09/19/2012 12:13 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Invoking Ganesh Principles and Pluralistic Dharmic Seva to Positively Impact American Politics

Hindu Americans across the world will observe Holy Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi through prayers, as a day of the birth and renewed remembrance of Ganapati (gana=senses, isha=divinity, pati=leader), the remover of obstacles. Ganesha is also known as Ganapati, leader of senses, by controlling our mind we transform ourselves and obstacles melt away.

For Hindus, it is a day to take fresh spiritual resolve and pray for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all undertakings. This observance and prayer for the removal of obstacles is especially relevant now as the country faces difficult challenges ahead including the polarized political environment.

For us the whole world is one single family! Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam! So, can we apply our seva values of ethics, spirituality and pluralism to the political process and bring a positive social, political, economic, health, education, geo-political change and harmony?

In our tradition, seva (service as awareness of self transformation) is a key expression of our spiritual practice (sadhana). Our actions prepare us for our salvation (moksha) through inner transformation.

We start our seva (selfless service) with a namaste, where we recognize there is a Divine spark within each of us and salute the divinity within. Seva transforms our inner self. And externally, we find we express the spiritual transformation through ethics and values in our civic life. Can we extend it locally, nationally and in the presidential campaign?

Our seva, for decades, has influenced the many communities we live in, work and raise our families. We have been feeding the homeless, conducting blood drives, teaching the inner city children, hosting langars, healthcamps -- positively impacting our communities in seva centers in temples, gurudwaras, satsangs, yoga studios, meditation centers, many seva organizations (NGOs) and interfaith organizations .

Our scriptures say, "Service which is given without consideration of anything in return, at the right place and time to one that is qualified, with the feeling that it is one's duty, is regarded as the nature of goodness" (Bhagavad Gita 17.20).

Public Service is Seva for our country. This is the highest kind of seva for as it shapes the direction and policies in our country. Voting is our right to influence the direction of our country and the way political seva is conducted.

Can we get our seva counted and voice heard? Can we transform seva values into action at the polls by bringing our authentic self, our core pluralistic values, faith, dharma and culture.

We can, but only if we get fully engaged in the civic and political process and bring our transformative seva awareness and selfless service, the voice of social justice to the forefront.

Like many concerned about the polarized political environment, at HASC a group of volunteers is developing SevaVotes, a nonpartisan effort to awaken and energize a new demographic of aware, ethical, selfless and pluralistic voters, igniting higher voter turnout among the millions of Americans who practice transformative seva and honor the inner divinity within all.

SevaVotes offers an opportunity to infuse politics with the values -- the dharma* values -- that matter to us. What if we all helped bring the practices of inclusivity, pluralism, valuing the divinity within all beings, compassionate action, nonviolence, meditative peace, collaboration and unity to our country's highly partisan politics?

By imbibing the principles of Ganapati (leader of senses) can we be change makers and change catalysts? Can we be part of growing the transformative seva movement and play a role in America valuing the talents of its diverse faiths and pluralistic, multicultural communities, faiths and dharma values.

Our Gurus tell us if you want to lead a life of happiness, free from troubles and difficulties, you have to pray to Ganapathi, the remover of all obstacles. Vighneswara (vighna=obstacles, ishwar=divine grace) dwells in each one of us as our intelligence (buddhi) and wisdom (vijnaana). When we make proper use of our inherent intelligence and wisdom, we will be successful in life and be instrumental in leading our country ethically.

If we pledge to bring those dharmic value to to polls, we can transform seva values into action at the polls. By invoking the inner Ganesha, we honor the inner divinity within all of us which has the power to remove obstacles. We become the change we want to see! Join us. Share the word. Click here for our flyer.