All men, inasmuch as they are not liberated from the bondage of Time follow the downward path of history, whether they know it or not, and whether they like it or not.
Few indeed thoroughly like it, even at our epoch, – let alone in happier ages, when people read less and thought more. Few follow it unhesitatingly, without throwing, sometime or other, a sad glance towards the distant lost paradise into which they know, in their deeper consciousness, that they are never to enter; the paradise of Perfection in time – a thing so remote that the earliest people of whom we know remembered it only as a dream. Yet, they follow the fatal way. They obey their destiny.
That resigned submission to the terrible law of decay – that acceptation of the bondage of Time by creatures who dimly feel that they could be free from it, but who find it too hard to try to free themselves; who know before hand that they would never succeed, even if they did try, – is at the bottom of that incurable unhappiness of man, deplored again and again in the Greek tragedies, and long before these were written. Man is unhappy because he knows, because he feels – in general – that the world in which he lives and of which he is a part, is not what it should be, what it could be, what, in fact, it was at the dawn of Time, before decay set in and before violence became unavoidable. He cannot whole-heartedly accept that world as his – specially not accept the fact that it is going from bad to worse, – and be glad. However much he may try to be a “realist” and snatch from destiny whatever he can, when he can, still an invincible yearning for the better remains at the bottom of his heart. He cannot – in general – will the world as it is.
But few people – as rare as the liberated ones, for whom Time does not exist, and perhaps rarer, – can and do; and act up to that will. These are the most thorough, the most mercilessly effective agents of the Death-forces on earth: – supremely intelligent, and sometimes extraordinarily farsighted; always unscrupulous to the utmost; working without hesitation and without remorse in the sense of the downward process of history and, (whether they can see or not as far as that) for its logical conclusion: the annihilation of man and of all life.
Naturally, they do not always see as far as that. But when they do, still they do not care. Since the Law of: Time is what it is, and since the end must come, it is just as well that they should draw all the profit they possibly can from the process that is, anyhow, sooner or later, to bring about the end. Since no one can re-create the primeaval lost Paradise – no one but the wheel of Time itself, after it has rolled its full course – then it is just as well that they, who can completely forget the distant vision, or who never had a glimpse of its dying glow; they, who can stifle in themselves the age-old yearning for Perfection, or rather, who never experienced it; it is just as well that they, I say, should squeeze out of the fleeing moment (whether minutes or years, it matters little) all the intense, immediate enjoyment they can, until the hour copses when they must die. It is just as well that they should leave their stamp upon the world – force generations to remember them, – until the hour comes for the world to die. So they feel. It makes little difference what suffering they might cause to men or other living creatures, by acting as they do. Both men and creatures are bound to suffer, anyhow. Just as well through them as through others, if that can forward the aims of these people.
* * *
The aims of these people – of the men within Time, par excellence, – are always selfish aims, even when, owing to their material magnitude and historical importance, they transcend immeasurably any one man’s life, as they actually do, sometimes. For selfishness, – the claim of the “part” to more place and to more meaning than is naturally allotted to it within the whole, – is the very root of disintegration, and therefore a characteristic inseparable from Time. One can practically say that, more a person is thoroughly, remorselessly selfish, more he or she lives “in Time.”
But, as we have said, that selfishness is manifested in many different ways. It can find expression in that mere lust for personal enjoyment, which characterises the shameless voluptuary; or in the miser’s insatiable greed for gold; or in the individual ambition of the seeker of honours and position; or in the family ambition of the man who is ready to sacrifice every interest in the world to the welfare and happiness of his wife and children. But it can also be brought out in the exaltation of a man’s tribe or country above all others, not because of its inherent worth in the natural hierarchy of Life, but just because it happens to be the tribe or country of that particular man. It can be, nay, and often is, brought out in the undue exaltation of all human beings, however debased, above all the rest of living creation, however healthy and beautiful – the passion which underlies the age-old tyranny of “man” over Nature; the “love of man” not in harmony with the God-ordained duties and rights of each and every species (as of every race and of every individual) according to its place, but in a spirit of mere solidarity with one’s kith and kin, good or bad, worthy or unworthy, solely because they are one’s own. Men “in Time” only know what is “their own” and what is not, and they love themselves in whatever is theirs.
