Monday, November 11, 2013

Time, it is only an illusion

Using Alice in the wonderland,to understand time as it is explained in Vedanta
(The famous dash, image of the scene from this site)
At an ashram in Kerala where I was training,  one shy British girl came on stage and recited a poem from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Through the looking glass. What she said may make many of you revisit this marvelous book: she felt it shared a lot with the essence of Vedanta. If you look beyond the imagery that pleases children and look into the meaning that Carroll (who was a genius with puzzles) intended for his adult readers, you would agree with her. Below is Carroll's take on time, in the running Red Queen's experience.

I believe Carroll is bringing out the tyranny and the two-faced nature of time, its subjective and objective realities that run alongside and are so entwined that we are never allowed to grasp the trick it plays on us.

Alice wished to talk to the Red Queen. But when she tried to walk ahead to meet her, she ended up going nowhere and had to walk backwards,  to come face-to-face with the queen eventually. Then Alice found herself standing on a large chess board, the world, where she too was part of the game that was being played out. And suddenly she began to run, along with the queen. The Red Queen told her to run faster and faster. Poor, breathless Alice was panting, and felt she would not be able to keep pace. (Here I reproduce some bits from the original.) "Are we nearly there?" Alice managed to pant out at last. " Nearly there!" the Queen repeated, "Why, we passed it ten minutes ago."    Alice finally had to rest, she was so exhausted. And was astonished to find that they were right were they started: "Everything is just as it is!"   The queen was not surprised. "Of course, it is," said the queen. "What would you have it?"  "Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else – if you ran very fast for a long time as we've been doing." "A slow sort of country!" said the queen. "Now,  here,  you see it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else you have to run twice as fast as that!"

1 comment:

Arunima said...

This is such a beautiful post