We can’t avoid being pushed by time, but we can choose where we are pushed by time
Just as leaves fallen in an ocean are pushed inexorably by waves, we are pushed inexorably by time toward death. Does that mean we are hopelessly doomed, living pointlessly till death does us in? No, we can choose where we are pushed by time.
To utilize this choosing capacity, we need to understand our present existence as bi-dimensional: body and soul. The soul’s defining energy is consciousness. As long as our consciousness is attached to our material body and to material things connected with the body, we experience death as a trauma directly befalling us. But the more our consciousness becomes attached to spiritual reality – ultimately, the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna – the more we realize and relish our identity as indestructible beings, different from our material shells that are tossed helplessly by time.
How can we become attached to Krishna? By practicing bhakti-yoga centered on remembering him. Through lifelong bhakti practice, if by the time of death our attachment to Krishna has come to supersede our worldly attachments, we will remember him at that fateful moment. And what we remember at death – matter or spirit – determines what we attain after death: material entanglement or spiritual liberation.
To prepare for that test at death, the Bhagavad-gita (08.07) enjoins us to cultivate Krishna’s remembrance throughout our life. When we thus practice bhakti, our body will still be pushed by time toward deterioration and destruction. But our soul – we ourselves – will simultaneously be pushed toward elevation and liberation.
If we conscientiously use the time we have to push our consciousness toward Krishna, then the flow of time will push us toward Krishna.
Think it over:
- Explain metaphorically why we can’t avoid being pushed by time.
- How can we choose where we are pushed by time?
- Based on your current consciousness, what will you probably remember at death?
08.07 Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.
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