* * *
As there are men “in Time,” so there are, also, philosophies and religions – “ideologies” – “in Time”; false religions, all of them, for true religion can only be above time. Such doctrines are more and more numerous, more and more varied, and more and more popular as the world proceeds nearer to the end of every historical Cycle. There was an epoch when they did not exist; an epoch in which a man “in Time” was necessarily against all professed doctrines. To-day, nearly all interpretations of age-old, true religions, and nearly all the “isms” that have replaced religions, are of the type “in Time.” Their function within the scheme of things, at this stage of world-history, is just to deceive the well-meaning weaklings and fools – the hesitating people, who want an excuse, a justification for living “in” Time without the unpleasant feeling of a guilty conscience, and who cannot find one for themselves. These are only too glad to catch hold of a philosophy loudly professing to be unselfish, which allows them, nay, encourages them, to work under its cover for their selfish ends. The ones who use a really unselfish doctrine, – an originally “timeless” philosophy, – for that purpose, lie all the more shamelessly to themselves and to others. And, by doing so, they help in reality to forward the great tendency of history: to hasten the decay which leads to the great End and, beyond – to the following new Beginning.
* * *
But the actual, typical men “within Time” need no justifying ideology in order to act. Their thoroughly selfish attitude is, in all its glaring shamelessness, far more beautiful than that growing tendency of the tiny men to slip down the path to perdition while hanging unto some “noble” ends such as “liberty, equality, fraternity” or “the rights of international proletariate,” or unto some misunderstood religion. Whatever they may tell the people whom they wish to deceive, – whom they have to deceive, in order to succeed, – the real men “in Time” never deceive themselves. They know what they truly want. And they know the way to get it. And they do not care what it costs to others or to themselves. And, specially, they do not, at the same time, want anything else, which is incompatible with their aims.
And so, – whether on an ordinary scale, like the consistent voluptuary or the single-purposed miser, or on a nation-wide or continent-wide scale, like those who stir millions and sacrifice millions of people, that they might impose their own will, – they act, in a way, as gods would act. And, both in the grandeur of their achievements and in the beauty of the first-rate qualities of character which they put to the service of their purpose, a few of them really have something god-like – as, for instance, that greatest conqueror of all times, whose extraordinary career forms the subject-matter of a part of this book: Genghis-Khan. They possess the awful splendour of the great devastating forces of Nature; of the roaring sea, rolling out of its bed over the land; of a lava stream, burning its way through all obstacles; of the lightning, that men used to worship, when they still understood what is divine.
Naturally, this can be said only of those men whose action exceeds, by its very magnitude, the limits of what is “personal.” It is difficult to imagine any mere seeker of physical pleasure, or even of individual riches, attaining such a grim, god-like greatness. The importance of the men “in Time,” as such, depends upon the nature of their action itself and upon the breadth of the surroundings which it influences, no less if not more than upon the way in which, and the one-sided, cynically selfish purpose for which, they act. And this is understandable, for reasons other than the sheer aesthetic impression which the true story of a mighty life can leave upon the reader or the bystander. It is the consequence of the fact that, like the great forces of Nature which we mentioned, real men “in Time” are blind powers, serving unknowingly the purpose of the Cosmos. The same is true, of course, of the petty seekers after small profits, in their limited sphere of activity. They too are blind powers of destruction. But small ones, at our scale at least. We experience the awe of the Divine in presence of the big ones only – as we do, for instance, before a storm upon the Ocean, while the sight of a pool of water disturbed by the wind leaves us indifferent.
When the ends, – however petty and personal in themselves, – are masterfully served through such action as stirs the whole world; when, in order to attain them, a man “in Time” displays, upon the international stage, superhuman qualities worthy of much higher ends, then, one feels one’s self in presence not of a man “in Time” but of the divine Destroyer – Mahakala; Time Itself, – everlastingly rushing the Thing that seems to annihilation followed by new birth and then again by further decay and annihilation.
