|Chapter 9.3 from "Study Circles for Divinity"|
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9.3 NEW YEAR
FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA
This day is celebrated in India too, as New Year Day, in accordance with the observance of Western countries, whose calendar begins the New Year on the first day of January. But if you only ponder for a minute, you will realise that every second is new. Every second marks a new birth; it is a fresh chance for achieving a new victory. For, the goal as envisaged by Indian culture is the realisation of the Atma by the individual, not the acquisition of wealth or scholarship or fame. The chief duty of man is investigation into truth. Truth can be won only through dedication and devotion. And they are dependant on the Grace of God, which is showered only on hearts saturated with love.
The question, "Where does God exist?", is often trotted out by people nowadays. By unceasing recitation of the name of God, Prahlada knew that God is everywhere; it is not correct to assert,"He is only here" or that "He is not there". The realisation of this truth can come only after intense spiritual practice. You may see all kinds of attractive articles in a department store; they cannot be yours merely for the asking. Only these articles for which you pay the price can be secured by you. Realisation may be an attractive article for you to carry home with you; but, you have to pay the price. It cannot be yours if you have only argument or appeals in your possession. (010167)
The year becomes new, the day becomes holy, when you sanctify it by spiritual discipline, not otherwise. Spiritual practice can grow only in a field fertilised by love. Love is the devotion to God. The love you have towards material objects, name, fame, wife and children etc. should be sanctified by being assumed by the more overpowering love of God. Add two spoons of water to two cups of milk, the water too is appreciated as milk! At present your spiritual practice can be described only as mixing two litres of water with two spoons of milk! Have the love of God filling and thrilling your heart; then, you cannot hate anyone, you cannot indulge in unhealthy rivalries, you will not find fault with anyone. Life becomes soft, sweet and smooth. (010167)
NUT AND BOLT
Today is an auspicious day, for the New Year is welcomed with great expectations and the old year given a grand farewell, on this holy day. Every year, man has been bidding farewell to the old year and giving welcome to the new year; this has been going on since the history of man began. But, what is the net result? Only despair and distress, anxiety and insane fear! This is an occasion to inquire and discover why it has been so.
Every one seeks and strives to be at peace with himself and with society (the community in which he has to live), and find his fulfilment. He has tried to get this peace, by accumulating wealth, which gives him power over others and the ability to command the convenience and comforts which will confer peace. He has sought to hoist himself to positions of authority and influence so that he can shape events suited to his aims and fancies. But he has realised that both these paths are beset with fear and the peace that he secures thereby is liable to quick and sometimes violent extinction.
How then can man achieve peace? Only through love. Peace is the fruit of the tree of life; without it, the tree is a barren stump. It has no value or validity. The fruit is encased in a bitter skin, you must have noticed, so that the sweet juice may be preserved and guarded against marauders. You have to remove the skin, before tasting the sweetness within, and strengthening yourself. Those who can remove the rind and contact the sweetness within, through hard consistent discipline, attain the peace we all desire; the peace is everlasting, unchanging, overwhelming. (010171)
HEROES, NOT ZEROS
his day is welcomed as marking some big change, as if yesterday was something quite different for it belonged to 1963 and today is quite something distinct, for it is 1964! This day is celebrated by people, in picnics, in gambling, in drinking and feasting, they attend cinema shows, wear new clothes,
give presents to each other and greet all with joy and hilarity. They exhaust their money and their energy, in the pursuit of frivolity, thrill and excitement.
All this is due to the custom that views this day as something unique. In fact, the 'year' is just a convention. There are as many New Year Days as there are days in the year; many communities and countries have their own distinct calendar. It is not the first of January or the first of Chaithra (first month of Telugu New Year) that is unique. The year is just a name to indicate a number of months, the month a number of days, a day to indicate a number of hours, the hour is a period of time counted in minutes, and the minute is a name for sixty seconds. Each second is new. It is a gift, a chance, an opportunity, a thing to be celebrated, to be used for uplift. That is to say, each second is a fresh chance given to you for training the mind, refining the intellect, purifying the emotions, strengthening the will, for getting confirmed in the conviction that you are the deathless Atma.
Like the silk-worm that spins from out of itself the cocoon that proves to be its tomb, man spins from out of his own mind the cage in which he gets trapped. But, there is a way of escape, which the spiritual teacher can teach you or which the God in you will reveal to you. Take to the spiritual practice which will bring relief. Away with the roles of clown and clout, which you have acted all the ages. Take on the role of the hero, not the zero! Forget the past, do not worry about possible errors or disappointments. Decide and do. (010164)
MANIFEST YOUR DIVINITY
Man's most precious and sacred gift from God is intelligence. The intelligence that should be used in seeking the Spirit (Atma) is being used by man today to seek food ( Annam). When you are given a mirror to recognise your face, if you turn it in the reverse direction, how can you see your face? Use the mirror of Intellect to recognise your true Self. That is known as direct vision of one's true Self.
