With New year at the door, everyone is in a frenzy making resolutions, hoping to change their life for better. I, on the other hand, am thinking more about realizations. Before divulging my convictions, I have to first narrate a story from the life of Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati.
Yati (1923-1999) was a great Indian scholar and thinker who later on became the director of East-West university. Confirming to the Indian way of renunciation and wandering, he traveled through the length and breadth of India seeking wisdom.
On one such journey through winter stricken north India, he slept off on the wayside. That night was severely cold; almost freezing. Yati, dressed only in a loincloth,did not believe he would live to see the next morning. But in the half-conscious state he felt something hugging him, providing the warmth that he needed. In that comfort, he dozed off. Waking up in the morning, he looked around to see who saved his life. To his surprise he found a stray dog laying beside him sound asleep. Yati felt a wave of gratitude towards whole of the universe. He explains the incident as the greatest mystical experience of his life.
Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati explains that the trivial incident provided a great revelation. He writes that ‘For the first time in my life, I felt the universe shielding and protecting me like a mother’s womb. A feeling that there is nothing to be afraid of, that I am being passionately loved.’
There is a similar story of St. Francis of Assisi. It narrates that after achieving enlightenment, St. Francis wandered through the streets like a mad man lamenting, ‘Oh great love, how long have I neglected you!’
To know that the whole universe cares for us is the greatest happiness. That feeling will indeed disrupt the selfish paths and bring in the refreshing winds of joy to anyone’s life.
Some assert that the new year resolutions are imperative to bring about change. I do agree with them. But after reading this story, I feel certain revelations are better than resolutions.
The society we live in has created many constructs in black and white. The winning and losing, achievement and failure, happily married and miserable single and so on. Conforming to such patterns makes living difficult.
Because of the predisposition towards winning, most consider their losses shameful. But looking back are they really failures? Aren’t they wonderful teachers who dictate valuable lessons?
For instance, a relationship failure shatters many. But broken relations actually strengthens us. They teach us about our incompetence and hard head. In the ebb and flow of life, it may prove to be a great learning experience.
Lost jobs and broken business do surely affect our financial stability. But looking at the big picture, it is just a step towards ultimate success. The lessons learned may educate us to hone our skills and to live a better life.
The real failure
This is not to say that there are no loses in life. Unspoken words of love, unexpressed affection towards children, neglect of the poor and less fortunate, undone deeds of goodness are a few failures that we need to address.
If idea of winning and losing is redefined thus, we can reset our goals in the coming year. Goals which are more humanitarian, than monetary.
A new year a new beginning
January, the first month, is named after Janus, God of beginnings and transitions. Janus has two faces, one facing forward and the other backwards. They symbolize the retrospective and preemptive aspect of life. Hence the month of January can be argued as an period for looking back as well as planning ahead in life.
An unprejudiced retrospection of the past year will surely highlight the blessings and we can’t help but wonder like Yati and St. Francis how well we are cared for. Always thinking about love in an interpersonal context, we forget that it is the undercurrent of all natural mechanics. And better still, we are ‘being passionately loved’.
Back to Eden
Realizing that we also are the invaluable strands in the great fabric of love, can bring about unforeseen changes. One cannot help but be faithful conductors and be filled with unconditional love. It is like finding the way back to the garden of Eden, from where we were expelled in the first place because we failed confirm with the ultimate law.
Let the 2019 be the year of realization, a year to walk back. Unlike the previous years where we tried hard to stick to lofty resolutions with no inner transformation. Since change has to flower from inside rather than being forced from outside, let us pray for realizations.
Wish all my readers an year filled with peace and love.