In late December of 2011, HH Bhatki Vasudeva Swami Maharaja delivered a seminar on the ever-important topic of time management, based on Bhagavad Gita 11.32, at New Jagannatha Puri Mandir, Phoenix, near Durban, South Africa. The event details were recorded by Ramkinkara Dasa.
Time Management By His Holiness Bhakti Vasudeva Swami
Today’s youth, students, pupils and the people in general are bogged down with the huge challenge of managing their time and getting their jobs done in good time. Frustration sets in as not all the tasks that were planned for the day gets done. There is a need for the elders to help, but those who are themselves victims cannot guide their subordinates. Therefore, out of compassion for the human beings, the head of the Varnashrama Institution – the sannyasi – comes to teach the fallen souls of Kali Yuga the paramount importance of time management.
“If time is not properly managed it would result in anxiety, frustration stress and ill health”, said the Hare Krishna Pandit, His Holiness Bhakti Vasudeva Swami, a doctoral researcher in Leadership and Organizational Change, at a special workshop with the youth on Time Management.
Addressing a cross section of the community of Phoenix, north of Durban, held at the New Jagannatha Puri Mandir, His Holiness Bhakti Vasudeva Swami began his address with a verse from Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Text 32:
kalo ‘smi loka-kshaya-krit pravriddho
lokan samahartum iha pravrittah
rite ‘pi tvam na bhavishyanti sarve
ye ‘vasthitah pratyanikeshu yodhah
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds, and I have come here to destroy all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.exception of you [the Pandavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.”
“Although Arjuna knew that Krishna was his friend and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he was puzzled by the various forms exhibited by Krishna. Therefore he asked further about the actual mission of this devastating force. It is written in the Vedas that the Supreme Truth destroys everything, even the brahmanas. As stated in the Katha Upanishad (1.2.25),
yasya brahma ca ksatram ca
ubhe bhavata odanam
ka itthi veda yatra sam
Eventually all the brahmanas, kshatriyas and everyone else are devoured like a meal by the Supreme. This form of the Supreme Lord is the all-devouring giant, and here Krishnaa presents Himself in that form of all-devouring time. Except for a few Pandavas, everyone who was present on that battlefield would be devoured by Him. Arjuna was not in favor of the fight, and he thought it was better not to fight; then there would be no frustration. In reply, the Lord is saying that even if he did not fight, every one of them would be destroyed, for that was His plan. If Arjuna stopped fighting, they would die in another way. Death could not be checked, even if he did not fight. In fact, they were already dead. Time is destruction, and all manifestations are to be vanquished by the desire of the Supreme Lord. That is the law of nature.”
Maharaja said, death cannot be checked. In the University, at the PhD level in management, in the USA, a month is devoted to time management at the foundation level. A scientist who also has in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit, and who supposedly had his own translation of Bhagavad Gita developed the atomic bomb. He was Professor J. Robert Oppenheimer, appointed as the technical director of the Manhattan Project.
Maharaja said, “Integrate circular duties with devotional activities. In Mathematics there is a section called Calculus, which involves integration; students run away from it because it is difficult. Always plan a weekly schedule. In our daily lives, it takes almost 8 hours of work, and 6 hours for sleep, which leaves us with 10 hours. Hence, we have to be cognizant of our environment. If you are not spiritual, you cannot manage time. In Vaisnava spirituality, Srila Prabhupada gave a structure to follow. If one follows this morning programme, then one’s prescribed duties for the day would be a breeze to accomplish. Your day would also be extremely joyful. Always prioritize what is the most essential duty or activity that has to be done. Time Management means utilizing the 24 hours a day for a purpose, productively.”
“It is also important to have a time table that must be executed. Plan, prioritize, and then execute it. Go to bed on time. Srila Prabhupada slept for 2 to 3 hours at most, just to carry out his devotional activities of writing so many books, managing ISKCON Worldwide, and taking care of so many things, including personally training disciples. He was the perfect role model of being completely regulated and managing time in the service of the Lord.”
“Give quality time to your family; it is important,” he continued. During a Japa session recently in the USA, he recalled, a father’s 4 year old child came to sit on his lap. The father removed the child without consideration, and that is called emotional child abuse. “It is better to wake up before the child and finish your rounds and before you go out to work. The best time to rest is between 10 & 12 PM after a hard day of work. The body recuperates exceptionally well. If you go to bed at 9 PM it would be easy to rise at 4 AM. Also important is what you eat and when you eat. If you eat at 9 PM and go to bed at 9 PM, you will suffer from indigestion and would be ill the next day. Eat early so that the food is digested before going to bed.”
The famous expression, do not throw the baby with the bath water.
“We have so many hours left. We have to attend to our needs, meet our children and spouse, etc. Children run into problems because they do not have a time table to chant, study, engage in spiritual recreation, etc. Where is the protection from the illusionary energy? It is critical that we lead by example. In the story of Aditi, time matters caused Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasupur to be born. Conception took place at the wrong time and demons were born. Time is Krishna’s energy. To use time profitability, we need to increase our devotional activity.”
“Follow a regulated life. Without that, no one will be happy. Do not abuse time. Nowadays it is tough times, and there are many challenges.”
“In Detroit, recently I was travelling with a medical student doctor, who asked ‘Maharaja, can I ask you a question?’ Yes. ‘I have no time for chanting!’ My response was, ‘I know so many other doctors chanting and working a full day. How many hours do you read before getting tired?’ He said, 3 to 4 hours. ‘Thereafter what do you do?’ He said, ‘I take a break and chill out by a walk.’ I said, ‘Then take your bead bag for japa walk. Your chanting can be done.’ The doctor was happy with the advice. It is therefore extremely important to target the young people, the students and pupils. They are so easily attracted to the illusionary energy of material nature and forget the goal of life. Hence not only time is wasted but their entire life.”
“Break things down, economical, social responsibility. Then what about spiritual responsibility?”
In conclusion, “the biggest dacoits or rogues of time is surfing the internet, website after website, clocking 28 hours a week. People are fired from their jobs because the work is not done. Another thief is watching TV – in the US everyone has their own TV in their bedrooms; the family is already broken up; they are just hanging out.”
“If someone bounces into you while busy with your tasks, you must deal with them with compassion. If you are busy, indicate to that person you will call them back. Better to write it down – get a small note book. If you forget to call them, then they will say you are a liar.”
“The other thieves of time are the Media, Television, Movies, Games, Newspapers, Magazines, now cell phones. All this is ‘killing’ time, hang-out after work. Rather, time is killing us.”
“Procrastination is another thief of time – sitting on the telephone for two hours. Quality chanting of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra takes us 2 hours; we are left with 6 hours. The 6 hours are quickly evaporated with traveling time, eating, evacuating, socializing, sports, family engagements, and clubs, and so on.”
“The best way to manage time is to be regulated like Srila Prabhupada, who kept strictly to his plan: prescribed rounds of japa of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, morning walks, greetings, morning and afternoon class, taking care of Krishna Consciousness business, receiving guests, lunch, massage, interviews, travelling the globe 12 times, writing in the early hours of the morning, training his disciples, and opening temples, farms, schools, restaurants, goshalas, BBT, Back to Godhead Magazine, and holding pandal and Ratha Yatra Festivals.”
Chanakya Pandit said, “Not one single moment of live can be regained for millions of gold coins. Therefore what greater loss is there than time spent fruitlessly?”