What is the nature of a universe without Time? If we imagine such a world the immediate picture is a static one; there is no movement and consequently no change, no development, no progress, nor even any decay. Motion is the primary truth of our material universe, because of which we know that change and evolution are the foremost realities of our existence within this creation. For motion to be, there must be Time. The two are inextricably linked. Thus if we deny the fact of evolution as a central reality of existence, we automatically make of our world a static one. […]
One of the principal characteristics of Greek thought as it has reached us today and as it has influenced modern-day living until the advent of relativity theory and quantum physics, is its preoccupation primarily with Space. Time was not the major focal point of Greek thought, and hence the line of knowledge that developed in Greece culminated in Aristotle and his largely static image of the world. We find the seeds of this development present in the teachings of Pythagoras as well. His ‘geometry of number’, beginning with 1 and ending with 10, indicates clearly the emphasis on Space — or the horizontal movement. The Zero, which contains the key to Time, was unknown to the Greeks. And hence even in the grand vision of Pythagoras’ ‘music of the spheres’, the major element — the Zero — which could truly harmonise the system and make of his vision the basis of a dynamic model of the universe, was lacking.
Critics of ancient Greek thought lament that the direction the early Ionians gave to science led to what is called Classical Physics, which holds as firm pillars of its system the absolutes Time and Space, largely unconnected and unrelated to each other. Yet the situation in the East was quite different in ancient times. India possessed knowledge of the Zero and with that she was able to unify concepts which in the West took a rigid and separative shape. In consequence, or along with this divisive vision, the religious consciousness in the West also evolved into a more and more rigid formalism, until, as mentioned, the stage has been reached where fundamentalist Christians can refuse to accept the findings of science in matters that now stand beyond question. The religious consciousness of the West, which has evolved from Judeo-Christianity and its sister Islam, is exclusive and dogmatic, quite contrary to the Eastern way, in particular the Indian.
Epur si muove, were Galileo’s words when forced by the clerics to deny his theory of a moving Earth. ‘Nonetheless she moves!’ was his cry in defence of that which moves, of the truth of movement. And it is motion far and above any other universal principle that characterises the cosmos in which we live, as well as the bodies we inhabit. That same whirling, dynamic universe that our Earth inhabits is the truth of our own habitat: the human body is a whirling mass in constant progression, never static, ever in a state of dynamic change.
Movement is given a supreme place in Indian thought. It is the essence of the Mother, the Shakti or Power, the feminine principle. But the denial of Motion, or Time, is nonetheless not confined to Western philosophy. India too has progressed to a point where there is a fundamental split in understanding regarding dynamics and statics. We find that though the Zero was known in India its truth is now largely ignored in its relation to spiritual evolution. Thus in many ways time and motion, though retained as pillars of worship throughout the country in the form of the Mother, or Nataraja, or Agni, and so forth, are finally set aside in favour of the static realisation beyond this world of time and space and hence movement. On the other hand, the ancient Vedic Seers lived in quite a different consciousness, as revealed by their hymns in the Rig Veda, India’s most ancient scripture and considered to be the womb of all her subsequent spirituality. This may be true, but it is important to understand that all of Indian spiritual achievement since that time — perhaps 6,000 to 8,000 years ago — has been moving away from the truth of the Vedas, for the purpose of rediscovery and the possibility thereby of uncovering the same truth while embracing a much larger sphere. This also meant that the high truth of the Veda was destined not to remain the sole possession of India but was to permeate the entire Earth. Or better said, the whole Earth was destined to evolve in consciousness toward the one Truth. By this it is not meant that all men must believe the same thing, but rather that the entire civilisation of Earth, as a collective body, is now being revealed as the vehicle for manifesting the one though many-faceted truth, which is the goal of evolution. Thus to deny evolution is to deny the purpose of humanity’s existence; and the logical outcome is a world that seeks to destroy itself.
Though science has proven the truth of evolution, we find that fundamentally it too negates life; and the result is that science has been the vehicle for the development of tools capable now of colossal mass annihilation. Thus both science and spirituality have developed pari passu. Both ignore the purpose of evolution, and without this understanding the final result is a collective death wish. Religion claims that the world is static and man is the ultimate creation of God. Science claims the world is dynamic and evolution is the truth of the human race and all biological species. But science does not perceive Consciousness as the seed or source of these dynamics. Thus the progression of the world and the dizzying movement of our universe and our own bodies is simply a dumb and unconscious process. It sees this process but knows not why.
