I wish all my readers a very happy and a safe new year!
A question that occurs to me on almost every new year is, what is the significance of the new year and why do most of us believe that it is a special day to share good wishes with one and all?
Is January 1st not just another date on the calendar, just like April 1st? While on January 1st we share our good wishes with our family and friends, on April 1st there are no special wishes, but just pranks; of course this excludes folks who were born on April 1st or have their wedding anniversary on April 1st.
I understand from my research (!) that there is no astrological or astronomical significance to January 1st. A simple fact is planets are in a state of constant motion, whether you look at them astrologically or astronomically. So, if one has to argue that due to the planetary position, January 1st is a significant date, it does not seem so, as planets changing their position is a constant phenomena. In other words, January 1st is just a day in the cycle of 364, or 365, days that Earth takes to revolve once around the Sun. It seems to be just a random selection of a date for a new year because to identify the first day of a year is similar to a person trying to identify the first and the last one in a group of people standing in a circle; when the entities to be numbered are arranged in a circular fashion, it is not possible to determine the first and last entrant. This analogy reminds me of a mythological (or historical, for some) story. It is about Lord Krishna.
King Kansa, the evil uncle of Lord Krishna, had arrested Devaki and her husband, Vasudeva, and kept them in captivity after he heard an oracle mention that the eight child born to Devaki and Vasudeva would be the one who would kill King Kansa. So, when the first child was born to Devaki and Vasudeva, King Kansa killed it although the oracle had mentioned it would be the eight child that would kill him; why did he do so? The explanation given in the texts is, just as one cannot identify either the first or the last bead in a necklace, similarly Kansa could not identify which of the child born to Devaki and Vasudeva was the eight. Although, to a casual onlooker this sounds like an absurd argument as it is very much possible to identify the sequence in which children are born, the argument becomes no longer absurd when one reviews it in the light of rebirth and karma that Hinduism is intertwined with. Anyway, it would have been intellectually must simpler if Kansa had just kept Devaki and Vasudeva in separate rooms. Or, maybe Kansa just wanted to ensure that his nemesis is killed and so should be born!
So, why do we share good wishes on January 1st?
Of course one simple reason is January 1st is the beginning of a New Year although there is no convincing reason as to why it is. Maybe, the real reason we share good wishes on January 1st is because we believe it is not just another date on the calendar; it is a date that we look forward to usher in a change — a change that we have hoped for; a change that we aspire for; a change that we crave for; a change for a tomorrow that is better than today.
Our best wishes is driven by the power of belief that we need to lead a better tomorrow than today.
Wishing you all a happy and a safe new year.