[Advaita-l] Time

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Mar 30 05:03:25 CDT 2009


I think it is worth discussing 'time', even if we don't reach a single
'concrete' conclusion !

I recall being told that my understanding of time was limited 'since there
are three dimensions of time and three dimensions of space.'

I was not equipped to question that further at that 'time'.. but if one
accepts the concept that there is a 'time' for each of the three worlds, a
little understanding may show itself : Vedic society could not set its
watches to 'Himalayan time' ; it measured time by a sequence of events. So
physical 'time', in terms of measured intervals irrespective of human
experience, did not exist. Maybe it was fortunate in that ! no hurrying to
suit others !

But I think we have a sense of 'subtle time' in such phrases as 'there is a
season to all things' -- a more 'kala' sense of the right time (as in
astrology) to do something..

And from this, we might extrapolate 'causal time' as that beyond our
understanding which however impacts on 'subtle time'.

For me, this concept of three dimensions of time frees up my thinking, And I
think that it helps to place the scientific viewpoint; even if some of the
'subtlties' of scientiific research are beyond my understanding..

And perhaps best of all, it allows the divine into our thinking of time..


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of
Shrinivas Gadkari
Sent: 30 March 2009 05:15
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Subject: [Advaita-l] Time

Let me begin my admitting that my understanding of "time" is far from
satisfactory both from tattva viewpoint and modern-science viewpoint.
But here is the good news: (a) NOBODY understands "time" is a manner
that is satisfactory from modern-science viewpoint.
(b) There certainly have been RSi-s who understood and mastered kAla
tattva. Yet, today, unless we understand "time" from both tattva view point
and modern science viewpoint  AND INTEGRATE these two viewpoints
we cannot claim that we understand "time" in a convincing manner.
1. The relativistic-view of space-time is questionable - it cannot
account for quantum mechanical "collapse of a wave-function" in a
satisfactory manner. I do not mean relativistic view is wrong. It
probably is incomplete. The way Newton's physics was not
wrong, but a special case of relativistic physics.
2. The above point (from what I understand) is the main hurdle in
of quantum theory and gravity.
3. From view point of tattvas too I am not sure if we can assume that "time"
is a product of mAyA. See bhAgavatam 3.26 shloka-s 15-18. The
"time limitations" that we experience certainly are a product of
mAyA. But "time" is more than just these limitations. It is the
thread that sequences events. If there is no sequencing from the
absolute viewpoint I fail to understand how the law of karma can
function at the level of vyavahAra.
hari om.
Here - "to be seen simply as past, present, and future" cannot be taken as
an answer because when we ask 'what is time?', it is equivalent to 'what is
it that makes things appear as past, present, future?'
I would like to share a quote of some relevance to this knotty problem:
"What then is time? If no one asks me, I know, if I want to explain it to
someone who asks, I do not know." - St Augustine
While it may be reasonable to shrug the question saying Advaita doesn't care
one way or the other as Jaldhar feels, I think to make a complete theory,
Advaita should have postulated something about it. If it can accept the
elements of the world - earth, water, air, fire, AkAsha (which can be
likened to solid, liquid, gas, energy & Space of modern physics), why not
Thanks & Pranams, Mahesh

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