Time is money, as they say in the west, but how to use time in the best way possible has not been so nicely explained in this hemisphere. This article details the ancient teachings of the Vedas on the pressing subject of time.
Although we heard the phrase "time is money" many times, Canakya Pandit says that a second of wasted time cannot be bought back even for millions of dollars. Thus even a second of time is more valuable than millions and billions of dollars. In fact, time is priceless. All the more priceless it is, if the living entity is given a human form of life. People in general are unaware that this life is meant for self-realization and they mainly use it to satisfy animalistic propensities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. In this way, they qualify themselves for the bodies of hogs, dogs, etc. There cannot be anything more lamentable than receiving a huge sum of money (for example 1 billion dollars) and then losing it. With one billion dollars, one can fully satisfy his sense gratification, buy a house, set up a business, invest, etc. But if one loses the whole sum for no reason, it is a very sad occasion. However, losing the opportunity to acquire spiritual knowledge to elevate ourselves to the position of perpetual happiness in the spiritual world is way much more serious since even the greatest billionaire must meet with death at the end of his sense gratificatory life. For this reason a great devotee Prahlada Maharaja urges us in the pages of the Srimad Bhagavatam not to waste time and begin to process of Krishna consciousness from the early childhood. As soon as one can speak and especially hear, he should be educated about the real purpose of life. Srila Prabhupada remarks in this connection: "There was a practical examination. A father and his daughter appeared for a BA examination in India. The daughter passed and the father failed. It was in the newspaper. Yes, this happened because the old man cannot take education. Therefore this Krsna consciousness should be taught from the very beginning of life. The younger you are, the better you capture it. Just like we were educated from the very birth by our father. The same thing, what I am doing now in larger scale, I did in my childhood, Radha-Krsna worship and Ratha-yatra, the same thing." Prahlada Maharaja says: kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha durlabham manusam janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam "One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life—in other words, from the tender age of childhood—to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection." (SB 7.6.1) The word kaumara used in this verse refers to a span of life from five to ten years of age. Prahlada Maharaja advises that a human being should learn about the Bhagavata-dharma from the beginning of his kaumara age and not to keep it aside for later. One should avoid thinking: "When I am an old man, then I shall read the scriptures." If one actually has any sense he will practice spiritual life from his very boyhood. Of course, it is not expected that a boy of five years has any sense, but it is the duty of the father and mother to engage the boy from the beginning of his life in the matter of devotional service. It is the duty of every father, every state, every guru, every friend, every relative to engage the boy in spiritual life. Sastra says, pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat na mocayed yah samupeta-mrtyum: "One should not become a father or a mother if one cannot liberate one's dependants from the path of repeated birth and death." The mother's duty to her child is to think: "This child has come to me through my womb, so let this be his last birth. He will not have to come back through a womb of another mother anymore. I will teach him in such a way that he will be liberated and go back to home, back to Godhead." That is the real contraceptive method: "I should not produce cats and dogs, but produce children who will never have to enter into another mother's womb again." Srila Prabhupada remarks: "Fortunately we had the opportunity to be born of a Vaisnava father who took care of us very nicely. He was a great Vaisnava who worshiped Radha-Krsna. Our family Deity was Damodara, and we are hereditary Vaisnavas, followers of Nitai-Gaura. So by the grace of Krsna, from the very beginning of my life I was Krsna conscious by family tradition and by my father's caretaking. And then, when I was grown up, my spiritual master taught us. It is for this reason we have got some sense. Actually, my father's ardent desire was that his son may become a Vaisnava. And my Guru Maharaja's training has actually put me in this position. My father was a pure devotee of Krsna. In my boyhood age he instructed me in the art of playing mrdanga. He also gave me a form of Radha-Krsna to worship and a chariot for Lord Jagannatha for duly observing the Ratha yatra festival as my childhood play. He was kind to me, and I imbibed from him the ideas later on solidified by my spiritual master, the eternal father. So I got a good father and a good spiritual master. That's all." We should therefore scientifically understand the purpose of this life and educate our children in Krishna consciousness, otherwise what is the use of sex life? In this way, even if we do not attain perfection, our pure children will be able to deliver us from a hellish condition. But unless the children are saved from the victimization of modern Kali yuga life full of sinful activities how will they be able to retain their purity? It is of great importance to establish spiritual cultural movement where children, parents and all classes of society can be systematically educated under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master. We must somehow endeavor to establish such an institution. Otherwise all material aspirations are nothing but a waste of valuable time.