Acharya Prashant: Another ‘new’ year is approaching, and we have a great desire for the ‘new’. See how we are eager to celebrate anything that appears new. See how desirous we are to change the old and get into the new. Surely, we aren’t quite contented with the old; surely, we want something new. Really new.
The desire for the new is the desire for becoming, is it not? Do you understand why we keep looking forward to dates, “The next important date! The next important date!”? Because there is a great need to become, because we are yearning for change, and there is a hope that may be the next date might bring that change in one’s life.
Is the new going to come because you desire it, and need it? Wherever there is need, there is dependence on time. You say, “Something will come and provide me with the new,” don’t you? You are dependent then on the future. The New will not come to you via time; the New is not contained in the future. Look at what is there, currently, rather what is here currently. You will find the eternally new here; you will find the ancient new here.
No ‘new‘ year will give you the New, so many new years have come and gone and become old years. What is ‘Happy New Year’ today becomes ‘sad old year’ very quickly, does it not? And they have come and gone, and still you don’t see. Another one comes like a deft salesman, who has been duping you since centuries, another one comes, and he is confident: “I’ll nail this customer once again. I did that on the thirty-first of last year. I will do it again on thirty-first…”
L: This year.
AP: This year, again. He is so confident, and you will again buy that ‘Happy New Year’, yes? The ones who keep parroting ‘Happy new year. Happy new year,’ ask them, “What happened to all the years gone by? Who will look at them? And how much happiness do you need that thirty, forty, fifty new years could not supply it to you?
And if fifty years could not give it to you, how would the fifty-first year be any different?”
The new, the happiness that you are looking for, will not come through experience, will not come through time; it comes when you are a little less insistent upon cheating yourself. Look around, look at your relationships, look at your mind, look at your thoughts and maybe you will suddenly cry out, “The New! Yes, it’s New! Quite New, very New!” The looking is new. Looking is new, so new. “I never looked, and it’s so damn new that every time I look at it, it’s again new.”
A newness that replenishes itself; a newness that is like a fountain, like a river, that has an inexhaustible source that is replenishing the flow. Yes, every time you put your hand in it, all you get is fresh water. The same spot, the same hand but the water is fresh, new.
You don’t have to move an inch. Yes, you don’t have to wait for the next ‘Happy New Year’; just jump into the river. Every single drop of water that will come to you is fresh; New.
You don’t have to say, “You know, the next fresh stream will come only next December.” No, every moment. Those who will try to place and locate the new in time, the new in future, the new in specific events, will forever remain the clown of existence.
Maya is quite fun-loving. She loves clowns.
If you could be just a little more meditative, you would ask, “What was I doing the same time last year?” Instead of fancying about what you would do the next year, why can’t you go into the facts of what you have been continuously doing? It was the same you, yes, a little bit has changed on the surface, but your central tendencies have not changed. So, it was the same you last year as well. Yes, you have gained two kilogrammes, but still, you are pretty much the same.
And you are hopping and jumping and squealing; and what did you get last year? –punctured tyres, false relationships, an ugly new job, one more EMI, more dependence on hope; and see how you are hoping!
Remember the woman you rushed to kiss when they switched off the lights, sharp at midnight, last thirty-first? That was supposed to be a ‘Happy New Year’ kiss; and then you spent the entire year cringing at the sight of that woman.
And it is not as if all this doesn’t matter to you. All this is eating out your heart; it is gnawing at the roots of your mind. And again you are ready to repeat the same tomfoolery – ‘Happy New Year’?
The kid that you were desperate for last year, is in your arms today. And it hasn’t helped. You are still as hungry and as hollow as when you were dying to have a kid. The kid is there; your wish has been granted. But you are equally distraught. Your eyes are so poor. Last year you were poor without a job; this year you are poor with a job. Jobs have come and gone, but poorness, your internal poverty has remained. (Sarcastically) Happy New Year!
And there would be a particular Happy New Year after which there would be no more new years for you. Who knows, this one might be that, and then? You shudder to think of that; you do not even want to look at this possibility. You say, “Why must I listen to this crap? Let’s think positive; let’s rather have happy thoughts.” You wince, “It’s an auspicious day, we are commencing a new year, and this fellow is talking of death!”
Yes, I am talking of death. Some of us might not be there to say ‘Happy New Year’ again. I must talk of death.
Is there anything thing that this new year can give you? You being what you were, always, throughout all these years, what will this new year give you? And this New Year might be your last. And if this one is not the last, one particular year will come, which will be your last. How do you know that you would have been redeemed even partially by then? How would you know that your soul-sapping thirst would have been quenched even a little by then? How will it feel to die having lived a wasted life? You are just repeating your routines, and when you are repeating your routines, how can you ever get anything new?
All these new years will keep coming and going, and there would be no newness. And then there is death of the body. No more new years. On one hand, you say, you want something new, on the other hand, you are constantly repeating the old, by just saying, “Happy New Year, O happy New year.” Don’t you see the deep contradiction between your desire and actions? You want the new, don’t you? And if you don’t want the new then why do you always put up such an exciting show whenever something even remotely new happens?
If you want the new, why do you stick to the old? See how you are so deeply attached to the old, to the past, to your stolid habits, to your stifling relationships.
It is certain that you are not quite contented with what is; you want change. On one hand, you want change, on the other hand, you won’t let change happen; you just keep repeating. Life is repetition with no observation of the machinery. The machinery keeps operating on the auto mode. So what happens when you observe the machinery? Something new emerges from it? No, the machinery would remain machinery. The observation is the Newness. Your glance, your sight won’t change the machinery as such, but there is something about the observation which will give you a taste of the really New.
The New is waiting to come. Do not resist it. Only then life is worth celebrating.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session at Advait BodhSthal on 30th December, 2015.
Edited for clarity.
Listen to the audio at: Shri Prashant: Another ‘New’ year
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