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The Appearance of Space-Time
by Swami Krishnananda

(October 21, 1996, the concluding day of the Navaratri Puja)

Swamiji: God is existing, and was existing even before He created space and time. Inasmuch as He was existing before space and time, you cannot say there is a relationship. He can exist without space and time. Existence does not require space and time. Space and time is a kind of externality that is projected by Pure Being, and God has no externality. It is only for us.

If you are acquainted with modern physics and its great developments, there are no such things as space and time, really speaking. They don't exist. It is a kind of deception created by the wrong movement of consciousness in the same way as there is a deceptive space and time in the dream world by which, through which, on account of which, the consciousness that dreams feels there are things outside in the space-time of dream. It can see a whole world, but that whole world that is seen can be there only if there is space-time. If there is no space-time, there cannot be a world.

Now, the space-time in dream actually did not exist by itself. It is a peculiar trick of consciousness. Like a magician projecting something which is not actually there, the consciousness externalised itself in a manner which the intellect cannot understand. Consciousness cannot be externalised. It is pure subject. It cannot become the object. It cannot be other than what it is. So when it projects itself, as it were, in the form of an externality which is space and time, it is in a world of total misconception. So the world of dream does not exist.

This is an analogy to explain what is happening in the waking condition. The Absolute, which is Pure Being and Consciousness, appears to be engaged – we have to use words very carefully here; it is not engaged in anything, it appears to be engaged – in an act of externalising itself, and space and time is only a name for the force of externalisation. Space and time is consciousness forcing itself to be other than what it is. It is a total illusion, and therefore it follows that the world also is an illusion, finally. It is valid for all those people who are involved in the dream. You are a dream subject, and you cannot say the dream world is unreal because you are part and parcel of the structure of the dream world. The subject and the object are on a parallel level in dream. In dream, the world outside is as real as the beholder of the dream. The subject and the object, the seer and the seen, are on a parallel line. Therefore, as you yourself are involved in this externalisation, it looks as if the world is real. This does not apply to the Supreme Being because if the Supreme Being also is externalising itself, it ceases to be being; it will be becoming. Becoming is a process of transition and fluxation – something becoming other than what it is. God cannot become other than what He is.

So the whole world of perception is a kind of phantasmagoria, we may say, created by the world consciousness, which is studied very deeply in modern physics in the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. If you read that, you will find that you are in a dreamland, and you cannot know that you are in a dreamland because you are yourself involved in that land. If the judge in a court is himself the client, what judgment can he pass? Likewise, we are the judges of this world, but we are also involved in this very structure of the world. Therefore, no human being can understand what this world is unless you transcend your human nature and expand your consciousness to the level of universality, wherein you will never see externality. The particularity and externality is the opposite of universality. If your consciousness can raise itself above this particular perception and externalised observation, and feel the all-inclusiveness of Being as such, the question itself will not arise.

In India we have a great scripture called the Yoga Vasishtha. It tells the same thing which Einstein and Max Planck tell today. Before Einstein and Max Planck were born, the Yoga Vasishtha told all these things: the relativity of space and time, and the impossibility of there being an external world. Intellectually it is not possible to grasp it because the intellect is a part of your personality, and the personality is involved in this structure of externality. Hence, nobody can understand anything unless, by the power of yoga and meditation, you somehow or other extricate yourself from the externalising pressure of consciousness, and bring it back to the Universal that it is. Yoga is a great feat of spiritual exercise, and I cannot talk to you much about it. It is a strange subject.

A visitor: Swamiji, time is also limitless.

Swamiji: Why are you bringing time now? I told you it doesn't exist at all except as an involvement in a confused perception. It is a perceptional error which is infecting everybody who sees it. It is a common error which is injected into every person, everyone, even an insect, which sees the world outside. This is called samsara, total entanglement, and one cannot know that there is entanglement because the person is already inside it. Anyhow, you know the importance of this matter. It is very serious. It is the be-all and end-all of our life, worth considering deeply, impartially, and at deep leisure on this.