भूतम् भविष्यच्च भवत् स्वकाले
तद्वर्तमानस्य विहाय तत्त्वम् ।
हास्या न किम् स्यात् गत भावि चर्चा
विनैक सन्ख्याम् गणनेव लोके ॥—१७
bhUtam bhaviShyachcha bhavat svakAle
tadvartamAnasya vihAya tattvam
hAsyA na kim syAt gata bhAvi charchA
vinaika sankhyAm gaNaneva loke—17
bhUtam bhaviShyachcha = the past and the future; bhavat svakAle = are in their own time,
present tadvartamAnasya vihAya tattvam = giving up the truth of that present; hAsyA na kim
syAt gata bhAvi charchA = will the discussion on past and future not be laughable; vinaika
sankhyAm gaNaneva loke = like counting in the world without the number one.
The past and the future are in their own time, present. Giving up the truth of that present , will not the discussion on past and future be laughable, like counting without the number one in the world?
What is time? It is a subjective phenomena. The sense organs are equipped to perceive objects. The ‘is-ness’ of the object is understood and this is not limited by time since it is eternal.When an object is perceived, the is-ness is known. Is indicates the present tense. It is never the past nor ever the future. ‘Now’ is the word we use to indicate the present. The essence of ‘now’ is the self alone. How? Let us look into it.
The gap between two sequential perceptions is time. The gap is known through the aid of memory. Hence, the memory is kindled and the gap between ‘now’ and the previous perception is projected by the mind.
Time is a mere projection of the mind. The gap between two events is superimposed on the timeless self.
Past was in its own time the present and future in its own time will also be the present. So what is, is the present alone. The present is ‘now’. Hence, it is right to say that the essence of past and future is ‘now and what is present is also ‘now’. There is nothing but the ‘now’ which has nothing to do with time. Past is memory and future is a mental projection.
What is the essence of this ‘now’? It is the self.
The timeless self is seemingly localized as finite present due to the identification one has with body mind sense complex. The truth of the ‘now’ is the self alone. Leaving this aside one falls into unnecessary discussions of time and space. The only real thing is the self.
Bhagavan Ramana gives the example of counting. One is the basic unit of counting without which no counting is possible. Leaving it aside, can we do anything in arithmetic? So also, self alone is, rest all including time and space is unreal.