Monday, 18 October 2010

Time and Space

"There are still these questions baffling me," Sashi* told me, not because he was actually baffled, I am sure, but because he wanted to probe what my answers would be. "Is there something called Time? Is there something called Space?"

He told me he wanted a simple answer. If he were to ask me whether I was thirsty, I would answer him 'yes' or 'no'. If I wanted to drink a glass of water, I would know it spontaneously. I would not have to think and select the appropriate answer from my accummulated stock of knowledge and experience. He said he wanted such a spontaneous answer.

However, instintively, I started thinking for the answers, because thinking is a habit we nourish and carry with us as an extremely important quality in life. We are not used to acting spontaneously. We think, calculate and then act. We introduce the time-and-space factor into all our responses.

I told him: "The last time we met, you told me about looking at things without giving names to anything I see. I have tried it. I see my wife, but I don't give her a name. I don't give a name to our relationship either. I see a cow grazing in a valley, but I don't limit either the cow or the rest of the scenery to names and symbols. I don't allow my brain to go into its trained function of decoding from memory the impressions that reach it, giving each impression a name, reducing each impression to a symbol...There is a strange stillness and a flooding in of something when that kind of seeing happens, which is not always. Then everything becomes fresh and new, with neither a past, nor a future. Everything IS. In that stillness, is there 'Time', is there 'Space'?"

Sashi was amused by my answer. "You can also answer my question by posing the same question back to me," he said, laughing.

"Why do we have this concept of Time and Space," Sashi asked. "Isn't it a creation of thought, the basic nature of which is to seggregate, compartmentalise and grade the seggregated entities in different ways, pitting one entity against the other and grouping some entities together, arranging all these in an order in our mind in Time and Space?"

[*Sashi is an old friend. Some of my other friends are of the view that our discussions with him should be recorded. I had a one-to-one discussion with him on Friday.]



kalpana said...

How easily, explicitly and with simplicity you've answered.

I am yet not sure whether it has actually gone into my head but yes the words will stay back for long :-)

P. Venugopal said...

Hello Kalpana!!! What a joy your comment gives me! How is your health?

Prabhakar said...

Venu, It's happened to me once or twice, what we can call going beyond time and space. This is akin to the Browning perception of harmony in that poem "God's in his heaven and all's right with the world." I've had such a transcendental experience on a cricket field when I was batting and the bat became an extension of me. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. I was a schoolboy and the bowler was a feared pacer and progressively increased his speed when he couldn't dislodge me. I was playing the ball so late and middling every ball. It was as if I was someone else. It was as if the moment was predestined. The yogis must be having more and more of these moments when they are in perfect harmony with everything around them. The moment you become conscious of this state you get out.

P. Venugopal said...

Beautiful experience you have narrated. Perfect harmony, total lightness, a state that knows no death...
My friend has been in it for nearly 40 years, though I started realising the dimension of what he is doing, or not doing, only recently.
I have discussed the same topic with him some time back. He asks us not to ignore such events in life. Don't attach too much importance either. It is what is called 'satori,' a quick glimpse of the peak Gauri Shankar lit in morning light before it is hid from view once again by heavy mist. Once we see it and take notice, we know the possibilities of that wonderful view. That is enough. Newer experiences will keep coming.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

these answers seem to come so easily to you, sir.
yes, the relationship between the object and its name is is the name -the word/utterance- that defines reality to us. without it the world cannot be circumscribed within space and time.
very interesting that u should try to make an effort to release life from the word, discourse.
have you read sauusure?
guess u have read the Name of the Rose by umberto eco. he elaborates on this theory there.

P. Venugopal said...

I haven't read the books you mention, madam. I shall get hold of them and read them. In fact, I haven't read much outside Wodehouse. Only recently JK, Osho and now Aurobindo. The more one reads nowadays, one finds these things had been there in one in a vague form all along. It is as though in reading and contemplating on what these people have written, one finally recollects in full detail some vaguely remembered dream. Have you noticed, all these things are in us in our subconscious? All knowledge before and yet to come are in each one of us. There are also regions beyond the subconcious. But those are beyond the word. As you said, we need the word, because without it the world and temporal life cannot be circumscribed within space and time. This is an endless topic. Any corner one touches, we are speaking of the same.