Chapter 8.11 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
return to contents index

8.11  TIME


"Do not run away from death, for you can never die before the appointed time, and nothing can save you from dying when the appointed time comes."    Zarathushtra

"Yesterday is beyond repair, tomorrow may never come. Today alone is ours. Make the best use of it as it is your sole, sure possession."    Zarathushtra

"Take ye heed, watch and pray  -  for you know not when the time is."    Jesus Christ

"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning, and you yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately."   
    Jesus Christ



Hislop: What is this present moment?
Sai:  God is omnipresent. That is, He is ever present. This moment is God. There is only God. Truth is the same in the past, in the present, and it will remain the same in the future. Therefore, the time sequence of past, present, future is just imagination. But 'I' am timeless, beyond time. 'I' look at past, present, future; they are not Me. Of course, past, present, and future must be taken into account in daily affairs. These two aspects of time must be mixed and in operation at the same time. The perception that the time sequence is only imagination, that 'I' am timeless and beyond time, both should be there at the very moment that one is using the time sequence in his daily affairs.
Hislop: In terms of the unreality of time, how are we to experience past, present, future?
Sai:  They are unreal. But at the same time the Atma is real. Hold to that central reality. There need be no confusion. The inward intelligence may harmonise the experience of the relative time and the permanent Self. Even now you are hearing and seeing, yet the inward intelligence co-ordinates the two.
Hislop: At this moment we seem to be as we are at this moment. When Swami looks at us with His eyes, what is it that He sees?
Sai:  Man has two eyes; he sees only past and present. God has three eyes. God's eyes are spiritual. He sees in front, behind, above, below. Like the garland pulled over the finger - finger is the present and it is in touch with past and future. God is the present. He is omnipresent. As Baba looks at people, he sees the past, the present moment, the future and everywhere in every direction. (CSSB 72)

God is the embodiment of Time. Time is eternal. It has no end. It is boundless. As against this eternal Time, the life-span of man is very limited. Because of his limited time-span, man is bound by the passage of time in terms of hours, days, months and years. All the latter are by their intrinsic nature transient. The Lord declares: "I am the Eternal Time". (240393)

God should not be regarded as some separate power or entity. Time is a manifestation of God. Hence God is adored as Time, the Master of Time, the Controller of Time, One who transcends Time, etc. God is also known as the Divine Indweller in all beings. (070489)

Embodiments of Love! Remember that time is fleeting. Time and tide wait for no one. Time will not submit itself to you. You have to surrender to it. Time is its own master. Hence, you must strive to make proper use of time.

I have often told you how God represents time in its various aspects. God is described as 'samvatsara'. 'Vatsara' means one who is engaged in sport. 'Govatsara', in referring to Krishna, means one who sports with cows. 'Samvatsara' means 'playing with all'. This time is available equally to all - whether he is a millionaire or a pauper. Even an emperor is subject to the passage of time. Time is a witness to what everyone is doing. On a stage, there are a number of lights. One light is turned towards an actor in the role of a king. Another light is turned towards a beggar. Yet another light is focused on a man reading the Ramayana. Another light may be focused on a fighting scene. Although the lights illumine a variety of scenes, they remain unaffected by the behaviour of the actors. The lights simply bear witness to the actions but no blame attaches to them for what the actors do. The actors alone are affected by what they do. In the same manner, the Divine, as the Lord of Time, remains only as a witness to he passing show. Your actions may be unholy. But time remains untainted. (270490)


Time is God. God is called the very embodiment of Time. Hence, we must respect time and spend it in useful pursuits. Wasting of time is ungodly.  ....  This New Year Day proclaims the truth that God is the Master of Time. Unfortunately, man fails to understand the power of God. He wastes three-quarters of his time in unworthy, earthly pursuits. Spiritual pursuit is the right way of making use of time. It calls for nurturing good feelings and doing good deeds without selfish motive, extending love and compassion towards all beings. This is real spiritual practice. By utilising your time in spiritual pursuits, you can enjoy spiritual wealth. But, man wastes all his time in unholy thoughts and evil deeds without understanding the Divinity within him. One should understand the value of time, each moment of which vanishes faster than lightning. If you want to sanctify your hard-earned human birth you have to cultivate Divine thoughts. (140494)

Time is supremely precious. It waits for no one. Everyone has to submit himself to time. It is not subject to anyone. It is only when time is utilised properly through right actions that the human can rise to the level of the Divine. Man's foremost duty is to make the right use of time through the bodily vesture given to him. Man is bound by actions in this phenomenal world. (281089)

Time is infinitely precious. Hence the performance of good deeds should not be put off to another day. Time waits for no one. Hence both the body and the time should be utilised for doing sacred actions. (191190)


Man is distinguished from other animals and creatures by his capability to judge what is permanent and what is transient, and his ability to recognise the past, the present and the future. Man alone has the capacity to comprehend this threefold nature of time. Man can ruminate over the past and speculate about the future. He can experience the present. However, man should not worry about what is past. The present is a product of the past. What has happened is beyond recall. It is futile to worry about the future because it is uncertain. Concern yourself only with the present. By 'present' we may be thinking only of this moment. But this is not the present as Divinity sees it. For the Divine, the 'present' is what is 'omnipresent'. This means that both the past and the future are present in what is, because it is the result of the past and the seed of the future. Because man has no firm faith in the omnipresence of the Divine, he worries himself about the past, the present and the future. For the Divine, thes three categories of time do not exist. (030988)

The present is the product of the past and the future is the result of the present. Both the past and the future are contained in the present. Hence live in the present with good thoughts and good actions. Rid your heart of all bad feelings and make it pure and holy.

