Modern physics speaks of three dimensions of space with time as the fourth dimension. Vedic science speaks of infinite space and eternal time as your true Self and the core of your being, taking us beyond all dimensions as the entire universe exists within us.
Akasha or Space is the most subtle of the Vedic five elements, governing all the levels of manifestation from the immaterial to the material, including mind and consciousness. Time (Kala) is related to Vayu or the air/gaseous/energy/movement-based element. Vayu is connected to life or Prana and Vidyut as the electrical energy that manifests from space. Space is related to mind and at a higher level to pure consciousness.
Space/Akasha in motion is said to be air/Vayu, which means that space in movement is time. We are of aware of time according to the objects or energies in space. Space in itself without movement shows no time.
This means that space and time are the same reality at states of rest and movement, which is pure Consciousness. Eternal space creates time, like waves on the sea. Time creates temporal spaces of various types defined by the movement of objects in space.
Vedic View of Space
The Sanskrit term for space or Akasha has different connotations than the English term space. Akasha implies a field of illumination. Akasha is related to Self or Atman, and Ananda or bliss. Brahman is said to be Kham or Akasha, which is also said to be delight, Kam. Akasha as Atman is Self-being, self-contained and self-luminous. Space implies rest and duration, while time implies change and action.
There are many levels or types of space in Vedic thought. First is the material space, which has different forms as atmospheric space, the space of the solar system, the space between the stars, and beyond.
Within us is the space of life or energy and the space of the mind. All these manifest forms of space contain particles, waves and energies, including various types of electro-magnetic forces, animate and inanimate forms, and thoughts and life-particles.
Space, Time and Shakti
The Supreme unmanifest space is Being-Consciousness-Bliss, Sat-chit-ananda as Brahman, the total reality. This supreme space has its inherent power or Shakti, including time which is the main power of manifestation. Akasha abounds with an unmanifest energy that is unlimited. Without time there is no manifestation, which implies beginning and end. That space of pure consciousness, Chid-akasha is eternal and immutable, beyond the fluctuations of time, yet is also their origin.
Shakti is the power of time or potential for manifestation inherent in the Chid-akasha. It arises from Consciousness and takes the background form of bliss or Ananda. Akasha has an electrical energy connected to vibration and sound, which at a lower level becomes the ear as a sense organ and speech as a motor organ. Yet at a higher level pure sound, speech and light are boundless and self-manifest.
In Vedic philosophy time, vibration, prana, sound (shabda), and Vidyut (electrical forces) arise together from the supreme space, and develop the forces of Vayu or air, which is space in motion. This Vayu is the cosmic energy, not simply wind as a material force. This means that time is space in motion, or manifest space, which densifies into the other elements and forces. Akasha is the matrix or the mother of everything through the creative force of time.
Space gives rise not only to time but also to light forms like the stars, which are manifestations of the boundless clear light of space. Time is measured by the movement of light, like the day and night and the Sun and Moon. Akasha itself is pure light without any fluctuations, clear and transparent.
Beyond all Dimensions
Time cannot be apart from space as we can only experience time and space together. If there are three dimensions of space then time must be another dimension of space. Yet there is also the dimensionless, or the dimension transcending space of pure consciousness. In fact, there is only one reality, Brahman. Dimensions are but facets of how we look at it.
Time as past, present and future, and space as distance or location are coordinates of the mind that serve to measure the visible world. But they delimit and distort reality, if we are not aware of the infinity and eternity behind them. The mind uses time and location to deal with the practical world, but such divisions occur within a greater unity of Being..
Beyond manifest space-time there exists a timeless space that is larger than the largest and smaller than the smallest as the Upanishads state, meaning beyond all measurable dimensions. Beyond the dimensions of space is dimensionless space. This is the Self of the Vedas that holds the entire universe in the small space or dahara akasha within the heart, which contains all time and the entire universe. This pure space has no dimensions and nothing comparable to it. We can experience it as a point and as infinite simultaneously.
The Expanding Universe or the Timeless Universe
If the universe is expanding as physicists often state, the question arises, what is the universe expanding from and into what? You can only expand into an existent space. You need room to expand. You cannot just create space as you expand. This means that expansion is only possible into a greater preexisting universe or reality. If the universe has a beginning or end in time or space, there must be a greater Existence beyond it. Such a universe would only be one type of manifest world system, not the whole of reality.
If time is a manifestation of space, as we have proposed, then time is not simply linear but wave like in motion. Time periods are waves on the ocean of eternal space. This means that beginning and end of time or birth and death are illusions of the wave that do not apply to the sea. The body, for example, is a wave of biological forces rooted in a deeper prana. The personality or mind that is created by the biological wave dissolves back into the ocean of Consciousness. In this regard, the Vedas speak of space as the waters, Apas, which literally means the waves, and the Sun and Moon as flowers or lotuses, meaning matrixes in the waters of space (Apam pushpam).
Life is not a straight line or the flow of a river from past to future always going forward, but a wave of birth, growth, decline and death. Creation, sustenance and dissolution, which is the movement of a wave is also a cycle, from and back to the origin and end, which are ultimately the same.
As time is connected to a greater space, there ultimately is no death. There is always room for more time, though in different forms. Finding the space within, behind and beyond. time, we can experience the eternal presence. Finding the time potentials hidden within space, we can discover boundless creativity. Time is an expression or manifestation of space.
That supreme infinite space and eternal time are one and constitute your own boundless and immortal Self! Learn to live in that and you will have no fear or sorrow. This is but an introduction to the cosmology of consciousness, which is the structure of your own inner being.
David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)