Time of a day: different times of the day are in the different modes. All this is designed by Krishna. This is not an accidental thing. This all designed to work in a certain way for our benefit. So as I say, different times of day are under the influence of different modes.
So early mornings, from 4 o’clock to we’ll say 7 o’clock, often before that, but let’s just give it maximum time: from 4 o’clock to 7 o’clock. This is mode of goodness time. It’s called the Brahma-murti hour. Everything is calm, peaceful, your mind is more calm, and the air is the cleanest it’s going to be. It may not be very clean but it’s as clean as it’s going to get that day. They call it prana, the energy in the air, the prana.
Years ago I was in Hong-Kong studying Tai Chi and I had an old Chinese master teaching me. And he told me, “Go to the park early in the morning and practice your Tai Chi. The Chi is the best at this time.” Chi means the energy, the air. So every morning I would go very early, completely dark. You go to the park and it’s full of people practicing their Tai Chi. The Chinese’s goal is to live a long time. And so they understood, “For my health this is important.” So they go there every day.
So early morning is the best time but especially for spiritual practices. This is the time to do your meditation, to contemplate these teachings, to read scriptures and do various spiritual practices. This is what it’s designed for.
If you go to India, at 4-4:30 o’clock in the morning, it is like rush hour, people are going to the temples, going to bathe in the Ganges, going to bathe in the Yamuna, engaging in their spiritual practices. Here is one guy just sitting by himself in the middle of somewhere, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare…” just practicing his meditation. And it’s all so nice. You know all these transcendental sounds, people moving for a purpose to worship, taking advantage of this time. So you’re helped, you go there and it’s like no problem. Great. So, mode of goodness.
Then about we’ll say 7 o’clock (like I say usually it’s before that), the mode of passion comes in. Now it’s the time when we do what we need to do during the day. It’s time to eat our breakfast, take care of whatever we have got to do, go to work, work. The mode of passion pushing you, helping you do it. You are busy, you are getting things done.
About sunset. Mode of goodness comes back. Everything quiets down. In nature you can feel it: the birds start to go to nest, everything gets quiet, the sun is setting… And so it’s again mode of goodness – another time for spiritual practice.
I lived in Hawaii for many years, on one island on the north side of the island. Not the city, it was the country side. But there were a lot of houses, and the sun set right into the ocean. And every evening right at this time the whole community, everybody, came out of the houses, went and sat down and watched the sunset. And they weren’t sitting there talking, “Hey, man, what did you do today? What did you do?” They were sitting there watching the sunset, very nice. They had the right approach.
So that’s the time for spiritual endeavor again: gathering with friends, having sankirtan, studying the Vedic scriptures, different practices.
And then about 9 to 10 o’clock, 10 maximum, mode of ignorance comes in. This is the time for sleep. One of the activities of ignorance is sleeping. So it’s designed: now it is the time to sleep. So this mode of nature helps us sleep. So we go to bed early, we don’t stay up and watch the late show and the late late show, the late late late show, talking and drinking. No, we go to bed. Again, very healthy for the body. That’s the way the body’s designed. And then at 4 o’clock you get up and do it again.
Now you’re in harmony with God’s arrangement. This is how He designed it. He designed our bodies, He designed nature, the time of the day, everything, to work together. And that’s the yoga system. You follow that and you’re in harmony. You don’t follow that, then you’re out of harmony, you’re out of balance.
They did a study on women who work the late shift, 11 at night till 7 in the morning. And they found that those women have a 30% greater chance of getting breast cancer than those who don’t work the late shift. See, everything’s out of balance, hormones are out of balance, the bodily time clock is out of balance. And we pay a price.
So if we know these truths about all these different things, different activities in the mode of goodness, passion and ignorance, etc., then we can consciously try to adjust our lifestyles, “Ok, I want to be more in the mode of goodness.” So we change our diet, give up intoxication.