Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12 (The Mother Insitute of Research - MIRA) - Session 4 (12 July 1997)

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 a 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 a succession of moments that is the definition we have taken. If Time consists of a 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 boredom that even one minute looks like an hour. What is the reality—is that time which was 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 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 break 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.

If you are writing a history then fifty years may be regarded as one short period. If you are not writing a history then fifty years is a very long period. Whether it is before or after, depends upon your convenience and your standpoint. So, succession of moments, that definition of Time is valid in terms of the standpoint that you take; wherever you want to stand, you stand there and then look this way, it is before that it is after. So now we have two definitions of Time. Time as a succession of moments, which we saw, is not entirely valid because if it was a real succession in which there was a real division between one moment and the other then that gap can never be filled up. Therefore, it is only a kind of convenient definition of Time, depending upon your standpoint.

The other definition of Time is that it is duration. All duration is extension- this is another definition I am presenting. Extension is a process and it constantly goes on increasing, extension is a process of expanding. Expanding means that it has a certain kind of a beginning and then it moves forward. Therefore, without a beginning just as in the case causality,—cause and effect, we had come to the conclusion for beginning. Here also, if it is an extension, it must begin to extend somewhere. Here we are not taking causal effect, merely the movement of extension but even movement of extension has to have a beginning. But beginning in such a thing which itself is not extended because if it is extended, it must have a beginning. An extension, which has a beginning in something, which itself is an extension then that extension must have begun somewhere else. So its beginning must be in something, which itself is not extended. Therefore, we can say that Time is a succession of moments behind which there is a duration, behind which there is something which itself is not extension and that is what is called Timeless.

The Vedanta speaks of the Timeless Reality. So you may say that the grounding of Time is in something that itself is timeless, therefore, the idea of extension does not apply to it, the idea of duration does not apply to it. It is a Timeless, from which the Time moves out. But you will immediately see when I speak these words there is a discomfort,—a timeless from which the Time moves out. If you ask the question, when does it move out of the Timeless? The answer is impossible because ‘when’ is a concept which is applicable only to time movement. In the timelessness there is no time. So how can you say that it arose out of it on this date because there was no such time at all, the idea of Time does not belong to that. Therefore, it is said that Timeless is fundamental, the movement of duration is phenomenal and it is a result of the convenience of your consciousness.

According to the convenience of consciousness, you can measure it and whenever you measure there would always be a before and an after in the movement of succession. Once again from the rational point of view, you have three concepts,—time as a succession of moments; time as duration and the grounding of Time in which there is timelessness. It is, therefore, said that time as duration and time as succession of moments is a category of consciousness. How the consciousness looks at the process of extension and when you look beyond the category of consciousness, time disappears. There is only Timelessness.

It is this timelessness, which is also called eternity. So you have three eternities, the eternity which is timeless, the eternity which is a duration, which in itself is not successive and eternity which is successive and all the three can co-exist. It is not as if once the time becomes duration, timeless ceases that Timeless remains. It is sthānu, it is stable. The duration does not rule out the possibility of cutting it into successive movements, so all the three can co-exist. Such is the concept which we arrive at through reasoning but it is also the concept which we arrive at when we have the Supreme experience. It is not only that by reasoning we arrive at this concept but also when we go into deep experience of God or Reality, you find it has all the three statements about it. It is beyond what is called Space and Time. It is eternal Time in the sense of eternal duration, which corresponds to the trikāla drishti of the Rishi and there is the eternity of successive movements of Time.

There are three ways in which you look at Reality—Timeless Reality, Timeless duration and Timeless movement of succession. So both from the point of view of your reason and the point of view of your experience, that Reality is timeless in the sense of beyond all time movement, It is time eternity in the sense of a duration and it is time eternity in the sense of successive movement of moments.

