Amrit Vela – The Time of Elixir
In Die to Live Maharaj Charan Singh tells us that Nam is within every one of us, forever resounding in resplendent glory. It is Nam that we strive for in meditation.
But our pursuit of Nam is often forgotten as we navigate the quagmire of our daily karma, while chasing satisfaction in our busy, complex lives – consumed by our perception that we are the decision-makers in these daily events. Sadly, when we stop to take stock, after another hectic week, we often find that the two-and-a-half-hour daily slot assigned to our meditation has slipped by unused. Lost to the demanding activities of our days, it is irretrievable – an opportunity missed.
In the same book Maharaj Charan Singh tells us that no opportunity for meditation should ever be lost under any circumstances. He goes on to say, “When the Lord gives the opportunity now to leave the body and to materialize the effect of meditation, then we should make use of it.”
The Masters repeatedly tell us that any time of the day or night is good for meditation. However, they also tell us that the early morning hours are especially favourable. At this time the house is quiet, the family are asleep, interruptions are minimal, and we have rested our body and mind.
This magical time of day is called amrit vela – the time of elixir.
In the amrit vela,
The ambrosial hours before dawn,
Chant the true Name,
And contemplate his glorious greatness.
Quoted in With the Three Masters, Vol. III
The Great Master discusses this special time of day in his book My Submission, where he also tells us that the early morning hours are especially beneficial for the practice of meditation. He writes:
The time of elixir starts at three o’clock in the morning, and saints attest that it is far more conducive to concentration of mind than any other time of the day or night.…
Another reason why this is the most opportune time is that the currents of consciousness, which remain scattered throughout the body during waking hours, are concentrated during sleep in the throat or the navel centre. Undertaking the practice of detaching the spirit from the body at that time – before the soul re-establishes full contact with the body – makes the task much easier. Furthermore, the currents of mind are more concentrated before sunrise than after, and the seed of Nam nurtured in the soil of the heart at that time is sure to bear fruit – both here and hereafter.…
At the time of elixir the Lord bestows his special favours on those who are awake in his remembrance. But those who are asleep at that time and deprive themselves of these blessings are, according to Sheikh Farid, the living dead – alive in body, dead in spirit.
This message from Great Master clearly indicates why these early hours of the morning are particularly favourable for meditation, and we should try to adjust our lifestyles to take the best advantage of them. The author of The Life of Christ writes beautifully of this unique time:
There is an hour of the Indian night, a little before the first glimmer of the dawn, when the stars are unbelievably clear and closer, shining with a radiance beyond our belief in this foggy land. The trees stand silent around one with a friendly presence. As yet there is no sound from awakening birds, but the whole world seems to be intent, alive, listening, eager. At such a moment the veil between the things that are seen and the things that are unseen becomes so thin as to interpose scarcely any barrier at all between the eternal beauty and truth and the soul which would comprehend them.
So it seems that God’s spiritual bounty may be more readily accessible to us – making our spiritual effort more fulfilling – during this mystical time of the day. Yet, we appear not to value the opportunity offered by these hours before dawn. When we should be devoted in our pursuit of Nam, we seem to prefer to remain snuggled in bed with our attention lost in deep sleep.
Again the Great Master advises us:
The night offers a calm solitude that is full of profound serenity and flows like a river washing ashore innumerable pearls of divine wisdom. A disciple who is deeply engaged in devotion at that time gathers these pearls and becomes rich, as he hears the celestial melodies of the Shabd.