In the science of the modern world, we tie time tightly to space and call it space-time continuum. Time is considered to be the fourth dimension of space. But strangely, while reading and translating the Upanishads or the Gita that refer to this environment or kshetra we find that there is no reference made to “Time” itself as a separate entity. Time is not studied as a separate entity at all. The “Chandogya Upanishad’s” series of steps stated by Sanatakumar force, matter, entropy, space and persistence is present, but time is missing. The question is “Why?”. The Upanishads and sthotrams definitely seem to talk about the environment, the process from unmanifested to manifested, it talks about space also, but time as we know it is noticeably missing! The strangeness is further emphasised due to the fact that both matter and time is missing from any in-depth discussion.
While the “Kala Bhairava sthotram” and “Maha Kala Bhairava sthotram” refer to “kala”, which translates to “time”, the time defined in these sthotrams is distinctly different from what we understand as time in the modern world. The “Maha Kala Bhairava sthotram” has the following about time (Read more about these sthotrams in the kalabhairava sthotram chapters):
Kham Kham Kham Khadga Bhedam, Visha Mamruta Mayam Kaala Kaalam Karalam
kham is the differentiating between the disturbances causing the illusion of changing and the unchanging and hence the immense time
This seems to tell us that differentiating between various disturbances is the reason for this of immense time. The raises a very simple question, “Is time real or is it just an abstract formed because of the sensory perception of the brain?” Because if this is the case, then studying time will get use nowhere, because we will still remain in a dimension in this world of manifested. In such a case, it makes sense that “time” is not mentioned in these various texts.
Thinking about time from this perspective i.e., time as a perception rather than a reality, and looking at the kshetra as a conglomeration of the three states (void, becoming and become), we start having a glimpse of how the abstractness of time is an inherent concept of the environment.
It almost seems as if, “the become” is equivalent to that which we refer to as “past”, that which cannot change, we sense it using our sense organs, store it using our memory and use it as an experience or knowledge. “The becoming” is equivalent to that which we refer to as “present” and “The void” is equivalent to that which we refer to as “future”. But, we should recognize that there is a huge difference in the concept of “void, becoming and become” as compared to “past, present and future”. They are orthogonal to each other. In a highly simplified form, if we viewed this entire “masse (of all possibilities, those that are becoming and those that have become)” as a NxM matrix with N rows of changes starting from the unmanifested and going towards the manifested and M columns of varying steps involved in manifesting from the unmanifested, then the “void, becoming and become” is the perspective of the rows and the “past, present and future” set is the perspective of the columns. Whether the rows or columns is perceived depends on who perceives the matrix!
What is needed to be noted here is if the “knowing of the knowledge of the environment” is analogously continuous, it gives the illusion of time. Instead of perceiving whole or perceivable limited state of environment which is what “the past, present, future” turns out to be, we are following through on a single thread of “void, becoming, become”. Thus it should stand to reason that “differentiating between various differences” is equivalent to “knowing of the knowledge of the environment”. Thus we find “the various disturbances” are the “the environment”. If sensors exist that detect these disturbances, that becomes “knowledge of the environment”.
The other major difference arises in the position of observation. When we start perceiving the environment as “void, becoming, become”, the position of observation of “the becoming” has changed. In the “past, present, future”, the observer is positioned after the fact. So the observer perceives all that has already become and perceives that which is still becoming while anticipating for the next step and never perceives the void. Whereas in the “void, becoming, become” perspective, the starting point of perception is “all possibilities”, i.e., the position of the observer is prior to the fact. Thus the observer is able to go through the path that the observer wants to follow through to completion.
This gives a better control to the observer to position the environment as chosen and let the choice run as chosen by the observer. Thus we find that the observer has become an asset who controls the experimental environment as opposed to the original observer problem where the observer is detrimental to the experiment. It should be observed that when the observation position moves it no longer stays at “knowing” of the knowledge of environment. Knowing can only occur when something already exists. When it shifts to the void, it becomes the observer is no more just observing but in fact total control of what becomes and starts becoming. The more important question though here is, can an observer/”I” even exist in the position of the void?