Spiritual Inquiries: 4. Space, Time and Consciousness
Nov 27, 2005 08:04 AM
What is the relationship between Space, Time and Consciousness?
"What is it that ever is?"
"Space, the eternal Anupadaka."
"What is it that ever was?"
"The Germ in the Root."
"What is it that is ever coming and going?"
"The Great Breath."
"Then, there are three Eternals?"
"No, the three are one.
That which ever is is one, that which ever was is one, that which
is ever being and becoming is also one: and this is Space."
-- The Secret Doctrine, I, II by H.P.Blavatsky
The Void and the Fullness
Aum Poornamadah Poornamidam
Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi
That is perfect - this is perfect. What comes from such perfection
truly is perfect. What remains after perfection from perfection
is yet perfect. May there be peace, peace and perfect peace.
To modern Astronomy, space is empty. But if this idea means absolute
vacuity, something which is non-existent, we reject it.
When cornered by probing questions, the scientists would admit that
the term empty merely signifies portions of space or cosmical fields
which contain no matter, that is, no physical matter which they with
their instruments can cognize or see.
Modern space research using powerful telescopes has brought up
images of what seem to be "apparent cosmic emptiness sprinkled
throughout with glittering stars, and with millions upon millions of
wisps of light that are nebulae," as G. de Purucker says in his book
Fountain-Source of Occultism.
These nebulae are seen to be universes of the stars and star
clusters that are, apparently, vast bodies of cosmic gas. But many
of the nebulae, if not all, does not merely contain physical matter
in the form of cosmic gas. They are composed of ethereal matter of a
higher plane than our physical plane.
Thus the universe is not empty, but full, whereever we look. The
doctrine of Void, then, is really the doctrine of Fullness. But
there is a distinction. The doctrine of Void concerns the
Unmanifested, the doctrine of Fullness concerns the Manifested.
The Void refers to the divine-spiritual or formless aspect of the
One, whereas the Fullness, the Pleroma of the Greek, refers to the
prakriti, or matter aspect, which vanishes away like a dream when
the great manvantara or period of world activity is finished.
So the Fullness (prakriti) aspect is only an illusion or maya,
because it is not eternal. In whichever form it is, atom, man,
nature or universe, it ultimately dissolves into the Void, when its
time is up. Maya on a cosmic scale is called mahamaya.
We should note that maya as illusion does not mean that it does not
exist. Illusion here means transitory, and therefore, maya is real
so long as it exists. But it is not the Reality. The Reality, as we
know, is the One, the Paramatman or Parabrahman. Maya is included in
the Parabrahman and is not separate from Him. This is what Adi
Sankara teaches as advaita vedanta.
In the words of Shri Kanchi Paramacharya, "The term Maya indicates
that this universe is not non-existent like the horn of a rabbit,
but seems to exist like a mirage. While the term adyanta asat
indicates that which is not existent, the term pradipasika satyam
indicates that which seems to exist.
Space, Time and Cosmic Consciousness
Space, we have noted, is external as well as internal. Outer space
and inner space. The inner space, of course, is not visible or
perceptible to the physical senses.
Space is actually seven-folded, the seven planes with different
aggregations of matter. Space in the physical plane has three
dimensions. The higher dimensions map to the higher planes.
Space, comprises Koilon (ether) and the bubbles (ultimate atoms),
representing the unmanifested and manifested aspects of the One. The
Cosmic Consciousness pervades the Koilon and the bubbles. It is the
Cosmic Consciouss that preserves the shape of the ultimate atoms of
each plane. If He chooses to withdraw His consciousness, the atoms
will instantly dissolve and the planes simply vanish, like light
goes out of an extinguished lamp.
So we have Space and Consciousness that animates it. Where does Time
Time, as we commonly know, is the duration or interval between two
events. Where do these events happen? In space, inner or outer. . As
H.P.Blavatsky in her book The Secret Doctrine (I, 37) says:
"The present is only a mathematical line which divides that part of
eternal duration which we call the future, from that part which we
call the past.
"Nothing on earth has real duration, for nothing remains without
change--or the same--for the billionth part of a second; and the
sensation we have of the actuality of the division of 'time' known
as the present, comes from the blurring of that momentary glimpse,
or succession of glimpses, of things that our senses give us, as
those things pass from the region of ideals which we call the
future, to the region of memories that we name the past."
What she means is that time is essentially cyclic in nature, and is
eternal. The consciousness of eternal time is inherent in the Hindu
psyche, for the Hindu rituals start with these lines of mantra that
call time from its eternal beginnings:
adhya brahmaNa divtIya parArdhe
svetha varAha kalpe
kaliyuge prathame pAde..."
In the second half of the currently reigning Brahma, on the first
day of his current year, in the Svetha Varaaha kalpa, in the
manvantara of the Vaivasvata manu, in the first part of the Kali
yuga that is repeated for the twenty-eightth time (in the
And the desciption zeores in on the current moment of time and
space, through a seires of references from their higher levels.
Occultism affirms that in all things both great and small, whether a
universe, a sun, a human being, or any other entity, there is a
constant secular cyclical diastole and systole, similar to that of
the human heart.
Einstein's general relativity speculations state that space and time
are essentially one. It is impossible to think of space apart from
time, or of time, as existent apart from space.
So we have Cosmic Mind (or Consciousness), Cosmic Space and Cosmic
Time, an unending duration. Since these cannot be separate entities,
all the three are one, being three aspects of the One.
Our concept of solar time in year, month and days is just a
conditional break (khandakala) of the infinite time (kala). Because
it is cyclic in nature, we have the illusion of a continuous flow of
The Space-Time continuum of modern Science is a hesitant step
towards the ultimate truth. When Consciousnes is included in this
continuum, we would realize that everything ultimately resolves into
space, when the cycle ends, and this would be the indrawing of the
Great Breath, or the beginning of kosmic pralaya.
"To what does this world go back?"
"To space (akasa)," said he. "Verily, all things here arise out of
space. They disappear back into space, for space alone is greater
than these; space is the final goal."
-- Chhandogya-Upanishad (I, 9, 1)
With these considerations, we shall discuss the formation of the
solar system, and the seven planes, in the next instalments.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application