Author Topic: Michael James about Illusion of Time And Space based on teachings of Ramana Maha  (Read 1373 times)


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Without first imagining the basic dimensions of time and space, we cannot form any image or thought in our mind, and hence these dimensions are inherent in each and every thought that we think.

Though time and space appear to exist outside us, we have no way of knowing that they actually do exist outside of or independent of ourself, because all that we know or can ever know of time and space is only the images of them that we have formed within our own mind by our power of imagination. Therefore, like everything that we perceive within time and space, time and space themselves are merely mental images, conceptions or thoughts.

As Sri Ramana says in verse 15 of Ulladu Narpadu:

The past and future stand [only by] clinging to the present.While occurring, they too are only the present. The present [is] the only one [point in time that truly exists]. [Therefore] trying to know the past and future without knowing the truth of the present [is like] trying to count without [knowing the fundamental number, the unit] one [of which all other numbers are merely multiples or fractions].

When we investigate our non-dual consciousness of our own being, which we always experience as being ‘here’ and ‘now’, we will discover that time and space are both unreal imaginations, and that our non-dual self-conscious being is the only reality, the only thing that truly exists. Therefore in verse 16 of Ulladu Narpadu Sri Ramana says:

When [we] investigate [that is, when we scrutinise ourself], except ‘we’ [our essential self or fundamental consciousness of being], where is time [and] where is place? If we are [a] body, we shall be ensnared in time and place. [But] are we [a] body? We are one [at each moment in time], now, then and always, one [at each] place [in space], here, there and everywhere. Therefore we, the timeless and placeless ‘we’, [alone] exist.

We are able to imagine ourself to be this mind, which experiences itself as a body that exists in time and space, only because we know ourself as ‘I am’. However, whereas our mind and the time and space known by it are transitory appearances, we are the reality that always exists and knows its own existence. Since our self-conscious existence or being exists independent of time and space, it is the
absolute reality – the only reality that truly exists. Hence Sri Ramana asks, “Except ‘we’, where is time and where is place?”, implying thereby that we alone truly exist, and that time and space are mere appearances – mental images that have no real existence of their own.

Time and space appear to exist only because we imagine ourself to be a finite body. In truth, however, we are not any finite body,because though in our present waking state we imagine ourself to be this body, in dream we imagine ourself to be some other body, and in sleep we do not imagine ourself to be any body at all. When we imagine ourself to be a particular body, as in waking and dream, we experience both time and space, but when we do not imagine ourself to be any body, as in sleep, we do not experience either time or space.

In verse 13 of Upadesa Tanippakkal, which is the original form in which he composed the above verse, Sri Ramana says:

Except ‘we’, where is time? If, having not investigated [or scrutinised] ourself, we think that we are [a] body, time will devour us. [But] are we [a] body? We are always one, [in] present, past and future times. Therefore we, the ‘we’ who has devoured time, [alone] exist.

Source: Happiness and The Art of Being Book
which is a layman’s introduction to the philosophy and practice of the spiritual teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana By Michael James


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Dear prasanth,

Excellent.  The time and space are products of mind.  For a Jnani
whose mind is subdued into the Self, there is no time and space.
Even for us, where is the time and space, when we are in deep sleep?  How do I know 'during sleep' that I am sleeping in Tiruvannamalai or in Bangalore? How do I know it is 12 mid night
or 2 am when I am in deep sleep.  Only when I get up for water or nature's call, I come to know Oh, it is 2 am!

Arunachala Siva.