New Year, new beginnings!

By Yamuna Sundari Dasi

It’s time to celebrate the New Year with a vision for new beginnings, dreams and goals.

If you ask me about my most cherished New Year resolution, it has been having a positive outlook in life and focussing on the good rather than the bad. When we speak of the bad happening around us, it can be very demotivating and can cause stress, anxiety and a pessimistic attitude. However, stress can be good if it motivates us for the right purpose. When we perceive in the light of knowledge, we can see every situation as an opportunity to do something wonderful.

In the environment around the world, one major issue that hasn’t been resolved is the violence against women. One recent incident that shook the entire world, especially India, is Priyanka Reddy’s case. A 27-year-old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad was gang-raped by four men and burnt alive leaving little trace of the misdeed. Where on one hand women have become the guiding forces of the world by acquiring leadership positions in politics, business, science, fashion and many other fields, the prime issue of women’s safety remains unresolved.

Although the accused in Priyanka’s case have been given capital punishment, it helps little in changing the mindset of people across the world. This step can solve a temporary problem and give solace to everyone involved in the case, yet in the long run what needs to be changed is the thought process. We cannot control the environment around us, but we can control our perceptions completely.

The entire world is not some evil abstraction; it is made of people, all essentially like us. If we can help even one of them, help to change their perceptions and thoughts, at least their world will definitely change. While helping others through finance, clothing, food and shelter is laudable, yet the Bhagavad-Gita reveals how we have to work in knowledge of the soul, and rise above the bodily demands.

It is explained in the ancient Vedic texts that our body and mind are changing at every moment. Every seven years, scientists say, all the cells in our body have been replaced, including the cells in our brain. Yet something is constant. That something is the consciousness within the body. Within the body of the smallest child, consciousness is present. As the child matures, he gives up the child’s body for that of a young man and an old man, just as one might take off old clothes and put on new ones. But just as the person changing the clothes remains the same person, the conscious individual who changes from one body to another remains the same person within, the conscious observer.

Though we can help people in various valuable ways, we can help best by connecting them with the one who can offer the greatest help, Lord Krishna. We all are his parts, and He is everyone’s greatest benefactor. If we play our role as His parts by serving Him and by helping others to connect with Him, He can act through us, empowering us far beyond our capacities. This can bring about the greatest change of people all across the world.

We are especially fortunate that as human beings with strong intellectual capabilities and the capacity to question, we can inquire into the the real problems of life—Who am I; The repetition of birth, death, old age, disease; What is the purpose of life; Who is God and much more. This timeless knowledge of the self can be sought after by reading the ancient spiritual texts like Bhagavad-gita as it is and associating with people who are inclined towards self realisation.

The Wyndham Sunday feast program by ISKCON at the Western Suburbs is one such program with an opportunity to meet great souls who are endeavouring on the path of self realisation. By their association, we get our hands on timeless Vedic knowledge which can free one from the bindings of material nature and help experience a realm of eternal happiness and joy.

This month we had a special event themed around New Year’s which included an unforgettable mantra kirtan, an enlightening talk on Christmas and Krishna consciousness by Bhakta Das (Minister—ISKCON communications Australia, Leader of Vaishnava Hindu Chaplaincy and Vedic Mantra expert), followed by a delicious feast.

So, without a delay, come and experience a higher reality which is awaiting all of us at the Wyndham Sunday Feast program that happens on the last Sunday of every month at Featherbrook Community Center, Pointcook from 5.15 pm.

Our great leaders have said that we should be the change we wish to see in the world. Hence, the change starts with us and with this New Year approaching, the best resolution we can make is to find and fill the missing link in our lives by connecting with a higher reality. The values that we hold dear in our lives, will ultimately determine our destiny, and shape our consciousness.

Wishing all the readers a blessed New Year and may this coming year open the pathway to eternal knowledge of the self and pure bliss.


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