By: Mahant Jay Jaggessur, January 1st, 2019 (New Year’s Satsang)
As the old year sinks, our thoughts inevitably turn to a renewal mode. It may be a good thing to aim for renewal or new beginnings. But at the same time, we should be mindful of our goal; once we have acknowledged what our purpose in life is, we should persevere in pursuing our goal. Renewal is good, but consolidating our foundations and reinforcing our determination to seek our goal is better. As the New Year rolls in, we should, more than ever, renew our conviction to move forward to our destination.
Many people make New Year’s resolutions which do not take long to be broken. Some of them even call them ‘life-changing’ resolutions. Why make them on the first day of the year? What is so magical about making them on the first day of the year? Let’s take health as an example. If your doctor advises you to watch your sugar intake, would you wait until January 1st to address that? If you want to be healthy and fit, will you make a resolution for that only on January 1st? Whatever is good for us to do should not wait. We must take action on whatever we know is good for us as soon as we possibly can.
“Achhe Din Paachhe Gaye, Guru Se Kiyaa Na Het; Ab Pacchtaaye Hot Kyaa Jab, Chidiyaa Chug Gayi Khet.”
(see transliteration and pronunciation guide here)
Satguru Kabir Saheb tells us that the time to act is now. There is no better time than now. By procrastinating, thinking that better days are to come, we lose our golden opportunity to fulfill our duty and reap the fruits. Why wait for New Year? What is it that the New Year will do that other days won’t? As it has been found, most people do not keep up with their New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions do not work because people are not determined in keeping them, and they also believe that if they don’t keep them, they will still have the chance of resolving again in the ensuing New Year. Who knows if the next New Year will come or not? Determination in making resolves is fundamental to the success of our objectives.
Our past is our teacher, and guides us through life. All our experiences in life shape us to make better decisions, to improve our life. As we move on in life, we must be mindful of all those experiences. We are the sum total of all those experiences we already went through. By tapping into those experiences, we are able to sail safely to our destination. The present is the only time we live in. We cannot live in the past, nor can we live in the future. Making the most of each and every breath we take, we must be constantly conscious of our ‘connect’ with God. Satguru Kabir Saheb teaches us that God is in each breath that we take:
“[...] Sab Swaanson Ke Swaans Men... [...]”
God is the breath of all breaths
(see transliteration and pronunciation guide here)
(see full bhajan here)
If God exists in each and every breath that we take, then we must be doing what we have to do while we have the breath. Who knows if the next breath will be there or not? The future is only dependent on our past and our present. We have no control on our future. But what we do in the present does influence the course of our future. When we have faith in God, we know that only and only the best will happen. Therefore, we need not worry. As a matter of fact, if we follow the past-present-future timeline, there is no place for new beginnings in this continuum. It is just a suite of our actions tied in different stages of our life. Spiritually speaking, the physical body is going through different stages, but the spirit is unaffected by them.
In all situations, we have to be prepared…instead of thinking of a particular time as being a new chapter in our life. There were two farmers who had their properties side by side. Both had great farms and had been prospering in their trade. In a particular year, their region was struck by a severe drought, which seemed to last for ever. They were not able to grow any crops; their fields were parched. Gyanchand was a smart man. As the drought lasted, he built a big dam in the dry creek running in his land. He also built a reservoir and an irrigation system. Moorchand, his neighbour farmer watched him working on the dam and irrigation system and thought he was foolish. After a few weeks, Gyanchand completed his works, and Moorchand kept wondering why Gyanchand did all that work. After another few weeks, it started raining heavily. Torrential rain continued to pour for at least 2 weeks, during which time Gyanchand’s dam filled his reservoir and his irrigation system was ready to supply his fields. But at the same time, Moorchand’s house was flooded, and all the rain water slowly flowed out of his property. This story tells us how the same situation has been handled differently by two individuals in a way that one took advantage of it and the other one just let an opportunity go waste. As mentioned above, the past is our teacher; the past taught Gyanchand that rain will surely come. The advent of the rain was a continuation of livelihood for Gyanchand, but a new beginning for Moorchand, who had to start from scratch.
Life throws all kinds of situations to us; it is up to us to seek opportunities in them. Seeking opportunities in all life situations translates into a continuity which leads us from good to better, from knowing less to knowing more, from ignorant to wise… Let us use every moment of our life and make the most of it in our road to liberation; not wait for a specific date and time to start our journey. Otherwise, we will remain at the starting block every time.