Time is the driving force of material nature, as long as we are “looking forward to it” we place ourselves under the control of the illusion. Our attachments to things from our past also bind us to this world. Likewise, we cannot possibly reach the spiritual platform as long as we indulge in the movements of material phenomena under the influence of time.
Recently, however, I figured out the way to disregard and escape time. Not defeat it, of course, just escape, even if for a brief moment.
It happens when we chant.
Every time we start the Hare Krishna mantra from scratch we disregard all our previous experiences and we lose interest in our all future happenings. We just go perpendicular to past-future line of time movement.
To illustrate – back in January I was looking at future with amusement mixed with apprehension. Two months have passed since and if I try hard I think I can retrace the evolution of my concerns, but when I simply start “Hare Krishna” all that memory flies out of the window, by karma’s grace it didn’t leave a very deep impression on my soul so it’s easier for me to recollect the feelings of January than to remember what happened since then.
I guess we all know that “where did the time go?” moment and some of us worry about that, but if we just start “Hare Krishna” it really makes us disconnected from our experiences through time. It would require a conscious effort to condition ourselves back into our memories, and if we don’t even try that we become truly free.
Will the karmic reactions of the past two months catch up with me? Certainly, am I interested in meeting them? Not so much – every time I start “Hare Krishna” I replace that interest with a plea to be engaged in Krishna’s service.
Same experience can also be scaled down. Sometimes during japa my mind become obsessed with some argument or an idea and suddenly I discover that I’ve chanted three-four rounds but have no recollection of it. I see it as if I was drowned in time, but if I consciously start “Hare Krishna” again I discard those memories, purge them from my head and start a new chapter in my life, so to speak.
I can be scaled down even further – every time I start chanting “Hare Krishna” I discard my interests in all things temporary.
The key to the effect is to have the proper attitude in chanting, without any underlying desires for fame or pleasure or for relief of suffering. This attitude is best absorbed from other devotees, in my case I saw it in Prabhupada’s chanting, how even in kirtan he starts every round absolutely afresh, without a build up in his pleas to the Lord.
I mean it’s not like the first time you chant Hare Krishna you beg for permission to chant, the second time you beg forgiveness for your offenses, the third time you chant for the pleasure of the guru, the fourth time for the pleasure of Lord Chaitanya and all the way up. There’s no progress like this at all. Every mantra starts with exactly the same attitude and at no point Prabhupada implies that he had reached a higher, more advanced position in praying.
There’s some progress, of course – there’s a tune to be sung, it has it’s own progression, also the kirtan supposed to build up in strength and intensity but that doesn’t change Prabhupada’s inner mood, at least that’s what I hear.
All this kirtan progress is registered on the time line, to use the earlier analogy, while the spiritual progress is made on the perpendicular axis that cannot be seen by us, mere mortals. What we can see, however, is that Prabhupada is pushing “up” even while his body and his voice continue moving from left to right.
So that is a mathematical formula for beating time – direct our consciousness, our attention away from X axis of time to the progress on the Y axis of spirit. Our bodies will continue moving, sure, but our consciousness won’t register horizontal movement at all because if it looks strictly upwards it doesn’t see points of reference in the past or in the future – to the left or to the right of it.
That is also why we should keep our siddhanta as pure as possible – pure siddhanta points up, apa-siddhantas allow for some horizontal inclination, too.
Of course our chanting will never be mathematically pure but that should not be an excuse to actually plan for some deviations, i.e. we should not consciously seek leeways in our practice, that would be anti-devotional.
We should try to keep our chanting as pure as possible.