Three States of Time Consciousness

While humans are generally tied to an experience of Time that is involved in the flow of time from moment to moment and it sees the past receding, the future events coming towards it. The present is like the blink of an eye and cannot be nailed down specifically as it is always the future, becoming the past.

The Eternal Being, however, has 3 states of consciousness of Time, of which the above is the 3rd, or mobile status. The first is that of the timeless Eternal, outside, or above the flow of Time and not involved in the flow of time. The second is a state of consciousness which can both hold the awareness of the Timeless state while seeing the entire panorama of past, present and future in one complete view simultaneously. In fact, the vedic sages had a term for this awareness, trikaladrishti, or seeing of the 3 times.

Sri Aurobindo further describes the 3 standpoints that Consciousness can take, either separately or simultaneously: “For it can see the whole Time development from outside or from above the movement; it can take a stable position within the movement and see the before and the after in a fixed, determined or destined succession; or it can take instead a mobile position in the movement, itself move with it from moment to moment and see all that has happened receding back into the past and all that has to happen coming towards it from the future; or else it may concentrate on the moment it occupies and see nothing but what is in that moment and immediately around or behind it.”

Sri Aurobindo points out “This seeing of Time is not at all part of our normal awareness of events as they happen, though our view of the past, because it is already known and can be regarded in the whole, may put on something of this character; but we know that this consciousness exists because it is possible in an exceptional state to enter into it and see things from the viewpoint of this simultaneity of Time-vision.”

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pp. 362-363