Let us concentrate once again on the Timeless Eternity—the first term, which is called Brahman in the Vedanta. The Brahman is Timeless; there is no application of Time on It. It is a ground of Time but it is not itself connected with Time. You cannot even say it is always the same because the moment you say that it is always the same, time is already applied to it. It has no extension because extension moves out of it, so it is not extended. So unextended that to which no concept of time can apply that is the meaning of Pure Existence.

Pure Existence is that to which no extension of any kind of time movement can be applied, that is the definition of Pure Existence. But then what happens to the extension if it comes out of it, somehow it must be in it otherwise how can it come out of It. Therefore, it is said that it is that kind of existence, such that all extensions can enter into it, just as if you have toys of clay, you break them; they all go back into formless clay. Similarly, all duration, all succession of moments enter into It, they cease to be duration and succession of moments. But from where again you can build up just out of the same clay, you can make any forms that you like. The only magic in the world or in the Reality is this — that there is a Reality such that being formless, it can give rise to forms and these forms when they go back, they cease to be forms and they become formless. This is the example that is given in the Upanishads—the gold remains gold even if you make a lot of ornaments out of it. Ornaments are called to be ‘name and forms’ and when you break them, they again go back into the original, which has no form itself, such is the relationship between the formless and the form.

All processes of formation imply a movement of energy. If there is a movement of energy even that movement of energy must be coming from the Pure Existent. And that Pure Existent which is stable which you have seen both from the point of causality and from the point of time and the same conclusion we can arrive by any another example, you take of quantity, or modality or anything or even from the point of space we always come back to this ground which is stable and which is above all quantity, all quality, all the forms of all space all time. And it is the ground from where all that we call time and space, quantity and quality, relations and modalities, all of them arise. Here there are two important statements that have to be made that this ground which is stable must be one and it is indivisible. This is a farther proposition that we have to show that this reality, this stable is one and not many, it is one and indivisible.

Let us first apply our reasoning and let us go through the experience. How do we show that the stable ground of this multifarious movement is only one and then it is indivisible? This is the conclusion to which you arrive when you try to look at it from the point of Reason. Supposing they were two then there must be a relationship between the two because both of them exist as far as existence is concerned they must be united. Therefore, if they are two, they must be related. The moment there is a relationship, it can either be a relationship of succession or a relationship of cause and effect and cause and effect relationship can only end when there is one ground for it. So even if there are two we arrive at a conclusion that they must all be all ultimately going back to oneness. Now it must be indivisible because if they are divided, if anything is really divided then they become two but these two if they exist they agree into one common element of existence. Again they will have a relationship between the two and the relationship can ultimately be explained only when you go back to the one ground reality so reality must be one and indivisible.

Now in experience, the Vedanta explains or it states, actually its affirmation is ekam eva adwitiyam—the Reality is one without a second. This is the experience also to be found that Reality is one without the second. It is also abhivaktam, the Bhagavad Gita says that it is abhivaktam. Although it may appear bhivaktam, although it appears divided, in the consciousness of time-succession and of duration there may be a sense of bhivaktam but in itself it is abhivaktam, it is indivisible. So even from the point of your experience, Reality is found to be one and indivisible.

If Reality is one and indivisible, then a further consequence follows that movement of energy must be also in that Reality, there being only one Reality, so therefore, if movement of energy is there, it must also be there, it cannot come from elsewhere. There are no two elsewheres, if there were two realities you can say that movement of energy comes from one source and the stability from another source or another reality but it is only one Reality and if there is movement of energy it must be coming from that stable Reality. That is why we have the concept of Shiva and Kali. Shiva is stable and Kali is the movement but Shiva and Kali are one. Kali does not come out from somewhere else; Kali’s root is in Shiva.

Having answered this question, now the second question is—Is Shiva obliged by Kali to be in constant motion or Kali is under the control of Shiva so that whenever Shiva says stop, Kali will stop. What is the relationship between the two? Both are one, but the movement of energy which moves out—is it under the control of Shiva or is it not under the control of Shiva. Now this question can be answered if we know whether this movement is conscious or unconscious. It is only consciousness which can determine control whenever you want control and no control whenever you do not want control. If it is purely mechanical and if it is always in movement, it is not controllable, it is only if there is a consciousness that energy can obey the will of Shiva. If it is simply unconscious then to expect obedience from Shiva, from the ground reality is impossible.

