It’s time to take a step forward once more, for the New Year is at hand.
One can move from ‘the past’ to ‘the present’ and turn over a new leaf in one’s life. Change completely if required and have a new life altogether!
Whenever I think of preparing for a new day, for a new year, leaving behind the old, I am always reminded of the cry of John the Baptist, who declared, “Voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye, the way of the Lord! Make his path straight!”
There are things we need to look into, the straight and narrow path, so difficult to walk on, that the Upanishads have called – shurasya dhara – it’s like walking on the edge of a razor! And yet, it’s facing this and leading life dangerously, that one makes momentous quantum leaps into greater dimensions – a better life – a better human being. In fact, it is this that has produced geniuses of all kinds for hundreds and thousands of years, this capacity to leave the old, to move forward into the new – to stop and turn away from the weather beaten track and to find a new path and to walk with your head raised high – be prepared to meet any obstacles and overcoming them with faith in oneself and faith in the Supreme Being, who is the essence of this whole universe.
So what resolution should we make again for this new year and, the most important part – implement the resolution – not just make resolutions.
One of the best resolutions to make for oneself and for the world at large, is to say that from today onwards, from this New Year – I will not only take care of myself, but I will also, in the best capacity possible, however little it may be, take care of a less fortunate human being.
Make a resolution that you shall now watch yourself regularly and practice not hurting anyone. Not hurting by word, or deed or by thought. You know how powerful words are! So, watch yourself. Be careful of what you say. Ninety percent of the troubles in this world, for us, are caused by not talking responsibly.
My Master used to say; Before you speak, follow three principles.
1. What am I going to say? Wait, don’t just blabber, think! Think carefully.
2. Who am I going to say this to? Something may be true but it may not be something that I should say to this particular person. Truth sometimes is double edged. It could hurt; it could cause problems. So be careful. Even if one is speaking the truth, is this the right person to say this to now?
3. Under what situation am I going to say this? Even if it is a fact, the best things may not be suited to a particular situation or a particular group of people.
So, if we could follow these three principles, many of our problems will be solved.
Above all, the most important thing for a human being, I believe, is not to cause pain to other human beings. In the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, which is called ‘The yoga of devotion’ or ‘Bhakti Yoga’, Krishna tells Arjuna, “One of the most important qualities of a devotee of mine is “sarva bhoota hitey rataha” – which means that he who has compassion, who is kind to all living beings on this earth. Such a person I consider to be very close to me.” Krishna is not speaking as Krishna, a person, but as the manifestation of the Supreme Being. So, the nearest person to the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Being, to God, is one, who has in his heart, kindness & compassion to all living beings on this earth.
The other thing that one can do is to sit down on New Year’s eve, take a piece of paper, and note down point by point – the characteristics and habits that we find in ourselves which we think are negative and which need to be overcome and changed. Note them down and then, carefully, in the morning as you wake up to a new dawn, go through this again and begin to implement ways and means to get free of the negative tendencies.
It can be done!
The only way to get rid of negativity is to bring in positivity. You can’t remove negativity by keeping on thinking about it. You can replace it with positive thinking. So, let us implement the resolutions that we make on this New Year eve saying, “I will become a better person. I will no longer allow the negativities to remain in my mind. I will try my best to share what I have with others. I will do a kind deed every day. This is my resolution and I am going to implement it.”
If you want a goal, choose one goal (try to not have too many goals) and stick to it. Now suppose you say, “I want to make money!” What do you do? You don’t just say – I want to make money – the brain and mind don’t like such statements that are general in nature – be very very particular.
So, what do you do? Say, ‘I would like to make…’ – make a large and great resolution, not a small resolution – ‘I would like to make twenty crores!’ the mind doesn’t like this kind of, again, general resolution; because it always comes up with a question – When? When you are dead? So give it a time – say five years – a reasonably good time. “In five years I will make twenty crores.” Let it be that way. It’s very important to WRITE IT DOWN on white paper. Every night, before you go to sleep, take the slip, read it as many times as you can. Repeat it like a mantra. Put it under your pillow and go to sleep. Believe me, if you are really serious, and if you are ready to take the initiative and also sacrifice your time and energy – which is very important – the mind will find ways and means to bring about situations which will open up your future to fulfilling the aim which you have written down and resolved to attain. This is true, as imagination is a gift from the Divine that has been given to us.
I merely gave the example of money because most people understand it better. But there are other things greater than money. Money cannot buy happiness, for instance! So, if you resolve to be happy, then, have happiness as your aim – and if you have happiness as your aim, get ready to sacrifice everything else for happiness.
Happiness is not attainable by acquiring and gathering. It is attained by being good and ‘Letting Go!’ There is a great saying in the Ishavasya Upanishad “tyena tyaktena bhunjita…” which means, “Let go and rejoice!” ‘Let go’ doesn’t mean – give up. It means, let go of all the unpleasant memories, the hurts, the wounds, the bitterness that has been in your mind – let it all go. Just throw it out of the window – visualize that it is going out of you and your mind becomes fresh and clear. Then, rejoice at the bliss and calm of a tranquil mind, which reflects the universal bliss of the Universal Reality!
So, that is the secret of happiness! Let go and rejoice – let none of your hurts and negativities stick to you.
So, let this be our resolution this year.
One, that we will resolve to do the best we can, to the best extent we possibly can to help one unfortunate human being, if not too many.
And two that we shall let go of all the negativities, of all the hatred and anger in us of last year and rejoice in the goodness and happiness and peace and brotherhood of the whole world.
Resolutions are made every New Year. By the time the day dawns on the New Year, all resolutions forgotten – no resolutions implemented. Can we have this New Year differently? Can we resolve that we will discipline ourselves?
The Secret of Implementing a Resolution
As the great Kabir Das said many hundred years ago, “ kal karey so aaj kar, aaj karey so ab…” which means “What you are supposed to do tomorrow, do it today – and what you are supposed to do today, do it right now!” There is no other way.
Postponement always ends in failure. How to implement it?
There is no short cut. KEEP PRACTICING, practicing, and practicing! For, there is no other way.
The yoga sutras of Patanjali, while discussing the question of how to control the mind; how to make it one pointed; how to free it from the agitations that constantly assail it, says there is only one way –Nirantara deergha kaala abhyaasa. That means continuous ‘Practice, practice, practice for a long long time’ – this is the only way to implement your resolutions; to clear up your mind; to make it positive and to free it from negativity.
Wish you a very very Happy New Year. May you turn a new leaf and become a useful, positive, happy, tranquil and energetic human being – stand proud as the great warrior of truth and happiness, ready to strike down anything that is negative, anything that is not positive.
Thank you very much.
– Sri M
(Excerpt from the talk aired on World Space Radio in January 2007)