Time : a Broader look #

3 x OMs

“So Ham” Meditation to Calm the Mind | In the Voice of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Introduction  #

From Deep Past, Humans Have Developed 

  • Concept of Time for Physical Worldly Activities 
  • Methods to Measure it based on Motion and Cyclic Movement of Planets, Moon, Sun Etc.

Modern science measures time with more precise devices, quartz vibration, atomic / molecular vibrations,…

Concept of Time in the physical world is primitive; We know only time as cyclic in nature. Recent scientific advancements indicate Time perhaps is ever hard to define in absolute terms

The worldly time is illusory and very relative; This standpoint tends to move towards Vedic Wisdom and Swami’s Teaching. This is preamble to the discussions to follow. Our Activities (Mundane Daily Routines) are time bound. Bhagawan has prescribed how to utilize this physical time to progress into spiritual space.

Quote # 1  #

All things happen according to the dictates of Time; Both good and bad depend on Time; Prosperity and poverty likewise depend on Time; Time is the determinant of all things, There is none who is not subject to Time In this entire world; that’s the Truth. 

(SSS Vol. 24 Ch. 1)

Observations #

  • Sentient and Insentient Objects in this world are controlled / constrained by space & time 
  • Space and Time are one and the same in Spiritual World
  • Vedic hymns & Swami’s teachings constantly remind us of this truth
  • Modern Physics has come to recognized this with the advent of Relativity/Quantum Theories
  • Science is still long ways to realize the significance of this Absolute Truth
  • Swami’s Quote on Time – Time is Embodiment of God (Ka+ Alam) Time = GOD

Quote # 2 #

In the world, we are continually experiencing the same round (cycles) of days and nights. You perform the same ablutions and indulge in the same process of filling the stomach. Thus, you go on from year to year. But what efforts are you making to lead a purposeful and ennobling life? You are going through the same mill of experiences again and again, doing the same things again and again. If you go on in this way, what is the worth of your life? What is the goal of life? What is its primary purpose? Few care to enquire into this basic question. 

(SSS Vol. 24 Ch. 1)

Questions to Ponder/Discuss #

  1. How can these mundane routines be turned to the search of spiritual aspiration?
  2. In spite of all these unavoidable worldly activities, how can we lead an ideal, bliss-filled, spiritual life?

Quote from Stephen Hawkins  #

A World Renowned Astro Physicist in his Book “A Brief History of Time” In the final chapter of this book, Hawking summarizes the efforts made by humans through their history to understand the Universe and their place in it: starting from the belief in anthropomorphic spirits controlling nature, followed by the recognition of regular patterns in nature, and finally with the scientific advancement in recent centuries, the inner workings of the universe have become far better understood. Hawkins recalls the suggestion of the nineteenth-century French mathematician Laplace that the Universe’s structure and evolution could eventually be precisely explained by a set of laws whose origin is left in God’s domain. However, Hawking states that the uncertainty principle introduced by the quantum theory in the twentieth century has set limits to the predictive accuracy of future laws to be discovered. Hawking comments that historically, the study of cosmology (the study of the origin, evolution, and end of Earth and the Universe as a whole) has been primarily motivated by a search for philosophical and religious insights, for instance, to better understand the nature of God, or even whether God exists at all.

Points to Ponder  #

  1. How far Science advanced the understanding of “Time” as an elusive and yet a fascinating topic in the mundane worldly life?
  2. What Swami has said about time and how to fathom the idea of time in worldly sense vs Spiritual aspiration? – Sharing

Quote # 3 #

People should engage in Sadhana (Spiritual Endeavor). Neither Sadhana (spiritual endeavor) nor Sadhyam (fulfilment) exists independently and apart from each other. Sadhana and Sadhyam are one and the same. It is a trick of the mind to make Sadhana as the means to Sadhyam (the Goal). True Sadhana consists in giving up the anaatma bhava (the idea that one is not the Spirit but the physical body). To turn the vision from the physical to the spiritual constitutes real Sadhana. 

Today, we have knowledge of many sorts in the world. All these categories of knowledge do not constitute what is regarded as Jnana in Vedantic parlance. Atma Jnana (knowledge of the Spirit) alone is true knowledge. Ordinary knowledge may be knowledge of material objects, sensory knowledge, or any other kind of knowledge acquired by investigation. But none of these can be Atma Jnana. In the highest sense Atma (the Spirit) and Jnana (Knowledge) are not two different things. They are one and the same.

