The material atmosphere is robbing us of our eternality. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says, "Our duration of life is being diminished by the sun, beginning from its rising until the time it sets." Daily we are losing the duration of our lives. If the sun rises at 5:30 in the morning, at 5:30 in the evening twelve hours have been taken away from the duration of our lives. We will never get this time back. If we ask any scientist, "I will give you twelve million dollars—please give me back these twelve hours," he will reply, "No, it is not possible." The scientist cannot do it. Therefore the Bhāgavatam says that from sunrise to sunset the duration of our lives is being diminished.
Time is called kāla—past, present and future. What is now present, tomorrow will be past, and what is now future, tomorrow will be present. But this past, present and future are the past, present and future of the body. We do not belong to the category of the past, present and future. We belong to the category of eternity. Therefore one should be concerned with how to attain or how to be elevated to the platform of eternity. The developed consciousness of the human being should be utilized not in the animal propensities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending but in searching out the valuable path which will help him get that life of eternity. It is said that the sun is taking away our duration of life—every minute, every hour, every day—but if we engage ourselves in the topics of Uttama-śloka, the topics of the Lord, that time cannot be taken away. The time one devotes in a Kṛṣṇa consciousness temple cannot be taken away. It is an asset—a plus, not a minus. The duration of life, so far as the body is concerned, may be taken; however one tries to keep it intact, no one can do it. But the spiritual education we receive in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be taken away by the sun. It becomes a solid asset.
Chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare is a very easy thing to do. Time spent chanting cannot be taken away like time pertaining to the body. Fifty years ago I was a young man, but that time has been taken and cannot be returned. The spiritual knowledge I received from my spiritual master, however, cannot be taken away, but will go with me. Even after I quit this body, it will go with me; and if it is perfect in this life, then it will take me to the eternal abode.
Both the material and spiritual worlds belong to Kṛṣṇa. We are not proprietors of anything. It is all the property of the Supreme Lord, just as everything in the state belongs to the government, either in the prison house or outside the prison house. Conditioned life is just like life in a prison house in this material world. A prisoner cannot freely change from one cell to another. In free life one can go from one home to another home, but in prison life one cannot do that but must stay in his cell. All these planets are like cells. We are trying to go to the moon, but it is not practical by mechanical means. Whether we are American, Indian, Chinese or Russian, we have been given this planet to live on. We cannot leave—although there are millions and billions of planets and although we have machines by which we can—because we are conditioned by the laws of nature, God's laws. A man who is put into a certain cell cannot change at will without superior authority. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā that one should not try to change from one cell to another. That will not make anyone happy. If a prisoner thinks, "I am in this cell—let me request the warden to change my cell, and I will be happy," that is a mistaken idea. One cannot be happy so long as he is within the prison walls. We are trying to be happy by changing cells—from capitalism to communism. The aim should be to become free from this "ism" and that "ism." One has to change completely from this "ism" of materialism; then he can become happy. That is the program of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
We are taking advice from the Supreme Person. He says, "My dear Arjuna, you may be elevated to the highest planetary system, which is called Brahmaloka and is desirable because life there is very long." We cannot calculate even a half-day there. It is beyond our mathematical calculations. But even in Brahmaloka there is death. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, "Do not waste your time trying to elevate yourself or transfer yourself from this planet to that planet."
The people I have seen in America are very restless. They go from one apartment to another apartment or from one country to another country. That restlessness is there because we are searching after our real home. To go from this place to that place will not give eternal life. Eternal life is with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, "Everything belongs to Me, and I have the superexcellent abode, which is called Goloka Vṛndāvana." If one wants to go there, he must simply become Kṛṣṇa conscious and try to understand how Kṛṣṇa appears and disappears, what His constitutional position is, what our constitutional position is, what our relationship with Him is, and how to live. Simply try to understand these ideas scientifically. Everything in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is scientific. It is not bogus, whimsical, sentimental, fanatical or imaginary. It is truth, fact, reality. One must understand Kṛṣṇa in truth.
We have to give up this body, willingly or unwillingly. The day will come when we will have to submit to the laws of nature and give up this body. Even President Kennedy in his procession had to submit to nature's law and change his body for another body. He could not say, "Oh, I am the President; I am Mr. Kennedy. I cannot do that." He was forced to do it. That is the way nature works.
The purpose of our developed human consciousness is to understand how nature works. Aside from human consciousness, there is consciousness in dogs, cats, worms, trees, birds, beasts and all other species. But we are not meant to live in that consciousness. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says that after many, many births we have attained the human form of body. Now we should not misuse it. Please utilize this human life to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness and be happy.