A note on time

18 07 2020

To say that Vedic time is “cyclical” is simplistic. It’s more an issue of wheels within millions of other wheels. For one thing, it simply isn’t the eternal return. Certain things do happen over and over again, and the yuga cycles do repeat with variations. However, there isn’t just *one universe*: there are literally numberless universes that come out of the body of Mahavishnu. So yes, someone may very well be typing this exact same thing somewhere out there in the material manifestation (probably not this universe), just as Krishna’s rasa-lila pastimes are occurring somewhere (but eternally in Goloka Vrindavan), Caesar may be crossing the Rubicon (not necessarily the same Caesar), and most problematically, Jesus is being crucified elsewhere…

The point is that the material world (external potency of Krishna) has a didactic purpose. It’s a field hospital for our own selfishness and lust. Time is “cyclical” because we don’t learn our lesson, and the same lesson needs to be repeated over and over again until we get it: we are not this body, this hand is really Krishna’s hand, the pleasure I feel leads to pain because it is detached from its ultimate source and fulfillment – the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But we don’t listen, we don’t care, so we end up coming back to our deepest heart’s desire. If we have good karma, we ascend to become demigods… only to fall back down again and start over. If we have bad karma, and do a bunch of awful things, well, we might end up something lower. Do you like eating, does your entire life center around it? Well, you might end up a pig at some point, since they like eating too. How about sex? Dogs like sex, if all your dreams in life are centered around sex, maybe you’d be “happier” as a dog. Etc. Time has to be cyclical to “exhaust” all of the soul’s desires.

Perhaps echoing this previous knowledge is Pico della Mirandola, in his Oration on the Dignity of Man:

Oh unsurpassed generosity of God the Father, Oh wondrous and unsurpassable felicity of man, to whom it is granted to have what he chooses, to be what he wills to be! The brutes, from the moment of their birth, bring with them, as Lucilius says, “from their mother’s womb” all that they will ever possess. The highest spiritual beings were, from the very moment of creation, or soon thereafter, fixed in the mode of being which would be theirs through measureless eternities. But upon man, at the moment of his creation, God bestowed seeds pregnant with all possibilities, the germs of every form of life. Whichever of these a man shall cultivate, the same will mature and bear fruit in him. If vegetative, he will become a plant; if sensual, he will become brutish; if rational, he will reveal himself a heavenly being; if intellectual, he will be an angel and the son of God. And if, dissatisfied with the lot of all creatures, he should recollect himself into the center of his own unity, he will there become one spirit with God, in the solitary darkness of the Father, Who is set above all things, himself transcend all creatures.

Who then will not look with awe upon this our chameleon, or who, at least, will look with greater admiration on any other being? This creature, man, whom Asclepius the Athenian, by reason of this very mutability, this nature capable of transforming itself, quite rightly said was symbolized in the mysteries by the figure of Proteus. This is the source of those metamorphoses, or transformations, so celebrated among the Hebrews and among the Pythagoreans; for even the esoteric theology of the Hebrews at times transforms the holy Enoch into that angel of divinity which is sometimes called malakh-ha-shekhinah and at other times transforms other personages into divinities of other names; while the Pythagoreans transform men guilty of crimes into brutes or even, if we are to believe Empedocles, into plants; and Mohammed, imitating them, was known frequently to say that the man who deserts the divine law becomes a brute. And he was right; for it is not the bark that makes the tree, but its insensitive and unresponsive nature; nor the hide which makes the beast of burden, but its brute and sensual soul; nor the orbicular form which makes the heavens, but their harmonious order. Finally, it is not freedom from a body, but its spiritual intelligence, which makes the angel. If you see a man dedicated to his stomach, crawling on the ground, you see a plant and not a man; or if you see a man bedazzled by the empty forms of the imagination, as by the wiles of Calypso, and through their alluring solicitations made a slave to his own senses, you see a brute and not a man. If, however, you see a philosopher, judging and distinguishing all things according to the rule of reason, him shall you hold in veneration, for he is a creature of heaven and not of earth; if, finally, a pure contemplator, unmindful of the body, wholly withdrawn into the inner chambers of the mind, here indeed is neither a creature of earth nor a heavenly creature, but some higher divinity, clothed in human flesh.

Who then will not look with wonder upon man, upon man who, not without reason in the sacred Mosaic and Christian writings, is designated sometimes by the term “all flesh” and sometimes by the term “every creature,” because he molds, fashions and transforms himself into the likeness of all flesh and assumes the characteristic power of every form of life? This is why Evantes the Persian in his exposition of the Chaldean theology, writes that man has no inborn and proper semblance, but many which are extraneous and adventitious: whence the Chaldean saying: “Enosh hu shinnujim vekammah tebhaoth haj” — “man is a living creature of varied, multiform and ever-changing nature.”

So there can really be no “highest moment in history” because history does not exist. Creation isn’t really that important in the grand scheme of things. The material manifestation itself, where suffering, death and re-birth take place, is only a fraction of reality. The true reality is Vaikuntha and above: Heaven or the spiritual world where Krishna and His devotees have His eternal lilas. We’re down here as rejects thinking our passing sufferings and triumphs are consequential of anything, but it’s memory of the eternal pastimes of Krishna that is the only lasting and relevant reality, not this nightmare of frustrated desire. But even here, Krishna sends us messages on how to get back home, and even messengers like Jesus who help us. Any advancement in spiritual life is going in the right direction.



One response

18 07 2020

What are the different ways Hinduism (sic) integrates Christ? Is messenger like a devotee? Or do some view him as a manifestation of Krishna? or some other deity? or maybe some kind of demon? or what?

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