbol of Kali-Ki Reiki, the “trishul” or trident. If you gaze at the space between and around the three spears of the trident, you can see how the background space emerges from the symbol to become four instead of three. This “hidden fourth” represents the unitive force behind all things. I would posit that not only does Mother Ganga have a third invisible river, but there also is an even deeper “fourth,” the unitive awareness that is the true Source of all rivers and indeed all that is.
The mystical wisdom I received from Mother Ganga at Her confluence has practical applications for living as well. For example, when we think we have figured something out, when all seems obvious and apparent, it is important to look beneath the surface currents that can easily distract us from deeper causes and solutions. We need to understand that we may not have the whole picture and to be willing to look at what lies hidden beneath our surface understandings, projections, and interpretations. This can translate into something as simple as being careful when judgments arise. Are we making conclusions based only on the information available to our senses? How can we possibly know and take into consideration the circumstances of another’s situation that are not readily apparent? For example, it is easy to judge someone as dull or lazy who is suffering from an unseen chronic illness. Furthermore, we need to look deeply and to be aware when we find ourselves making excuses, rationalizing our way into doing something or avoiding something, or acting from a headspace that is not rooted in the essence of who we truly are and what we aspire to be.
There is a tendency to rely on quick fixes and surface solutions to the complicated problems of twenty-first century life. How will we ever re-balance our ecosystem and live in harmony with one another if we flow in the currents of greed and selfishness and don’t look for what unites us at the depths? How will we ever navigate the rivers of life if we spend all our time fighting and fearing its twists and turns and the pressure of its surface turbulence? I offer to you the wisdom of Mother Ganga: Sanctuary is found in the Source, in the deep waters where truth converges with inner wisdom and outer knowledge, where all is truly one and everything is a manifestation of this Oneness. Through your sincere spiritual practice and quiet contemplation, this hidden wisdom will be found, your source rediscovered.
It was a delightful experience to wade in the flowing Himalayan waters and to receive blessings from a Ganga River pujari (puja ritual priest). But it wasn’t just the celebrated union of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers at Devprayag and the temple statues of Mother Ganga that inspired me. It was knowing that these rivers and Mother Ganga Herself are being eternally fed by a powerful, invisible force; the Loveforce energy that arises from the one limitless Source of all that is.
Joni Dittrich, Ph.D. (Rajashree Maa), author of May the Loveforce Be With You: Kali-Ki Reiki: Healing Through Divine Mother & Yogic Wisdom, is a master of four reiki lineages and a venerated interspiritual teacher of meditation, yogic wisdom and holistic wellness. From many years of practice as a psychologist and healer, she sees true healing as a gateway to spiritual wisening and awareness of the Limitless Love at the heart of being. She is the founder of The Wisdom School based in Napa, California, which is dedicated to offering online and in-person healing sessions and training in Kali-Ki Reiki and supportive practices. https://thewisdomschool.us