Chapter 4: Religiousness Is beyond the Realms of Time
An unenlightened person may tell you when Krishna was born, but an enlightened person cannot, because there is no connection whatsoever between enlightenment and time. Enlightenment begins where time ends. Enlightenment is non temporal; it has nothing to do with time. It is timeless. Enlightenment means going beyond time to where the count of hours and minutes comes to an end, to where the world of changes ceases to be, to where only that is which is eternal, to where there is no past and no future, to where an eternal present abides.
Samadhi or enlightenment does not happen in the moment, it happens when the moment ceases to be.
Let alone telling Krishna’s story, an enlightened person cannot even tell his own. He cannot say when he was born and when he is going to die, he can only say, “What is this question of birth and death? I was never born and I will never die.” If you ask an awakened one what it is we call the river of time that comes and goes, that constantly moves from the past to the future, making a brief present, he will say, “Really, nothing comes and goes. What is, is. It is immovable and unchanging.”
Time is a concept of an unenlightened mind.
Time as such is a product of the mind, and time ceases with the cessation of the mind.
Let us understand it from a few different angles. For various reasons we say time is the handiwork of the mind. Firstly, when you are happy time moves fast for you, and when you are unhappy it slows down. When you are with someone you love time seems to be on wings, and when you are with your enemy the clock seems to move at a snail’s pace. So far as the clock is concerned it goes its own way whether you are happy or miserable, but the mind takes it differently in different situations. If someone in your family is on his deathbed the night seems to be too long, almost unending, as if another morning is not going to come. But the same night, in the company of a loved one, would pass so quickly, as if it were running a race. The clock remains the same in both situations. Chronological time is always the same, but psychological time is very different, and its measure depends on the changing states of the mind. But the movement of the clock indicating chronological time is unconcerned with you.
When someone asks Einstein to explain his theory of relativity, he is reported to have said, “It is very difficult to explain. There are hardly a dozen persons on this earth at the moment with whom I can discuss this theory, yet I will try to explain it to you through an illustration.” By way of illustration Einstein always explained that time is a concept of the mind. He said if someone were made to sit by the side of a burning stove, time would pass for him in a different way than it would if he were sitting by the side of his beloved. Our pleasure and pain determine the measure of time.
Samadhi is beyond pleasure and pain. It is a state of bliss, and there is no time in bliss, neither long nor short. So no one who has achieved samadhi can say when Krishna was born and when he departed. All that one in the state of samadhi can say is that Krishna is, that his being is everlasting, eternal.
Not only Krishna’s being, everybody’s being is everlasting, eternal. All being is eternal.