Amma's 2006 New Year Message
Midnight, 1 January 2006
The New Year has arrived. The advent of the New Year is always a joyous occasion that kindles hope and optimism in all of our hearts. It is optimistic faith that helps us move forward in life. All of us are aware of the natural disasters like the tsunami that the world witnessed in the previous year. Hundreds of thousands died in these disasters, as well as in terrorist attacks and wars. Let us pray for all those who died in these disasters and all those who are suffering.
We are entering the New Year with the hope that this year will be different and much better. We hope that this coming year will bring a new dawn—one wherein we will wake to the laughter of children and the chirping of birds, instead of to the crying of children and old people and the sound of gunfire. But there is no point in just hoping. Just by the turning of a number, nothing really changes. For the fulfillment of our hopes, effort should also be there. Without brooding over the past or remaining lazy, let this New Year be one wherein we put in effort with enthusiasm and move forward in life. We should be able to learn from our past experiences. If we sincerely desire, failures and falls can be converted into stepping-stones to success.
For a spiritual seeker, the New Year is an occasion for introspection. It is an occasion to reflect on how much progress we have made and how much we have strayed away from the path. Based on our analysis, we need to make positive resolutions. Every year we make resolutions, stick to them for a few days and then find some excuse to break them.
A young man at a New Year's party turned to his friend and asked him for a cigarette.
"I thought you made a New Year resolution to quit smoking?" his friend asked.
"I'm in the process of quitting," he answered. "Currently, I am in the middle of 'Phase One.'"
"What's 'Phase One?'"
"I've quit buying cigarettes. I now only borrow them."
Our resolutions should not be like this. Only determination will help us progress faster on the spiritual path.
If we love something, we will always see freshness and newness in it. If our love fades, so too will this perspective. In the same way, what makes us experience life as fresh and new is our love for others. The pace of the world has increased so much that today we hardly have any time for others people. Loneliness and alienation have become so widespread in the world. One of our New Year resolutions should be to every day spend some time for the benefit of others in whatever way possible. Even small acts of compassion and selflessness can bring happiness to so many.
This time of year, many people hang lights on their house. These lights are a joyful sight for the eyes. At the same time, at night when there is no one around to see them, they continue to shed their light. Such should be our attitude when it comes to serving others. Similarly, whether our efforts are recognized or not, we should continue to try to help others.
God has given each of us a face. Whether it expresses love or anger is completely up to us. If we smile all the time, it will make others smile too. If we have love and peace within, it will create such feelings in others as well. The whole environment will be filled with happiness. In this manner, may we be able to make our family, country and world blossom more fully in this year than in the previous one.
May my children be the messengers of love and peace in the world. Praying that my children's lives are filled with peace, happiness and grace, Amma offers her words to the Paramatman.
Amma then stood up, called for her kai-manis (hand bells) and—to the bhajan "Bhajore Bhajo Krishna Hare Ram"—blissfully danced.
"When you dance, try to lose yourself in it," Amma said. "Imagine that the entire creation is blissfully joining you in the dance."
And thus 2006 was begun in celebration.