Unfortunately man today seeks to know everything except his own true nature. He asks everyone: "Who are you?", but does not put the question, "Who am I?" One who does not know himself, what right has he to seek about others? Such an enquiry proceeds from ignorance. Without awareness of his own true Self, man can never obtain bliss.
It is to set man on such a path of self-inquiry that the celebration of the New Year is intended. God as the embodiment of time, is worshipped by the name 'Samvatsara' (the year). This name also means that God contains within Himself everything. God is also known by the name 'the time-spirit'. God incarnates on earth for revealing to man his Divine essence. Man has been endowed with intelligence so that he may use it for discovering the Divine within him. (010192)
TIME IS GOD
Time is the very form of God. Birth and death are encompassed by time. Everyone, therefore, should regard time as Divine and utilise it for performing sacred actions. You should not waste a single moment. Time wasted is life wasted.
The fruits of your actions are determined by time. All your experiences are the results of your actions, whether it is happiness or sorrow, affluence or poverty. Hence, good and bad depend on what you do. As are your actions, so are the fruits thereof. The way you utilise your time determines the outcome.
Hence, this New Year, which is a form of the Divine, should be put to right use. You have heard about the four aeons (or ages) called Krita Yuga, Treeta Yuga, Dwaapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. These are not distinct from each other. The divisions are based on experiences. Whether it be Krita Yuga or Kali Yuga, it has no separate form. According to the conduct of the people at the time, the name is given for the Yuga. Even during Krita Yuga there were people filled with attachments and aversions. There are even in Kali Yuga people wedded to truth and leading peaceful and virtuous lives. For all Yugas, God is the origin. Hence one of the names bestowed on God is 'Yugadi' (one from whom the Age begins). Everything is a manifestation of the Divine. Not realising this, man becomes elated when he gets something and feels depressed when he loses something. You should develop the state of equanimity which leaves you unaffected by gain or loss.
Therefore, O embodiments of Divine Love! recognise that the new year connotes God who bears several appellations relating to time. Sanctify the new year by engaging yourselves in pure, selfless and ennobling activities. As far as possible, avoid causing harm or pain to others. As you sow, so you reap.
Whenever you feel disturbed by a sense of anger, envy, pride, jealousy and the like, be alert and resort to the contemplation of the Lord. (010191)Your primary duty is to make right use of time. For this purpose, there is no need for you to wait for the beginning of a New Year. Every moment is a manifestation of time. From seconds to minutes, from minutes to hours, from hours to days and months, and from months to a year ‑ this is the endless procession of time. The second is the basis for the year. Hence every second should be filled with purposeful action. What is the meaning of a life in which from waking in the morning to sleeping at night one is concerned only about his belly and has no thought of God? What is the result of all this hectic activity? Has it given a single moment of real joy? Purposeful living can come only by contemplation of God. People talk about service. Whom are you serving? When you render service, you are really serving yourself. You have to perform all actions in a spirit of dedication ‑ to please the Divine. (270490)
Today, you are celebrating the arrival of a New Year with a new name, a name that you will use for the twelve coming months. But remember, it is not the year alone that is new once in 365 days. Every day is new, every hour and minute, every second is new. Do not celebrate only the New Year Day in joy; celebrate every second in joy.
Start from today, not that today is a New Year - there are so many New Years celebrated as such by one or the other community that every day is a new year to some one set of people - but because it is today and the matter brooks no delay. Start from today a new chapter in your life, the chapter of the continual repetition of the name of the Lord and meditation, meditation with recitation of the name of the all-pervasive God. In this Kali Yuga, it is all names of the Lord; you can select any one that appeals to you. (170361)
The New Year comes regularly year after year. But do you have any new thoughts? You do not shed your old, mistaken ideas. They should be given up, yielding place to new, sacred and sublime thoughts. Of what use is it to celebrate new year days if you do not change your old ways of thinking and behaving? make proper use of time which is both precious and sacred. Do not indulge in useless gossip. Develop good qualities like compassion, love and sympathy. Act as your own monitor and correct yourself by self-punishment. By a simple method you can control your wandering mind or your anger. Moreover, place your reliance on God. With the power of the Divine to sustain you there is nothing you cannot accomplish. (010196)
On this new year day, you should make resolve that you will start every day with love, spend the day with love, fill the day with love, and end the day with love. There should be no difference of caste, creed, colour, religion or nationality. Love knows no distinction of any kind. You must wish everyone to be happy. Fill the heart with love. The country will prosper and the world will prosper and everyone will be happy. (010194)
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