Impermanence and time

The three states (sleep, waking and dream) come and go, but you are always there.

I find this statement by Ramana philosophically fascinating for several reasons.

I have deeply felt the truth of the Buddhist insight that the Universe is impermanent. Yet the Advaitin sages, whose perceptions I also find so compelling, state with complete clarity that the Self that resides within us (not to be confused with our ego) is beyond time, is ever-present.

If the universe is impermanent, what can be ever present?

On the other hand, the Advaitin masters also state that something must register impermanence. In other words, there must be a permanent screen (all metaphors are limited) against which even impermanence must be recognised. This “permanent” screen, or perhaps, to put it more accurately, the screen that is ever present, is the ultimate reality.

All these are words and therefore conceptual creations, but the truths they point to are nevertheless fascinating, in all their complexity and contradiction.

I will try to trace out these complexities in future posts. The role of memory, both short- and long- term, may be crucial here.


4 thoughts on “Impermanence and time

  1. Golly. That blew my mind a little. I know very very little about philosophies outside western philosophies. Your post brought to mind Descares, “I think, therefore I am”. Beyond this assertion of his, everything seems a little hazy!
    Sorry if I have totally misunderstood – so much to learn!


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