Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

COMING OF AGE #13 – The Paradox of Time
By Yudhisthira Dasa   |  Mar 04, 2024
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While we know that time is only relevant in the material manifested world, this knowledge can also create complacency about the importance of time. Navigating a world that is guided by past, present, and future can be challenging. 

Time doesn’t “exist” since the material world is, after all, temporary. Krishna speaks to Arjuna on this topic, “Time I am, destroyer of the worlds, and I have come to engage all people.” (adapted from Bhagavad-gita 11.32). Although this verse is spoken to Arjuna on the battlefield to help him realize the absolute truth and perform his duty, these 15 words contain three essential teachings that, taken alone, can help guide our entire lives.

TIME I AM

Krishna identifies Himself as the source of time. We can remember God’s all-pervading presence at every moment just by remembering these three words.

DESTROYER OF THE WORLDS

Here, in four words, the Lord emphasizes his omnipotence not only on this planet but over all universes in the material creation.

AND I HAVE COME TO ENGAGE ALL PEOPLE

These eight words clearly state that Krishna’s love is all-pervading and that He does not discriminate from one person to another based on age, gender, color, background, faith path, social status, and more. We are His assistants.

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FIVE OBSERVATIONS ON THE MYSTERIES OF TIME

1. Time is arguably the primary source of any anxiety we experience. In the Kingdom of God, we understand both time and anxiety do not exist. They are interconnected. 

2. We say things like, “I have no time.” Yet, we can never control time anyway.

3. “Time is fleeting” and “you can’t turn back the clock” and “fighting against the clock” are three more expressions that clearly show we have no control over time.

4. When we feel like we are rushed and pressured by time, we can be reminded how little control we have in our lives to begin with. 

5. Since time is a manifestation of God, we can fight against time, which is “normal” behavior and the cause of stress in this material world, or we can surrender to time, seeing it as a tool to serve Krishna.  

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HOW TO USE TIME WELL

Let’s conclude with quotes on the use of time from several faith paths.

Christianity: “So, then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).

Gaudiya Vaishnavism: “When Yudhisthira Maharaja was asked, ‘What is the most wonderful thing in the world?’ he replied, ‘The most wonderful thing is that every day, every moment, people are dying, and yet everyone thinks that death will not come for him.’ Every minute and every second, we experience living entities going to the temple of death. Men, insects, animals, birds – everyone is going. This world, therefore, is called mrtyuloka – the planet of death” (Raja-Vidya, The King of Knowledge, Chapter Two).

Islam: Allah mentions that time is limited for us. We, therefore, should not waste time on useless things. Instead, we should spend time in worship of Allah. Usually, we forget to fulfill the purpose of life and then claim that we do not have enough time for prayers (Quran, Surah Adh-Dhariyat, Chapter 51).

Buddhism: According to an unknown source, when asked, “What’s the biggest mistake we make in life?” the Buddha replied, “The biggest mistake is you think you have time.” Time is free, but it’s also priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.

Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of ISKCON or ISKCON News.

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