NATURE OF SPACE, TIME AND COORDINATES
Space (आकाश or व्यापक), time (काल), coordinate axes (दिक्) etc., have no independent meaning unless they are cognized as such by an observer. Both space and time arise from our concept of sequence and interval (परत्व – अपरत्व - कणाद). When the intervals are related to ordered sequence of objects, we call the intervals as space. For ordered sequence of events, i.e., changes (रजसा उद्घाटितम् - which you call motion) we call these as time (कालात् क्रिया विभज्यन्ते आकाशात् सर्वमूर्तयः). Since the intervals have no markers, they are described through alternative symbolism (विकल्पन) of the boundary objects and events respectively. Since measurement is a system of comparison between similars, we use easily intelligible and fairly repetitive intervals between objects and events and suitably subdivide or multiply to arrive at the units for measuring space and time respectively. The fundamental differences between space and time are listed below:
1. Space describes the order of arrangement of substances, i.e., farness and nearness (दुरान्तिक), whereas time describes the order of arrangement of events, i.e., antecedence and subsequence (पौर्वापौर्य), which are the order of changes in substances.
2. Space describes the placement of substances whereas time describes displacement of substances i.e., events that change the substances.
3. It is possible to move from point A to point B and back to point A in space. However, it is not possible to move from present to past or future in time and back to present.
4. Space describes the three dimensions that measure the spread of a substance in specific directions. Time does not measure the spread of substance, but describes the changes only in it.
5. Space is perceived only through the effect of forces such as gravity that orders the arrangement of substances in it. Time is perceived in three different ways (त्र्यध्वाकाल) as past-present-future through the various chains of causes and effects. For any action, present is when an action sequence is operating (स्वव्यापारारुढ). Past is when an action sequence is not in existence, but its effects from which the occurrence of such action can be inferred (अनुभूतिव्यञ्जक), are in existence. Future is when an action sequence is not in existence, but the causes from which the occurrence of such action can be predicted, are in existence (भवितव्यव्यञ्जक).
6. Space is inert but can be perceived to acquire other properties one at a moment. Time is never changing but ever-flowing. These will be explained later.
7. Space is a physical reality, whereas time is an intellectual construction (बुद्धिनिर्माण).
8. Space is one of the necessary conditions of generation of sound and any disturbance of space generates sound. Time has no role in generation of sound, even though, like everything else, sound could be generated in time only. In fact, time is the measure of the process of creation whereas space is a derivative in the process of creation that is cognized in time.
Coordinate axes (दिक्) comes from a different consideration. It was known from the earlier days that position of an object in space can only be defined relative to some other object. In was usually done through the various co-ordinate systems centered on an arbitrarily fixed point called the origin. Since the measurement started from this point, the origin came to be associated with the “observer”. Thus, all spatial specifications - such as “right-left”, “up-down”, and “forward-backward” became related to the “observer”. This made the spatial positions dependent on the observer. To describe one specific position, it has to be described in a relative way, i.e., describe the same position using two sets of co-ordinates with two points of origin and relate them as they describe the same common position. The classical concept of absolute space was seen as containing a definite configuration of matter at every instant. This concept was not valid as configuration implies a fixed structure, but no structure is fixed at the subatomic scale and all structures are evolving with time continuously – whether they are perceptible to some or not (दिक् साधनं क्रिया कालः सर्वे वस्त्वाभिधायिनः । शक्तिरूपे पदार्थानामत्यन्तअनवस्थिताः).
