When my well-wishers and devotees asked for a New Year message I wondered if I had anything relevant that the new generation has time and patience to hear and reflect on. To give a fitting context for the message: I am only a month and a half short of three quarters of a century. When Gandhiji who influenced my life greatly was assassinated at 78, I was only about 2 weeks away from my 8th birthday. And Gandhiji born in an enslaved country in 1869 is still very relevant for me. Yesterday (December 29, 2014) I was reading a report of an American icon and great comedian, Bill Cosby, in the middle of a widely reported, terribly shocking sexual abuse controversy in the USA, hiring a team of lawyers, one of whom is paid an unearthly sum of $850 per hour (Rs. 53550 at the exchange rate of Rs. 63 a dollar; $6800 or Rs. 428,000 for an 8-hour working day; and many of these lawyers work many hours more than 8 hours a day) to intimidate, discredit, insult or defame more than two dozen women, who have gone public, charging him with the crime of gross sexual abuse , I also wondered what a legal system wbn e are living in. And many judges come from the rank of such lawyers. Besides many judges fraternize with such lawyers.
Interestingly also most people in the legislature and governments, cabinets or ministries in the world are lawyers. If I am asked why I take an example from the USA, the obvious answer is our own high ranking and so-called famous lawyers in India model on the loud, pompous, talking down lawyers of USA, especially with regard to the fees. Their specialty, I dare say from experience, is in brow-beating, intimidating, and demolishing their opponents and cleverness in finding technical loopholes in law and not in searching for truth. Of course, I can only say that the legal systems of the oldest (USA) and the biggest (India) democracies are not far from total paralysis or ruin. If this is the condition of the two greatest democracies, need I say what is the condition of other countries?! If the most powerful persons in the country are rich lawyers and politicians and amoral actors and actresses flaunting their bodies, where is our civilization heading? If these are the models for our youth, are we surprised that they do not have time to imbibe value-oriented themes? What about persons in religions so materialistic and devoid of humanity and spirituality? Gandhiji was a lawyer, but he was a sad old man at the partition of the country whose freedom he fought for putting his own life at risk many times. He was also sad at the impatience of his co-workers jockeying for good positions in government. While the politicians of Gandhiji's time jockeyed for power, they were principled. Now we have a breed of corrupt and greedy politicians with no principles and, I might say, with very little conscience or purity of intention. This in brief is the status quo of the world for my briefest message. Presently we cannot also forget that we are all enveloped by the heavy sadness of Air Asia disaster where 162 lives perished.
After meandering a great distance in connection with the new year message, I would like to focus on an old theme, the purity of intention, as the message during the new year, 2015, that we can all benefit from living in a derailed and decaying civilization that is suffering from a lack of precious life-giving oxygen that is ethical and moral value-system and human rights common to all humans. We do not need to despair. In spite of everything including the Islamic State and other inhuman groups of jihadist terrorists trying to outdo one another in cruelty in killing innocent humans, with purity of intention in our heart and mind we can put our civilization back on the track. We need to ask ourselves every time we do something why we are doing what we are doing, In other words, what is our intention for doing it? Our conscious intention makes our feelings, thoughts, and actions right or wrong. If our intention in its origin is sound and pure, everything – our plans and programs – down the line will be fine. Purity of intention as the bed-rock of our spirituality needs to guide our every action for humanity to reach its true destination. Wish you all a God-filled, spirit-filled, love-filled New Year, 2015.
Swami Snehananda Jyoti