The man “in Time” can have any aim, with the exception of a disinterested one (which would at once raise him “above Time”). He himself is always like a blind force of destructive Nature. (That is the reason why so many thoroughly “bad” characters in literature and in the theatre are so attractive, in their forceful evil.) He has no ideology. Or rather, his ideology is himself, separated from the divine Whole – i.e., it is the disintegration of the Whole (of the universe) for the benefit of himself, and, ultimately, the destruction of himself also, although he does not know it or does not care. And that is the case in every instance. But under certain conditions, when his action takes, in human history, the permanent importance that a great geological cataclysm has in the history of the earth, then, as I said, the man “in Time” disappears from our sight, and in his, place – but still bearing his features, – appears, in all His dramatic majesty, Mahakala, the eternal Destroyer. It is Him Whom we adore in the great lightning individuals such as Genghis Khan – Him; not them. They are only the clay images inhabited by Him for a few brief years. And just as the clay image hides and suggests the invisible God or Goddess – Power everlasting – so does their selfishness both hide and reveal the impersonal purposefulness of Life; the destructive phase of the divine Play, in which already lies the promise of the new dawn to come.
And just as volcanic convulsions or invading sea-tides prepare, in the course of centuries, a new growth, in a re-shaped physical universe, so do the great men “in Time” bring us nearer the liberating end and thereby prepare the way for the next glorious Beginning. “Scourges of God,” in a way, they are also blessings in disguise. Far better their frank, brutal destructiveness for selfish ends than the silly patch-work of the ordinary well-meaning people who try to “do good” in this fallen world, without having the courage to strike and burn and tear; who have only “constructive” schemes – all useless! For destruction and creation are for ever linked. That is why we adore the Lightning as well as the Sun, and are overwhelmed by a feeling of sacred awe at the thought of the grand-scale exterminators without ideologies, human likenesses of great Mahakala.
* * *
But there are also men “outside Time” or rather “above Time”; men who live, here and now, in eternity; who (directly at least) have no part to play in the downward rush of history towards disintegration and death, but who behold it from above – as one beholds, from a strong and safe bridge, the irresistible rush of a waterfall into the abyss – and who have repudiated the law of violence which is the law of Time.
Of such men, most live a very special life, away from the world; a life of which the whole inner discipline, spiritual, moral and physical, is systematically devised to keep them in constant union with the great Reality beyond Time: the Thing that is, as opposed to the Thing that seems. They are the real ascetics (in the etymological sense of the word: those who have “trained” themselves to live in eternity). Others – far rarer – live in eternity without a particular “training,” even while living, outwardly, the life of the world; while being husbands and wives, parents and educators of children, manual or intellectual labourers, citizens, soldiers, rulers, etc.
Of those who live “outside” or “above” Time, some are saviours. Others just leave things and people go their way, feeling that they are not called to intervene in anyone’s destiny and knowing that, in the course of centuries, all souls that care to be saved will, anyhow, evolve towards the timeless life of the saints. The distinction between these two types of “liberated” people corresponds, in Buddhist terminology, to that between the Bodhisattvas and the Arhats. Both these are free beings, outside the law of birth and rebirth – the bondage of Time. But, while the Arhat remains completely aloof from the fallen world, the Bodhisattva is born over and over again, of his own free will, in order to help living creatures to work themselves out of the ocean of life within Time.
But the salvation which the men “above Time” offer the world is always that which consists in breaking the time-bondage. It is never that which would find its expression in collective life on earth in accordance with Golden Age ideals. It is the salvation of the individual soul, never that of organised society. For the men “above Time” know fully well that that cannot be saved before the beginning of a new Time-cycle – specially not by peaceful preaching or even edifying examples. And even when they do, to some extent, try to bring a certain amount of organisation into being among a restricted number of disciples, – in monastic communities, for instance, – they know that, however saintly it be, the community as such is bound to degenerate sooner or later. The Buddha foretold the corruption of his sangha “after five hundred years.”
It is true that some – though extremely few – men, of those whom we have characterised as “above Time,” have been (or have tried to be) reformers in the worldly sense, by non-violent means. But none of them were “saviours” of society, really speaking. The saviours in the worldly sense of the word – those who set out to perfect not merely men’s souls but men’s collective life and government, and international relations – are what we call men “against Time.” And they are necessarily violent, although not always physically so. They may be, – in fact, they should be, – personally free from the bondage of. Time, if they are to act with the maximum of foresight and efficiency. But they have to take into consideration the conditions of action “within Time” to live “in” Time, also, in a way. The others – the men “above Time” who appear to have been reformers – have not really tried to remould the world according to their understanding of eternal truth (otherwise, they would not have remained non-violent). What they did was to live in the world their own timeless philosophy. And to the extent that they occupied a position of importance – like that most remarkable of them all, Akhnaton, King of Egypt, who was in his days the most powerful man on earth – their lives could not but have a repercussion upon those of their contemporaries.
