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adhruvaṁ vāsya jīvitam
kālaṁ paraṁ pratīkṣeta
The living entities in the material world, not only at the present but also in the past, have been involved in trying to solve the problem of birth and death. Some stress death and point to the illusory existence of everything material, whereas others stress life, trying to preserve it perpetually and enjoy it to the best of their ability. Both of them are fools and rascals. It is advised that one observe the eternal time factor, which is the cause of the material body’s appearance and disappearance, and that one observe the living entity’s entanglement in this time factor. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura therefore sings in his Gītāvalī:
anādi karama-phale, paḍi’ bhavārṇava-jale,
taribāre nā dekhi upāya
One should observe the activities of eternal time, which is the cause of birth and death. Before the creation of the present millennium, the living entities were under the influence of the time factor, and within the time factor the material world comes into existence and is again annihilated. Bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate. Being under the control of the time factor, the living entities appear and die, life after life. This time factor is the impersonal representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gives the living entities conditioned by material nature a chance to emerge from this nature by surrendering to Him.