The meaning of love and time are topics often pondered by the world’s philosophers, religionists, and poets. Everyone is searching for love and trying to understand what it really is, and time is something people want more of, yet seem to be struggling against.
Time is a fascinating topic, and the Vedic scriptures give us their different perspectives of what it is. Shrila Prabhupada describes 5 subjects of Bhagavad gita in his introduction, one of which is time–so it has to be important for us to understand.
In the Gita’s 11 chapter after Arjuna beholds Krishna’s universal form, he asks him in astonishment, what his mission is in this cosmic form. Krishna answers in a verse that Oppenheimer (one of the creators of the atomic bomb) quotes in the sanskrit upon witnessing the first atomic explosion”.
It is a powerful verse, which explains what to materialists is a frightening conception of God—the destroyer of everything. Time takes everything and everyone away:
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds, and I have come here to destroy all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.”
So time, called Kala, is actually considered a form of God, which deteriorates everything, and takes away whatever possessions we may have. For a materialist, what could be worse? But what about for a devotee?
For a devotee on the progressive path of reviving his or her love for Krishna, the world takes on a different nature. The environment actually becomes friendly, helping us to make spiritual advancement. At first this means seeing the world through the eyes for scripture, and then acting on the realization that everything is favorable for becoming Krishna consciousness. In this way time is our friend!
Even those unrealized (like yours truly) can appreciate as they age, the many great lessons their bodies teach them. One of them we could call, the law of diminishing returns. This “law”, is the fact that our ability to enjoy Materially greatly diminishes as we age (the time factor). If we have cultivated our Krishna consciousness throughout our life time, then we will understand this fact, and with all our aches and pains, forgetfulness, etc., we will have more impetus for our spiritual practices. So with ever disadvantage comes an advantage.
In the motivational literature of American one of the earliest and classic authors, Napoleon Hill, put it in a very useful way, which devotees can also use. It is one of my favorite quotes in this success literature:
“Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache, carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater good.”
This is really an attitude of understanding that in all circumstances Krishna is there to help us. We have to come to really believe that and look for that seed of good in all circumstances, including old age.