There are five great shaktis, or powers, of Lord Ganesha. These vibratory rates can be felt through your body and should always be with you. "What is this shakti?" you may be wondering. It is being in the presence of God. All holy men emanate one, two or more of these shaktis stronger than all of the others, and you can too. We can say that Lord Ganesha has five aspects to His presence. Feeling the presence of Lord Ganesha everywhere is what each Hindu soul wishes to attain. These powers are Lord Ganesha's way of guiding dharma. We explore them briefly here.
The first shakti emanates the feeling of love and compassion that you would have for your immediate family; love and harmony within the family is most important to all Hindus and this beautiful feeling, when it exists, is the first shakti of the Lord.
The second shakti is the same feeling but extended to relatives and neighbors and friends. This is more difficult to hold, as inharmonious conditions often arise. These are called asuric forces. These forces come between people causing misunderstanding and upsets.
The third shakti of Lord Ganesha is this same love extended to all persons we have to have dealings with in the external world: business associates, a casual merchant and the public at large. This shakti of the Lord is tenuous to hold onto, as worldly forces, as you well know, militate against this kind of harmony.
The fourth shakti brings through the sub-superconscious mind - the love of culture and all that it brings to us, and the respect and appreciation of discipline. Here we find the vibration of religion which brings as a boon creativity in music, art, drama and the dance. It is through these refining rays that religious life is adhered to.
The fifth shakti of Lord Ganesha is the combination of the first and the third in vibration, and extends into the wonderful feelings obtained by the outpouring of love of this God. This gives the added boon of being able to be charitable - building churches and temples and participating in the overflowing generosity from their abundance.
These five shaktis, which in Hinduism are associated with Lord Ganesha, actually form the basis for all of the religions in the world, though usually not in their entirety. What we call Ganesha worship today is actually the age-old religious pattern performed through eons of time, and is found in some form in each of the eleven religions of the world and in the multitudes of faiths. And this is basically the extent of religion, for once religion is secured in one's life, yoga - finding the temple within, going into that temple, merging within the sanctum sanctorum with the Lord Himself - is the next and most natural unfoldment.
There exist, as well, five vibratory rates that are the opposite of the first five shaktis carefully guarded by Lord Ganesha. They are adharmic, abysses of the mind.
The first abyss is inharmonious conditions within the home; fighting and squabbling among those who are near and dear to each other. This makes strong samskaras or scars in the subconscious mind, and literally begins to create a subconscious that opposes any kind of furtherance of religious life.
The second abyss is inharmonious conditions and misunderstandings, allowed to exist without apology, recompense or forgiveness, between acquaintances, friends and relatives not living in the immediate home.
The third abyss is that of worry and concern. The courts of law handle this one, the collection agencies, and displeased customers - lack of courtesy in business affairs, the borrowing and the lending of money all together throw their power into making a beguiling abyss of inharmonious conditions within the business world.
The fourth abyss is turning one's back on culture, away from music, art, drama and the dance, laughing at religious people and their practices, being content with the dull drab life of mundane things. Sloth and conceit are found here, along with the smug attitudes of those that have the first three shaktis well under control. Here, their intellect and money is their God.
The fifth abyss, of course, is that dark night of the soul the religious person goes through when devoid of the childlike spontaneity of spiritual giving.
For Hindus in the East and in the West, it is this understanding of the five positive shaktis of Lord Ganesha and their five equally powerful negative forces that can make religion a working part of our lives.