The Thief of Time

30th Jan 2009
Radhika devi dasi 

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis, 
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, the result of not utilizing time for devotional service to the Supreme Lord Krishna is very emphatically stated in the following verse: 

SB 2.3.17 
āyur harati vai puṁsām udyann astaṁ ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta uttama-śloka-vārtayā

Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.

In his transcendental purport, Srila Prabhupada explains: "This verse indirectly confirms the greater importance of utilizing the human form of life to realize our lost relationship with the Supreme Lord by acceleration of devotional service. Time and tide wait for no man. So the time indicated by the sunrise and the sunset will be uselessly wasted if such time is not properly utilized for realizing identification of spiritual values. Even a fraction of the duration of life wasted cannot be compensated by any amount of gold."

Very often in devotional service, we always give excuses for not reading Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. The main reason we give is "time". 'If only I have more time!!'. The fascinating thing that we discover that when we suddenly have "more time", it is quickly taken up. The "new" time we have is somehow eaten up. It's hard to put our finger on it - material society is such that life has become complicated and unnecessarily busy. We rarely have anyone say that they have plenty of time on their hands. We always complain that there aren't enough hours in a day. Every living entity has exactly the same number of minutes - 1,440 minutes in a day. The truth is that everybody wants more time, but everybody has all the time there is. It is the one that the poorest beggar on the street or the most powerful person in the world has exactly the same amount of. Everyone starts each new day with a bag filled with 1440 minutes. The problem is the existence of a "thief" - a thief who steals time from us. 

At the start of every new day, a bag full of minutes is delivered to us and at that very moment onwards, the thief of time strikes at our hearts. He will rob us of our valuable time with the Supreme Lord Krishna, to do our daily chanting and reading of scriptures. This thief's name is 'Later', and he has dedicated his 'life' to stealing the living entity's time. Whenever he meets somebody who wants to engage in the process of devotional service, he says, "Very good. But not today. Today you should clean your car, spend time with your family, catch up on your sleep". He will urge you to do anything and everything except devotional service - that comes later! The truth is that there is no way for us to progress in devotional service until we deal with this creature. His power lies in his stealth; if you see him you have him beaten. 

Therefore, as our beloved Guru Maharaj says: "No matter how small a step towards devotional service - start it now and do not delay." If the task is too great - break it down into small parts. We must be involved in a daily battle with "later" in devotional service. He must not allow us to be robbed of the chance to engage in the transcendental service of the Lord. 

In the Bhagavad-gita (2.40) the Lord has explained such contact in the following words: "Endeavors in devotional service are never baffled. Nor is there failure. A slight beginning of such activities is sufficient even to deliver a person from the great ocean of material fears."

I therefore pray to the Supreme Lord, Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev to utilize whatever time available to engage in the process of devotional service. 

Thank you very much. 
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva, 
Radhika devi dasi 
Singapore.