‘Mom wake me up at 6:30 am.’
‘My flight is at 9 am.’
‘My son’s school starts at 8:30 am.’
‘It takes 10 minutes to reach my office.’
‘Our wedding anniversary is in April.’
‘India got its independence on 15th August 1947.’ …
Calendars and clocks are the most essential elements in our lives. To maintain order, to track events and to progress, time is essential in this physical world. Words like now, early, late, yesterday, today, tomorrow, past, present, future are all in the context of ‘Time’. This ‘time’ is man-made.
Time is cyclic; time is relative; time is repetitive; time is only a concept in man’s brain.
Life in this physical realm is cyclic. Every movement is cyclic right from the macro to the micro. The earth and other planets cycle around the sun. The moon cycles around the earth. Electrons in an atom move cyclically. Seasons are cyclic; day and night are cyclic.
Our heart beat is cyclic and repetitive; our breath is cyclic and repetitve too. We were born because our mothers had their menstrual cycles in alignment with the moon.
If it is 6 am now, in the next 24 hours, we will have another 6 am. Thus time is cyclic and repetitive.
Time is relative. It is not the same for every being on this earth. One year to a human being maybe 7 years to a dog. Even to us as human beings, based on the nature of the mind, we feel time moving fast or slow. If we are happy and ecstatic, we feel time moving fast and if we are sad and in grief, time might seem to move slow.
If we calculated time based on the speed and movement of the earth around the sun, then wouldn’t the time on planets such as Jupiter or Saturn be much slow compared to our time on this earth? Jupiter takes 12 years to go around the sun and Saturn takes 30 years to do so.
Thus we see how time is relative.
Hypothetically, let’s say there were no cyclic movements, then we would perhaps have come up with a different logic to derive time. So, is this ‘man-made’ time real or just an illusion?
Generally, what science struggles to derive at today, spirituality would have already said that thousands of years back. We’ve seen that in many cases. For example, for years together scientists researched matter only to find out that matter does not exist and that we are all waves. Matter is an illusion after all. This is what spirituality has always been saying that we are all energies and that we (souls) are immortal. The physical is always maya in spirituality. Duality is an illusion.
Similarly, spirituality has always seen time and space as one… there was no difference between the two. In India, time is referred to as ‘kaal’ (காலம் in Tamil) and space or emptiness is referred to as ‘kaali’ (காலி). Both time and space or emptiness are referred to by the same word.
Today, Scientists and physicists say that time and space may not be separate entities by themselves, rather an integral part of each other called ‘spacetime.’
For years, we saw time and space as two different entities. We studied time on one axis and space on the other.
What spirituality said long ago, scientists are today saying that these two are the same, calling this the ‘spacetime’.
Scientists are trying to get closer to proving Einstein’s relativity and his theory of four dimensional space-time vortex almost 50 years later. According to his general theory of relativity, gravity is described as the motion of objects following curved lines in space (more accurately spacetime). These curved lines are caused by mass such as planets or the sun itself. Mass causes spacetime to curve.
This means the space should be an elastic material which forms curvatures to certain depths based on the mass in it. In the picture below, the earth in space forms a curvature. The earth, because of its mass, dips into the valley formed in the space (due to the elastic nature of the space), and the curvature formed around the mouth of the valley is the imaginary orbit around which the moon rotates. The gravity that is caused from the movement keeps the moon going. If not for these curvatures, there would be no gravity and thus no movements.
The same works for planets revolving around the sun. The Sun warps spacetime by creating a huge valley (because of its huge mass) and the earth goes around the sun along the curvature in its orbit and it does not fall into the valley because it follows the curve caused by the sun. As per Einstein, this gravity that keeps the earth and other planets moving along their curves is general relativity.
This shows how the universe is like an elastic fabric. This means spacetime can stretch itself.
The picture below shows how the depth of the curvature is formed based on the mass.
Let’s assume the space was not elastic in nature and so there were no curves and so no movements. After the big bang, when these huge masses were scattered throughout the universe, they would have taken their places and remained there with no movements. Nothing would have happened after that. It would have been more like a point in time snapshot of these masses. You and I would have never existed.
It is because of the elastic nature of spacetime, curves are formed and movements happen. Thus we see how time causes movements. We generally think that movement from one point to the other, say traveling from point A to point B creates time, but it is the other way round. It is because of time, movements are even possible.
This time or kaal that bends itself due to the cyclic movements, is however applicable only to the physical existence. Earth and all beings on this earth including us are physical and hence this cyclic time makes sense. Existence out of this physical realm does not experience time this way. Time is not cyclic in the non-physical existence. There is no point A and point B in the non-physical existence. It is always point A. We hear stories of ‘Trikaala Gnanis’, who can see the past, present and the future at the same time. This can happen to those who have achieved such awareness where they can detach from their physical existence. During those times, spacetime is not cyclic for them and hence they see all at once. This is not time travel. This is transcending the time in the physical realm.
The non-physical realm also has a time in play, in other words the spacetime that which is not bent. This time is above the time in the physical realm; this is bigger than the cyclic time; this is called ‘Mahakaal’ in spirituality. Shiva is referred to as ‘Mahakaal’. Shi-va as we know is ‘That which is not’. Shiva therefore is the spacetime itself; that which is dark (kaala); that which is empty (kaali); that which is the time (kaal).
If we can transcend the cyclic time, we merge one with the Mahakaal, we merge one with the darkness we came from; we thus become Shiva!!
Pic courtesy: space.com, esa.int