Eternal time is the primeval source of the interactions of the three modes of material nature. It is unchangeable and limitless, and it works as the instrument of Krishna for His lilas in the material creation.
Time is the hidden, impersonal feature of Krishna by means of which the cosmic creation in the form of material energy was separated from the Supreme Lord as His objective manifestation, as the phenomenal that was established by Vishnu's bewildering potency.
The way Eternal Time is there in the present, it was there in the beginning and will be there hereafter.—Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.10.12-13
Although one might assume that time is a fundamental aspect of reality, it is in fact a feature only of the material world. In the spiritual world, Time is conspicuous by its absence. There things are ever present and fresh without decay by time. In the material world time is called kala-cakra - the wheel of time. It gives the results (karma) of one's activities. It keeps moving and when it is time to reap one's good or bad results, one gets it. Krishna shows His form as kala-rupa to Arjuna and says as time He has come to take away everything.
Without time, nothing happens in the material world. As the most powerful force in the world, time is considered Krishna
. Time controls everything, and Krishna
controls time. With the rising and setting of the sun, everyone’s life is diminished by the influence of time.
Time is relative. A year in higher planetary systems is much longer than a year on earth, and beings on higher planets live for extremely long periods of time by our estimation.
Time on earth moves in cycles of four yugas, each yuga lasting hundreds of thousands of years. In the first yuga, known as Satya, human civilization is enlightened, but things begin to degrade in the next two yuga, Treta and Dwapara. When we reach Kali yuga (which we are currently in), civilization sinks more and more into chaos and ignorance. At the end of the Kali yuga, a partial universal destruction occurs, and a new cycle begins again with Satya. The cycle repeats itself one thousand times in each day of Brahma. A year of Brahma is 360 such days. The lifetime of Brahma, and hence this universe, is 100 years of Brahma.
Time begins in the relative on the level of the atom:
The material manifestation's ultimate particle, which is indivisible and not formed into a body, is called the atom. It exists always as an invisible identity, even after the dissolution of all forms. The material body is but a combination of such atoms, but it is misunderstood by the common man.
Atoms are the ultimate state of the manifest universe. When they stay in their own forms without forming different bodies, they are called the unlimited oneness. There are certainly different bodies in physical forms, but the atoms themselves form the complete manifestation.
One can estimate time by measuring the movement of the atomic combination of bodies. Time is the potency of Krishna, who controls all physical movement although He is not visible in the physical world.
Atomic time is measured according to its covering a particular atomic space. That time which covers the unmanifest aggregate of atoms is called the great time. —Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.1-4
Today we measure atomic time using various techniques, the most advanced is the Quantum Logic Clock that is based on a single Aluminum atom (chosen because it is not affected by magnetic fields) that is accurate to within 1 second in 3.7 billion years. Eternal Time is built upon atomic time. For example:
The division of gross time is calculated as follows: two atoms make one double atom, and three double atoms make one hexatom. This hexatom is visible in the sunshine which enters through the holes of a window screen. One can clearly see that the hexatom goes up towards the sky.
The time duration needed for the integration of three trasaren?us is called a trut?i, and one hundred trut?is make one vedha. Three vedhas make one lava.
The duration of time of three lavas is equal to one nimes?a, the combination of three nimes?as makes one ks?an?a, five ks?an?as combined together make one k?s?t?h?, and fifteen k?s?t?h?s make one laghu.
Fifteen laghus make one n?d?ik?, which is also called a dan?d?a. Two dan?d?as make one muh?rta, and six or seven dan?d?as make one fourth of a day or night, according to human calculation.
The measuring pot for one n?d?ik?, or dan?d?a, can be prepared with a six-pala-weight [fourteen ounce] pot of copper, in which a hole is bored with a gold probe weighing four m?s?a and measuring four fingers long. When the pot is placed on water, the time before the water overflows in the pot is called one dan?d?a.
It is calculated that there are four praharas, which are also called y?mas, in the day and four in the night of the human being. Similarly, fifteen days and nights are a fortnight, and there are two fortnights, white and black, in a month.
The aggregate of two fortnights is one month, and that period is one complete day and night for the Pit? planets. Two of such months comprise one season, and six months comprise one complete movement of the sun from south to north.
Two solar movements make one day and night of the demigods, and that combination of day and night is one complete calendar year for the human being. The human being has a duration of life of one hundred years.
Influential stars, planets, luminaries and atoms all over the universe are rotating in their respective orbits under the direction of the Supreme, represented by eternal k?la. —Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.5-13
Krishna, in His feature of eternal time, is present in the material world and is neutral towards everyone. No one is His ally, and no one is His enemy. Within the jurisdiction of the time element, everyone enjoys or suffers the result of his own karma. As, when the wind blows, small particles of dust fly in the air, so, according to one's particular karma, one suffers or enjoys material life.
