On Narayana Upanishad: Me and Time

Acharya Prashant
35 min readOct 2, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Acharya Prashant (AP): So we are talking about the Self and Time, which is obviously an interesting subject. Isn’t it great to know how our lives are in time, governed, bounded, and dictated by time and seems to be the very stuff of living — so much so that we take it as a given, as a reality, even as a truth? It appears so clearly obvious that there seems no point in inquiring about it, in questioning it. Even in education, we express other quantities in terms of time — be it power, force, distance, movement. We calculate time, we express other things in terms of time. But rarely do we ask “What is Time?” We do ask “What is the time?”, but rarely do we ask “What is Time?”

Now is there anything that the mind does which is independent of time? Let’s take this very day. Beginning today morning, look at all that, that the mind has done — subtly, grossly, in terms of instincts, thoughts, in actions — is there anything which is short of time? Is there anything that could happen without time? Is there anything that you have conceived which does not depend on time? Is there any movement of the mind which cannot be expressed in terms of time? We are talking about your mind, my mind, the mind of entire humanity.

Let me state the question again. Mind is a continuous movement. My question is, “Is there anything in this movement that is untouched by time? Is there anything in this movement that can happen without time?” You “think” of something, is the “thought” not in time?” All thought is either of the past or the future. It is either a memory or an imagination. Any ideation or conceptualization is always about objects. Can there be objects without time?

Alright! It’s simpler when we say there can be no objects without ‘space’? Right? That seems intuitively easier to grasp that there can be no objects without space. Can there be space without time? Can there be space without change? Don’t just agree with me. Go into this. Can there be space without change? Yes? Is it possible to have space without change?

Listener (L): Sir, isn’t to realize space, one must be separate from space?

AP: Yes, because to realize ‘space’ in your language, you require to be different from…

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