going about with a swollen head


Giridhari Lal was a resident of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry in the 1940s.

In response to Giridhari Lal’s question to Ramana Maharshi, “When the kali yuga, which consists of so many thousand years, would end?” Bhagavan said: “I don’t consider time real. So I take no interest in such matters. We know nothing about the past or the yugas which were in the past. Nor do we know about the future. But we know the present exists. Let us know about it first. Then doubts will cease. Time and space always change, but there is something which is eternal and changeless. For example, the world and time, past or future, nothing exists for us in sleep. But we exist. Let us try to find out that which is changeless and which always exists. How will it benefit us to know that the kali yuga started in such and such year and that it would end so many years from now?”

Regarding the devotee’s query as to why the puranas (ancient Hindu myths and legends) give the exact duration of each yuga, Bhagavan replied: “The immensity of the periods of time assigned to each yuga may be a mere device to draw man’s attention to the fact that even if he lived up to hundred years, his life is such a trifling, insignificant fraction of a yuga. Therefore, he should take a proper view of his humble place in the entire scheme and not go about with a swollen head, deeming himself as of great importance. Instead of saying, What is man’s life compared to eternity? They have taught him to consider how short his span is.”






2 thoughts on “going about with a swollen head

  1. what is man’s life compared to eternity?……nice question indeed. i am imagining college students in an examination hall trying to figure out the answer to that question, supposing they were asked.

    • Yes, Eternity is never really contemplated in earnest. Interestingly enough, the Yoga Sutra that describes “Asana” (yoga posture) dosen’t speak about a particular posture of the body but rather psychological-emotional-spiritual posture – so an “inner posture”. It says the posture (asana) should be steady (means we have done our inner work and are not caught up in emotional turbulence) comfortable (means we have reached acceptance of ourselves – self-compassion and forgiveness) and “with a view to eternity” is the third quality required to be able to sit in meditation and to understand existence more deeply. This should be “entry level” college discipline 😉 .

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