New Year Message by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu JI Maharaj
Today is the last day of this Year. Tomorrow there will be celebrations throughout the world. But it is wrong to celebrate. This is not a matter of celebration. The advent of the New Year is not a cause of celebration. It is a cause of worry.
Suppose you have $100,000 in the bank and you spend $50,000 of it. You do not celebrate. You think, “Oh! I only have $50,000 left. Now I only have $20,000 left, now I only have $10,000 left, etc. In the same way, God has given us the human form for the purpose of reaching our destination.
How much headway did we make? How close did we get to God? How much ‘upasana’ did we practise? The word, ‘upasana’ means to go closer. To go near to God; to denote this idea is the ‘upasana.’ The prefix is ‘upa’ and the root is ‘aas’. The suffix is ‘yucha.’
So how close did we go towards God? Suppose someone is feeling cold and a fire is burning nearby. The closer he gets to the fire, the more his cold will be dispelled. So we went towards God. So how near did we go towards Him? How far is God now? How far away did we go from the world? We should think about this but we do not.
On the contrary, we celebrate it. We think – It’s a good thing that 20 years of my life have finished. Now 50 years have passed. Now 80 years have passed etc. We say with such great pride to our children and grandchildren; “Son! I am not worried about myself; my life is over, You must worry about yourself.” But how can we say that our life is over? Is this human body a burden for us that we talk about getting rid of it.
If a man is put in jail for ten years, he thinks, “Now I have finished nine years of my sentence, now nine and a half years have passed; I am going to be released tomorrow!” If this inmate celebrates the passing of the years, he is right in doing so. Why are you celebrating? Are you thinking you will attain liberation after death? Will you gain freedom from the bondage of 8.4 million life forms simply by dying?
You have not done anything so far to deserve this. You have not even thought about doing anything. If you had felt contrite even one moment before dying; if you had genuinely felt remorse, if you would have applied your mind to God one second before dying, then you would have attained God. The scriptures state, “As your thoughts are in the final moments of death, so will be the consequence after death. So we must not frivolously celebrate the New Year. We must use this time for introspection. We must introspect.
In politics, all the parties do self-analysis after elections. Why did we lose the elections? Why did this happen? Where were we lacking and how can we fix it, etc.? We should also do deep analysis once a year and also once a month. And if possible, we should spend 2-3 minutes every night before sleeping. We should think – What did I do today? What good did I do today and what mistakes did I make? How much did I get my mind involved with the world, and how much with God?
If we think like this every day, then the next day we will make fewer mistakes. If we think like this every month, we will make less mistakes and then the following month we will make even less mistakes. But we do not think like this, not even as we are dying. We are careless and fearless. “I am not going to die anytime soon.” That’s what we think. “Right now I am only 90 years of age.” What are you thinking? That you will live till 100? Alright! Let’s just suppose that you will live for 200 years. But what will happen after that?
When you analyse yourself, you will find that you have been extremely careless. However, you still have a chance. There was a DM and he was telling me what happened to him once. He had signed up for a writing competition. He got so absorbed in thinking that he fell asleep. And he kept sleeping for one hour! When he woke up about an hour later, he found to his dismay that he had only half an hour left! He wrote very quickly but inevitably he failed the exam. However, in his case, he had at least half an hour’s time.
We do not reflect on ourselves even till the moment of death. When will you work on your devotion? You are thinking so much about accumulating worldly property. You are thinking about material advancement for your son, your daughter, grandson, for this one and that one. You wish that all of them would become billionaires. Of this, you think a lot.
Now, instead think about how to gain spiritual wealth. You are the soul, not the body. You will have to forcibly renounce the body someday. That is why you should do self-analysis every year; feel remorse about your carelessness and make preparations for the coming year. Think that this year – I must attain God-realisation. Who knows, I may not get a full year to live, perhaps only six months of life, perhaps just one month. It is possible you will not live to see tomorrow.
There was a devotee from Agra who was an engineer. He is the one who constructed the satsang hall in Mangarh. He went to sleep at night and did not wake up in the morning. No one in the family knew what happened to him. He suffered a heart attack in his sleep. Such is ‘Kaal’ (Time). When your time comes, you will not get even a moment extra. You will have to leave your body.
This rule applies to everyone – To the king, the pauper and the Saint. Everyone will have to go. Even the God-realised Saint will have to leave; what to speak of the one who is under the control of Maya. One may leave with a smile on his face; or another may leave crying. Even God keeps coming and going.
When Bhagwan Ram had completed His 11,000 years on earth, Yamraj went to Lord Ram and said, “My Lord, I am here to serve you a reminder; the love of devotees may have made You forget that 11,000 years have passed. Now your pre-planned time of 11,000 years on earth has come to an end. If you wish to stay on, I will not interfere in your decision.”
Tomorrow is the start of the New Year. You should celebrate it, only if in the New Year – You take your mind forcefully to God. Your mind will not automatically get attached to God. You will have to take it to Him. If the mind behaves stubbornly, you should also stubbornly control it with your intellect.
Since time immemorial you have been thinking that your mind will fix automatically on God by itself. I ask you, “Why would the mind go naturally to God? You are applying the mind to worldly objects daily. You are practising taking it to the world only. And yet you expect it to go to God? How can this be?” It is obvious that the mind will go in the direction you are practising to take it.
Ved Vyas has said very beautifully in a verse – ‘If you repeatedly reflect on the material world to be a source of happiness you will become attached to the world. And if you practise thinking that there is happiness in God alone, you will become attached to God. It is only the matter of ‘chintan’ or repeated reflection.” The more you reflect, the more attached you will become. We must increase the ‘chintan’ of God. That’s all there is to it.
JKP wishes all devotees a very Happy Bhakti Diwas.
*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*
(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharaj Ji)
The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957, by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include - Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh, Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.