It might seem strange that the Founder of a State-religion – for the cult of the “Heat-and-Light-within-the-Disk” was that, undoubtedly – should not be counted among the “saviours” of the world, but rather among those extremely rare men “above Time” who have lived the life of this earth while stubbornly remaining foreign to this earth’s grim realities. But appearances are deceptful. And we shall see, further on, in examining the nature of the much misunderstood Cult of the Disk and the life of King Akhnaton, its Promoter, that this view is the right one.
* * *
The most distinctive trait of the men “outside” or “above” Time, as opposed to those who live “in” Time or “against” Time, is perhaps their consistent refusal to use violence even in order to forward the most righteous cause. Not that they are at all squeamish about violence, like the weaklings, neither good nor bad, who compose ninety per cent of mankind at our epoch. They could not possibly disapprove of the warrior-like ideal of detached, selfless violence preached by Lord Krishna – the divine Preserver of the Universe, Himself – in the Bhagavad-Gita; for that ideal is in harmony with ever-lasting truth, which any man who has transcended Time is bound to acknowledge. Only they are not Kshattriyas by nature, whatever be their race, their social position, their inherited responsibilities; they are not men of action, by nature, let alone fighters. Their action, like that of the Sun, lies essentially in their personal radiation of power, beauty and goodness. What they do is, of course, the integral reflexion of what they are, nothing more; nothing different; nothing which is foreign to them, for they are fully conscious of their being. And if they have any substantial influence at all, it is, like that of the Sun, an influence from above and from afar, characterised by its absolute impartiality, its indiscriminate and impersonal goodness. They do nothing to compell others – nothing, at least, beyond certain limits, even if they live in the world. They know they cannot force the evolution of things, nor suppress the part played by Time in the lives of those who are still submitted to its iron law. Again, like the Sun, they shine. If the seed is alive, it will ripen sooner or later, never mind when, Violence would only help to produce an artificial growth. And if the seed be dead? Let it be! There are new seeds; new creations, for ever and ever. The people who live in eternity can wait.
We have said: those who remain “above Time” do not resort to violence. This does not mean that all men who abstain from violence are necessarily liberated souls, living “above Time.” First, an immense number of cowards are non-violent for fear of taking risks. And they are- anything but free from the bondage of Time. Then, that which one often takes for non-violence, – that which actually goes under that name, – is, in reality, but a subtler form of violence: pressure upon other people’s feelings, more oppressive and – when one knows, in each case, what feelings to appeal to, many a time more effective than pressure upon their bodies. Late Mahatma Gandhi’s much admired “non-violence” was of that type: moral violence; not: “Do this, or else I kill you!”, but: “Do this, or else I kill myself!” Knowing that you hold my life as indispensable. It may look “nobler.” In fact, it is just the same – apart from the difference in the technique of pressure. It is, rather, less “noble” because, precisely on account of that subtler technique, it leads people to, believe that it is not violence, and therefore contains an element of deceit, an inherent falsehood, from which ordinary violence is free.
Late Mahatma Gandhi was by no means what we have tried to define as a man “above time.” He was what we shall call a man “against Time,” aiming now – far too late or… a little too soon, – at the establishment of a tangible order of justice (Ram raj) on this earth. But, inasmuch as it lacks the frankness of brutal force, his so-called “non-violence” – moral violence – is characteristic of our epoch of dishonesty (however honest and sincere he might have been himself.) It is, perhaps, the first instance in history of a disguised form of violence applied, on a broad scale, in a struggle for a good purpose. Its popularity in India can partly be credited to the fact that it was, or seemed to be, the only practical weapon in the hands of totally disarmed and, to a great extent, naturally apathetic people. But it enjoyed abroad, also, a tremendous publicity, quite out of proportion with its real value (and late Mahatma Gandhi’s tremendous reputation of “holiness” is no less out of proportion with his real place among the great men of India). The foreigners who have done the most to popularise it are people typical of our degenerate age: people who recoil at the mere thought of any healthy and frank display of force, but who cannot even detect moral violence; men and women (especially women) of the Western Democracies, the most hypocritical half of the world. It appealed to them precisely to the extent that it was violence in disguise. Even English people (some of whom had lived in India; some of whom had, nay, occupied a high position within the ranks of British colonial officialdom) could not help admiring it. It was not that hated brutal force which other great men “against Time” had used in, the course of history (or were using at our epoch) to bring about an age of justice. Oh, no!