Karma is the cosmic law of action and reaction. Under its control the jivas in the material world reap good or bad results according to each act performed.
Karmic reactions include not only things that happen to us, but such things as our health, wealth, intelligence, physical appearance, and social status, as well as our personalities and inclinations. While we have some freedom to choose our current acts, our choices are influenced by our natures, or personalities, which have developed from our previous actions. For example, good choices tend to make us good persons who make further good choices.
The law of karma begins to act upon us when we desire to enjoy separately from Krishna (the original pragya-aparadh or mistake of the intellect), and it locks us into an endless cycle. Each action begets a reaction that begets another action, and so on. Whether the reactions are good or bad, we must repeatedly accept new bodies in order for the reactions to play out. And each lifetime in a material body means unavoidable miseries, such as disease, old age, and death.
The question arises:
Clinging to the body of Shiva are the Shiva realised jivas that make the body of Krishna. So Krishna is a collection of mukta jivas. Krishna is also described in SBT as the "Akshar Brahman" or the "Shabd Brahman" who resides in "Akshar Dham" which is another name for the "Hari Dham" or Vaikuntha planets. From Krishna's body huge collections of mukta jivas emerge forming the body of Maha Vishnu. From Maha Vishnu emerge various Narayana's who each create a material Universe with the association of Brahma.
Material time seems to refer to the time that impacts activities within the material universe created by Lord Brahma which includes all the 14 planetory systems. This time seems to be the impulse that was issued by Lord Maha Vishnu to disturb the equilibrium in Mula-Prakriti changing Her to a state of imbalance that is needed for creation.
However, when a complete dissolution occurs, then the universe dissolve into Brahma, Brahma into Narayana, Narayana into Maha-Vishnu and at some time Maha Vishnu recedes back into the body of Krishna and Krishna at one time too gets absorbed into the body of Shiva leaving a void from where after a period of rest the creation begins again.
So Maha-Vishnu and the Akshar Brahman also have a certain "life" period. Since Maha Vishnu creates the material time, there has to be some "time" factor that determines when Maha Vishnu recedes back into Krishna and when Krishna recedes back into a state of void with His form of Shiva.
I understand the material/atomic time generated by Lord Maha Vishnu. But I am still confused as to what "time" if we can call it that determines the merging back of Maha Vishnu into Krishna and Krishna into the pure Shiva.
There has to be something that determines that? Vaikuntha planets (as spiritual as they are), are still "creations", tho not material creations. What determines the dissolution of those planets back into Pure Consciousness of Shiva?
Everything once must have originated from Shiva and thus must eventually recede back into Shiva?
Actually, Krishna contains ALL jivas, but the ones that are not realized believe they are separate from Him and become trapped in the misery of separation and Maya. There is no Eternal Time and no Atomic Time until Lord Brahma emerges from Lord Narayana to begin the creation of a universe. Then Eternal Time (eternal in relation to the universe created by Lord Brahma) begins to function and as the material creation emerges, Atomic Time begins to function. Beyond Lord Brahma is the timeless world of Lord Narayana, Maha-Vishnu and Krishna. Maha-Vishnu is actually like an infant Krishna that breathes in and out while floating on the timeless causal ocean. With each out-breath, myriads of Narayanas emerge to each host a Lord Brahma and the subsequent universe. The breathing in and out of the infant Krishna Maha-Vishnu is in the timeless realm before any manifested, relative creation.
From our perspective, embedded in a material universe that is governed by Time, it would appear that the in and out breaths of Maha-VIshnu are indeed based on a cycle that is in the realm of time. However that perspective is distorted by our Time-bound perspective. We concoct a convenient story about the breaths of the infant Krishna (Maha-Vishnu) to try to make some sense out of what is happening beyond our universe in the vast realm of the unknowable, because the mind cannot abide the thought of something that is unknowable. So we make the unknowable into a "known" in this way.
Whatever is in our universe is that which we can know, but whatever is outside out universe is unknowable. What does it mean to "know"? It can mean we have mentally constructed an object out of something, made something different from our self, so that we can describe it in thoughts, words and concepts. But there is a value of knowing that cannot be described in thoughts, words and concepts. We do have a word for that indescribable "thing" - the Transcendent.
