Change is a common place in life sometimes welcomed and sometimes feared. An employee eagerly waits for his paycheck. A student often dreads the upcoming exams. Some changes are just opportunities to witness the power of time and reflect. New Year Eve is just one such event. Apart from the celebrations, fun and wishes, it is a time to reflect.
It is a time to look back at the events of the year. There is both joy and pain. It is true at an individual level and collective level of family, city and nation. Events in 2023 span from the success of Chandrayan 3 to slaughter of innocents in the Israel-Hamas war. If we look back more at life, practically every year is a mix of joy and sorrow. Can’t we have a year only with happiness? No. Not for anyone. We suffer because of bad people around us and sometimes because of our own mistakes. And our body is subject to disease and decay inevitably against our desire. The same applies to the bodies of our near and dear and the objects we cherish. The same is confirmed in BG 2.14.
Having understood the nature of life in this world, it is time to question our aspirations, dreams centered around our life in this world – the gadgets we want to own, the places we want to visit and the status we want to achieve. We are going to inevitably experience pain while pursuing them. On top of it, the happiness we get is also limited by space, time and circumstance. On one hand, the happiness available in this world is limited and coupled with pain (BG 5.22) but on other hand, we have a desire to experience ever-increasing and never-ending happiness. Where can we find this happiness? We need to look for happiness beyond this world. We need to look for happiness within rather than without.
R – Rise
Bhagavad Gita points out that we are a spiritual being placed in a body made of matter. As a spiritual being, we are eternal unaffected by the temporary changes of this world. We can find ever-increasing and never-ending happiness by connecting to God who is all-attractive, most attractive and ever-attractive. God is eternal and is unaffected by the worldly changes. When we center our purpose, desires, emotions and actions around God who is changeless, we can attain stability and satisfaction in life amidst the world of uncertainty and chaos. We can do so through the process of yoga that will help us raise our consciousness towards God through knowledge, meditation and service (BG 9.34). Does taking up spirituality means giving up everything? No.
R – Redirect
We need not give up our activities in the world to embrace spirituality. We need not give up our relationships. We just need to center our activities in the world around God by acknowledging God as the source of creation and contribute to the purpose of God in this world (BG 9.27). We can center our relationships around God by seeing everyone as a spiritual being and seeing service to them as service to God. In this way, New Year’s Eve is a good opportunity to realize the incompleteness of life in this world and start investing our time and resources in our spiritual growth.