Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12

Track Running Track 605

Having said this in the next sentence Sri Aurobindo says:

“But this is infinity with regard to time and space and eternal duration interminable extension – right – this is regarding the infinity of space and time.” All that we are seeing in this world is nothing but space and time, in that space and time you do not see any beginning or any end. This is the meaning of infinity here but this is not the end of the matter as you really ask this question, if there is really no beginning then once I argued with you that whatever you see is existing before you and this cannot exist without the previous thing existing and that cannot exist without that previous thing existing and if it does not end at all then this cannot exist. Therefore, I have argued that there must be some end of it that end however, is not an end in space and time because in space and time there is nothing which ends and yet there must be an end, there must be an absolute beginning but that beginning cannot be caught in space and time, therefore the absolute beginning must be spaceless and timeless. That’s why Sri Aurobindo says, you read the second sentence “the pure reason goes further and looking in its own colourless and ….life at time and space… that these two are categories of our consciousness, conditions under which we arrange our perception or phenomena When you look at existence in itself time and space disappear, so the existence is infinite in two senses. Infinite in the sense of beginingless and endless and infinity in the sense that which is not finite and to which all conceptions of which are applicable to finite, don’t apply. All finite objects are in space and time therefore that which is not finite, which is really infinite, the concept of space and time don’t apply, therefore we have infinity of space and time and we are obliged to perceive. The pure reason goes further and when you look into existence–in–itself, which is the ground of this whole thing, the real beginning which must be (but real beginning) not in space and time. That which is a real beginning is sometimes called only the ground, there must be a ground for all this to spread before you. So now we have got two infinities – the infinity of space and time and the infinite, which is spaceless and timeless, therefore existence is basically timeless and spaceless which is the ground of the beginingless and endless space and time, this is the conclusion to which we arrive. 

When we say that existence is a ground the best way of understanding that ground is to understand the concept of essence, the simplest way of conceiving essence is the following – supposing somebody tells you a long story and after hearing the whole story you say, tell me fundamentally what is the story, what is the crux of the story, just tell me briefly, just tell me essentially, what is the story. If you will conceive of this essence, you will find that by nature it is not extension. The long story that you are told is extension. It has lot of movements; it extends from point to point, goes on and on. When you … briefly, essentially, fundamentally it has no extension. Sometimes it is even called an intention not extension, but intention with TION not SION, just an extension. Similarly, in intension it is an intension, so it does not extend, it is intensed, it is intensely present. When you briefly tell the story, the whole story is containing in it and you can extend it, you can tell the whole story because it is intensely present. If you dwell upon the idea of essence, you will really understand this timeless and spaceless existence, which is the ground of endless and beginingless time and space that is why existence which is pure without quantity, quality, relation, minus out all nama rupa, what remains is essence. But when you say essence, it does not mean quantity, name, quality is therefore completely excised because when you want to tell the story again in great detail, it is out of that essence that you can tell out the whole story, it is not lost, it’s not excised, it is not destroyed. Such is the relation between extension and intension, such is the relationship between time and space on one hand and the timeless and spaceless. The ground which is the essence, the true existent is something in which time and space and all that we see is so much contained in it. It almost becomes other than what it is and yet when you expand it, it again expands as nama rupa.

Question: Is a timeless and spaceless within the purview of the reasoning, or it is only by experiencing.

Answer: Both, as I told you three things – imagination, reasoning and experience, all the three will give the idea of infinity of space and time. Similarly, timelessness, spacelessness is also reasoning, imagination and experience, all the three then only we can be certain that such a thing exists, otherwise pure Reason can give you conviction but only conceptual conviction. It is only …….that you really get a complete satisfaction, ‘yes, I have seen God face to face’ then only you are really certain, totally, integrally and that is the specialty of Indian thought. The one distinction between the Western thought and Indian thought is that Indian thought had always maintained that what you can conceive by reason has also to be further proved in experience. Even though that experience is to be of another kind – aporaksha anubhuti but you have a complete certainty. So both by method of pure Reason and by method of pure experience you get confirmation of what you want to say.

Question:  …………Kant has said about existence that it is not a predicate, so by the Indian thought if it’s not a predicate, is it the subject  …..?

Answer: Yes it is, it is absolutely, you are quite right. Actually its only one step instead of seeing of ….absolutely that means your telescope is exactly on the target now. When the telescope is exactly on the target, you are bound to say existence without quantity and quality is not only something that you can conceive but is the only thing that you can conceive.

Sri Aurobindo says that when pure Reason sees directly, time and space disappear.  We have tried to see this proposition earlier but let me repeat today also, before we go forward “beginning–less and endless, infinity is something which you can’t deny.” Imagination, experience, conception, all the three tell you that you cannot conceive of absolute beginning, absolute end. In your experience you never see anywhere and yet if he had no ground this whole movement of beginning–less and endless movement could not have come into existence. There must be a ground if not anterior in space and time, there must be a ground then only all this can move.

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