Difference in sequence is the cause for the difference in effect (क्रमान्वयित्वं परिणामान्वयित्वे हेतुः). Let us consider the state of the tiniest elementary particle. It is always mobile and never at rest. Thus, the interval between its position at any time t and when it completely leaves that position and moves to the next position – t’, must be the tiniest interval or time – the instant (क्षण). Depending upon the energy of the particle, the instant (क्षण) could vary, which is the real cause for time dilation (and not as explained in Relativity – the time dilation observed in GPS is due to refraction caused by density variation in the atmosphere). The elementary particle is ever mobile. This leads to a continuous pattern of instants. This continuous pattern is known as “the sequence” (क्रम). Sequence is not universal, but specific (यो यस्य धर्मस्य समानान्तरो धर्मः स तस्य क्रमः) the characteristic that evolve at equal interval after a specific characteristic is called its sequence. The sequence can be of three types: sequence of structural composition (धर्मपरिणाम) that can spread out into space, sequence of interaction (लक्षणपरिणाम), and sequence of state (अवस्थापरिणाम). Time is related to the sequence of state. There cannot be a past sequence as the condition of evolution at equal interval (समानान्तरो धर्मः) cannot be satisfied in past cases – we can jump from one past event to another violating the sequence. Thus, sequence is related only to present and future actions.
Position or sequentially differentiated spatial co-ordinates (दिक् - इत इदमिति यतस्तद्दिशो लिङ्गम्) can be defined as the cause for the perception of the following aspects of objects:
1. The space or the interval between two objects may not describe the true position of an object as there can be innumerable ways of arranging two objects with a fixed interval. Hence a proper co-coordinated system is needed for describing the true position of an object at a given interval from another object. That, which is the cause for the perception of such co-coordinated system is called position or sequentially differentiated spatial co-ordinates (व्यतिरेकस्य यो हेतुरवधिप्रतिपाद्ययोः सा दिक्).
2. The spatial interval between two objects may not be their true interval. For example, the spatial difference between two points on the surface of a circle is not the actual distance between them. This can only be determined only after the surface connecting the two points are described geometrically. This needs a geometrical system to describe the true position of an object at a given interval from another object. That, which is the cause for the perception of such geometrical system is called co-ordinates (ऋज्वित्वेवं यतोऽन्येन विना बुद्धिः प्रवर्तते सा दिक्).
3. The different forces move the objects differently. However, there are certain fundamental characteristics associated with the four fundamental forces of Nature and space. For example, the strong force always contracts, the weak force always limits or consolidates towards a central point, the electromagnetic force always disperses away from the greater concentration, the gravitational force disperses in directions determined by the masses of bodies, and the space permits the bodies to expand. This needs a vector system for describing the position of an object after application of some force. That, which is the cause for the perception of such vector system is called co-ordinates (कर्मणो जातिभेदानामभिन्यक्तियदाश्रया सा स्वैरुपाधिभिर्भिन्ना शक्तिर्दिगिति कथ्यते).
Concept is related to information we have on anything. All information has a source rate (complexity) that can be measured in bits per second (speed) and requires a transmission channel (mode) with a capacity equal to or greater than the source rate (intelligence or memory level). Thus, time measures all changes in the universe. Since measurement is a system of comparison between similars, we use easily intelligible and fairly repetitive intervals between objects and events and suitably subdivide or multiply to arrive at the units for measuring space and time respectively. But the changes could relate to an object itself (complexity) or the background in which the objects are changing (transmission channel or mode). There is a fixed sequence of changes in the objects (complexity), which appears as: the six-faceted time: (कालः षड् भावयोगतः।). These are: from being to becoming to growth to transformation to transmutation to end by changing into other forms to reappear again (जायते, अस्ति, वर्धते, विपरिणमते, अपक्षीयते, विनश्यति). Thus, everything evolves in time (लोकानामन्तकृत्कालः). Since it is related to changes in an object at any position, it is called manifested or gross (स्थूल) or local time (मूर्त कालः). But the background in which such changes take place is also time because it is a continuous chain of events with intervals (कालोऽन्यः कलनात्मकः). Since these changes are not related to the same object, this is called the un-manifest (सूक्ष्म) or universal or proper time (अमूर्त कालः).
