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New Year's Resolution (Sankalpa)

New Year's Day marks the end of one year and beginning of the other. It is the perfect time to look back into the past and make plans for the future. There is also a very strong tradition to make New Year Resolution on January 1st. This is done to give away old bad habits and adopt better ones. Some of the most popular New Year resolutions include weight reduction, quitting smoking, giving up junk food and being punctual etc. Though it has been noticed that every year we make resolutions but after a few days they fizzle out and then we say, "Okay, I'll wait for next year". Like that, time passes very quickly and we change many calendars in our life. However, the importance of making a fresh New Year's Day resolution every year is still the same. Since these resolutions are usually made in the beginning of the year so these are popularly known as New Year's Resolution.


Resolution means will, purpose, or determination or a resolve to do something. The Sankalpa or resolution which we make during the New Year period generally reflects our state of mind, our aspirations and ambitions. The choice of the kind of Sankalpa we make is very important and should always aim to bring out the best within us. Find a Sankalpa which is short and sweet, only a few words. It need not be influenced by words alone. It should be visualized symbolically as an image, felt as a sensation. It should bring up with it a feeling of complete surrender and faith towards God. Consider well before making your Sankalpa. Once you do find your Sankalpa then meditate on it, read it each day or journal on it. Don’t change it, until it comes true. To come to this state, begin with something very basic: changing the habits, changing the limitations that inhibit your growth. Try to understand yourself, observe yourself, find the blocks and overcome one thing at a time.


Though the Sankalpa is one but to recognize the deepest quality of Sankalpa, we may have to go through some of the stages along the way like stepping-stones across a river, each step within reach of the previous one.
It can be described into four stages:

(I) The reforming of bad habits,
(II) Improving the quality of life and living,
(III) Creating a real change within our personality,
(IV) Realizing what we are trying to achieve in this life.


The power of the Sankalpa arises when we tune into our desires, into what we really want to achieve & to get away from the confusion, doubt and conflict. As seed has tremendous power, but only if it is sown in fertile ground, looked after and tended daily, with the inner certainty that the seed will produce its fruit in its own time. In the same way, you have the mind and you have an idea. If you prepare your mind and then sow the seed in the bed of your mind and if the mind is clear, then the Sankalpa grows very well and becomes willpower.


Sankalpa should be used every time before we begin our Yoga practice. The practice of Sankalpa in Yoga allows us to spend a little time contemplating and trying to tune into what we really want in life. It is a fundamental practice because it provides a foundation for everything else. The problem is that we are so tense that our past is tense, our present is tense and our future is tense. Yoga teaches us to focus on the present. Ignore the insecurities of the future. If something is going to happen in the future why are you worried now? Improve your present and make it perfect. If you practice Yoga (which includes Yoga Nidra and Meditation), it would guide you towards a steady calm mind and then Sankalpa will have more force and be able to penetrate more deeply than when the mind is dissipated.


Sankalpa is an important stage of Yoga Nidra in which the mind can receive your Sankalpa. It is a determination to become something worthwhile or to do something fruitful in your life. Sankalpa is made twice in Yoga Nidra; in the beginning and at the end. When we make resolve in the beginning of the practice, it is like sowing a seed and the resolve at the end of the practice is like irrigating it. The aim of Yoga Nidra depends mostly on the practitioner. One can develop the memory, increase knowledge, do astral travelling, transform your nature and eliminate many vicious habits of thinking and living. If you know what you wish to achieve in life, Sankalpa can be the creator of your destiny.


The choice of the kind of Sankalpa we make is very important and should always aim to bring out the best within us. Normally we make resolutions for our personal aims. That is alright but we must contribute something to the well-being of the society also. There has to be an awareness, a consideration of how constructively and creatively one can contribute to the well-being of the world. In this average lifespan of ours of seventy-five to eighty years, what do we really wish to gain and give to the world which has given us so many opportunities to become what we are today? One has to clarify and define one’s priorities. So the best resolution is to improve oneself for the betterment of the society. In order to change oneself, one has to re-educate oneself, and this process of re-education is a lifelong process not just a New Year’s Day’s wish.


By Swami Sivananada

By the command of the Indestructible Being, minutes, hours, days and nights, stand apart. By the command of the Immortal Brahmand, months, years, seasons and solstices stand apart. He who knows this Indestructible Being is a liberated sage or Jivanmukta.

• Time rolls on. New becomes old and old becomes new again. Today is the most auspicious New Year's Day. God has given you another chance this year to enable you to strive for your salvation. Today man is. Tomorrow he is not. Therefore avail yourself of this golden opportunity, struggle hard and reach the goal of life. Make the best use of every moment of this New Year. Unfold all latent faculties. Here is a chance to begin life anew, to grow and evolve and become a superhuman or a great dynamic Yogi.

• On this glorious New Year's Day make a strong resolve to wipe away all the old worldly Vasanas or tendencies and bad impressions and to control the senses and the mind.

• Know the value of time. Time is most precious. Utilise every second profitably. Live every moment of your life for the realisation of your ideal and goal. Do not procrastinate. That "tomorrow" will never come. Now or never. Abandon idle gossiping. Kill egoism, laziness and inertia. Forget the past. A glorious and brilliant future is awaiting you.

• Equal vision is the touchstone of knowledge. Unselfishness is the touchstone of virtue. Brahmacharya is the touchstone of ethics. Oneness is the touchstone of Self-realisation. Humility is the touchstone of devotion. Therefore, be unselfish, humble and pure. Develop equal vision. Be in tune with the Infinite.

• Satyam (truth) is the seed. Ahimsa is the root. Meditation is the shower. Shanti (peace) is the flower. Moksha (salvation) is the fruit. Therefore, speak the truth, practise Ahimsa and meditation. Cultivate Shanti. You will attain the final emancipation or freedom from the trammels of births and deaths, and enjoy Eternal bliss.

• Be thou a spiritual warrior of Truth. Put on the armour of discrimination. Wear the shield of dispassion. Hold the flag of Dharma. Sing the song of Soham or Sivoham. March boldly with the band of Pranava-Om Om Om. Blow the conch of courage. Kill the enemies of doubt, ignorance, passion and egoism and enter the illimitable kingdom of blissful Brahmand. Possess the imperishable wealth of Atma. Taste the divine immortal essence. Drink the nectar of Immortality.

May this bright New Year's Day and all the succeeding days of this year and all the future years also bring you all success, peace, prosperity and happiness. May you all tread the path of Truth and righteousness! May you enjoy the eternal bliss of the Absolute, leading a divine life, singing Lord's name, sharing what you have with others, serving the poor and the sick with Atma Bhava and melting the mind in silent meditation in the Supreme Self.


Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti