Sastras and Time

BY: D. DAS - 28.12 2017

Inspired by Mathuresa prabhu's well written and detailed inquisitive reflections on different concepts of time and called "Time the Winkless God", I am presenting this short contribution as a possibly additional angle of approach to trying to understand this perplexing entity. It is based on my personal understanding of what the sastras mean by time and if it is deemed to border on mental speculation I beg the potential reader for forgiveness.

Even though there may seemingly be different ways described in the sastras of how Lord Visnu creates, either by His Transcendental glancing over the material energy in its primordial form, His entering into it, His proximity to it or some kind of an "actual" instrument, like cakra wheel He uses for the purpose, with every one depending on the perspective from which they are revealed, they all agree that He creates by agitating this primordial or unmanifested state of the total material energy called pradhana or prakrti, which is revealed in the sastras as the state of equilibrium of the material modes and which is the stage beyond its first, and therefore subtlest, (material) manifestation in the form of the mahat-tattva!

In defining the sastric time as "....eternal and the primeval source of the interactions of the 3 gunas, unchangeable and limitless ...." the Canto 3, chapter 10, verse 11 reveal, that "time as the instrument of Lord Visnu...." not only lies beyond the gunas' influence but contrary to it, it employs its influence on them by setting them into motion.

Canto 3, chapter 5, text 27 further specifies this "....thereafter, influenced by time the mahat-tattva manifests...." meaning, due to the movement of its constituent ingredients, the gunas.

Thus what the sastras call time acts as an instrumental cause which Lord Visnu uses to churn the primordial material energy to create the mahat-tattva. Whether we think of it as His glance or an actual instrument He holds in His hands for it to have the ability to agitate the unmanifested, it has to be transcendental to our reality, which is the state of the mahat-tattva, and therefore cannot be directly or indirectly perceived within it or conceived of through it (the mahat-tattva).

Even the most sophisticated theories of mundane science, the Theory of Relativity or Quantum Physics for example, as ingenious and marvelous as they may appear by material standards, clearly pale into a mere irrelevance in the light of sastric revelations, because all they can deal with is this manifested stage called the mahat-tattva because its source, the state of equilibrium, is constitutionally inaccessible to the mundane human psyche which is merely its (mahat-tattva's) product.

All that humanity's topmost scientists as well as its rank and file members mentioned in the article can do, without the knowledge of Vedic revelations, is to inevitably grope around in the dark regarding the truth beyond this state (mahat-tattva) of matter, where their natural inquisitiveness can only give rise to speculations to which the gates of Truth of the Reality remains firmly shut. It is clearly this phenomenal manifestation called the mahat-tattva alone that can possibly be researched by material science.

Thus we have to consider whether, when the sastras speak about "time as the cause of Creation....", they really mean the same time as perceived by us in our everyday dealings. For that time, just as everything else in this material world, is revealed to be a mere "perverted reflection" or a "gross and subtle material manifestation" of the higher Reality, the actual "time as the instrument of Lord Visnu… the cause of the Creation". Since the Creation is a transcendental Act, it cannot be enacted by an object perceived by our material psyche.

Because "setting the Creation in motion" means "setting the modes of material nature in motion", the "final" result of this transcendental act (Creation), here, on the material plane is, in accord with sastric statements, any motion or change that is going on perpetually within the material world on both, gross and subtle (material) levels.

In other words, the material plane or the mahat-tattva, which is created by the constant movement of the gunas composing it, results in motions and changes on both subtle and gross material planes composing this material creation (mahat-tattva) and are the cause, as revealed in the sastras, rather then result of time as we perceive it, the object of our experience, measurements and mundane science's theories and research!

Therefore, this gross and subtle motion or change, being the "direct" result of the Act of "Creation, enacted by Time, as the instrument of Lord Visnu" and the only objects of our perception have, in turn, have the power, as the sastras reveal, to induce the concept of time into our minds indirectly, by the law of the above mentioned "perverted reflection", perhaps (as one of the possibilities) to wake us from our inherent satisfaction with ourselves by subtly suggesting to us the existence of a higher purpose to our being.

Obviously it is beyond the capacity of human psyche, though, which is constitutionally identical with this mahat-tattva, to really understand why the idea of time should be induced into it (the psyche) by these constant changes and motions, whether on atomic or galactic scale, of the changing world around us as long as the spiritual background of the Creation is disregarded by us due to the absence of Krsna consciousness as a necessary spiritual insight needed for such a realization.