When we enter into meditation, life is fully awakened and that is living the whole, living in eternity. Then time doesn’t exist, writes Pratiksha Apurv. Published in The Speaking Tree, March 25, 2020.
From Aristotle to Albert Einstein, and more recently British physicist Julian Barbour, all produced several insightful theories about ‘time’, which subsequently changed the very course of debate on the subject. All three had different opinions on time and its precise definition.
Aristotle described time as eternity, while Einstein said that human beings are a part of the whole called the universe, a part that is limited in time and space. There are some arguments among scientists of the post-Einstein era whether the most influential figure of the 20th century had actually rejected the existence of time or not. Further, while decoding one of his letters, it was argued that Einstein had only rejected the distinction between past, present and future. Barbour, however, candidly said that time as such did not exist, but there are things that could be called instants of time or ‘nows’.
Barbour’s theory and understanding of the universe is simply made up of a series of ‘now’ moments, which he had observed in life, and concluded that we move through a succession of ‘now’ moments that we collectively refer to as ‘time’.
The arguments put forth by these three great minds give us a rare model to understand whether our innermost being is a state of motion or is a state of ‘nows,’ pregnant with the potential of timelessness, which is basically a state of ‘no-whereness,’ a state which has no time and space. I agree with Barbour that one can become a witness in that state and stand outside of this universe and see it as it is.
Mandukya Upanishad describes time a little differently – by comparing our different states of awakening, sleep, dream and then the state of timelessness when there is pure bliss and the true Self is discovered. Mandukya Upanishad says: Adrishtam, avyavaharayam, agrahyam, alakshanam, achintyam, avyapadesyam, ekatma- pratyaya-saram – ‘In that state the surrounding becomes irrelevant but what one arrives at is true Self, which is utterly quiet and peaceful.’ When one enters in meditation, time ceases completely. Time becomes relevant when there is despair. Time seems endless when there is grief. The more anguished a person is, the longer the time is. On the other hand, time passes too quickly without even one realising it when there is happiness, when we are in total bliss.
We try to ensure that this timeless bliss is constant in our lives. It is not impossible but meditation is the key to timelessness. Worries come and go but what remains permanently within is this ultimate inner silence. One has to only let go of banal and mundane issues and enter in meditation to move beyond the state of gloom.
In the painting Timelessness, I have tried to convey the message that one has to start penetrating the inner core. A state will come where there is a total silent space, and this inner journey will ultimately bring us into the centre of our being that is timelessness. Experientially, there is no time and space, just the influx to one’s own true Self. I feel that time and space, as scientists have described it, exists because we not only live in misery, but we also live as parts and not as a whole. The journey in meditation, for the first time, gives us the taste of living as a whole and not in parts of past, present and future. This living as a whole means living in eternity.
Like Julian Barbour, Osho also talks about ‘nows’ with absolute clarity. He says thinking about all worldly affairs is time and when it ceases, there is no time, and that moment is satchidananda, the peak of one’s spiritual existence. He says, “That is why in meditation you feel timelessness. That is why in love you feel timelessness. Love is not thinking, it is a cessation of thought. […] If you live a divided life, if you live a partial life, if you live half asleep, almost asleep, then you live in time. If you live a fully awakened life, suddenly you live in eternity, timelessness. You have become the whole; now no time exists for you.” ¹
This understanding happens in the state of deep meditation and one realizes that all the worries we have been carrying on our shoulders were unnecessary, because we are not separate from the cosmos. Our scriptures and sages have called this state as nirvana, enlightenment. The Bhagwad Gita explains this state simply as elimination of all dualities. Even the thought of a doer disappears and a crystal-clear vision of nothingness emerges. The Gita states: Naajaayatemriyatevaakadachin, naayambhutvabhavitavaanabhuyah – ‘The soul is neither born, nor does it ever die.’
A close observation of ‘nows’ can act as a reminder that even when we did not do anything in certain moments, they were still beautiful. We only failed to acknowledge those ‘nows’, like some people walking in the park do not observe the flowers blooming in the morning. This happens solely because we are living a partial life, which also means that we are able to acknowledge just one side of our being and that is time. With meditation we can arrive at the state where the whole being is available and we realise that we are both time and timelessness.
The relative concept as described by Albert Einstein becomes clearer when someone asks us to define Time. Words cannot define it, because the cosmos, this universe, is not moving from one place to another, but rather it contains everything – our past, present and future. Both time and space, therefore, exists for us because we live as half-awakened. When we enter into meditation, life is fully awakened and that is living the whole, living in eternity. Then time doesn’t exist. Then there is no past, there is no future, but only this very moment, the ever-present state of ‘now.’
¹ Quotes by Osho from
Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, Ch 20, Q 1
Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1, Ch 8, Q 5
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