Whether the energy is ultimately conscious or not is now the central question to which we have arrived. And that is the subject matter of Chapter No. X,Is energy, is force—conscious, or unconscious. That is why Chapter No. X is entitled ‘Conscious Force’, where Sri Aurobindo will show how rationally we find that force is consciousness and also how experientially, we find that force is consciousness both from the point of the reason and from the point of experience you come to the same conclusion.

I have summarised before you the entirety of Chapter No. IX, there are two alternatives: either we read together the entire Chapter No. IX or you will read at home according to your convenience, in which case we can proceed to Chapter X right now or we can halt here and we can read the entire Chapter IX rather rapidly. So that you can become familiar with what are the contents of Chapter IX and you will see in what way the summary that I have presented to you makes that chapter much more easy to follow.

I will read paragraph by paragraph and I will halt at every paragraph. If anyone wants to put a question one will be free but if there is no question, I would proceed to the next paragraph.

Page no. 71, is it alright. At the very beginning Sri Aurobindo cites from Chhandogaya Upanishad—one indivisible that is pure existence. This is from experience. Now in this chapter there are three main steps. One is the description of the movement of energy that we see all around. Second step is to show that this energy, this movement is subordinate to stability and third, is the statement that the energy and existence are one and yet there is a relationship between the Existence and the Energy and that relationship will be dependent upon whether the energy is conscious or not and whether it is conscious or not is then left to the next chapter. These are three major steps in the whole statement of this chapter. Even in the description in the first part, we will find that there are three steps. In the first step, there are three steps. First a description of what we find when we come out of our egoistic preoccupation and look at the whole myriads of universes in the whole world. What is the impression that we get? Second is the description when we are egoistically preoccupied and thirdly, once again, when we are not so egoistically preoccupied in which we get a balance between our own position in that vastness. These are the three steps in this description.

So let us read.

When we withdraw our gaze from its egoistic preoccupation with limited and fleeting interests and look upon the world with dispassionate and curious eyes that search only for the Truth, our first result is the perception of a boundless energy of infinite existence, infinite movement, infinite activity pouring itself out in limitless Space, in eternal Time, an existence that surpasses infinitely our ego or any ego or any collectivity of egos, in whose balance the grandiose products of aeons are but the dust of a moment and in whose incalculable sum numberless myriads count only as a petty swarm. We instinctively act and feel and weave our life thoughts as if this stupendous world movement were at work around us as centre and for our benefit, for our help or harm, or as if the justification of our egoistic cravings, emotions, ideas, standards were its proper business even as they are our own chief concern. When we begin to see, we perceive that it exists for itself, not for us, has its own gigantic aims, its own complex and boundless idea, its own vast desire or delight that it seeks to fulfil, its own immense and formidable standards which look down as if with an indulgent and ironic smile at the pettiness of ours. And yet let us not swing over to the other extreme and form too positive an idea of our own insignificance. That too would be an act of ignorance and the shutting of our eyes to the great facts of the universe.

