--> Skip to main content

Time Is Cooking Living Beings In The Cauldron Of Delusion

Everyone experiences time according to his or her own mental disposition. Just as people regret their past, they also fear their future. The stream of life carries everyone to the one certainty amid all uncertainties: death – though people hardly think about it.

Yudhishthira’s brilliant answers to Yaksha constitute the important portion of the Mahabharata called ‘Yaksha Prashna’. Two important questions and their answers relate to time and death.

‘What is the news?’ Yudhishthira’s answer: ‘The news is: Time is cooking all created beings in a huge cauldron of great delusion, with the sun as the fire, day and night as fuel, and with months and seasons as the ladle to stir the brew.’

The other question illustrates the inevitability of death and people’s attitude to it.

Yaksha asked Yudhishthira: ‘What is wonderful?’ He replied: ‘Everyday people go to the abode of Yama (they die). Still the rest of the world desires to live forever. What could be more wonderful than that?’

Can we escape being cooked by time? Can we defy death? Vedanta says it is possible.

Yudhishthira’s answer to ‘What is the news?’ is a thought-provoking one. All created beings are cooked by time in a cauldron of great delusion. As long as we are in delusion we are in the domain of time, and keep getting cooked by it. What is this delusion? What is its source? The mother of all delusion is to believe that we are the body. This basic belief makes the external world and its enjoyments the absolute reality for us.

‘I am the body’ idea is the root cause of all trouble. As long as one lives a body-centred life – pampering it, abusing it with indulgence, driven by desires – time’s cooking will not cease. So a new orientation to life is called for.

The untrained mind (lured by the senses) does not cooperate with us but keeps acting against our interest as an enemy. When disciplined, the same mind acts as our friend. The challenge lies, therefore, in making a friend of our mind with the help of the buddhi. The training necessary to convert the enemy mind into a friendly mind is achieved by spiritual discipline.

All created beings are subjected to time’s ravages driving them to the one certainty: death. Seeking and discovering the latent spiritual dimension in us alone can make us impervious to time’s cooking. This is possible by training the mind and the sensory system, following spiritual disciplines and realizing the spiritual Reality within. For it is only the body that is cooked by time, not the eternal Atman.