We have discussed this matter extensively in Volumes 1 & 2 of The New Way. Indeed it can be considered the central theme of the book. For ultimately if we have seen the truth in the realisation of a divine life on Earth, it stands that the mechanics of evolution must be fully appreciated. And in this matter movement is then to be fully accepted and not rejected. Unfortunately, over the centuries the principle of dynamics has been relegated to an inferior status in spirituality, which has itself been a victim of the same divisive action of Mind as science. It is perhaps well to stress once again at this point that the Earth carries evolution forward as one uniﬁed movement, in which science, technology, philosophy, politics, spirituality, and so on, all journey together as parts forming one whole. Therefore their progress is invariably linked and the perceptive eye can see a concurrent development’. This is readily perceived in what are considered the two opposing poles of human expression, matter and spirit. But oneness is also the field of their apparently diverse play, and if science extols dynamics while at the same time denying purpose and consciousness and hence prepares to annihilate the world, spirituality does the same by upholding a static realisation as the highest goal of earthly spiritual achievement.
Thinkers throughout the world are appreciating nonetheless that an important juncture has been reached: Science in the West has reached an understanding of matter which closely resembles Eastern thought. One such thinker who comes to mind is Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics. His exposition of the similarity between present-day science and Eastern wisdom, as well as those of several others working on the same subject, is very intelligently presented. But the important point to stress is that these comparative studies are all based on an incomplete vision. Eastern spirituality is treated as a static reality and as having reached a culmination. For example, most thinkers accept all the ways of Indian spirituality as representations of the heights human consciousness can attain. Enlightenment or illumination for them is an eternal and unchanging poise. What is realised is one truth and this one truth is the truth of all sages of all times, though the form it takes can vary as in the Indian ways where, it is believed, the same reality is experienced through diverse forms.
This picture, however, is far from true. Spirituality is a progressive movement the same as biological evolution. There is a progressive unfolding. The experience is not static and indeed it has developed hand in hand with science, revealing constantly new and fuller aspects of the Divine Consciousness. And like science of the classical age, we have paths of the spirit which are incomplete and a denial of dynamic creation. Or if this is accepted it is merely to propel us out of this material universe and into a static void.
This discussion could be a lengthy one and is not entirely the purpose of this study. It is touched upon here in order to stress the concurrent movement of science and spirituality in that both are in a state of progress and evolution. Spirituality of today is as incomplete as science. It too cannot answer the funda-
mental questions that plague human consciousness. These are, namely, Is our world real and if so, is it equal or inferior to the absolute and supreme Truth? Is this material creation merely a hell to be lived in for the purpose of expiation in order to reach a higher goal beyond it, or is that goal of this creation itself? These are some of the burning questions that spirituality, as we know it today, cannot answer – because for the spiritualist too the faculty of perception in these matters must widen, just as for the scientist the instrument of measurement must change if the fundamental answers he seeks are to be revealed.
Both science and spirituality of our times — and by this is meant the whole period of our recorded history — are subject to the same insufficiency imposed by the limitations of the human observing instrument; spirituality and mysticism no less than science. It is a limitation proper to the entire human race, imposed by the nature of the instrument and its level of development. But the grand achievement of our age is the manifestation of precisely the faculty in human consciousness which alone can allow both scientist and yogi the joy of a new and truer perception. This is Supermind, the faculty above mind, which is the new Eye and which brings thereby the experience of the true and divine Measure.
The question of motion and its relation to the Supreme Reality arises with great force in this new age because our present Aquarian Age falls within the 9th Manifestation — the whole of which is characterised by the ninth zodiacal sign, Sagittarius. Some of the main features of this sign are speed, motion, displacement of mass and the energy generated thereby, the capacity to break through barriers and limits, to establish new boundaries and to escape the pull of inertia. It is not sufficient to understand the cosmic influences of our age if we look solely to Aquarius as the indicator. But with this fuller understanding we can better appreciate the enormous effect that travel, speed, movement have had on our present—day consciousness. Speed has not only revolutionized our mode of travel but it has also completely altered the state of relations between nations and individuals by the discovery of new methods of communication, and storage and transmission of data. It is no longer sufficient to communicate at a distance; the demands of the day are that this communication become faster and faster. The world we know is being accelerated to an unimaginable pace, as if time were somehow running out and we must pack the experience of centuries into decades. Thus speed” and motion are the major aspects of the Time-Spirit we are experiencing in this Sagittarian 9th Manifestation, covering 6,840 years from 234 BCE.
Science has revealed fascinating aspects of these major 9th Manifestation influences in its discoveries concerning the behaviour of atomic particles. These discoveries are particularly interesting in view of the revelations concerning the Solar and Lunar Lines in Volumes 1 & 2 of The New Way. Observations made by today’s nuclear physicists throw light on aspects of our own study and its newness within the field of the so-called spiritual experience. The ‘patterns’ a particle traces when under observation reveal a similarity to the patterns in time that are traced by these Lines. Fritjof Capra describes the state of nuclear science in the following words, and in so doing it seems as if he were also describing the nature of the Solar and Lunar Lines in time of our study: ‘The sub-atomic world appears as a web of relations between the various parts of a unified whole.“
Indeed our method of working with Time follows this same process. A web is constructed consisting of points in Time and the lines drawn between these elements that are unified parts of one whole. If we subtract any piece from the web the construction ceases to be in its completeness and loses its full sense and purpose. But it is fascinating to note that only when all the elements are discovered is it possible to visualise this holistic microcosm whose primary structural component is Time. That is, Time is the binding force of this miniature cosmos we have built in The New Wily, and inherent in Time is motion. The energy generated in movement, the result of Time’s energy, is the force that holds this cosmic structure together and grants it permanency and stability and creative ceaselessness.
The ‘unified whole’ we are dealing with in our study is equivalent to the atom, or the cell. The tri-part structure is the foundation, and the interrelation of its parts generates a fourth principle, which, in our microcosm, is Agni, the potent energy released by speed.
There are characteristics of particle behaviour which merit attention in view of their connection with our study. Two principles of nature stand out foremost in these observations, contraction and expansion. It is stated that a particle when confined reacts to its confinement by accelerating its speed: the greater the pressure or the contraction, the faster the speed. It is this terrific speed that presents us with a solid object, inasmuch as the electron, bound to the nucleus by electric forces, moves at tremendous speed because of this contraction and thus creates solidity in the atom. As we know, the solid objects we see and feel are, in reality, the outcome of atoms whose constituent parts are engaged in a movement of unimaginable velocity. Therefore on the basis of this discovery of science, some thinkers of today consider that Eastern spiritualists have been correct in stating that the world is an illusion inasmuch as what we see is not what it appears to be. Solid bodies are merely whirling masses of energy, in appearance solid but in truth nothing but vast empty spaces populated by infinitesimal particles of energy whose rapid motions give us the impression of solidity.
The crux of the confusion and controversy regarding the illusory nature of our material universe can finally be confined to movement. Our material creation is characterised by motion which grants solidity — and solidity is the main feature of matter and distinguishes it from the subtle planes of existence; yet this solidity is in appearance only, a mask of that which is essentially impermanent due to ceaseless change. Thus at the core of the enquiry stands the truth of that which moves with respect to the static dimension. Concurrent with the truth or the falsehood of dynamics is therefore the truth or falsehood of Time.
Measurement seems to be the primary obstacle in the process of true discovery, both in the scientific and spiritual realms. Nuclear physics has understood that the observer and hence the method of measuring a phenomenon are interrelated and can no longer be considered separately. The disturbing features in sub-atomic behaviour are, in fact, largely due to the inadequacies of measuring or observing techniques. When a nucleus is bombarded by particles it splits and does not form divisions of itself into pieces as one would expect, but rather becomes more of its integral self. This occurs because of the energy generated in the process of bombardment which is incorporated by the particle in the formation of other identical particles. Thus movement generates energy for the purpose of creation. But the observer cannot really measure the process without disturbing the state of the object under observation. To measure he must use techniques which alter the state of particles. In view of this it is obvious that a new system of measuring must evolve if science is to surmount its present impasse regarding the study of sub-atomic physics and cross the threshold where answers to these problems may be found and the truth of its findings cease to appear paradoxical.
In spirituality, on the other hand, we encounter the same impasse: Reality is paradoxical and cannot be expressed in our current language because words deform the experience or are not capable of conveying the true nature of the Absolute without paradoxes. Yet like the scientist the yogi who expresses his experience in such a paradoxical way is simply revealing that he too is in need of a different instrument. His method of measuring is as inadequate as the scientist’s. Indeed, it is in many cases even more inadequate because the yogi or the mystic most often rejects the question of Measure entirely. For him that which is measurable is unreal. Therefore the very question of measuring is, in a sense, a blasphemy.
