With the changing of the years, time marches forward.
For a moment, let’s reflect on the absolute affect of time on our lives.
Framing these thoughts in terms of God leads to a fuller understanding of His divine quality of omnipotence.
Time is the transcendental potency that God uses to agitate His material energies (Shrimad Bhagavatam (SB) 11.9.19).
He uses this energy to animate and annihilate the mechanisms of creation.
Further on in the Vedas (SB 11.24.19), He says, “Nature, the almighty Vishnu and time are not different from Me, the supreme absolute truth.”
God is the absolute truth because He contains all existence within Himself.
The three worlds — heaven, earth and hell — are contained within Him. Nothing exists beyond the purview of His control because He manifests Himself as the time factor. By doing so He demonstrates His potency of omnipotence.
As the creator and controller of time, He exists beyond its effect, forever in the present.
The Vedas don’t represent Him as a wise old man, tired and embattled. Rather, He is depicted as forever youthful, ever joyful and detached.
He is detached because He is not dependent upon us for His sustenance, nor His happiness. We, on the other hand, are affected by time because of our desire to enjoy matter.
The more we try to enjoy matter independent of Him, the more we become entangled in this world and the more distressed we become.
Any efforts we make to control our time ultimately leads to a sense of frustration and defeat.
The swiftness of time is imperceptible (SB 11.22.43). By the laws of nature, time deteriorates all things.
It exists everywhere and in everything, affecting the movement of the electrons and protons that make up subatomic structures.
But we don’t need an understanding of physics to recognize its subtlety. Our fingernails and hair are constantly growing, but we are not aware of this progressing growth.
Only after the passage of several weeks do we notice our hair and fingernails have grown longer.
Similarly, without constant maintenance, a house gradually erodes until time finally destroys it.
In the same sense, when we are young, we have no perception we will get old. Over the course of years, though, we can realize time has affected change.
The body aches when we bend to pick up a box. An early dinner continues to digest late into the night.
In fleeting moments, the mind, once quick and sharp, forgets the destination of the road it’s travelling along.
The entire cosmetic industry is based upon the false conception that we can control the effects of time. To some extent, we can.
To delay the effects of time on our youth and beauty, we may undergo a facelift or partake in a tummy tuck. More naturally, we can eat healthier and subscribe to an exercise regime.
Whatever the path we choose, time will eventually present its ultimatum.
Time is not the cause of happiness and distress. Happiness and distress are caused by the consciousness of the living entity identifying with matter rather than spirit.
Time does not apply to the soul because the soul is eternal.
Nor does the body experience distress and happiness because it is only dull matter made up of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus and five trace elements.
Our so-called happiness and distress we experience in this world arise only through the identification of the consciousness with that same dull matter.
That illusory identification of the living entity with matter is called false ego.
Only by turning our egos away from the material nature and toward our spiritual nature do we develop a true ego that can transcend the boundaries of time (SB 11.23.5).
To transcend time, we need to detach ourselves from all forms of sense gratification.
Sense gratification arises through identification of the body with the senses and the sense objects that abound in this material creation.
Once the fangs of the serpent of time bite deep into our egos, we become habituated by the promissory pleasures of this world.
To transcend the bindings of time, we need to sober up enough to realize we have nothing to do with the so-called happiness and distresses of this world.
Through free will, we can direct our consciousness either toward this world or toward God.
Directing our consciousness toward this world further entangles us so that God appears as the fearful, almighty, devouring manifestation of time — the power.
Alternatively, by directing our consciousness toward God, we can realize an eternal relationship with the all-attractive, supreme personal form of Godhead — the powerful.
However we choose depends upon our attraction.
Harold Meier lived in Taiwan for more than 20 years, during which he studied Eastern
religions, primarily Vedantism, and became a member of the Hare Krishna community.
He holds a master’s degree in educational practices.
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