The New Year’s Celebration at Shree Peetha Nilaya started 2016 off with a boost of Bhakti! At SPN, the night “officially” began with a presentation that looked back upon all of the incredible events that happened during 2015. From Guruji receiving the title, "Mahamandaleshwar," to the founding of the Bhakti Marga Academy, many milestones and changes took place in 2015 that will continue to play a role for Sri Swami Vishwananda and Bhakti Marga in the future years to come.
After the presentation had finished, the bhajans began. As the BM band sang, “Shankha Chakra Dhara”, the devotees and Sri Swami Vishwananda couldn’t help but to dance. From the front to the back of the Darshan Hall, and even outside near the entrance, one could see a crowd of bhaktas, with their hands in the air, singing, “Vitthala Vitthala Panduranga!”
At midnight, Guruji led everyone to the temple to offer the first arati of the new year. Shortly thereafter was the fireworks show. And even still, the night was just beginning. The night was concentrated and there was hardly a moment that wasn’t utilised for the celebration of a new year.
Earlier, before the presentation had begun, Guruji talked about the changing of the year and what it truly means. Here is an excerpt from his talk:
"You see, it’s a big deal when the calendar changes. And that’s what people are always celebrating: a change of calendar. We think that, “Okay, one year has passed...” You always have a great resolution for next year. In reality, today and tomorrow is the same; nothing changes. What changes is only the calendar, the name. If you have not changed throughout life, throughout your way, a date or calendar change will never change you.
The change of calendar is very cleverly done, so that you can reflect upon yourself. When you look back at the year that has passed, then you look at yourself. I’m not saying to look at somebody else. Look at yourself! What have you changed? How did you change and transform yourself? How have you been from the beginning of the year till the end of the year? Have any positive changes happened inside of you?
You have to observe your life, because what will change later? You see, people have great resolutions, “Oh, you know, in 2016 we will change, we will throw the cigarettes in the corner.” What will be, will be. This is not in your hands. What is now, this is the resolution you are taking now. You take a positive resolution every day…the moment you wake up, you say you want to make a change in this world. That’s where the change starts. It’s not about the year changing, it’s about you changing.
So as you like very much to take on a determination when the year changes, or the calendar is changing, have the resolution that you shall attain clarity of the mind. Because the mind is closer to you. Whatever you do in the life, you do it with the mind, no? Like Ramakrishna said.
God has given you every part of your body for a reason. The mind also has its utility. We can’t say the mind is wrong. But how you use the mind is what is wrong. So, if you are clear and give all your attention to clarity within yourself, you will see that what you want to achieve in life – even if it seems far away – you will be able to do it in a very short time and it will be very easy. Because that energy which is inside of you will be also projected into your determination. And that energy flows towards that determination only when you are clear.
So, be clear about what you want to achieve and be clear about yourself. You are unique; you are a blessing just as you are. The moment you start to respect the way you are, the moment you start to love the way you are, you will see how easy it is to love."-Sri Swami Vishwananda
The New Year’s Celebration concluded with a personal blessing from Sri Swami Vishwananda, late-night kirtan also with Guruji, and for the very last event of the night, there was a disco/dance-party with our very own DJ, “DJ Bhaktivesh.” The night ended in the early morning at about 4:00 a.m. All in all, the New Year’s Celebration became a festive occasion that was drenched with Bhakti and set the tone for the year to come. As there were various changes in 2015, it’s hard to imagine what will happen in 2016, but nevertheless, whatever shall be, will only contain added pieces to the puzzle of our Guruji’s mysterious Divine Plan. Jai Gurudev, and Have a Happy New Year!
Hara Hara Mahadev! Maha Shivaratri 2016 is approaching soon, register today and get ready for the auspiciousness night of worshiping the greatest bhakta of them all, Lord Shiva. Check out the link for more information: http://www.bhaktimarga.org/events/event/maha-shivaratri