Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.academy-advaita.com
11th March 2010
What is the present to man? To man the present is when an action takes place or words that convey a meaning are spoken. Actions or words that happen to man in a day are the present too for man.
Actions and words, which are many these days, are indeed a miracle for they have sophisticated from a point where none existed when man was prehistoric. It is impossible to determine with any accuracy which man was the first to act or speak a word in the present.
Evolution and sophistication indicate that man came to know that he acted. This knowledge first appeared as a thought and later as a spoken word within man’s mind. Therefore, before knowledge happened to man, as a thought or a word, he was doing without knowing that he was doing.
So, the question to ponder is: when did the present happen to man? This can never be determined with accuracy, because even to the present day the precise moment when anything happens cannot be determined.
This is because man comes to know that something has happened in the present only after it has happened. Does this mean that he can never know what happens in the present, but he still believes that an action takes place in the present and a word can be spoken too? It certainly does mean that.
Man believes many actions take place in the world in a day and they encompass a wide variety, from war to a gesture of love. He also believes knowledge can be taught in the present, ranging from every level and form of education to religion, spirituality, science, and also how man should behave in a family, society or in a nation.
In short, the present is where the factual happens and is stored in the mind as memory. Whatever happens in the present is life for man. He may despise it or be happy about it.
He plans for his future to be rosy and cozy so that his present will be too, when the future happens to him. So the future, when it happens, is the present too for man, but is not every day the future of the day gone by? It certainly is.
So where is man exactly living, if every day is the future of the day before? Is he living in the future or the present? He believes he lives in the present, but it very well could be the future too.
But it is incomprehensible that man lives in the future whilst thinking it is the present. The present, where man can live, would be the place where his feet touch the ground or the space his body occupies.
Man would require time to make it the present for he believes time makes up the present. He has clocks to measure time and time began when clocks were discovered and made to measure time.
Since the discovery of time, its measurements by clocks have sophisticated from rudimentary water-clocks to the highly sophisticated atomic clocks. Man needs and demands everything to be proven scientifically to be valid as the truth.
If what science says is the truth for man, then an attosecond is the time-interval available for man in the present. An attosecond is one billionth of a billionth of a second. This time-period can neither be appreciated nor even imagined by the mind in the present. But, nevertheless, an attosecond is the time in the present, if at all there is a present.
This means that every moment lasts just for an attosecond, which means the present too is available for man just for an attosecond. It is once again incomprehensible that any action can be done in the present or that a word can be spoken in the present at all, when the present is just an attosecond.
The present is the timeless and thoughtless ‘now’, which is light containing an array of optical illusions that make up the world, and also sound that projects auditory illusions, which appear as the past, present and future.
© Copyright V. S. Shankar 2010