You may be confronted with many problems. Do not allow them to occupy your mind all the time. Have a time-table for all your daily activities. Set apart half an hour or an hour in the evening for thinking out your problems. You will be able to find solutions for them. If you worry about them all the time, you will be wasting your time and not solving them. (SS May 86,129)

The old are lost in brooding over the past and lamenting the passing of 'the good old days'. The young are concerned about planning their future, their jobs, marriage, family and so on. Both are ignoring their duties in the present. They do not realise that the present is both the product of the past and the seed for the future. If the present is properly taken care of, the future will be good of its own accord. Decide to do your duty in the present. It will pave a royal road for the future. Duty is God. Work is Worship. Make these two mottos the guides for your life and pursue your studies in this spirit. If you are planning to do something in the future, what is the guarantee that such a time will come? Putting off obligations for tomorrow is irrational. Live in the present. Resolve to fulfil your immediate duty. (300787)

One should not worry about what is past or what is in the womb of the future. It is such worry that is the cause of all men's troubles. There is no meaning in worrying about the unknown future. Keeping the present in view, men should engage themselves in right actions. The past and the future are in the present. Devotees who do their duty in the present are dear to the Lord. (201190)


We hail the New Year as 'samvatsara' (the year) because it signifies the omnipresence (in time and space) of the Divine. 'Samvatsara' does not merely mean period (of a year) made up of minutes, hours, days, and months. Every moment is 'samvatsara', because without seconds, minutes, etc. there cannot be a year. If the year is to be sanctified, every moment has to be sanctified. Every second constitutes a year. It is not the new year that matters. Every new second is significant.

Hence you should fill every moment with sacred thoughts, with pure feelings and pure action. Every moment you should try to get rid of bad thoughts and fill the mind with good thoughts. (070489)

The New Year teaches man the lesson that he should perfect himself as an embodiment of Divinity. You should not waste time, because a moment gone, will not come back. You are only looking after the needs of the body, eager to make it last longer. But you forget that Time is God. There is nothing that can supersede this. So the spiritual practice you should do is to utilise your time in doing good deeds for the benefit of society at large and not to satisfy your self-interest. Don't waste your energy in unnecessary talk or gossip. God has endowed man with all the organs of perception and action, not for selfish activities, but to do Godly deeds and help others. (140494)

Time is infinitely precious. Hence the performance of good deeds should not be put off to another day. Time waits for no-one. Hence both the body and the time should be utilised for doing sacred actions. (191190)

Time is the very form of God. Birth and death are encompassed by time. Everyone, therefore, should regard time as Divine and utilise it for performing sacred actions. You should not waste a single moment. Time wasted is life wasted.

The fruits of your actions are determined by time. All your experiences are the result of your actions, whether it is happiness or sorrow, affluence or poverty. Hence, good and bad depend on what you do. As are your actions, so are the fruits thereof. The way you utilise your time determines the outcome. (010191)

Fill your time with good actions. There is no greater spiritual discipline than this. Sanctify the time given to you by good thoughts and good actions. For this, you need to cultivate the company of the good, which will in due course lead you to liberation. Fill your mind with thoughts of God. Engage yourself in Godly actions. This is true spiritual practice. (010191)

The day when good devotees gather together and pray, "Oh Lord!", in sweet tones; the day when you mix with the poor like brothers in fraternal union; the day when you offer to the devotees of God delicious food; the day when a high-souled devotee comes to you and relates stories of the Divine: Only that day is a really sacred day. (010691)

Embodiments of the Divine! Do not forget God, who is the embodiment of the Age. He is the Lord of Time. 'Kaala' means one who is the giver of all happiness. If you take refuge in the Lord of Time, no one can cause you any harm. Make the best use of time, chanting the name of the Lord or engaging yourselves in sacred activities. (070489)

If we devote all our time to remembering God, time will cease to be a burden. If we take refuge in the conqueror of time, what can time do to us? When we enshrine the Lord of Time in our hearts, we become the masters of time. (201088)

Time flows fast, regardless of circumstance. Time has no friend or foe, no kith or kin, no favourite or competitor. So long as man is bound to the relative world of name and form, he is bound to the wheel of time. But, he can transcend the relative world, if he sanctifies time by good actions.

Of all good deeds, the best is service, intelligent and loving service to those in need. (130585)

return to contents index
return to top of this page