The Price of Time

By : 
Bhakta Carl Sheppard

One time there was a hairy sage who had a benediction that he would live until every hair fell off his body. However, only one hair would fall off every then thousand years. So the village people said, “Let us build you a small hut so that you can live in it.” The sage immediately replied, “Why? I am only here temporarily!”

Of all commodities, time is the most valuable. The great politician Pandita Canakya said, “Even one moment of time cannot be returned even if one is prepared to pay millions of dollars.” Time can be neither bought nor sold; it is irreplaceable and, therefore, priceless. The Lord Himself is the creator and provider of time and this is described by Lord Brahma in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.5.21): “The Lord who is the controller of all energies, thus creates, by His own potency, eternal time, the fate of all living entities, and their particular nature, for which they were created, and he again merges them independently.”

Every living material being is allocated a certain amount of time. This time period begins with birth and ends at the moment of death. If we waste the time we are given in this life we will have the opportunity to take birth again. This is explained in Bhagavad-gita (2.27): “One who has taken birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.”

However, there is no guarantee that one will take birth in the human form of life: there are 8, 400,000 different types of bodies such as human, beast, bird, aquatic and plant. Due to our mentality at the time of death, we may receive the body of an animal in our next life. This is explained In Bhagavad-gita (15.9): “The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects.”

Fortunately, one can break this repeated succession of births and deaths by utilizing this valuable time to understand the Lord Himself. Lord Sri Krsna says: “One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna,” Bhagavad-gita (4.9).

Our time is meant to be spent in God realization, or Krsna consciousness. When one is engaged in Krsna consciousness, or devotional service, he will automatically realize the value of time. Even whilst in the material world, if one utilizes his time engaged in devotional service he will become free of any material entanglement: “One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once, transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman,” Bhagavad-gita (14.25).

Time is not to be ‘spent’ making as much money as one can. No amount of wealth can bring about liberation from the material world. We cannot buy our way into the Kingdom of God. At the time of death, all wealth is simply left behind. Time is neither to be spent money making, nor is it to be used in trying to gratify the senses. Sense gratification only brings about bondage to this material world. The more time one spends striving to please the senses, the more one becomes entangled by the chains of material nature. One who is attached to sense gratification creates obstacles on the path of God realization. This is stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.34): “There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the sense and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment and aversions because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.”

Our time is not to be merely spent eating, sleeping, mating, and defending; this is no more than animal life. Time should be used in developing Krsna consciousness. Time engaged in mundane activities is simply wasted. One may think, “Oh, I don’t have time to spend in God consciousness.” This sort of attitude should be considered nonproductive. Unless one can free himself from such ignorance, he will take birth again and again and consequently will be subject to the miseries of the material world.

Therefore, one who is intelligent will utilize his time developing Krsna consciousness. Only by such development will one truly appreciate and realize the “Price of Time.”