For this boundless Movement does not regard us as unimportant to it. Science reveals to us how minute is the care, how cunning the device, how intense the absorption it bestows upon the smallest of its works even as on the largest. This mighty energy is an equal and impartial mother, samaṁ brahma, in the great term of the Gita, and its intensity and force of movement is the same in the formation and upholding of a system of suns and the organisation of the life of an ant-hill. It is the illusion of size, of quantity that induces us to look on the one as great, the other as petty. If we look, on the contrary, not at mass of quantity but force of quality, we shall say that the ant is greater than the solar system it inhabits and man greater than all inanimate Nature put together. But this again is the illusion of quality. When we go behind and examine only the intensity of the movement of which quality and quantity are aspects, we realise that this Brahman dwells equally in all existences. Equally partaken of by all in its being, we are tempted to say, equally distributed to all in its energy. But this too is an illusion of quantity. Brahman dwells in all, indivisible, yet as if divided and distributed. If we look again with an observing perception not dominated by intellectual concepts, but informed by intuition and culminating in knowledge by identity, we shall see that the consciousness of this infinite Energy is other than our mental consciousness, that it is indivisible and gives, not an equal part of itself, but its whole self at one and the same time to the solar system and to the ant-hill. To Brahman there are no whole and parts, but each thing is all itself and benefits by the whole of Brahman. Quality and quantity differ, the self is equal. The form and manner and result of the force of action vary infinitely, but the eternal, primal, infinite energy is the same in all. The force of strength that goes to make the strong man is no whit greater than the force of weakness that goes to make the weak. The energy spent is as great in repression as in expression, in negation as in affirmation, in silence as in sound.

As I told you when you were discussing the question of time, we say first of all, time appears to us to be a succession of moments. Succession of moments implies before and after. All succession means that there was one moment which was before and the other moment which was after, therefore, there is a division between the before and the after. So succession of moments seems to us to be a movement of division. Then we saw that behind it there is duration which is in itself not divided. A duration is not something which is itself divided because it includes both present, past and future—all these three movements but it is capable of being divided according to convenience of our consciousness. Now, when we say it is a convenience to our consciousness, it means it is not really divided. It depends on the convenience, so therefore, although it is in itself undivided, it is capable of being divided according to our convenience and even when you divide it, it is not really divided. When I say this happened before and this happened after, it is your convenience of consciousness. As I told you, if you take a historical view, then this lecture which is going on is in one continuous present. If you take 50 years to be one division of time and all that happens in 50 years is one moment, is all present, therefore, in itself the time is not divided. According to convenience it is distributed and then we went beyond the duration and we said that there is a Reality which is beyond time; there the question of division does not arise at all. Now that which is not at all capable of being divided is the real Reality. It is the ground of all this, therefore, it is indivisible in itself, which creates a ground of duration, which you can divide according to your convenience but therefore it is not divided in itself, it appears to be distributed but not divided.

Question: The thing that there is really no past, present, and future in one can go back by way of consciousness. By way of consciousness one remembers the past, so that means the past at least exists so far as consciousness is there. It means that it is still there, it is not past. It is one moment.

Answer:Absolutely, it is one moment. There is a perception in which you call the past is not past. It is present. That is what Rishi’s consciousness says, nothing is lost. There was a very interesting statement of the Mother… These powers of consciousness are infinite and you can even relive the past, you can even change the past which has already occurred. If time is an ever-present moment, the effect can also be changed.

So in any case, then time looks from this point of view to be an ever new moment. An expression which Sri Aurobindo used in this very chapter is an ever new moment, a duration which is an ever new moment so that is an expression we shall come to later on.

Therefore the first reckoning we have to mend is that between this infinite Movement, this energy of existence which is the world and ourselves. At present we keep a false account. We are infinitely important to the All, but to us the All is negligible; we alone are important to ourselves. This is the sign of the original ignorance which is the root of the ego, that it can only think with itself as centre as if it were the All, and of that which is not itself accepts only so much as it is mentally disposed to acknowledge or as it is forced to recognise by the shocks of its environment. Even when it begins to philosophise, does it not assert that the world only exists in and by its consciousness? Its own state of consciousness or mental standards are to it the test of reality; all outside its orbit or view tends to become false or non-existent. This mental self-sufficiency of man creates a system of false accountantship which prevents us from drawing the right and full value from life. There is a sense in which these pretensions of the human mind and ego repose on a truth, but this truth only emerges when the mind has learned its ignorance and the ego has submitted to the All and lost in it its separate self-assertion. To recognise that we, or rather the results and appearances we call ourselves, are only a partial movement of this infinite Movement and that it is that infinite which we have to know, to be consciously and to fulfil faithfully, is the commencement of true living. To recognise that in our true selves we are one with the total movement and not minor or subordinate is the other side of the account, and its expression in the manner of our being, thought, emotion and action is necessary to the culmination of a true or divine living.

