In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 10.34) it is said that the Lord in the shape and form of death destroys all a person's possessions. Mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham: "I am all-devouring death." The Lord in the shape of death takes away everything that is created by the conditioned soul. Everything in this material world is subject to perish in due course of time. However, all the strength of time cannot hamper the activities of a devotee, for a devotee takes complete shelter under the lotus feet of the Lord. For this reason only is a devotee free from formidable time. All the activities of the karmīs and jñānīs, which have no touch of devotional service, are spoiled in due course of time. The material success of the karmīs is destined to be destroyed; similarly, the impersonal realization attained by the jñānīs is also destroyed in the course of time.
- āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
- patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
- (SB 10.2.32)
To say nothing of the karmīs, the jñānīs undergo severe austerities to attain the impersonal brahmajyoti, but because they do not find the lotus feet of the Lord, they fall down again into this material existence. Unless one is fully situated in unalloyed devotional service, there is no guarantee of liberation, even if one is elevated to the heavenly planets or to the impersonal Brahman effulgence. A devotee's achievement, however, is never lost by the influence of time. Even if a devotee cannot completely execute devotional service, in his next life he begins from the point where he left off. Such an opportunity is not given to the karmīs and jñānīs, whose achievements are destroyed. The bhakta's achievement is never destroyed, for it goes on perpetually, be it complete or incomplete. This is the verdict of all Vedic literatures. Śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo'bhijāyate (BG 6.41). If one is unable to complete the process of bhakti-yoga, he is given a chance in his next life to take birth in a pure family of devotees or in a rich family. In such families a person can have a good opportunity to further progress in devotional service.
When Yamarāja, the superintendent of death, was instructing his assistants, he told them not to approach the devotees. "The devotees should be offered respect," he said, "but do not go near them." Thus the devotees of the Lord are not under the jurisdiction of Yamarāja. Yamarāja is a representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he controls the death of every living entity. Yet he has nothing to do with the devotees. Simply by blinking his eyes, time personified can destroy the entire cosmic manifestation, but he has nothing to do with the devotee. In other words, devotional service which is rendered by the devotee in this lifetime can never be destroyed by time. Such spiritual assets remain unchanged, being beyond the influence of time.