[Advaita-l] Kaala, Time - Kurma puranam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Dec 13 12:49:36 EST 2019

Kaala, Time -   Kurma puranam

In the Advaita shAstra 'time' is defined as: अविद्या-चित् संयोगः कालः.  The
sUtasamhita 2.2.10 says: कालो मायात्मसंबन्धात् सर्वसाधारणात्मकः ।

Chit, Pure Consciousness, is One and has no pravRtti as it has nothing to
achieve.  We know that any event has to take place in time alone.  The
activity of sRShTi etc. can take place only when the 'other' shakti called
avidyA/mAyA is admitted to work along with Chit.  मयाध्यक्षेण प्रकृतिः
सूयते सचराचरम् (भगवद्गीता).  So, the concept of time is thus engendered
only when this shakti is associated with Chit, Brahman. This 'association'
samyogaH, itself is thus kAla since everything in sRShTi has to go on only
in time.

One can get more references to kAlaH at the sUtasamhitaa 1.8.23 to 26

There is a very elaborate discussion on the concept of Time in the book
'SridakShiNAmUrtistotram' Vol.I English authored by Br. Sri
D.S.Subbaramaiya and published by the Sringeri Peetham.  Here on pages 327
to 342 there is an excellent exposition of the subject under a number of
headings and numerous quotations from Sanskrit works:

   1. kAla
   2. 'Flow' of Time
   3. 'Time' in various schools
   4. Vedantic view of Time
   5. Time revealed by sAkShI
   6. Time as an effect of AvidyA
   7. Time as AvidyA
   8. Time as relation between AvidyA and Brahman
   9. Time as KriyAshakti of Ishwara
   10. Time as taTasthalakShaNa of Brahman the Timeless Entity
   11. The 'Now' experience, fleeting image of Eternal 'Now'
   12. 'Objects' situated in Space and Time

These are the topics under which 'Time' has been discussed.

This idea is reflected in this verse of the Kurma Puranam:


pradhānaṃ puruṣaṃ caiva tattvadvayamudāhṛtam / (8.1)
tayoranādiruddiṣṭaḥ kālaḥ saṃyojakaḥ paraḥ // (8.2)

'pradhana' is the prakriti/maayaa/avidya which is insentient, jaDa principle

'Purusha' is the sentient, consciousness principle.

The second line of the verse says: The anAdi, beginingless, kaala is the
supreme 'connector' of the two principles.

Thus, the concept of 'kAla' finds mention in ancient scriptural literature
as the 'connecting factor between Prakruti and Purusha.'

Om Tat Sat

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