Swami Sivaya Subramaniyam, “Many people look at the gods as mere symbols, representations of forces or mind areas. Actually, they are beings, and down through the ages ordinary men and women, great saints and sages, prophets and mystics in all cultures, have inwardly seen, heard and been profoundly influenced by these superconscious inner plane beings. Lord Ganesha is such a being, He can think just as we can think. He can see, and understand and make decisions—decisions so vast in their implications and complexity that we could never comprehend them with our human faculties of understanding.
“…In recent history, missionaries and others from the West have told the Indian people over and over that the gods are not really beings, but merely symbols of spiritual matters, and unfortunately many have begun to believe in the gods in this way.
“…When I approach the Deity, I believe that he is fully conscious of me. When you approach the Deity, you should believe that He feels your presence, that He sees you just as you see Him. In thus seeing Him in very human terms, you will get to know Him. It is especially important that you develop this relationship with Lord Ganesha.”
(pgs. 201-202, Satguru Speaks on Hindu Renaissance)