[Note from Editor: This story first appeared in CLARITY (15 June 2019). It’s published here with permission.]
In these last few months, many of us at 7C Life RealiZation Centre feel that time has gone by too fast. Just last week, one of my colleagues said, “Oh my God, the second quarter of the year is almost over.” Indeed, many of our projects have gained a stronger foothold and we’re on track.
In moments of quietude, however, I wonder about it all. What do we mean when we say ‘last few months’? How long is this time? For those of us who are ambitious, time is running out. For others, it’s too slow. What, in fact, is this thing called ‘time’? Is it possible to achieve everything we want in this short space of time that is the human life?
More often than not, we measure time in terms of hours, minutes and seconds. Is this accurate? Is there another way to measure it? Does time run differently in different planes of existence? What happens in different dimensions? Indeed, this was something we had to consider during our Mindfulness Masterclass Programme (MMP) last year. Quite simply, is a day restricted to 24 hours?
One of the first theories that challenged this was a story I read as a child. In a faraway kingdom, there was a king called Kakudmi. He had a beautiful daughter, but didn’t think that anyone on earth was worthy of her hand in marriage. He decided to take his daughter to the abode of Lord Brahma to seek his advice. When they arrived, Kakudmi presented his shortlist of suitable potential sons-in-law. Lord Brahma explained that by the time Kakudmi returned to his kingdom, none of these men would be alive. Time runs differently in Brahma’s abode. One day there was equivalent to several centuries on earth. Kakudmi and his daughter returned to an earth that they didn’t recognise. Nonetheless, the story does have a happy ending for they did find a suitable groom for Kakudmi’s daughter.
So, back to this question of how do we measure time?
The normal method is this:
60 seconds = 1 minute.
60 minutes = 1 hour.
24 hours = 1 day.
It is a convention that a new day begins at midnight.
Now, in Indian philosophy, it’s a little different.
60 seconds or vinadi = 1 minute
24 vinadi = 1 naligai
2 naligai = 1 muhurta
30 muhurtas = 1 day
The first muhurta of the day begins at sunrise.
It is said that one of the most auspicious times in any day is Brahma Muhurta. It starts 2 muhurtas before sunrise. In other words, it starts approximately 96 minutes before sunrise. So, if the sun rises at 7.00am, then Brahma Muhurta starts at 5.24am and ends at 7.00am. During this time of Brahma Muhurta, the Universal Energy, which is described as ‘the energy that sustains life, providing vital energy to all living systems’ 1 is said to be at its peak. It follows, therefore, that any spiritual activity carried out during this time has a greater effect than any other part of the day.
Now that we’ve established that in Hindu philosophy, a day is not necessarily restricted to 24 hours, it becomes interesting when we consider larger numbers. While we’re now in the year 2019 and, technically, in the second millennium, in Indian philosophy, we have already endured grander cycles and more millennia than one can count.
Referred to as ‘yuga’, an epoch or era lasts four cycles namely, Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvarpa Yuga and Kali Yuga. There are books upon books written about how long each of these yugas last, the characteristics of people who live during these eras and how they relate to one another.
In very simple terms, during Satay Yuga, a human being is 100 per cent virtuous and only dies when he reaches 100,000 years. During Treta Yuga, our life span is all of 10,000 human years. It lessens to 1,000 years during Dvapara Yuga and, in Kali Yuga, we live for no more than 100 years. Without doubt, during Kali Yuga, the human being consists of being 25 per cent virtuous and 75 per cent sinful.
All this and more were explained to us by HH SwamiGuru in a discourse during the last Maha Shivaratri. He explained that one day in Brahma’s abode would mean that eons of time would have passed on earth, to be precise, about 8 billion years. Taken further, Brahma needs to go through 20 million lifetimes for one day in Vishnu’s abode. And Vishnu needs to go through 10 million lifetimes to amount to a moment when Lord Shiva smiles. This effectively means that as a human, you will need to live through all these uncountable number of lifetimes to see Shiva smile and receive His grace. He is light years away from us.
Here comes the twist.
Lord Shiva is beyond time; He has transcended it. All you need to do is go within and look for His smile there. To receive His blessings, even if it is for a moment, is to understand that His power is immense. In that moment of Shiva’s smile upon you, whatever you are limiting to the boundaries of your thought disappears. What happens then is beyond your imagination.
As HH SwamiGuru said, “Evolution of mankind and the self is only through happiness. We may think that it is difficult to find happiness, but it begins with a simple smile. When you smile, you are already a moment closer to the Lord of Ultimate Happiness (Satchitananda), Lord Shiva. When you make every moment of your life just about the smile and bring inner joy to yourself, you will become the embodiment of happiness. That’s the only moment in time to live. No other time can be more valuable and meaningful. You will be in the ananda state.”
Taken as a whole, this reinforces one of our lessons from MMP – as humans, our understanding of time is that it is cyclical. When you accept that such physicality can dissolve, there is no time. Everything happens in a timeless dimension. You become free from the cyclical movement of life and experience liberation. It will be possible to achieve everything you desire, and so much more, in this space with no time, but a smile.
- 8 Signs You Are an Empath Sensitive to Universal Energy https://www.learning-mind.com/universal-energy-empath/ (Accessed June 2019)
Even though she understands what timelessness means, Aneeta Sundararaj still worries that life is going too fast. Read more stories like this on her website, ‘How to Tell a Great Story’. (http://www.howtotellagreatstory.com).