Happy New Year
Most people think of new only in terms of externals a new house, a new car, or maybe even a new spouse. Unfortunately the tantalizing, often irresistible, charm of new things is invariably shortlived. Think of all the new things we looked forward to a new college, a new job, a new TV. Have all of them not become hackneyed? Similarly is it not likely that what we consider new and exciting today will become old and stale tomorrow? The Vedic scriptures state that all sensual and mental pleasures ultimately boil down to four basic forms food, sex, show of strength and sleep. All the subhuman beings birds, beasts, insects pursue nothing more than these pleasures. And aren’t most humans today essentially pursuing the same bodily pleasures, though with much more sophistication and complication?
1. What people consider as success – high paying job, pleasant family life, latest luxuries – is nothing but a jazzy arrangement for comfortable eating, sleeping, mating and defending.
2. Sports are nothing but shows of strength and skills.
3. Entertainment is nothing but vicarious pleasure derived from watching others enjoy sex and exhibit their prowess.
4. Even most scientific research is funded by and geared towards the defense and consumer industries, which are nothing but hitech arrangements for show of strength and sex respectively.
All material enjoyment, despite the glitz and glamour, is nothing but old wine in a new bottle. The Vedic scriptures depict this graphically punah punas carvita carvananam, chewing the chewed. A child chews a chewing gum that he has himself squeezed and spit earlier just because he doesn’t have anything better to do. Similarly, most people keep pursuing the same inane material pleasures that have disappointed them many times before because they don’t know any higher pleasure.
The Vedic scriptures offer our life a truly new direction: athato brahma jijnasa. “Explore the spiritual dimension of life.” We are all souls, eternal spiritual beings, beloved children of the allattractive Supreme Person. God, Krishna, is the supremely wealthy, beautiful, powerful, intelligent, famous and renounced person. Krishna possesses in full all the qualities that attract us to different things and persons of this world. His personality comprises everything our heart hankers for and more. And most importantly, we don’t have to struggle to attract His love; all that we have to do is open our hearts to experience His love, just as sleeping person has to just open his eyes to see the sunlight. Krishna already loves us more than anyone else and is waiting in our own hearts for us to turn to Him and return His love. In loving God and opening our hearts to experience His causeless love for us, we experience the newness and fullness of life that has always allured but eluded us. Because Krishna is unlimitedly attractive and sweet, the experience of loving Him is ever fresh and relishable.
The easiest and best way to express and experience endless love is by chanting the holy names of God, for God being omnipotent is fully manifest in His names. The great 16th century saint and scholar Rupa Goswami gives us a glimpse of the extraordinary ecstasy that awaits sincere practitioners of mantra meditation, “When the holy name of Krishna dances in the courtyard of one’s heart, one desires millions of mouths and millions of ears to relish the nectar it produces.”
Therefore let us make our new year truly new and happy by entering the world of divine love by chanting the names of God.