But it surely was not, either, the non-violence of the men “above Time” who, if they cared at all to take an occasional stand against the unavoidable fall of mankind, would either use no real pressure at all to enforce their good laws – and fail, from a worldly point of view, as King Akhnaton did, – or else, exert “against Time” any amount of violence that might be necessary, in the spirit of the God Who speaks, in the Bhagavad-Gita, to the Fighter for a just cause (provided the latter happens to be, like Arjuna, a Kshattriya, i.e., a warrior by race and by nature).
* * *
The men who remain “above Time” seem to be those who have the least influence of all upon the course of events in this world. And that too is to be expected in a world which is sinking deeper and deeper every day into the abyss. In the Age of Truth, and even in later ages pictured in the sacred books of India, the men “above Time” – the true Brahmins, in union with eternal Reality – were the natural and actual counsellors of kings; genuine spiritual authority then backed legitimate temporal power. But as the temporal order on earth became more and more unlike the ideal heavenly Order, kings were less and less inclined to act according to the commands of an increasingly rare timeless wisdom. And what is true of kings is, also, here, true of commoners. As a result, men “outside Time” or “above Time” enjoy less and less authority as the world proceeds towards the end of every Time-cycle. Even when, – like King Akhnaton – they themselves happen to be rulers endowed with absolute power, their lives do not – cannot – in what the Hindus call the “Kali Yuga,” leave upon the sands of time the trace which they normally should.
Moreover, sometimes, – and that, even if they be ascetics, apparently separated from the world, – men “above Time” can, like the Sun, with which we have constantly compared them, be destructive, indirectly. Their light, indiscriminately shed upon the righteous and the unrighteous, can have the most varied and unexpected effects amidst a humanity evolving from bad to worse. One can think of the destructiveness of King Akhnaton’s “Golden Age” attitude to international affairs, viewed from the Egyptian side. One can think also of the true religions, conceived by such men “above Time” as were not in possession of temporal power, and then distorted by clever people who lived, most of them, entirely “within Time,” and used by them in the service of the most selfish, the most destructive of all worldly ends. It is, naturally, “not the fault” of the men “above Time” – any more than it would be “the fault” of the Sun, if, in some land where the heat of the sun-rays is unbearable, a man were to tie his enemy to a pillar in a shadeless place and leave him to die there. Truly speaking, it is not “the fault” of the men “within Time” either. It is a consequence of the law of general decay, inseparable from life in time: as the world becomes less and less capable of penetrating their eternal meaning, even the best things are misunderstood, and, either hated and rejected or else put to some criminal use.
Exiles of the Golden Age in our Age of Gloom, the men “above Time” either live entirely within their own inner world, or else live and act in this one also, but as though it were still in its Golden Age. They either renounce this world or ignore it – or, better, forget it, as a man forgets the scars of sin and sickness upon a once beautiful face, which he still loves, in spite of all. They see the everlasting and unchangeable behind the downward rush of the stream of time; the Thing that is, behind the thing that seems. Even when they live in the world of forms, colours and sounds as earnestly and intensely as King Akhnaton – that supreme artist – did, still those impressions take on, for them, a meaning entirely different from that which they retain in the consciousness of people submitted to the bondage of Time. Men “above Time” enjoy with detachment, as people who know they will never die. They also suffer with detachment, being constantly aware of their blissful real Self, which is beyond pleasure and pain.
And the fallen world can never understand them, i.e. know them, any more than they can understand the fall of man, in which they have no part, as others, who share it, can, and do. And yet, untiringly, – like the Sun, far away and omnipresent – they shed their light; that light which is, in our growing gloom, like a glimpse of all the past and future dawns.