We have this expressed in the following words of J. Krishnamurti: ‘Truth cannot be exact. What can be measured is not truth.’ The extent of the predicament in which today’s spiritual leaders find themselves is clearly expressed in these words, and they reveal the imperative need for the manifestation of a new faculty in the human consciousness which will render such perceptions obsolete. Supermind is the faculty that is now radically changing the human being’s capacity to observe and measure. What before in both science and spirituality could only be expressed in terms of paradoxes and irreconcilables, can now be perceived in a vastly truer light. Mind indeed deforms the experience when it is used as the highest instrument of perception. And in both approaches Mind has been the tool, with its resultant language, insufficient and inadequate to express the higher reality in anything better than paradoxes. With the advent of Supermind this limitation is no longer felt; and with it comes the perception of the true nature of creation, — in particular with respect to that which moves and hence to time and matter.
Motion is the central truth of our universe, of matter. Can we resolve our difficulties in understanding this pivotal feature of creation by simply labelling it unreal, or inferior, or illusory and ﬂeeing from the truth by positing our realisation outside this material creation; or, as science does, by advocating through the discovery, manufacture and deployment of devastating weapons the ultimate destruction of this dynamic thing that we cannot understand?
We may again refer to Capra’s text for a clear presentation of the inadequacies afflicting the human consciousness in regard to the true nature of creation and its connection to dynamics, to movement, and hence to Time. ‘The Eastern spiritual traditions show their followers various ways of going beyond the ordinary experience of time and of freeing themselves from the chain of cause and effect — from the bondage of karma, as the Hindus and Buddhists say. It has therefore been said that Eastern mysticism is a liberation from time. In a way, the same may be said of relativistic physics.’
This statement makes evident the relation between these Eastern ways and Christian dogma. Is there any essential difference between them in terms of their ultimate goals? The Christian idea of an original sin is hence the same as the Buddhist and Mayavadist and to some extent the Adwaitan injunctions that all things in this universal manifestation are in a state of flux and are therefore impermanent. To seek to cling to the impermanent is hence to suffer endlessly and to be caught in the wheel of birth and death. Enlightenment is attained when one liberates oneself from this wheel or perpetual movement. And if these teachings exhort one to ‘join the ﬂow’ and find a harmony therein, as does Buddhism in particular, it is ultimately merely for the purpose of finding the way out of this great dynamic process and into the changeless, the dimensionless, the void. Thus for the Buddhist birth into this wheel is a fall, just as birth on Earth for the Christian is a fall; and the entire race is burdened with the original sin of Adam and Eve, by their ‘fall’ from paradise into this material creation.
Christians exhort their followers to seek the attainment of heaven after death; they confine the experience to one lifetime. The Buddhist and others may extend this expiating process through several or even thousands of lifetimes, but this is immaterial to the fact of the similar goal each way seeks; and however we look at the matter we find that all paths existing today strive, in one form or another, to find release from birth on Earth and to attain an experience which will liberate them from that which moves.
The limitation of both science and spirituality is thus their understanding of the question of time and timelessness. The latter in particular has been subject to misunderstanding, primarily in the spiritual realm. Science is confronted with the problem in its study of sub-atomic particles when it cannot measure time in its usual forward ﬂow. It appears to be directionless and lacking the continuity of before, now, and after. Studying the trajectory of a particle on the basis of the quantum field theory thus throws the observer into a dimension requiring a total perception, in a sense, where the sequence of the movement is obliterated, and one must view the process without the usual ﬂow of time we are accustomed to in our daily living. […]
When the forward direction is eliminated we are faced with the problem of causation and effect, as Capra points out. And he states, ‘…in transcending time they (the Eastern mystics) also transcend the world of cause and effect.’ This question of karma will be dealt with in the following pages because it is directly connected to Time, and if our appreciation and experience of Time are being altered and a much truer understanding of its place and purpose within the Supreme Reality is to come, we must similarly come to a newer and wider understanding of the mechanics of karma.
The above material has been excerpted from Chapter 2 [of] The New Way, Volume 3, pp. 8-17.
 See: The Gnostic Circle, Aeon Books, 1975, Chapter 7.
 The Tao of Physics, Shambhala, 1975, p. 159.
 J. Krishnamurthy, Krishnamurthy’s Notebooks, New York, Harper & Row, 1976, p. 24.
 Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, Shambala, 1975, p. 187.
 The Sri Aurobindo Archives Department altered this line in 1997 to read, ‘I will pursue thee across the centuries’, on the grounds that the above must have been a mistake. I do not agree. (PNB) .
 Ibid.p. 186.