New Year Message

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

The New Year should be celebrated continuously till spring. Spring brings joy, spring nurtures life. In nature, what is underground during the winter months remains protected and when the warmth of spring comes, the seed grows. Grass can be under ice and snow, apparently lifeless, but when the snow melts and the sunlight penetrates, the frozen, barren ground suddenly becomes green.

At New Year, people make resolutions. A seed, a resolution, a sankalpa, can be lying under the ice and snow of winter. When the light of wisdom, the light of vidya, shines and removes the ice and snow of ignorance and vice, the seed can become whatever it is meant to be.

One should make a sankalpa, one should plant a seed within. Just as in nature the manifest beauty of creation can be experienced in a plant, so too the possibilities of creation can be visualized with the planting of a seed. A new seed provides a vision of the possibilities of creation which are equally as auspicious, uplifting, inspiring and encouraging as a created, visible plant.

The seed, the resolution, the sankalpa, has to have a bearing on your whole life. It has to become a part of you till you leave this body, and not only remain a thought of the day. Otherwise we confuse our sankalpa with our desires and our dreams. Desires and dreams can take us in the right direction and also in the wrong direction. We desire and the sankalpa becomes that desire. We dream and the sankalpa becomes that dream.

The sankalpa has to be based on the realities in which we live. If the sankalpa is to have an effect in twenty, forty or fifty years, then the preparation has to be thought out properly. Swami Sivananda's vision of a Yoga University was completed by Swami Satyananda with the creation of Ganga Darshan. This laid the ground work for something mammoth, the purpose of which became clear later on.

A sankalpa should be framed to achieve, to attain, to lead to the experience of change and transformation. When you hear, feel, know or see something pleasant or unpleasant, you notice a change in your mind and emotions. You should not only notice and experience but also live that transformation. If you have experienced bliss for only one second at any time in the past, then that experience can be extended. Gaining the ability to extend the length of experience is the purpose of tantra, whether it is in the form of shaktipat, yoga, lifestyle, a thought, belief, ritual or philosophy.

So, make a resolution which will have far reaching consequences in your life and for the welfare and well-being of all concerned. The resolution should express your creativity, your compassionate sentiments, honesty and simplicity.

If you want to make a yogic sankalpa, then adopt the 'Eighteen Ities' of Swami Sivananda.

Serenity, Regularity, Absence of Vanity,
Sincerity, Simplicity, Veracity,
Equanimity, Fixity, Non-irritability,
Adaptability, Humility, Tenacity,
Integrity, Nobility, Magnanimity,
Charity, Generosity, Purity.

Each month practise one 'ity'. If you are able to live these eighteen 'ities' for eighteen months, then you will gain something invaluable in your life. Who knows, maybe even immortality.

Wishing you a very happy and fulfilling New Year.