The Maitrayani Upanisad :
'Time cooks, ripens, all things, indeed, in the great Self. He who knows in what time is cooked, he is the knower of the Veda.'
When the Upanisad says that all things are cooked in time, it is speaking of the birth, growth and death of things which are events in time. Things are born in time, they grow, they decay and finally disintegrate and dissolve or disappear. Human beings, as they are embodied, are also subject to these laws. Normally we say that it is time that brings about these changes. But if we look deeper we will find that it is in the nature of things to grow, decay and die. Time is only a factor that puts these events in evidence. Time is a mid-wife or a nurse that helps in the birth of events. Suppose time were not, even then things and beings would follow their nature. The nature of things is so powerful that they cannot wait for time to manifest it. In manifesting, it brings time into being.
We think ordinarily that at six in the morning the lilies of the lake open. If we had no watches we would have marked that the lilies open all the same. It is the opening that makes us conscious of time and of the world. We would have marked the opening of the lilies, the coming in of the notion of duration, and of the world not a successive event but all at one stroke which means eternity. Things and beings obey their nature; they do not obey time. Time then becomes a part of their nature, becomes one with us. And we do not obey our inner nature, we live it.
To think that we are obeying the dictates of desire makes us unhappy. It is this thinking that we are slaves of desire that makes us miserable. On the contrary to think that we are living the inner laws of our growth makes us relaxed. When I go to sleep I follow my nature and in sleep the time-worry, time- consciousness disappears. In love too time vanishes, for in love we live our nature. The Brihadaranyaka Upanisad in a beautiful passage speaks of the lovers abolishing time and duality: 'When lovers are in embrace locked together, they are unconscious of time and of the world.' In intense suffering too, living as we do our inner nature, time vanishes. In meditation too, time vanishes; we become master of time, rather, time is interiorized, it becomes an inner dimension. In meditation we become that Self in which time is cooked.