Reality, appearance, and Time


Lord Vishnu: As a matter of fact, the trunk, stem, branches, leaves and so on did not emerge out of the seed. The seed has transformed itself into all of them.

रूपालोक मनस्कार तत्ताकाल क्रियात्मक्म् ।

कुम्भकारो घटमिव चेतोहन्ति करोतिच ॥ — sarga 48 – shloka 52

What is present now is perceived by the senses. What will be in the future is anticipated by the mind by its projection. What was past is remembered by the mind by identifying itself with the past things/ events. Therefore, it can also be said as:

Present Time       rUpAloka kAla        Period of Direct Observation (Perception)

Future Time         manaskAra kAla    Period of Mental Projection (Anticipation)

Past Time            tattA kAla                Period of Mental Identification (Remembrance)

Thus the three times viz., Present, Future and Past are nothing but what the mind makes up like a potter churns out pottery. It is again the mind that makes them disappear.  — p: 84


Sage Gadhi: Pardon me, My Lord! You insist that every event, every ‘thing’ in the world is a phantasm, a creation of the mind. It is quite puzzling to me. Certain things take place in the world as per the Law of Nature regularly on time. If it is taken that the entire world is nothing but a figment of imagination, how can there be a rule or rhyme to it? How can any Law of Nature be valid? The world does certainly seem to revolve around a time frame. How is it possible to attribute it to some fancy?

Lord Vishnu: You talk of time. What is, after all, time?  Let me explain. Your mind is the one which conceived the four directions. Based on the directions, your mind calculates the motion of the sun. The motion is calibrated into daytime, nighttime, 24-hours, weeks, months, years and so on. Then you build up formulae based on these labels. Don’t you see that the whole system is nothing but a creation of your mind?”

Gadhi: Not really, My Lord! Time is an experience. A true experience at that! I have been able to measure and classify it in terms of days, months and years because ‘Time’ exists. The measure could be my invention. Speaking in technical jargon, splicing time scales into finite intervals can be my mental work. But behind these divisions is an infinite indivisible Time. This Time is not my creation. It cannot be a construct of my mind.

Lord Vishnu:  Where does such an infinite Time exist? On what platform does it reside? Because you said that it was not conceived by your mind, your mind cannot be the substratum for it. Because the Time exists prior to finite time divisions, it cannot be a function of the movement of sun and moon and hence should precede the sun and the moon. If none of these is its cause, what is left? Only the Supreme Consciousness superseding everything! Therefore, it has to be agreed that Time is embedded in the Supreme. That is the reason why I said that “Time resides in my Self”, “kAlohyAtmani tiShTati.”

But there is no scope for having segments within the Supreme. Hence that Time which you are referring to must exist as the Supreme within the Supreme. In other words, it amounts to saying that Time is the Supreme Consciousness or Time is another name for the Supreme. If Time is Supreme Consciousness, it will not be an impediment to paddy or any other thing. Nor will it favor wild grains or some other thing. We will have no quarrel with such a Time.

The time scales dependent on the motions of sun and moon are the creation of mind as much as the  sun, moon and other related issues. Hence it is a mistake to attribute Reality to the world based on such units of time scale.  – p: 90 – 92

Selected parts extracted from:  Yogavaasishta Part IV: The Calm Down by K.V. Krishna Murthy, (English rendering by Dr. Vemuri Ramesam), Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore 570025, India, 2008, pp: 194.


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