Time Is Illusion

There is a tree, just across the veranda with large leaves and many large red flowers; they are spectacular and the green, after the recent rains, is vivid and strong. The flowers are orange-red, and against the green and the rocky hill, they seem to have taken the earth to themselves and they cover the whole space of the early morning. It was a beautiful morning, cloudy and there was that light which made every colour clear and strong. Not a leaf was stirring, and they were all waiting, hoping for more rain; the sun would be hot, and the earth needed far more rain. The river beds had been silent for many years; bushes were growing in them, and water was needed everywhere; the wells were very low, and the villagers would suffer if there was not more water. The clouds were black over the hills, heavy with the promise of rain. There was thunder and distant lightning, and presently there was a downpour. It didn’t last long but enough for the time being and there was a promise of more.

Where the road goes down and over the bridge of a dry river bed of red sand, the westerly hills were dark, heavy with brooding; and in the evening light, the luscious green fields of rice were incredibly beautiful. Across them were dark green trees and the hills to the north were violet; the valley lay open to the heavens. There was every colour, seen or unseen, in that valley that evening; every colour had its overtones, hidden and open, and every leaf and every blade of rice was exploding in the delight of colour. Colour was good, not mild and gentle. The clouds were gathering black and heavy, especially over the hills and there were flashes of lightning, far away over the hills and silent. There were already a few drops; it was raining among the hills, and it would soon be here. A blessing to a starving land.

We were all talking after a light dinner about things pertaining to the school, how this and that was necessary, how difficult it was to find good teachers, how the rains were needed and so on. They went on talking and there, sudden and unexpectedly, the otherness appeared; it was there with such immensity and with such sweeping force that one became utterly quiet; the eyes saw it, the body felt it and the brain was alert without thought. The conversation was not too serious, and in the midst of this casual atmosphere, something tremendous was taking place. One went to bed with it and it went on as a whisper during the night. There is no experiencing of it; it is simply there with a fury and benediction. To experience there must be an experiencer, but when there is neither, it is an altogether different phenomenon. There is neither accepting it or denying it; it is simply there, as a fact. This fact had no relation to anything, neither in the past nor in the future and thought could not establish any communication with it. It had no value in terms of utility and profit, nothing could be got out of it. But it was there, and by its very existence there was love, beauty, immensity. Without it, there is nothing. Without rain the earth would perish.

Time is illusion. There is tomorrow, and there have been many yesterdays; this time is not an illusion. Thought which uses time as a means to bring about an inward change, a psychological change is pursuing a non-change, for such a change is only a modified continuity of what has been; such thought is sluggish, postpones, takes shelter in the illusion of gradualness, in ideals, in time. Through time mutation is not possible. The very denial of time is mutation; mutation takes place where the things which time has brought into being, habit, tradition, reform, the ideals, are denied. Deny time and mutation has taken place, a total mutation, not the alteration in patterns nor the substitution of one pattern by another. But acquiring knowledge, learning a technique, require time which cannot and must not be denied; they are essential for existence. Time to go from here to there is not an illusion but every other form of time is illusion.

In this mutation there is attention, and from this attention there is a totally different kind of action. Such action does not become a habit, a repetition of a sensation, of an experience, of knowledge which dulls the brain, insensitive to a mutation. Virtue then is not the better habit, the better conduct; it has no pattern, no limitation; it has not the stamp of respectability; it is not then an ideal to be pursued, put together by time. Virtue then is a danger not a tame thing of society. To love then is destruction; a revolution, not economic and social but of total consciousness.