* * *
But, as we have said, there are also people with a Golden Age outlook, – fully aware of what a splendid place this world could be, materially and otherwise, – who can, however, neither renounce life “as it is” nor ignore it; people who, in addition to that, are endowed with what the Hindus would call a “Kshattriya” nature: born fighters, for whom difficulties exist only to be overcome, and for whom the impossible has a strange fascination. These are the men “against Time,” – absolutely sincere, selfless idealists, believers in those eternal values that the fallen world has rejected, and ready, in order to reassert them on the material plane, to resort to any mea within their reach. As a consequence of the law of Time, those means are necessarily all the more drastic and all the more brutal as every historical Cycle draws nearer to its end. The last Man “against Time” is, in fact, no other than He Whose name, in Sanskrit Tradition, is Kalki, – the last Incarnation of the divine Sustainer of the universe and, at the same time, the Destroyer of the whole world; the Saviour Who will put an end to this present “yuga” in a formidable display of unparalleled violence, in order that a new creation may flourish in the innocence and splendour of a new “Age of Truth.”
Men “outside Time” or “above Time,” at the most saviours of souls, have, more often than not, disciples who are definitely men “against Time.” (Sometimes even men “in Time”; but we do not speak of these, for they are mere exploiters of religions or ideologies for selfish ends, not sincere disciples of saints.) The true disciples – and, in some rare instances, the Masters themselves – who are “against Time,” thorough organisers, unscrupulous propagandists and ruthless fighters, are the actual founders of most of, if not all, the great Churches of the world, even when the religions preached by those Churches are doctrines originally “above Time,” as they generally are. And this is unavoidable inasmuch as a Church is always or nearly always, not only itself a material organisation, but an organisation which aims at regulating the lives of thousands, when not millions, of people in this world – in Time. Apparently, the one exception to that law is Buddhism, the only important international religion which has conquered over half a mighty continent without the help of men “against Time” and without the use of violence; the one in the name of which persecution of other faiths was never carried on but twice in the whole course of history, – and that, by men “in Time,” and for reasons decidedly political, not religious. But then, we must remember that this creed is, more than any other, dominated by the yearning to escape the bondage of Time, and that it is, in fact, not intended at all for life in Time. A person who accepts its postulates cannot possibly think of a better world, except if it be “outside” or “above Time.” But, as a result of this, there is perhaps a more shocking disparity between the high ideals of the religion and the life of the faithful in Buddhist countries than anywhere else. The religions that have spread and maintained themselves partly through violence, have had, in spite of many shortcomings, and of less high moral standards, a greater practical influence upon the lives of their followers as a whole, strange as this may appear.
One does not always realise this clearly enough, when one criticises the great active disciples for being inconsistent with “the spirit” of their contemplative masters. One does not realise that, without the ruthless passion of those men, the organisations that have, one must admit, kept to some extent “the spirit” alive, would just not exist, in, many places where they still flourish, and that many “spiritual treasures,” that one values so much, would be lost to the world. If one really values those “treasures,” one should not find fault with the men “against Time” or, more often than not, “in Time,” who recoiled from nothing so that they might be put, and kept, within man’s reach. Without the brutal methods of Charlemagne, the Saxon-slayer, so obviously anything but “Christ-like,” the Germans would perhaps, to this day, have remained attached to their old gods; so would have the Norwegians, without the drastic sort of evangelisation imposed upon them by King Olaf Tryggvason. Without the equally sincere, equally fanatical, and even more brutal activities of many men “against” or “in” Time, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, half Goa, and the whole of Mexico and Peru would probably not be, to-day, professing the Christian faith. Christianity owes a lot to men “against Time” – and perhaps still more to men “in Time.”
We, who are not Christians, may – and do, – deplore it. We are aware of the fact that many spiritual treasures other than those contained in the Gospels – the truths contained in the old European Paganisms, or long preserved in the solar cults of Central and Southern America; treasures of which, to-day, one knows much too little, – were lost to the world precisely through the impersonal zeal of religious-minded men, by nature “against Time” (or through the wanton destructiveness of men “in Time”) such as those we have mentioned. But we believe that, wherever such losses were suffered, there was something wrong not with the forgotten truth (which is eternal) but with the people who should have managed to stand for it against the new and hostile doctrine; we believe, in fact, that there were not enough men “against Time” among those people – not enough persons in whose Eyes the now lost teachings were, then, sufficiently alive to be made a basis for the organisation of human society against the growing current of decay; not enough who, in order to defend them on those grounds, were prepared to be as ruthless and as perseverant as the Christians were in order to destroy them.
