11.32 – The present is all that we have – and all that we will ever have
We frequently lead life as if it were a practice run for next time. All of us want to do valuable, special, big things in life, but the time for them seems to be “sometime in the future.” The present appears boring at best and burdensome at worst; it looks like something we have to get over with to reach the exciting future.
Unfortunately, that much-anticipated future never comes. Because when the future comes, it has become the present. And that present – like our present present – becomes de-glamorized, devalued and dissipated by our lackadaisical, practice-run attitude as we keep longing for the future.
If we wish to actualize our potential, we need to recognize that the present is all that we have – and all that we will ever have. To help us upgrade our estimation of the present, Gita wisdom offers us two pertinent insights:
- Time is divine: The Bhagavad-gita (11.32) declares that time is a manifestation of Krishna. This understanding spiritualizes our vision of time management; we value time not just because it gives us the opportunity to do many things, but because it is Krishna himself offering us that opportunity.
- Every moment is precious: Life at the material level usually reserves importance for certain moments: the moments on the field for cricketers; the moments of exam for students; the moments of the interview for job seekers, for example. Most other moments usually become mere run-ups for those big make-or-break moments. In devotional life, certain moments may be more important for our services externally, but every moment is equally important internally. Each moment is a precious opportunity to remember Krishna and move closer to him in our own hearts.
Thus, bhakti brings to our life a perennial novelty: the moment for action is now.