Time Bound


In 2009, I began practicing Amrit Yoga.  That was the first time I had heard the Asatoma Prayer.  I have chanted it well over a thousand times since then.  One line always seems to cause trouble because it is so contrary to the way we tend to live.  Mrityorma Amritam Gamaya, the traditional interpretation of this is, “Lead me from the illusion of death to immortality.”  Gurudev interprets this as, “Lead me from a time bound consciousness to a timeless state of BE-ing.”  Immortality is great but not really practical at this moment.  Understanding the timeless state of BE-ing is very practical.

When I explain time bound consciousness and timeless state of BE-ing, I ask my students if any of them have worried about yesterday or fretted over tomorrow.  Of course, everyone admits they’ve done both.  When we focus on the past or the future, we are bound in shackles.  Then what is the timeless state of Be-ing?  Now.  When did Now begin?  Some students will say, “Now.”  When does Now end?  Every time I ask that question, I see puzzled looks and smiles.  Now never ends, it is always Now.  If Now never ends, then how can it have a beginning?  Now is eternal, timeless.

Living free of the time bound consciousness in the timeless state of BE-ing begins by focusing on Now.  The first sutra of the Yoga Sutras is, “Now is the teaching of yoga.”  This is not telling us when this teaching happens but what teaches yoga.  If you focus on the past or the future, you are not practicing yoga.  If you focus on the past or future, you are creating separation.

One lovely example of this is the current trend of using history to shame others.  My dear friend Chandrakant illustrates the folly of this when he asks how much influence you had over two people sharing a moment of bliss that brought two microscopic bits of DNA together resulting in your birth?  If you had no control over the event that started your life, are you responsible for that act?  No.  If you aren’t responsible for the very act that started your life, how can you be responsible for all the actions that happened five minutes ago or yesterday or decades and centuries ago?  You can’t but current social justice says you are.  Gurudev puts it this way, “I accept myself as I am and the world as it is.”

I can hear the argument already.  “Ramdas, there are historical injustices that we need to redress.”  No, there aren’t.  Stop trying to fix the past.  You will have as much luck fixing the past as you will combing your reflection’s hair.  Instead, focus on Now.  Are there people in need?Diorama,_cavemen_-_National_Museum_of_Mongolian_History  Serve their need!  Does it matter whether the starving man is a displaced Hopi or a descendant of slaves?  No, serve him!  Does it matter that the old woman’s ancestors slaughtered natives for sport?  No, serve her!

Stop fighting against the past, as well scream at the sun to stop night from coming.  If you insist on living and reliving the past, then you must ask yourself how far into the past must you go to set everything right?  Is 200 years far enough back?  You must go back almost 600 years to redress the actions of Columbus.  We can go back even further, there’s plenty of guilt to be found in the oppression of the Roman Empire but that only goes to 300 BC.  There’s bound to be other atrocities we can feel guilty about if we just dig a bit further!  Yes, I am being ridiculous with this.

There are whole groups of people that are suffering from the events of the past.  It doesn’t matter how old that past is, stop wasting energy fighting what happened in the past.  Invest all your energy in creating the best Now you are able.  If you focus on the needs of Now rather than the shadows of the past, the right action for Now will be obvious.  If you focus on fixing the past, only confusion will reign and your actions will become the past that someone else will try to fix.

Show your devotion not by unburying the past but by serving Now.

Jai Bhagwan

Petra.   Model: Petra   Photographer: David Badias    source: Pixabay   Public Domain
Diorama, cavemen.   Model: Diorama   Photographer: Nathan McCord, U.S. Marine Corps   source: WikiMedia Commons   Public Domain