Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.academy-advaita.com
The Netherlands

13th June 2016

The Past

“An illusion”

In man’s mind it is a conditioned belief that many thoughts have happened not only in his life but also to others in the past. The belief also includes that many things have also happened in the past in life as well. This belief makes man hope not only to have a better future, but also to have a better present.

Man has taken the past for granted as a reality and has not questioned its authenticity. To question its authenticity is absurdity to the conditioned mind. The enlightened have nevertheless proclaimed that the past is illusory and not real.

The statement by the enlightened requires to be understood deeply with reason and logic to understand its wisdom.

It is obvious that a moment in life is ‘here and now’ and not in the past. It is also obvious that it is impossible to be physically present in the past. Therefore, life is always ‘here and now’. This implies that man is always ‘here and now’ and not in the past.

This implies that the past has happened in the ‘here and now’ as a thought called the past. Therefore, the past is a thought in the ‘here and now’ and not a reality. So too is every thought in the ‘here and now’ and neither in the past nor as an actuality.

It is also impossible to have a thought literally in the past, because it is impossible to be physically present in the past as an actuality. Therefore, it is important to understand that thinking has never happened in the past; it has always happened in the ‘here and now’, which is thought of as a happening in the past. But nevertheless the conditioned mind believes that thinking has happened in the past, which is the illusion.

The most important part of deeply understanding the past is: a man who is ‘here and now’ is not separate from the boy he was in the ‘here and now’. It is important to understand that the boy who was in the ‘here and now’ is as the man who is ‘here and now’. If the boy was separate from the man, the man would not exist in the ‘here and now’. This implies that the present ‘here and now’ would not exist without the past of the ‘here and now’ within it. This implies that the past is as the present is. The past and the present are together and not separate. To believe that the past is separate from the present is illusory knowledge.

This proves that the past is an illusion, just as the enlightened have proclaimed the past to be. A thought has not actually happened in the past, it has happened in the ‘here and now’ of life and keeps happening in the ‘here and now’, albeit illusory.

When man understands that he neither makes the past nor the moment ‘here and now’, then he lives in trust that what will happen will happen, albeit illusory, which is what the enlightened have proclaimed.

When understanding happens to man that understanding happens to him in the ‘here and now’ and never in the past, he begins to accept his daily life as it is.

Author: Dr. Vijai S. Shankar
© Copyright V. S. Shankar 2016

Editor’s Note:
History has established itself in human affairs as the branch of knowledge dealing with past events. Nevertheless, man regards history as an important reference point for determining the conduct of present events. His investment in and attention to the past has thus become a way of life. The gift of this article from the wise offers a new understanding of his daily life – an acceptance of what is.
Julian Capper, U.K.

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