Once I visited an acclaimed museum in the hometown displaying skeletons of various species. In one corner there were three full-sized human skeletons. The notice on the glass case chilled me to the bone: “We were what you are, and you will be what we are.” Time is so powerful. It is a great mystery. How can I save myself from such a nemesis? Maybe I can reverse time by some machine. Today people are tantalised by the idea of a ‘time machine’, which can carry them into the past. But this idea of travelling back in time is not endorsed by the great Vedic philosophers.
Chanakya, a great Indian politician and philosopher, says,“Even if one spends millions of dollars, one can’t bring back one moment of time.” Famous scientist Stephen Hawking says, “If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?” In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says: “I am Time, the great destroyer of the worlds.”
Time is mystical. It erodes mountains, evaporates oceans, obliterates planets, extinguishes the sun and presides over every being in creation from womb to tomb. Nothing and no one can alter it for even a moment. Conquerors, billionaires, champions, and geniuses: all must eventually accede to it and surrender everything they have accumulated. No scientific achievements or technological breakthrough can alter it. Beauty cannot seduce it. Bribe cannot entice it. Brains cannot deceive it. Entire military arsenal cannot stop it.
Yet time is elusive. It cannot be seen, touched, tasted, smelled or heard. With every tick of the clock, time is plundering our lives like a master thief. The bad news is that time cannot be reversed but the good news is that we can go beyond time.Long ago there was a kingdom where people were very affluent and happy. Everything was normal except there was an aberrant condition for kings. Whoever was appointed king, is would be sent to a jilted island to live for rest of his life. After his reign came to an end. Many desired to become the king, but nobody wanted to go to the forsaken island, as none returned.
Once a very intelligent person was selected king. He ruled the kingdom religiously and the subjects were happy. After the end of his reign, he was taken to the island by the soldiers. But on going there people found that there were others residing there in lavish houses. And the king’s family was already staying in a big palace. The intelligent ex-king smiled. During his reign, he had thoughtfully arranged for all the facilities and people on the island. He prepared for his retirement. After his reign, he lived a very happy life.
This story teaches us how in the present we all employ various types of bodily sense gratification, hardly tending for our next life. Those who live such a life of irresponsibility and insouciance are sent to a desolate island after death to suffer. But those who live this life in preparation of the next are really adroit. They make their future bright in this very life itself. In the military they have an apropos saying: “The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war.”
This life is just a station, not a destination. Our destination is the spiritual world, kingdom of God where we originally belong to. Time is conspicuous by its absence in the spiritual world. We need to prepare ourselves in this life in order to head to the spiritual world. If we spend time now to attain that eternity, then we will get unlimited time there. Although time is there, it doesn’t destroy our life. It doesn’t have a destroying effect. And there is only pure happiness in association of God. That is called ‘Vaikuntha’. How do we attain it?
Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of everyone’s life, except one who utilises the time by discussing topics of the all-good personality of Godhead. (Bhagavat Purana 2.3.17)
The best way of discussing the topics of supreme personality of Godhead is by chanting the holy names of God. So, come let’s go beyond the time.The author is a Spiritual Guru at International Society for Krishna Consciousness