That is why the Vedas declared: Sathyam, Jnanam, Anantham Brahma (Brahmam is Truth, Wisdom and Infinite). Truth, Wisdom, Infinity and Brahmam are all different names for the Paramatma (Omni-Self). They are synonymous. They are not different from each other.

(SSS Vol. 24 Ch. 1)

From Eternity to Here –  #

The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time – Sean Carroll (2010)

Two Terminologies Used in Explaining Concept of Time – Ergodicity & Entropy

As Ergodicity Simply Says Human Concept of Time Arises Out of Changes Associated with Any System Like Alternating Night & Day; Human Aging – Birth, Childhood, Adulthood, Demise, etc.

Entropy is a Measure of Disorderliness of Any System (Creation, Growth, etc.) 

Time Concept Arises out of the Increase in the Disorderliness of any System

Time thus Moves Forward from the Start of Creation – Arrow of Time

Both Approaches Are Inconclusive (When Time Started and Where it is Going) – Endless Search with No Clear Understanding of Time

Points to Ponder #

  1. Where Does Scientific Concept of Time Leads Us?
  2. How Does Understanding Time Through Science Help in Spiritual Progress?

Quote # 4 #

Jnana and Bhakti lead to the same goal. The awareness of Swaswaroopa (one’s real nature) is true knowledge. Devotion is the means to achieve oneness with this knowledge (when Self-knowledge becomes one with the Self). Jnana implies freedom from all thoughts. The Jnana-Marga (the path of Knowledge) calls for the control of thoughts by appropriate efforts. Whether one takes to the Jnana-Marga (the path of Knowledge) or the Bhakti Marga (the path of Devotion), the resulting illumination is the same.

For instance, the light of the sun is reflected by the moon. The light from the sun is warm and effulgent. When the same light is radiated by the moon, it is cool and soothing. It is the same light that is present in the sun and the moon. The principle that illumines both the sun and the moon is the Spirit (Atma-tatwa). The sun’s light has been compared to Jnana and the moon’s light to Bhakti. Jnana is effulgent, while Bhakti (Devotion) is blissful. Thus, Bhakti and Jnana are the beginning and the end of the same process. 

Points to Ponder  #

  1. How to develop awareness of one’s real Nature (Swaswaroopa)?
  2. How to put in practice the Bhakthi Marga/Jnana Marga to elevate oneself in spiritual space?

In the phenomenal world, we recognize three entities–Kartha, Karma and Kriya (the doer, the act of doing and the goal of the action). This is characteristic of devotion. The Sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) is the Kartha (doer). The Sadhana (spiritual exercise) is the Karma ( what he does).Getting the vision of the Divine is the Kriya (goal). The same process is described as Jnana (knowledge), Jneya (that which is to be known) and Jnatha (the knower). In the highest sense all these are one. They appear in three different, forms at different stages. People are carried away by what they imagine are their spiritual experiences in their sadhana. Even the pride of scholarship takes one away from God. Persons filled with such conceit can never realize God. 

Points to Ponder and Questions to Discuss #

  1. How to avoid egoism based on physical possessions, power, fame, great scholarship, etc?
  2. Sharing thoughts on how to Develop Self Realization The Big Self  through higher  Bhakthi and/or Greater Janana (Wisdom)?

Quote # 5  #

But what they should really seek is Anaatma bhaava (the giving up of the attachment to the non-spiritual). You should not rely on the power and pelf of the world. God accepts only what comes from a pure heart. He does not yield to any mundane offerings. The ego gets puffed up on the basis of knowledge, physical strength, power and position, handsome looks and such other accomplishments. Only those free from self-conceit can be God-realized souls. Persons filled with such conceit can never realize God. Only those free from self-conceit can be God-realized souls.

Valmiki, Nanda, Kuchela, Sabari, Vidura, and Hanuman are examples of devotees who realized God, but who could boast of no great lineage, wealth or scholarship. Their supreme quality was freedom from ego. Hanuman, for instance, was content to describe himself as a servant of Rama, despite his great prowess and knowledge. All the accomplishments and acquisitions in this world are transient and impermanent; lured by them, men get inflated and ultimately court ruin. Hence, giving up the notions of one’s own doer-ship, man must regard God alone as the doer. He is the giver, He is the recipient, and He is also the object that is given.

