New Year 2023

Wishing all of you a wonderful year ahead by the grace of the Mother.

May be it’s a new year. But the world is the same. It’s the same Sun and the moon. The animals and birds are the same. Animals and birds don’t need more than what their stomachs can hold. Humans are different. We want more, always. We all hope to be prosperous. We all want to be comfortable, rich, healthy and happy. This is greed. This greed makes us go to any extent. To such a horrible extent that we destroy people’s lives, poison food, water and air, and kill indiscriminately to become prosperous. Is there any count of the number of battles that have been fought on this earth since the beginning? Millions? Perhaps. How many have been killed? How many homes have been ruined? Perhaps trillions upon trillions. Yet we never learn lessons.

Weapons have to be sold. Greed again. And so wars.  Thus people die. And we wish “Happy New Year” while we create sadness all over the world with our greed. Swami Vivekananda used to say that the Indian ideal is all about how little one can possess.  He also says:

As soon as this man progresses, as soon as his horizon of happiness increases, his horizon of unhappiness increases proportionately. The man in the forest does not know what it is to be jealous, to be in the law courts, to pay taxes, to be blamed by society, to be ruled over day and night by the most tremendous tyranny that human diabolism ever invented, which pries into the secrets of every human heart. He does not know how man becomes a thousand times more diabolical than any other animal, with all his vain knowledge and with all his pride. Thus it is that, as we emerge out of the senses, we develop higher powers of enjoyment, and at the same time we have to develop higher powers of suffering too. The nerves become finer and capable off more suffering. In every society, we often find that the ignorant, common man, when abused, does not feel much, but he feels a good thrashing. But the gentleman cannot bear a single word of abuse; he has become so finely nerved. Misery has increased with his susceptibility to happiness. This does not go much to prove the evolutionist’s case. As we increase our power to be happy, we also increase our power to suffer, and sometimes I am inclined to think that if we increase our power to become happy in arithmetical progression, we shall increase, on the other hand, our power to become miserable in geometrical progression. We who are progressing know that the more we progress, the more avenues are opened to pain as well as to pleasure. And this is Maya.

In Vedanta, like everything, contentment and happiness are inner virtues. It is all inside out.

Swami Sunirmalananda