Time and Space

It must be remembered that Sri Aurobindo wrote the Life Divine in the Middle of the 2nd decade of the 20th Century, between 1914 and 1918 essentially. His discussion of Time and Space in fact foreshadows the debates in modern physics about the nature of matter, energy, time and space that essentially addresses major concepts of both quantum physics and string theory, both at the “state of the art” in modern-day physics.

The general definition is “Space would be Brahman extended for the holding together of forms and objects; Time would be Brahman self-extended for the deployment of the movement of self-power carrying forms and objects; the two would then be a dual aspect of one and the same self-extension of the cosmic Eternal.” (as we discussed in the prior post).

Sri Aurobindo continues however to discuss the nature of Space: “A purely physical Space might be regarded as in itself a property of Matter; but Matter is a creation of Energy in movement. Space therefore in the material world could be either a fundamental self-extension of material Energy or its self-formed existence-field, its representation of the Inconscient Infinity in which it is acting, a figure in which it accomodates the formulas and movements of its own action and self-creation. Time would be itself the course of that movement or else an impression created by it, an impression of something that presents itself to us as regularly successive in its appearance,–a divison or a continuum upholding the continuity of movement and yet marking off its successions…Or else Time could be a dimension of Space necessary for the complete action of the Energy…”

“In any case, if Spirit is the fundamental reality, Time and Space must either be conceptive conditions under which the Spirit sees its own movement of energy or else they must be fundamental conditions of the Spirit itself which assume a different appearance or status according to the status of consciousness.”

We shall continue tomorrow with the discussion about how Space and Time represent extensions of consciousness.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pp. 360-361


2 thoughts on “Time and Space

  1. I hope you continue to discuss this topic of the Supermind in ‘Time and Space’. In ‘The Secret of the Veda’, Sri Aurobindo wrote:

    ‘‘[The victory of achieving the highest consciousness/recovering the ‘lost Sun’] is won in twelve periods of the upward journey, represented by the revolution of the twelve months of the sacrificial year, the periods corresponding to the successive dawns of a wider and wider truth, until the tenth month secures the victory…What may be the precise significance of the nine rays and the ten is a more difficult question which we are not yet in a position to solve.’ (pp. 176-177)

    I haven’t seen anyone concerned with the yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, really address how the Supermind is ‘involved’ in and evolves through the 12 month year as presented in the Veda and by Sri Aurobindo, save Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet.

    Am curious if the author/editor of this site is familiar with her extensive work on the subject of how the Supermind moves and is visible in the structure and cycles of Time and Space. It is certainly a much ignored subject in the Integral Yoga community, but seems unavoidable for those who wish to progress towards some understanding of the Supramental Consciousness.

    “…Time is the remaining aid needed for the effectivity of the [Supramental yoga]. Time presents itself to human effort as an enemy or a friend, as a resistance, a medium or an instrument. But always it is really the instrument of the soul.’…‘To the ego it is a tyrant or a resistance, to the Divine an instrument. Therefore, while our effort is personal, Time appears as a resistance, for it presents to us all the obstruction of the forces that conflict with our own. When the divine working and the personal are combined in our consciousness, it appears as a medium and condition. When the two become one, it appears as a servant and instrument …” Sri Aurobindo; The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 61.

    • thanks for taking the time to write. the specific issues you raise are best taken up in a review of Secret of the Veda on the one hand, or Synthesis of Yoga on the other. The purpose of the current study is to systematically focus on the issues raised specifically in The Life Divine. The relationship of Time and Space as the manifesting self-extensions of the Existent Being is clearly an important subject. I am quite familiar with Patrizia and met her personally in Pondicherry a number of years ago.

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