Quote # 6 #

Cycle Of Yugas As They Appear Every Day

This day is called Yugadi. It is related to the Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yugas. These yugas are believed to last some thousands of years. But they are continually coming in a cycle like the days of the week. Nor should they be considered as coming one after the other after long durations. If the matter is properly examined, it will be found that the yugas appear in a cycle every day. From 4 a.m. to 12 noon, it is Krita Yuga. During this period, man can devote himself to Dharma (envisaged as an animal with four feet). From 12 noon to evening 6.00, it is Treta Yuga. During this period, Dharma is said to have lost one of its legs. This means that a part of the powers in man has been lost. During this period, Dharma survives on three legs. From 6 p.m. to 12 midnight, it is Dwapara Yuga, during which Dharma has only two legs. This means that man’s capacities have suffered a further decline and only the manomaya and Vijnanamaya capacities are present.

From midnight to 4 a.m. it is Kali Yuga. In this period Dharma has only one leg to stand on. Dharma in this period means to be plunged in sleep, oblivious to everything else. There are four Purusharthas (goals) in life for man: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. In the period from 4 a.m. to 12 noon, man has the capacity to pursue all the four Purusharthas. In giving the duration of the different yugas and estimating the life of Brahma (the Creator) in terms of the yugas, the scriptures have given the life-span of Brahma as extending over many crores of years. As these crores convey no meaning by themselves, the scriptures have described Brahma as Anadi (without a beginning). Scientists today are trying to fix a date for the beginning of creation. Instead of declaring that creation began so many billions of years ago, is it not more sensible to say that it is Anadi (beginningless)? If Brahma is described as Anadi, it is treated as superstition, but if some fabulous date is given, it becomes science! This passes for knowledge today. These are futile exercises. What is relevant for man is the awareness of the changes taking place in a single day. 

Swami’s Discourse March 17, 1991

Quote # 7  #

God Presides Over Time

God has been envisaged as the embodiment of Time. He is the source of the Yugas. He presides over Time. He is the Time-Spirit and the Kalagarbha (container of Time). Time is the devourer of the physical. The Lord is the devourer of Time itself. When there is faith in God, man transcends the physical.

The New Year is an expression of the Divine, who is the Master of Time. Among the names of the Lord are Samvatsara, Yugadi, Kalatheetha, Kalaswaroopa and the like. The New Year Day festival is therefore associated with the name of the Lord. There is no need to entertain fears about the troubles and difficulties that may occur during the year. When God Himself is coming down as the new year, anything may happen, good or bad. The Lord (Mahavishnu) may come down to protect devotees like Prahlada and Dhruva. He may also destroy demons like Hiranyakasipu and Bhasmasura. He confers bliss on some and He destroys some others. The Lord acts according to the deserts of the persons concerned – whether they should be protected or punished. 

Swami’s Discourse March 17, 1991

Verse from Scriptures # 1  #

kālaṁ karma svabhāvaṁ ca | māyeśo māyayā svayā ||

ātman yadṛcchayā prāptaṁ | vibubhūṣur upādade ||

(Bhagavatham,  Canto 2, SB 2.5)

Word by Word Meaning #

Kālam—eternal time; karma—the fate of the living entity; svabhāvam—nature; ca—also; māyā—potency; īśaḥ—the controller; māyayā—by the energy; svayā—of His own; ātman (ātmani)-unto His Self; yadṛcchayā—independently; prāptam—being merged in; vibubhūṣuḥ—appearing differently; upādade—accepted for being created again.


The Lord, who is the controller of all energies, thus creates, by His own potency, eternal time, the fate of all living entities, and their particular nature, for which they were created, and He again merges them independently.

Additional material #

2022 Sri Sathya Sai online Educare magazine -Eshwaramma day release (1).pdf Page 17 – God is Time

Reference Material from Bhagawan’s Discourses & Writings #

  1. Time is God : make best use of it, Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 27 (1994)
  2. Time is God, Sri Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 24, Chapter 01
  3. Time and the Timeless, Discourse by Swami, March 17, 1991, on the Occasion of Ugadi
  4. Srimad-Bhagavatam,  Canto 2  SB 2.5: The Cause of All Causes
  5. What Is Time? A Simple Explanation, (General Article on Time Based on Science),
  6. Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated on November 26, 2019 (http://www.thoughts.com/Science/Physics)