Transcending has many levels, it really just means "to go beyond" so if we go beyond the physical to the pranamaya kosh we have transcended the physical. We can transcend in that way through all the koshas to reach Anandamaya Kosh where the experience of the transcendence is pure Bliss. Beyond Anandayama Kosh is beyond our universe. We can only go beyond the Universe by devotion to Krishna. Narada demonstrates this as one who can transcend the universe due to his great devotion to Krishna. That level of transcending is called "big 'T' Transcending". It is a benefit of Brahman Consciousness to be able to enjoy this ultimate devotion to Krishna and still return to this universe and serve all the lost jivas. If one experiences devotion to Krishna sufficient for Transcending this universe, before BC, then one never returns.
When we begin to transcend during meditation we cannot put the experience into words because our attention has gone to a level that we are not yet developed in - we have no senses there. So our first voyage into the pranamaya kosh will be an unexplainable, blissful transcending experience. Over time we begin to feel the vibrations of the prana field and that becomes just another focus of our attention and we can also describe it as we open our senses in that realm. When we transcend into manomaya kosh there is a similar initial experience of unbounded awareness, of indescribable transcendence until our physiology/nervous system adjusts and senses start to function on that level. Then we find we can describe it to some degree. Eventually we transcend to Anandamaya Kosh and it is the same experience of unbounded awareness that cannot be put into words, until we develop on that level.
But if we are fortunate enough to transcend this universe though devotion and reach the feet of Krishna, we will really never be able to describe the experience in words. Whatever we might say will be a dim reflection of the reality and only another who has the same experience will be able to understand us. This is the Timeless realm, there is no birth, no death, no change. It can only be described by what it is not, so it is called a void, completely without qualities that relate to our lives in this universe. However is it not really a void, it is just unknowable, indescribable and timeless from the perspective of the relative universe.
We say "everything originates from Shiva and merges back into Shiva" to try to make some sense out of the unknowable. But nothing really originates from the Timeless, nothing really merges back into the Timeless One. The very fact that there is an unknowable is so miserable for the mind to contemplate. But at some point, and that point is the edge of our universe, we have to resign to the fact that beyond that is unknowable and can only be experienced from the level of total devotion to Krishna, but never can it be described.
How are things beyond our Universe hard to know when we have detailed accounts on what life on Vaikuntha planets is like, about the houses they have and the airplanes they build etc? What Krishna and Radha do there ...About how so many Universes float in the casual ocean..... about how so many Maha-Vishnu's are created every minute from Krishna....... so we do know of happenings beyond our Universe? So why call it unknowable? Also, if You ask a Shaivite he would say that he knows about Shiva as the pure consciousness beyond everything and supporting everything..... then how is He the unknowable? One "knows" Him in meditation? One experiences Him in meditation? and Mother Kundalini as She rises up finally takes one to the feet of that Shiva who resides in the void that is surrounded by the ring of Shakti (Cosmic Kundalini) in the Sahasra Chakra? Then how do we say that Shiva is unknowable? A Yogi experiences Him all the time?
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.15.16–23) we find a wonderful description of Vaikuntha, a realm that is located 209,600,000 miles above Satyaloka or also known as Brahmaloka. We know that Brahmaloka is the realm of Anandamaya Kosh - the Body of Bliss. The Sun is the center of our Universe so when we want to measure things (which is only applicable when we are dealing with the physical, material universe), we would measure from the Sun. At 209,600,000 miles above Satyaloka, the Vaikuntha planets are actually still inside our universe. The universe is bounded by the orbit of the planet Pluto, which is on average 3,670,052,070 miles from the Sun (or above Satyaloka). Since the Vaikuntha planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and their moons) are inside our universe, they are in the realm of the knowable. There is even a Goloka is inside our universe where Radha and Krishna live - this is actually the planet Pluto. So each of the innumerable universes has a local Goloka and Vaikuntha planets, which are reflections of the True Goloka that exists at the center of all universes.
The True Goloka, causal ocean and the realm of Maha-Vishnu is outside the universe and hence in the unknowable, we are told in the vedic literature what happens in this realm but we cannot know it for ourselves from experience, so this is all hearsay. We believe it to be true but because this is outside our universe we cannot "know" it to be true from personal experience.
S'iva is Pure Consciousness, there is no doubt of this. Pure Consciousness can be experienced in our own universe so we can "know" it. Pure Consciousness, hence S'iva, is the vast ocean in which everything exists - both within and without our universe.
This is a beautiful and descriptive statement: "Mother Kundalini as She rises up finally takes one to the feet of that S'iva who resides in the void that is surrounded by the ring of Shakti (Cosmic Kundalini) in the Sahasra Chakra" and quite accurate, but it all takes place within our universe - hence we can know this.
S'iva in the Ultimate True Form that is the other side of Krishna in His Ultimate True Form exists at the center of all universes and cannot be known directly, but we can know the aspect of S'iva and Krishna that exists within our universe (and every universe) and we find that to be good enough.