Hindus/Time

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Question
How is time defined according to Vedanta? (Please explain the meaning of the statement "Time is the relationship between Brahman and Maya".)

Answer
Dear Raja,

Thank you for your question.

When we talk about Vedanta philosophy, there are three main schools we have to consider, dvaita, vishishtadvaita, and advaita, i.e., dualism, qualified non-dualism, and non-dualism. Each school defines Brahman and Maya differently.

My own bias is toward Advaita Vedanta, but even here there is not a unanimity of opinion beyond the affirmation of One Existence-Consciousness-Bliss as the ultimate Reality.

Shankara's advaita defines Maya as anirvachaniya, inexpressible, and neither existing (sat) nor non-existing (asat). From this perspective time, space, and causation are all hallucinations that seem to divide the indivisible. The word Maya comes from the Sanskrit root √ma, that means "measure." Maya is that which seems to create measurable divisions, such as units of time, from the immeasurable Brahman.

In Tantra Advaita we have Shakti-vada in place of Maya-vada. In this perspective Mayashakti is identical to Brahman, being nothing but pure Consciousness. However, the Shakti aspect of Consciousness is that which transforms itself into the visible universe, playing, as it were, through its forms. The world in this view is relatively real as it appears, but it is anitya, non-eternal, while Brahman alone is eternal. Time, space, and causation are the way Brahman appears filtered through an individual body/mind. Identification with the body/mind pattern creates the sense of being a separate individual in time. Realizing one's identity as pure Consciousness reveals that the Self has never been subject to limitation or division, any more than immersing oneself in an engaging movie makes the rest of the world cease to exist.

Best wishes,

Br. William

Hindus

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William Schindler, a.k.a. Brother William

Expertise

I can answer questions about Vedanta philosophy, Patanjali Yoga philosophy and practice, Tantra, Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Vivekachudamani (Shankara`s Crest-jewel of Spritual Discrimination), Advaita (non-dualism), the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition, Goddess worship, meditation practice, Hindu monasticism (sannyasa), and Sanskrit.

Experience

I've been studying and practicing Vedanta and Tantra since 1969.

Organizations
I'm the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based on traditional Hindu Tantra. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1969.

Publications
I have three books in print: GAY TANTRA, ESSAYS ON GAY TANTRA, BLOOD OF THE GODDESS.

Education/Credentials
I hold a B.A. in Sanskrit (UC Berkeley 1975) and an M.A. in clinical psychology (Antioch University 1986).

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