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Why Meditate?: [07.01] Time Management & Preksha Meditation (1)

Published: 28.02.2008
Updated: 13.08.2008

Man performs many different kinds of tasks. While one is independent in doing one's work, no one is totally independent in this world. Man is dependent too. When there is good motivation, then work also can be done well. If, however, the instrumental causes are not appropriate, then there will be obstacles in the work.

There are five types of instrumental causes found in Bhagwati Sutra:

  1. Dravya karan (causes related to substance)
  2. Kshetra karan (causes related to place)
  3. Kaal karan (causes related to time)
  4. Bhaav karan (causes related to emotions)
  5. Bhav karan (causes related to existence

Substance, space, time, emotion and existence: these are five instruments. Among these five, time is an important auxiliary factor. Actions and time are greatly intertwined. The two cannot be separated from each other.

How should we utilize our time? The sun rises and sets. Night comes and goes. The day is 24 hours long. Man keeps on working. The very first step that we encounter before doing work is laying down a daily routine. A person who does not make right use of a daily timetable wastes most of his time. For success, it is necessary that each and every minute should be utilized. Those who have utilized each second of their life have become great people in the world. For that, it is necessary to fix a daily routine from the time of waking till the moment of falling asleep. Waking hours and sleeping hours are the two parts into which time has been divided. There should be a proper management of waking hours and sleeping hours.

The question is, what should be the time to wake up. What should be the time to sleep? Both have their own time. The saying goes that morning is whenever you awake. While this is fine, there is a particular time to wake up. This has been arrived at after a great deal of experience and intuition. The period from 4.00 a.m. till sunrise is called Brahma muhurt. This is a significant time to wake up. If we can understand it in scientific terminology, the time from 4.00 a.m. till sunrise is the time for the secretion of the hormone serotonin. At that time serotonin is secreted from pineal gland, which is very useful to man from many points of view. In today's world, it is hardly possible for one to rise at 4.00 am, because the time of sleeping is 1 or 2 a.m. and the time of supper is 12.00 midnight to 1.00 a.m. Waking up at 4 o'clock has become mere history. How is it possible practically? It is very difficult because our life style has changed completely.

A boy was accustomed to awake at 8.00 a.m. every morning. One day, his mother said, “Son, now wake up. Can't you see the sun has risen?” The boy said, “Mother! Why do you compare me with the sun? The sun sets early every evening and goes off to sleep. But I sleep at one. How can you compare me with the sun?” If he sleeps at 1.00, how can he wake up by 4.00? Therefore, it has become difficult to set a time to awake. If a person wants a successful, pleasant & peaceful life, it is necessary that he should rise in 'Brahma muhurt around 4 or 5 in the morning. It is good to wake up one or two hours before sunrise.

One should sleep around 10.00 pm. A person, who manages his routine, the time of waking and sleeping, will find that his days & nights flow pleasantly. Many people say they sleep but they don't have a sound sleep. Dreams abound, so much so that the night is full of dreams. If we violate the appropriate time for sleep, this happens & we will not get sound sleep. Sleep has got its own time. Everything is set by our biological clock. If you don't work according to the right time, then everything is disturbed and problems arise. If one goes to sleep and wakes up at the right time, then there may not be any need to take sleeping pills. Nowadays, billions of rupees are spent on sleeping pills. This happens because the sleeping time crosses all limits.

To fall asleep has its own time, to awake, too, has its natural time. It is said in Aagam scripture that kaale kaalam samaayare. A very important sutra that says every work has to be done in its own time. In Sutrakritaang [Jain canon], time is beautifully described thus: one has to eat when it is time to eat, one has to drink water when it is time to drink, sleep and wake when it is time to sleep and wake. Therefore, eating, drinking, sleeping and waking: everything should be done in its appropriate time. From the point of attaining good health and success, eating, drinking, sleeping and waking are the four important factors to be considered by us carefully.

The time around 12.00 noon is the best time to have lunch. According to the biological clock, the liver secrets digestive juices at that time. If that time lapses, then the secretion of the liver was not used and goes waste. This creates a problem. There may be many causes of disease, but one of them is violation of proper mealtimes. Our morning breakfast has become synonymous with disease. That is not a proper time to eat. Nowadays, one more word is associated with breakfast - heavy breakfast. A heavy breakfast is an invitation to disease. If one must take something in the morning, it is better to just drink some milk. That is not the time to consume solid and heavy food. Similarly, the night is not the right time for eating. In the Jain tradition, night meals are barred. This is beneficial both from the spiritual point of view as well as the physiological point of view.

In 1974, Acharya Tulsi was in New Delhi, when two scientists (who specialized in nutrition) came from Bangalore. We asked them, “What brought you here?” They said, “A seminar is going on. In this context, there was a debate on whether to have food at night or not. It was proposed that this matter be discussed with Jains, as they prohibit the night meal. That's why we have come with queries. Why is that your community doesn't have meals at night? What's the reason behind this?” We elaborated, “The reason behind this is not only linked with religion & non violence, but also related to health. The food we eat in the night is not digestible. There is a close connection between our digestive system and sunlight. The sun's rays fall on earth & illuminate it, and the heat of the sun activates our digestive system. After the sun sets, darkness spreads and our digestive system becomes inactive. The food consumed during the inactive phase does not get thoroughly digested, and then there is room for illness.” They understood this matter. The activity or inactivity of the digestive system is profoundly linked with the sun. When the sun sets, the temperature drops. At low temperatures, drowsiness sets in. In the night, we are lazy, indolent and inactive. Daytime is the preferred time for eating. Further, during the day, when the sun is at the midst of the sky - when light spreads out, when the temperature is pleasant and warmer - our digestive system gets activated. So only the time around 12.00 noon is considered to be the perfect time for our lunch.

Copyright by Acharya Mahaprajna ©2005
Compiled by Muni Dhananjay Kumar
Published by Jain Vishva Barati Institute, Ladnun, India
Translated by Samani Charitra Pragya, Neeraja Raghavan & Sudhamahi Regunathan

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Aagam
  2. Acharya
  3. Acharya Tulsi
  4. Bangalore
  5. Bhaav
  6. Bhagwati Sutra
  7. Brahma
  8. Delhi
  9. Dravya
  10. Kaal
  11. Kshetra
  12. New Delhi
  13. Non violence
  14. Pineal Gland
  15. Space
  16. Sutra
  17. Tulsi
  18. Violence
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