“For the devotees engaged in Krishna consciousness, in the Vaikuntha atmosphere, there is no influence of time. In the material world the influence of time destroys everything, but in the Vaikuntha atmosphere there is no influence of time or of the demigods because there are no demigods in the Vaikuntha planets. Here our activities are controlled by different demigods; even if we move our hand and leg, the action is controlled by the demigods. But in the Vaikuntha atmosphere there is no influence of the demigods or of time; therefore there is no question of destruction.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.38 Purport)Download this episode (right click and save)
“Time heals all wounds.” This saying particularly arises during moments of trouble. If you cut your arm playing outside, there is pain. You might put a bandage on the injury. You might apply a little cream. Nevertheless, actual healing occurs through time. Eventually the wound will go away.
This fact is part of the larger truth that explains time to be the great devourer. Everything we see manifest right now will be gone at some point in the future. What goes up must come down. When there is birth, there must be death. When there is gain, there must be loss. No need to lament loss today, for you might have a victory coming your way pretty soon.
“Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda, the feathered carrier of Vishnu.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.30)
In Sanskrit the words for time and death are the same: kala. Going one step higher, in the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna says that He is kala. He is time. That is one way to know Him. Indeed, the atheists know Him only through this feature. They may deny the existence of God for an entire lifetime, but eventually they will meet kala.
The devotees meet death as well, but they know of God beyond just time. They know that all energies come from Him. The spiritual and material worlds are manifest through His potency. The living entities, the jiva souls, are spiritual in nature. Since they can choose where to live, in terms of energy they are actually marginal.
When they choose the material world, they come under the control of kala. Time destroys everything. This means that all work eventually goes to waste. There is nothing that can be done about it. Time does not discriminate.
The other choice in residence is the spiritual world. The full suite of planets is known as Vaikuntha. This Sanskrit word means “free of anxieties.” One source of great anxiety is the fear of destruction through time. Does this mean time is absent in Vaikuntha? If that is the case, how can anything manifest? If you have one visual at a certain time, and then change to a different visual, doesn’t that mean time has left its mark?
The explanation is that time is present in the spiritual world, but it does not have a negative influence. It is something like a serpent without fangs. We can look to the planet of Krishnaloka to see how this works. There the residents play with Shri Krishna all the time. They are so absorbed in devotional ecstasy that they don’t even know that Krishna is God. He is simply their greatest well-wisher, the source of their transcendental pleasure.
The people interact with Krishna, which means that time does operate. But there is no death. The body does not get relinquished by the individual. Indeed, only in the spiritual world does the body actually identify the individual. It is known as their svarupa, or self-form. There are days, in that one day people play with Krishna and another day they have different interactions with Him. There are parents, but there is actually no birth for the Supreme Lord.
These are the wonders of the spiritual world, a taste of which can be found even in the material world. Through chanting the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” and gradually changing the consciousness from material to spiritual, time begins to stand still. This is because even when death comes, the devotee is guaranteed to have circumstances favorable for bhakti-yoga in the next life.
No worrying thoughts to instill,
Since time there to stand still.
In spiritual world with Krishna playing,
Not known as God, no need for praying.
Body and spirit finally the same,
Beloved Lord known by many a name.
In material world destruction to be,
Love God and from time’s constraints be free.