Sai Inspires - 1st January 2006

Elation over profit, joy and cheer, dejection over loss and misery,  these are the characteristics common to all mortals. What, then is the excellence of the true spiritual aspirant? You should always be vigilant and suffer the inevitable gladly. When difficulties and losses overwhelm you, do not lose heart and precipitate some action, but consider calmly how they came to be. Then try to discover some simple means of overcoming them, in an atmosphere of Peace (Shanti). Haste and worry will confuse the intelligence. Peace develops all the beneficial characteristics in you. Even farsightedness grows through inner peace, allowing one to avert obstacles and dangers.

- Prasanthi Vahini, P. 11-12.

Spirit of Love is Spirituality. - Baba

"Having A Good Time... This New Year?"

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

Today is the first day of the New Year. May we greet you and offer our prayer to the Lord that 2006 is a good year for you, bringing you God's Grace in abundant measure and plenty of Ananada.

Traditionally, the advent of the New Year has always been the occasion for much partying and a bit of resolution-making. At times, the celebrations become bizarre, as they did on 1st January, 2000, marking the beginning of a not only a new year but a new century and a new millennium as well. But is the New Year really all that new for there to be so much merry making? As Swami has asked during many of His New Year Discourses, what is the big deal about the New Year? Every day is new, and indeed every second is new. What then is the purpose of having so many celebrations?

The real question is: Are we on the way to becoming a new person, that is to say, with less of the undesirable qualities humans these days are so full of? Is there less of unwanted desire, anger, greed, and so on? Indeed, if at all one wants to do something worthwhile on New Year's Day, it should be to conduct a critical self audit.

About a decade ago, it was the month of May and a Summer Course was on in Brindavan. It so happened that a Youth Group came from America and Swami most graciously allowed the American Youth to attend the Summer Course. One day, they were further blessed to present a cultural program in the evening. That program had many entertaining items that included a spectacular display of jugglery. Towards the end of the program, the youth presented a skit.

The skit is all about a group of young people who, as they say, hang out together. New Year was approaching and ideas were being tossed around about having a great party. One young man, however, remained silent and somewhat detached. His buddies asked him, "Hey, why are you silent?. What's the matter?." At first the young man shrugged off the question by mumbling, "Oh it is nothing; it is something personal." But when pressed he eventually said, "Listen, I don't feel comfortable with the idea of a party."  "Why not."  "You are asking me why not? I will tell you. You and I can party but what about poor people in old homes." "What about them?." "There they are all alone, with no one to care for them. While others have wild parties, they stare at the wall, wondering when their misery is going to be over. I cannot bear the thought of us having a good time while these poor old people are so lonely and unhappy." "OK, they are lonely and unhappy. That is their fate. What can we do about that." "Something can be done, if we have the inclination." "Like what." "Like we all go there and cheer up the old folks." "You mean we don't party and instead entertain these old people." "Exactly." "But if we do that, what happens to our having a good time." "Listen, what is meant by having a good time? It means feeling happy, does it not. Do you know you can feel happy making others happy." "We can." "You bet!"

The youth gang then decide to scrap their idea of a wild New Year party and instead plan on a surprise entertainment program for old folk in the old age home. The program is staged; the old people are immensely happy and shed tears of joy. The youth are filled with Ananda and they too shed tears of joy. In the end the youth realise that what they did was a better way greeting the New Year.

In the famous film Gone with the Wind, there is a scene in which the heroine Scarlett O'Hara walks to a huge colonial mansion at the entrance of which hangs a board with the words: Time is the stuff life is made of. Indeed and that precisely is why Swami often tells us that time waste is life waste.

What is the meaning of time waste? It does not mean being lazy as many might think. Yes we must certainly not be lazy but if one is busy doing things that go against basic human nature, then that surely is time waste. For example, one might be busy in business but if the business is harmful to Society [like running a gambling casino for example] then no matter how busy one is, one is actually wasting time. Krishna puts it tersely and very nicely in the Gita with the telling phrase: inaction in action.

Just look at Swami; He never wastes a single minute; and He is always doing something for others and rarely for Himself. One might say, "We are not Swami and we have plenty of personal responsibility." Agreed, but how much time do we really spare for others? May be we cannot go out and do Seva the way many do. But, while commuting to and from work on the subway say, do we spend even one minute praying for harmony and peace?

God has given us the supreme gift of life so that we may sanctify every minute of it. We might call it a tall order but truly speaking how many minutes during the entire year do we give to God? Instead of partying or making irrelevant resolutions, we might use the beginning of the New Year to do an honest self-audit and correct ourselves accordingly.

Once again we wish you a very Happy New Year. Jai Sai Ram

With Love and Regards,
RadioSai e-Journal Team,
In Sai Service.