For measurement purposes, we take life that has a physical existence and its parts as local or manifest time (प्राणादिः कथितो मूर्तः) and pure universal intervals or durations like second, year or light year as the un-manifest or universal time (त्रुट्याद्योऽमूर्तसंज्ञकः). Life is defined as the uninterrupted flow of energy in a closed system (प्राणधारणं जीवनम्). When the energy is interrupted, the system disintegrates. This gives the concept of half-life to sub-atomic particles. Without time, we cannot describe any object or event. Time evolution and its measurement describes everything including existence itself. In other words, time creates and destroys – measures – everything (कालः सृजति भूतानि कालः संहरति प्रजाः). Hence it is called time (कालः). For time measurement, we take the day or year as the natural unit and subdivide it to arrive at the second. Even in atomic time, we use the cesium-beam frequency standard, where we count the number of oscillations or the microwave spectral line emitted per second by atoms of the metallic element cesium, in particular its isotope of atomic weight 133 ("Cs-133") like the swings of a pendulum in the earlier system and use that as a yardstick or unit to measure small time intervals. But since these are not reliable enough, we take an average reading of at least four atomic clocks (usually much more) to find the same old second. Thus, time is also called motion of object related (वस्तुपतित).
Even the universe appears with time – the big bounce. But the background in which such big-bounce takes place remains unaffected by time evolution. In fact after the big bounce, time as we know it, comes into existence (अक्षरात् सञ्जायते कालः). This event leads to creation of space as we know it (कालात् व्यापक उच्यते). Knowing is a function of consciousness (चैतन्यमात्मा). Consciousness cannot be measured as it has nothing to compare with. The objects of consciousness (I know that “this object” is like “that concept” – hence it is that) are infinite. But consciousness proper – as “I know” - is universal in all perceptions. Hence, it is all pervading (व्यापक). Objects of perception have three aspects: it has a concept described by a sound – word (नाम), an object with physical characteristics (रूप) that interacts with others (कर्म). But perception per se has no markers. Hence it is cognized by alternative symbolism (विकल्पन) of the bounded objects, which are revealed through happiness/sorrow (सुख-दुःख), desire or attachment/repulsion (इच्छा-द्वेष) and efforts using freewill (प्रयत्न) or action (क्रिया) due to inertia.
Number is a characteristic of all substances by which we differentiate between similars (भेदाभेद विभागोहि लोके सङ्ख्या निबन्धन). If there are no similars, it is one. If there are similars, it is many, which can be 2,3,4,….n depending upon the sequential perception of one’s (स धर्मो व्यतिरिक्तो वा तेषामात्मैव सा तथा । भेदहेतुत्वमाश्रित्य सङ्ख्येति व्यपदिश्यते). This implies that number can only be assigned to limited or confined objects that are fully perceptible. Infinity is like one – without similars. But whereas the dimensions (the interface between the internal structural space and external relational space of any object) of one are fully perceptible, the dimensions of infinity are not perceptible. Hence it is not a number and cannot be used in mathematics. Space, time, coordinates and consciousness are the only four infinities.
Without the boundary objects and events, space and time has no meaning. Hence, they are emergent properties and mental constructs (बुद्धिनिर्माण). Since time is an ordered sequence of events, the next event will have an interval before it making it another member of the sequence. Since intervals have no direction, there cannot be negative time or time reversal or time travel.
We are limited in all spheres. The nature of desire is eternal availability (नित्यप्राप्ति). Limited in us, it becomes attachment (राग), which, if continued repeatedly or due to inertia (thinking about it continuously), becomes infatuation (अनुराग). When we get the object of our desire or something similar to it, we feel happy. If it is the opposite, we feel repulsed by it. In the former case, we try to continue the attachment and in the latter case, we try to move away from the situation/object. This is called our enjoyment/suffering (भोग - सुख-दुःख साक्षात्कार), which are the causes of our misery (रोदन) – as we cannot get our desire fulfilled always (व्यापको हि भगवान् रुद्रो भोगायमानो. Hence Shiva is called महाकाल). For this reason, happiness and misery are called empty space (ख) prefixed by good (सु) or bad (दुः). It always comes from outside (आगमापायिनो नित्यं) to affect us like the feelings of heat or cold (शीतोष्णसुख-दुःखदा). The body is the base for such enjoyment/suffering (भोगायतन), through the sense organs (इन्द्रियाधिष्ठान) and our responses to it (कर्माधिष्ठान). Since it exists in space and contains space, space is said to contain consciousness also.