Time As an Aid In the Integral Yoga

Particularly in the modern-day world, there is an enormous weight placed on speed. If it were possible, people would want to obtain “instant enlightenment” or some kind of “enlightenment pill” that would cut through all the issues and provide immediate liberation or salvation. Thus, Time becomes an enemy that sets up resistances, slows down the results and obstructs the eventual progression of the yoga.

In any detailed and painstaking effort, including the integral Yoga, which seeks to first of all completely transform the entire human nature in all its elements, and then attempts the transformation of the entire society and our interaction with the universal manifestation, the question of some kind of “instant” success clearly is not in order. The seeker must therefore understand and acquire the right appreciation for the process of Time and the need to treat Time as the friend of the progress, not as the enemy.

Sri Aurobindo describes Time as one of the “four aids” to the Yoga: “Time is a field of circumstances and forces meeting and working out a resultant progression whose course it measures. 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.”

“The ideal attitude of the Sadhaka towards Time is to have an endless patience as if he had all eternity for his fulfillment and yet to develop the energy that shall realize now and with an ever-increasing mastery and pressure of rapidity till it reaches the miraculous instantaneousness of the supreme divine Transformation.”

In the end, it comes down to the standpoint. While we remain in the human standpoint, we struggle and suffer from the process through Time. Once we see and act from the Divine standpoint, Time becomes the tool of the creative procession of the universal manifestation.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 1, The Four Aids, pp. 61-62