Two kinds of time
What is time?
Our own internal understanding of time is really a never ending present. Now! That is the time of the Self. (Jiva= Atma = Brahma)
Our own understanding of ourselves is the unchanging Self. “I” don’t feel that “I” have changed at all. Yes, my hair is grey and my skin is wrinkling, yes, sometimes my mind is tired and sometimes it forgets things.
But the changeless eternal “I” lives in a never ending “Now”.
But then what is time?
The tasty food cooked yesterday is a little insipid today. The hot water of an our ago has become cooler now and in an another hour it will be cooler still.
My senses detect a change of state of my environment. My environment is Ever Changing. “I” am never changing! My mind can remember a state when things were different. It can anticpate a state when things will be different from what my senses detect “Now”.
Using my mind “I” can remember the past and anticipate the future. My mind can only detect time based on environmental state changes detected by my senses. When my environment is as static as can be, or when my mind is engaged in an activity that is unmindful of environmental state changes, “I” don’t know how much time has passed.
What is a clock?
A clock is a device that changes its state at a uniform rate, independent of my mental activity, whether I am looking at it or not. A clock can “tell” me the time.
What is the most ancient of clocks?
The rising and setting of the sun, moon and stars.
The waxing and waning of the moon.
All these things happen with a regularity and repeatability. The sun will rise again tomorrow, it will rain again next year, the moon shall yet again become full (purnima).
The grahas and nakshatras shall once again attain, their present relative positions.
If I define their exact alignment at this split second as the zero point of a Satya Sarada Yuga, and if I specify which grahas and which nakshatrams I am taking into account..
… Then they will be back to exactly this arrangement in 1 Satya Sarada Yuga!!
If I am a mathematician – astronomer of the level of Aryabhatta or Markandeya, then I will tell you how many solar years and how many lunar months go into 1 Satya Sarada Yuga.
What are the two kinds of time?
The two kinds of time are the time line and the time cirle.
The time circle is the time of clocks, whether modern or ancient.
Their end is their beginning. In a simple wall clock with a short and a long arm, the time cycle lasts for 12 hours. After which it is the same time again.
If the moon is your clock every 27+ days, the moon is full again and you are back to the beginning (or middle of the month based on what you call the beginning).
If the Sun is your clock, every 24 hours, the sun rises again and every 366 days it rises in the same spot in the sky with respect to the nakshatrams.
Some Vedic sages used Revati Nakshatram as their clock.
The time line is the time of my mind.
In this time, the end is not the beginning. “I” know that people enter and leave my environment. Babies and Plants come into the world. Buildings are built. Art, Literature and Knowledge grow. Animals and people die. Buildings fall down. Knowledge is forgotten, literature misunderstood and works of art are destroyed. Species come and go out of the existence that my senses detect and that my mind interprets. My mind learns from other minds how it may interpret things that it cannot interpret on its own. My mind discovers that other minds too have a sense and experience of the time line similar to mine.
Other than the clock itself nothing in the environment repeats, on the scale of my perception.
Yesterday’s butterfly is dead, though the sun has risen again.
Last month’s new dress, is now old and is no longer so bright.
This year’s summer was much warmer than last year’s.
Our Sun himself is a second generation star, and our solar system was once but plasma.
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