A warm, happy and holy New Year to you from our hearts to your heart! On this year, we want to offer you a gift. Yes, a present which will give you the key to fill your ‘now and forever’ with perennial bliss, a happiness which can never diminish and can only enrich your being to make it beautiful and joyous. Imagine your life filled with love every moment! Everywhere you turn you see only goodness, happiness and beauty. It is a love that is unparalleled, so pristine and so powerfully perennial. It is a love, it seems, which is the source of all other happiness in this world. It is a love without conditions and constraints. It is constant and abundant. It is beatific and bliss-inducing. It is divine, you feel it. We want to open the door for this ‘wealth of enduring bliss’ for you this year. And how? Through a fascinating elephant.
Yes, we have been preparing for months to give you this gift and we are happy it is time. It is rather amusing, you might think, that we decided to begin our calendar of cover stories on the life of an animal. But when you finish reading the story, we are sure you will say, “There was no other better way we could have begun this year.” For, what is a new year without love? If anybody ever wants to know what true love is and how it is practical, possible, powerful, and rewarding beyond measure, then all one has to do is look at the life of Sai Geetha. In her more than four decades of sojourn on earth what this beloved pet of the Lord has demonstrated to mankind is what is contained in the four Vedas and what man has been trying to perfect in more than four billion years of existence on this planet.
Just a week ago, in His divine discourse on Christmas Day, Swami, recalling His visit to East Africa and the African Safari, said, “The animals also have desires like human beings. But, their love towards us was unparalleled. By the time we reached the shore of that lake, we could see big herds of elephants moving about in herds. The African elephants have enormous fan-like ears. The wind caused by a wisp of their ears was enough to make people fall down. I went into their midst in a car. On seeing Me sitting in the car, they raised their trunks in veneration and paid obeisance to Me. The noble qualities in those wild animals are not to be found even in human beings.”
Yes, the virtues that animals display is many a times sadly missing in humans. It is a common experience how animals love their owners with their heart and life. We know of dogs and cats who act as ‘dearest friends’, ‘protective guards’, ‘reliable aids’, ‘caring partners’, etc., who would sacrifice their lives for their owners; but have you heard of any animal, except from the scriptures, that has inspired thousands of minds and led them to their goal of everlasting happiness? Is there any animal which has put a multitude on the God-ward path and continues to do so? What the mute Sai Geetha has taught mankind is something which ‘evolved souls’ after decades of contemplation and then many more years of spiritual instruction could not communicate to their pupils so succinctly and convincingly. Sai Geetha symbolizes the pinnacle of devotion that a devotee can aspire for. For more than forty years, her life has been an example for every serious spiritual aspirant. It is no wonder Swami had christened her this way back in the early nineteen sixties. Truly, her life is a celestial song of love, that is and will continue to light the lives of millions just like the sacred Bhagavad Gita does, five thousand years after Lord Krishna revealed it to Arjuna. The Gita is ‘Righteousness and Divine Love explained’, while Sai Geetha is ‘Divine Love Demonstrated Live-in-Action'. And on the New Year we wanted to talk only about love, nothing else.
In fact, other than love, nothing is. Think about any question pertaining to creation, mystery and philosophy or life, music and science, love will be able to provide an answer, because, that is what man and the whole cosmos is based on, whether we realize it or not. There is this tremendous inner power in us waiting to be unlocked. And how do we harness this? Dr. Samuel Sandweiss, author of many widely read books on Swami, explains this to us in an enlightening article in the Swami and Me section. In the same section, you have more examples of ‘pure love exemplified’ when you read Ms. Deepti Bhagya’s account of her experiments with divine love and also the revealing experiences of Air Marshall N. C. Suri.
True happiness in the New Year can come, Swami said on Jan 1, 1998, when “you redeem your lives practicing divine love.” But how do we practice divine love? Prof. Venkataraman explains this, relating it, most beneficially, to the modern society and its sometimes debilitating dynamics in a special article entitled “Can a New Year Bring True Happiness?” This will answer many pondering questions in your mind, we are sure.
Happiness, they say, is doubled when shared, while sorrow, when shared, is halved. So let’s magnify our joys this New Year. Let’s exalt His name and exult in ecstasy, because we are blessed just by our existence on this planet at this point in time. We are able to see God, be in His presence and experience the purest form of love. Let’s share this and light every heart till the whole world becomes one mighty conflagration of unsullied, unified and purifying love – a force that is as mighty as the Lord Himself.
On this New Year, let all beings everywhere be happy!
Ever in His service,