Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12 (The Mother Insitute of Research - MIRA) - Track 406

If you ask this question and try to find an answer, you would say, “it must be happening but it cannot happen in time.” Before the time arises there is no time. The question when arises is true only of time, which was not yet born, therefore, the question – when does time arise, the question – when does it arise. Has that question any meaning, it has a meaning and yet it has no meaning. You will see at once it has no meaning because the time itself did not exist at that time, therefore the question “when” does not arise, yet it has a beginning in that timelessness. It must, therefore, arise at a certain time. Now that which arises and which cannot arise, with both of them you have to say is contradiction in terms, untranslatable into intellectual terms.

Question: In other words can we say that time arises when we try to intellectualise an event.

Answer: Therefore, you can say that time is a kind of a duration. It is such an eternal duration, it does not at all arise any time but which has its origin. Again I am using the term “origin” which has time meaning but here there is no time meaning. You have to imagine that when I use the word “origin”, it has no meaning of time, which has the origin in the timeless. So you might say – a timeless eternity, which you call duration, a timeless duration arises from timelessness which has no relationship with time. Now, I am obliged to make all these statements necessarily, and you can see immediately that you have got to make this kind of a statement and try to understand that although there are intellectually contradictory statements and this is exactly what we see and intellectually you cannot even write. The moment you write you fall into contradiction but such is the original truth of the Reality and which you are obliged to posit. That is why it is said that Reality is āścarya. It is a wonder. Reality is such that it is really adbhutam – it is truly wonderful. Take a simple example of clay and the forms of the clay. This is one of the easiest examples that are given by Vedanta. You take clay and the forms of the clay. Now when the forms are broken, can you find any form in that clay but they must all be there because they can come out of it. Now they must be there means that they must be eternal there and yet they are not there. Even when if they come out or they do not come out, they are there still, anytime they can come out. You can anytime make any form so they are eternally present, eternally not present. So when you try to describe one state of consciousness into another, you fall into contradiction. Therefore, what is advised is that you try to see don’t try to describe. Therefore, it is called indefinable. The moment you try to describe it, you fall into intellectual terms which are untranslatable. So it is advised that you try to see what is being said and don’t look at the intellectual terms which we are using because the moment you use that intellectual terms you try to hang on them and then try to say that this is so and this not so. If this is so that is not so but really speaking all the three co-exists – the timeless to which time has no reference, timeless duration in which present, past and future all are obliterated, it is one single moment, one ever new moment, all containing ever new moment and there is a succession of moments. All the three co-exist. It depends now upon the consciousness in which you want to see. Reality is of such a nature that this is so.

Question: And this can also be put up as non-dualism?

Answer: Precisely.

This is a paragraph which you need to read ten times, fifteen times, twenty times. If you don’t understand don’t worry about it because Sri Aurobindo himself says, it is intellectually untranslatable but something that you accurately see. It doesn’t mean therefore its all confusion; not at all because sometimes we tend to feel that if it is intellectually untranslatable that means it is a confusion. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo says which we actually intellectually accurately see, it is a perception which is accurate but when you try to describe it the words that we use, we are obliged to use these words because there is no other language. If you can invent a language in which the timeless eternity, timeless duration and succession of timeless moment are all described together, if such a language exists then you can describe it, otherwise the moment you describe in our present language, you fall into contradiction, but which you accurately see.

The pure reason must really see that there must be behind succession of moments a duration and behind the duration there must be a reality which is timeless that’s why in my talk I first of all established this point that succession of moments must have behind them a duration in which present, past and future are one, and behind the duration there must be a timeless, which itself is not extended. Duration is extension, it must have come out of something that is the real reality, the pure existence which itself is not extended, but capable of extension. Without being extension it is capable of extension.

Intellectually it seems to be self-contradictory that which is not itself an extension, capable of extension and even with extension, it is not extended. Even when extended it remains still un-extended, such is the nature of Reality.


You should live in the state of all the three times – succession of moments, duration in which there is no succession and the timeless in which there is no reference to time.

What is time is very important and this is the essence. Stop here today.