But to settle the account we have to know what is this All, this infinite and omnipotent energy. And here we come to a fresh complication. For it is asserted to us by the pure reason and it seems to be asserted to us by Vedanta that as we are subordinate and an aspect of this Movement, so the movement is subordinate and an aspect of something other than itself, of a great timeless, spaceless Stability, sthāṇu, which is immutable, inexhaustible and unexpended, not acting though containing all this action, not energy, but pure existence. Those who see only this world-energy can declare indeed that there is no such thing: our idea of an eternal stability, an immutable pure existence is a fiction of our intellectual conceptions starting from a false idea of the stable: for there is nothing that is stable; all is movement and our conception of the stable is only an artifice of our mental consciousness by which we secure a standpoint for dealing practically with the movement. It is easy to show that this is true in the movement itself. There is nothing there that is stable. All that appears to be stationary is only a block of movement, a formulation of energy at work which so affects our consciousness that it seems to be still, somewhat as the earth seems to us to be still, somewhat as a train in which we are travelling seems to be still in the midst of a rushing landscape. But is it equally true that underlying this movement, supporting it, there is nothing that is moveless and immutable? Is it true that existence consists only in the action of energy? Or is it not rather that energy is an output of Existence?

We see at once that if such an Existence is, it must be, like the Energy, infinite. Neither reason nor experience nor intuition nor imagination bears witness to us of the possibility of a final terminus. All end and beginning presuppose something beyond the end or beginning. An absolute end, an absolute beginning is not only a contradiction in terms, but a contradiction of the essence of things, a violence, a fiction. Infinity imposes itself upon the appearances of the finite by its ineffugable self-existence.

But this is infinity with regard to Time and Space, an eternal duration, interminable extension. The pure Reason goes farther and looking in its own colourless and austere light at Time and Space points out that these two are categories of our consciousness, conditions under which we arrange our perception of phenomenon. When we look at existence in itself, Time and Space disappear. If there is any extension, it is not a spatial but a psychological extension; if there is any duration, it is not a temporal but a psychological duration; and it is then easy to see that this extension and duration are only symbols which represent to the mind something not translatable into intellectual terms, an eternity which seems to us the same all-containing ever-new moment, an infinity which seems to us the same all-containing all-pervading point without magnitude. And this conflict of terms, so violent, yet accurately expressive of something we do perceive, shows that mind and speech have passed beyond their natural limits and are striving to express a Reality in which their own conventions and necessary oppositions disappear into an ineffable identity.

This is one of the most difficult paragraphs in The Life Divine.

Question: What does it mean when it says it “represents to mind something not translatable into intellectual terms?

Answer: What is an intellectual translation of anything? You must have experienced some dreams which last only for a second but when you describe, it takes five or ten minutes. Sometimes even one experience which occurs only within a short time but when you describe it takes quite a lot of time as if there are so many things which happen in one split second, as it were. Now if you say, something that happened in a split second happened in five minutes. Is it okay you are obliged to say, “Something that happened in a split second happened in five minutes?” Now is it intellectually feasible and it does happen. These are the experiences where you find that in intellectual terms it is untranslatable because the moment you translate it becomes a contradiction. An event of a split second took five minutes to happen, so many things happen in one split second but normally in our intellectual terms it should have taken five minutes, ten minutes or even an hour but in that state of consciousness it takes place only in a split second. Now such is the relationship between duration of time and succession of time and the relationship of succession of time and duration of time with the timeless. When you say that timeless gives rise to duration, I raise this question at what time does it arise? From timeless arises time, at what time does it arise. In timeless there is no time and if it arises in time, the time itself arises now, at what moment it arises.

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 they come out or they do not come out, they are still there, 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 moments 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 an 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. I think we can stop here today.