Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12 - Track 401

I am still continuing with the ninth chapter, which is the chapter dealing with sat, or the pure existent. We have seen how the pure reason perceives the stability, the Reality which is unmoved but we saw that from the point of view of the movement which has causal relationship in it, effect and cause, – cause itself being an effect and a cause until we reach a point where we say there must be a ground for the entire movement and that itself must be uncaused.

There is another way of coming to the same conclusion. I am doing this because even though from one point of view we arrive at this conclusion, it may be argued that the world does not consist merely of causal connection. You remember, last time I gave you fourteen elements. The world consists of so many elements and basically you should come to the same conclusion from anything that you take up then only your conclusion is absolutely established. I don’t want that we should do all the fourteen, although it can be done, but at least two or three, I should do with you, so that the same principle you can apply afterwards.

Although this definition seems to be true considering the kind of experience we have, we speak of the arrow of Time. It moves on, and on, and on in a movement of succession. Therefore this definition of succession of moments is true in a certain sense in which we experience time normally but when you examine the nature of this succession, you would come to some other conclusion, which I shall now examine.

If Time were only a succession of moments then between one moment and the other moment there must be a break. What is the nature of that break? Is it, itself time or is it not time. If there is a succession of moments then between one moment and the other there must be a break, otherwise you cannot say one moment is finished, another moment has started. If there is a break, what is the nature of that break? If it is time then again it is succession of moments? There must be a break, in between the two moments there must be something which is either time, or not the time, or not the succession of moments. If it goes on like this, then the game can go on infinitely.

Anything that you see, the time in between can be broken because time is succession of moments that is the definition we have taken. If Time consists of succession of moments then this difficulty will come and therefore, it may seem as it were, before you can connect this moment with that moment there will be infinite moments, which can never be finished. If they can never be finished, you cannot go from one moment to the other. So it seems that this particular movement; that this kind of analysis of Time does not seem to be valid because the second moment exists. If the second moment did not exist, you can say, one moment is finished and before the second one starts, there is infinity between the two, eternity between the two. You can go on and on until the second moment comes into being. But that is not true, the second moment does come into existence, therefore, the intermediate point cannot be time, time understood in the sense of succession of moments.

That which is between the one moment and the other, what is it? The answer that is given, it is duration without succession, if there is succession that the problem arises. So the answer is, in between the two, there is duration but not succession. So now we get the second definition that ‘Time is basically duration’, which you can divide in any way you like. You must have seen for example that when you are in a very good state of mind, one hour passes away in a wink. There are other times when there is so much of boredom that even one minute looks like an hour. What is the reality – is that time which spent in a wink was it really a wink and the moment which is of boredom in which even one minute looks like an hour, was it really an hour. The answer is that basically time is always duration, which you can make in the form of succession according to what is convenient to you.

This is true only of our own ordinary consciousness. That even to our consciousness, time runs faster or slower according to the consciousness we have regarding what is happening, what is the duration. Whatever duration, it depends on your consciousness, how much is it long or short. Therefore, it is said that there are two aspects of Time, one is what may be called pure duration. A given moment which is given to you is a pure duration in which you don’t distinguish between the past, present and future. In a lovely company, one hour that you spend is like one moment. The whole one hour was one moment in which past, present and future does not exist as far as that time is concerned. So depending upon your state of consciousness, you can divide the duration into before and after and then there is a real succession of moments. So there is duration on which you mark out your succession according to your state of consciousness this corresponds to the idea of the Vedic Rishis, which says that Time is one moment.

According to the Vedic Rishis’ concept of time, time is one moment. It is we, who according to our convenience breaks it into past, present and future. That is why the Rishi has trikala drishti. Trikala drishti means the knowledge of the past, present and the future. So in trikala drishti, the three times – past, present and future are seen as one moment but they can be divided into past, present and future in any way you like. So we have now seen two aspects of time, time as duration which consists of moments, which in itself has no succession but on that canvas of duration, you can mark out past, present and future according to your state of consciousness.