“A New Year is about to unfold
With new opportunities to explore
Doors will open for new experiences
New adventures with the Lord...
The Lord will do new things in us,
Much more than we are aware”
Life is regarded just as a passage, with doors of transitional phases but like a garnet, the birthstone of the month of January, which represents constancy, life remains a constant feature with various endings and beginnings.
The first day of the month of January, named after Janus, the God regarded as the initiator of human life, is celebrated as New Year’s Day. Janus with his two faces, one facing the front and the other facing the back, represents ending of one and the beginning of the New Year. Janus, like Lord Shiv, represents change and transition, with his hands positioned to signify the number 365, showing control over time. The two faces symbolise past and future, endings and beginnings. In the same way the Vedas mention rhythm of life in the form of universal order, manifested through time. But the time becomes fruitful only when there is knowledge, a realisation of the self and of the Supreme Being.
New Year is the time of “self-realisation” and a time to change from a manmukh (self-centred) lifestyle to a gurmukh (oriented towards the guru, divine life) lifestyle. The gurmukh follows the tenets of the guru — “Nam-Japna” (reciting gurbani), “Kirat-Karna” (earning one’s livelihood through honest labour) and “Vand Chhakna” (sharing and service).
Guru Nanak Dev laid stress on truthful living, with purity of body and mind, contentment, forgiveness, justice, patience, humility and service, which make an ideal Sikh. New Year is the time to remember the teachings of the guru and to follow the path shown by him. The aim of life, according to the Sikh way of life, is not to get salvation or to aspire for heaven but to develop the best in man, which is God. The Akal-Purakh is the ideal and to imbibe his attributes in life is the best way of life.
The gurmukh way removes pain and sorrow and keeps the person away from the stressful life just like the colour greenery, the colour of 2017. Greenery, a life affirming shade, is a colour of hopefulness. New Year is a time of celebration and we should never lose faith and hope. The guru ordains us to remain in chardi kala, that is, in high spirits. It is a time for people to get together and renew bonds with family and friends since new doesn’t mean to forget the old times and people as the Scots poem questions: Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? For Auld Lang Syne (for the sake of old times), remember long-standing friendships and relationships. Move forward, leaving your fears behind with the supreme power guiding you and protecting you always. As Taylor Swift sings: This is a New Year. A new beginning. And things will change....