616 – The spell of time

We are all fascinated by time and now it has become so important for us. Let me start with Face Time, Zoom time, Amazon Delivery time and so on. All these times are very important part of our lives, especially Amazon Fresh, which delivers organic vegetables, and you have to give them the time when they can come.

A minute goes by so fearfully quick; you might as well snatch a Bandersnatch! – Lewis Carroll

A Bandersnatch is a fabulous mythical creature. What is interesting is that Lewis Carroll was also aware of time lost and as was Pandit Abhinava Gupta, Shaivite Scholar 11th Century CE. He pointed out that it was vital to be aware of the pause between inhalation and exhalation. It is this pause which works on our self-purification as we are not enrapt with our thoughts.

Once upon a time, when I was young, the only important actions were to get up on time for school, not to be late and finish our homework on time. As we grew older, time applied was to admissions in college and then reaching on time for work etc. Very few of us realized the actual meaning of time.

Our Gurus referred to time as being important. Our life is measured in the breaths we take and therefore if we became aware of the breath, we would be in control of our thoughts and thoughts are the gluttons for time. Swami Vivekananda said:

Most of us have more time than we think we have, if we really want to use it for good. With the amount of freedom, we have we can attain to two hundred ideals in this life, if we will, but we must not degrade the ideal to the actual.

There you are, it is your thoughts which restrict your time.

Hinduism views the concept of time in a different way and there is a cosmic perspective to it. We believe that the process of creation moves in cycles and that each cycle has four great epochs of time, namely Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. Satya Yuga is the age of truth and lasts for 4000 divine years. Only truth prevailed. Treta Yuga lasts for 3000 divine years. In Treta Yuga, the universe lost one quarter of the truth. Dwapara Yuga lasts for 2000 divine years. In Dwapara Yuga half the truth was lost. Kali Yuga lasts for 1000 divine years. In Kali Yuga only one-fourth of the truth is left in the universe.

A divine year is 432,000 years. The process of creation is cyclical and never-ending, it begins to end and ends to begin. Hindu tradition holds that three of these great Yugas have passed and now we are living in the Kali Yuga. It is also believed that we are losing our sense of righteousness. We can observe the loss of faith, trust and truth in and around us. I do not have to elaborate on it. We have lost touch with our inner selves. One can go on describing Kali Yuga but I think we all know what each of us is going through.

How should we live in Kali Yuga?

There is no Yoga, greater than Japa Yoga. Japa is the sadhana for Kali Yuga. In this Kali Yuga, God-realization can be had in a short period. It is the grace of the Lord. You need not do severe tapas. You need not stand on one leg for several years. You realize God through Japa, Kirtan and Prayer. – Swami Sivananda

Kali Yuga Sadhanas:

Ajapa japa is the sadhana to practice. Become aware of your breath. Visualize your breath ascending from the navel to the throat and descending from the navel to the throat. Count the breath backwards from 54 to 0. Breath ascending, inhale and breath descending, exhale. No errors or start again. Next add So to inhalation and Ham to exhalation. Practice again counting backwards from 54 to 0.

Japa is also a sadhana. Use a mala of Rudraksha, Tulsi, Sandalwood or Crystal. Hold mala in right hand. Use thumb and middle finger to count each mantra by touching the bead. The index finger should not touch the beads. The large bead, the Sumeru is not counted or touched. It is the marker and it is not crossed. Stay with your mantra, if you do not have one, you can use Aum, So Ham, or Aim Hrim Klim.

Attend Satsang and Kirtan. Listen to Mantras in the morning. Pray.

Serve, Love, Give, Purify. Become a karma yogi and work for the well-being of the universe. Spiritualize all activities. Look upon the world as the creation of the divine. Become accustomed to give unconditional love. Be charitable. Give with joy and enrich yourself. Purify yourself through Yoga Abhyasa.

Swami Sivananda

Aim Hrim Klim

Picture: Peter Newell, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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