Letter to: Charles McCollough , Los Angeles , 1969-02-12
My Dear Charles McCollough,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated February 9, 1969, and I have noted the contents carefully. Regarding your question about closing the temple for a few hours during the day, the best thing is if this can be avoided, but since you are all working in the afternoon then what else can be done? Close 12 to 5 p.m.
You have asked me the meaning of the word "non-manifest" as it appears in the Bhagavad-gita, and the answer is that it means "impersonal," or that which is not personal. Just like the sun has its personal and impersonal feature. The sun can be located as the sun disc, yet it also has its impersonal, all-pervading aspect, or the sunshine. So the sun is manifest, and the sunshine is non-manifest. Manifest means where there is variety and non-manifest means where there is only one. When you go to a planet within the sunshine there are many varieties found, but in the sunshine itself there is simply one—the sunlight.
Regarding your question about time, time is eternal, but in the spiritual world, there is no influence of time. In the material world there is the influence of past, present and future, and this past, present and future is a relative truth. This is because the past of one man is not the past of another; past, present and future are relative to the person, and there are different grades of persons. For example, Brahma's day is calculated as thousands of our years. In one day of Brahma there are millions of our pasts, presents, and futures. So this is all relativity, whereas in the spiritual world, there is no such relativity. Therefore, time has no such influence in the spiritual world. I hope this will clear up your questions.
I understand that you will not be able to come to Los Angeles, but when it is possible, I will be very happy to meet with you.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami