The new year has just begun and it is a favourite pastime to wish each other “Happy New Year.” But, do we ever think of how to actually make it happy for ourselves and others? If we continue to think, feel, act and live as before, nothing will change, nothing will be different. There is a very simple, but relevant, quote I read, “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” There will be no difference at all in our actions, responses or life.
If we wish to raise ourselves to a higher level, if we want to improve ourselves, irrespective of the field, we have to begin with our thinking. To put it in a different language, we have to begin by changing our mindsets. Our computers are programmed in a particular way and they will always function in that way. If one wants them to operate differently, the settings have to be changed. Likewise, with our mindset, our mind is set. Its tendency is to resist change. However, unless the mindset changes, no real change in life is possible.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna states that if we wish to transform ourselves, we have to change our vision of life. Bhagavan speaks of three kinds of visions. The tamasika vision is characterised by laziness, lack of ambition and aspiration. A person with such a vision is content to carry on living as he or she is. One with a rajasika vision displays more and more ambition. The person who has a sattvika vision is highly contemplative and likes to live in solitude. If one remains at the level of tamas, life will be dull, dark and inactive. If rajas is predominant, one will be hyperactive or selfishly active. Neither vision — tamasika nor rajasika — manifests the dignity, beauty and divinity of a human life.
Shri Krishna indicates, in sutra form, how it is possible to change. He advises, “O Arjuna, always remain established in sattva” (2.45). This means that our life must be sattvika in all aspects: our thinking, feeling, actions and responses should all be noble in nature. We have to rise above both rajoguna and tamoguna in ourselves. When one is successfully able to do so, an internal, subtle change becomes visible. But we first must understand the imperative need for change. Only then can we resolve to do so.
We live only one day at a time, but how we live each day determines the very direction and quality of our life. In turn, our vision of life regulates how we spend our day. Try to develop a sattvika vision. Real evolution and transformation will follow. Then you will indeed have a Happy New Year!