(This has been excerpted from a lecture given by H.H.Radhanath Maharaj in 2004.)
Traditionally throughout the ages amongst thoughtful people, the New Year coming is a time of reflection- what have I done during the past year, what have I achieved, what are my strengths and weaknesses and where am I today and in the coming year what do I wish to do?. The Bhagvatam declares that with every rising and setting of the sun, a person is one day closer to death, except those who take pleasure in hearing and chanting the Glories of the Lord. For them with every rising and setting of the sun they are one day closer to eternal life.
In the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna says, “Time I am, controlling everything within material nature, devouring ultimately all living beings.” Time is so important, so sacred; it is the manifestation of God Himself within material existence. And how we utilise our time will determine the value of our lives.
Srila Prabhupada quotes that a miserly person is one who attains this human life and dies without realising God, dies like the animals. Human life is the junction in which we actually can make the choice and perfect our existence, realise the true identity of the self and the unlimited treasure of happiness that we are meant to experience in relation to God. What is the nature of all the acquisitions we may achieve in this world? It is like a drop of water on the leaf of a lotus flower. It is there for a moment and then it slips away into oblivion. That is the nature of our wealth, body, our prestige, all of our abilities, all of our friends and family members. All of these connections and these relationships are extinguished by the power of time. But Mayadevi makes us think that we can be happy through temporary material enjoyment. And we put so much of our life's energies pursuing the mirages created by maya.
New Year's is the time of resolution, a time to introspectively question what do I really want in life - to take serious resolutions in our life to be determined to give up our bad habits, to really make an effort to overcome our weaknesses, to increase our enthusiasm to do the right thing, to be honest, to be truthful and to be compassionate and kind to others, to offer all respects and to be humble. Actually if we take one resolution, we can achieve life's perfection, “to strive to be humble like the grass, to be tolerant like the tree, to offer all respects to others and expect none in return”. There are three essential principles on this path of perfection. To
worship the lord in his avatar in the age of kali is by chanting His holy names,
“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”
serving the Vaishnavas sincerely from our hearts and being a compassionate well wisher of all living beings. And whatever is separating us from following these three principles that we should try to resolve to overcome. Let us pray to follow that path that will help us to always remember the Lord and never forget Him. If we pray sincerely for these things, Krishna will hear our prayers and will give us all help.
“ The secret of surrendering to Krishna is that such surrendered devotee sees that everything is part of Krishna's plan. Let me become absorbed in such service, never mind what it is. Let all other considerations be forgotten and only my desire to do the thing best for Krishna's pleasure is my motive.”