Today is the last day of this year. Tomorrow, the world will joyfully celebrate the New Year. But this is wrong because this is actually not a joyful situation. Rather, it is an occasion for remorse. Imagine you saved 100,000 rupees. If you spent 50,000 of this, you don’t celebrate. Instead you think, “Oh, now only 50,000 are left!” Eventually only 2,000 are left. “Now only 1,000 are left.” Similarly, this human body was given to us by God to attain our ultimate aim. How much closer have we come to that aim? How much devotion or upasana did we do? Upasana means to go pas, “close”. The meaning of upasana is to go close to God. How much closer to God have we gone?
For example, someone is feeling cold. Before him there is fire. The closer he goes to the fire, the more his feeling of coldness will lessen. If we went closer to God, how much closer did we go? How much farther are we from the world? We should think about this, but we don’t. Instead we celebrate happily. Now twenty years have passed, now fifty years have passed; now seventy-five years have passed. Elders say with pride to their children, “Son, what do I have left? My time has already passed. Be concerned about your own situation!” What has passed? Is this human body some kind of burden that it just "passes on"?
If someone is in jail for ten years, after one year passes he thinks, “Now only nine years are left.” Soon there is only one year left, then only one day and so if he celebrates the passing of time, this is fine. What are you celebrating? Are you going to be liberated after you die? Have you attained release from this jail of the 8.4 million species of life? You still haven’t done this as yet, nor have you even thought about it. If you were to think about this deeply and truly realise this even one second before your death and your mind became attached to God, your aim could be accomplished. The Bhagavad Gita (8.6) says that your thoughts at the time of death, whatever they may be, determine what you will attain in your next birth.
So our aim is not to celebrate happily, but to think deeply about this and do an appraisal of our own personal situation.
To be continued . . .
An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
31 December 2006
© Radha Govind Samiti