Time and Place for Spiritual Practice
Any time is good for devotion to the Lord, and one should seize every opportunity that comes his way for this purpose. But the early morning time, which is known as the time of Elixir, is particularly favorable.
We feel tired after the day's work, but sleep refreshes us by the time it is early morning. The best time is from three o'clock in the morning onwards, when concentration is easily achieved. Guru Nanak has also mentioned the time of Elixir as the best time for contacting the True Naam by contemplating on Him and repeating His Name.
Another reason for this being the best time is that during the time of sleep the soul (which is the attention or consciousness) comes down to concentrate at the throat or the navel centre, and as we wake up in the morning it begins to scatter throughout the body.
So, if immediately on getting up, we endeavour to withdraw our attention to the eye centre, it can come up easily, as it has not yet established itself in all the pores of the body.
Even otherwise, the morning time is useful for spiritual practice because before the rising of the sun the mind's currents are usually concentrated. And any seed of Naam sown at this time cannot but bear fruit. This time of Elixir, which people in their ignorance treat as time for sleep, is lost in slumber by most people. But at this time, the devotees of the Lord are awake. Not only this, but the daytime, which is considered by people of the world as the time for work, is regarded by devotees of the Lord as night.
At the time of Elixir, currents of Grace and Benevolence flow from the Lord, and only those, who are awake and sit in deep devotion to him, receive this great boon. Such persons conquer death while still alive.
The head which does not bow in devotion to his Master in the early hours of the morning is useless.
The Gurumukhs, or devotees of the Lord, are awake in the early morning hours and enjoy the Bliss of their Lord's Name. To sleep during this time is nothing short of a sin.
A Muslim Fakir says:
Man, you should be awake early in the morning. You should leave your bed, howsoever comfortable it may be, and sit in a quiet and remote corner of the room in remembrance of the Lord.
We spend hundreds of nights in pursuit of sensual gratification or in the acquisition of wealth. Have we ever spent a single night in remembrance of our Lord? To keep awake at night or to sleep less is natural with all Saints, because whatever they have gained was realized by them during the night.