* * *
The relation between the Master, permanently “above Time,” and the ardent realist “against Time” – builder and defender of all militant Churches – who happens to be his disciple, has never been so perfectly pictured as in the words addressed to the Christ by the grand Inquisitor, in Dostoyevsky’s famous episode of “The Karamazov brothers.” “Thou hast resisted the three temptations of the Devil” – refused the means to rule, offered to Thee by the! One who knows men and time, better than any other. “Thou hast refused to turn stones into bread” – to give the multitudes material goods; “Thou hast refused to throw Thyself from the height of the Temple” – to give the people astonishment and awe; “Thou hast refused to bow down to Me – the Master of lies; the Master of Time – to live “in Time,” to some extent at least. “As a result, the people have drifted away from Thy teaching and from Thyself, and Thou canst not save them. It is we” – we the unscrupulous, we, the violent, the men who stop at nothing to make the truth they love a reality in this world – “it is we, I say, who save them, in Thy stead, by doing all that which Thou hast refused to do and therefore by damning ourselves in Thine eyes. And we accept that damnation for the love of Thee – for Thy name to be praised.”
This is the substance of the Inquisitor’s discourse, if not its textual wording. And the militant champion of the organised creed tells the Christ: “Do not come back! – do not destroy the work that we are doing in this fallen world, for Thy glory!”
For no organisation can live “outside Time” – “above Time” – and hope to bring men back, one day, to the knowledge of the eternal, values. That, all men “above Time” have realised. In order to establish, or even to try to establish, here and now, a better order, in accordance with Truth everlasting, one has to live, outwardly at least, like those who are still “in Time”; likes them, one has to be violent, merciless, destructive – but for different ends. Therein lies the tragedy of bringing into reality any dream of perfection. And the more perfect the dream – the further away from the conditions of success in this fallen world, – the more ruthless must necessarily be the methods of those who sincerely wish to impose it upon men, too late or… too early.
Knowing this, the real men “above Time” are the first ones to understand and to appreciate the wholehearted efforts of their disciples “against Time,” however “awful” these ‘night appear to ordinary people neither good nor bad. The Christ, in Dostoyevsky’s famous page, says nothing. What could he say? There is nothing to be said which the leader of the militant Church could understand. To the Inquisitor, the Christ will always remain a mystery. But the Christ understands the Inquisitor and values his love. Before leaving the prison-cell – and the world of Time – he kisses him.
* * *
As we have pointed out above, no man “outside Time” can enjoy any real influence upon human society unless he has such disciples, or unless he is himself prepared to become, also, a man “against Time.” For it is a fact that one can be both “above Time,” in one’s personal outlook, and “against Time” in one’s activity in the world. All the really great creative men “against Time” possess these two aspects: they are men of vision aware of timeless truths; but they are, also, men who have been stirred to the depth by the glaring contrast between the ideal world, built according to those truths, and the actual world in which they live; men who, after what they have seen and experienced, can neither remain any longer cut off from time, in their own inner paradise, nor act in life as though all were well, but who must devote their whole life and energy to the reshaping of tangible reality on the model of their vision of Truth. One such Man is the warrior-like Prophet Mohamed who dreamed a world-theocracy and succeeded in founding a great civilisation, lasting to this day. Another one, – whose unparalleled greatness is yet unrecognised, because his follow lost a war instead of winning it – is the tragic and beautiful figure that dominates the history of the West in our own times: Adolf Hitler.
I have compared men “in Time” to the Lightning, and men “outside Time” or “above Time” to the Sun. Using the same metaphorical language, one can say that men “against Time” partake both of the Sun and of the Lightning, inasmuch as they are truly inspired by Golden Age ideals, rooted in timeless Truth, and as, – precisely in order to be able to stand for such ideals on the material plane, in the Age of Gloom, against the current of Time – they are compelled to display all the practical qualities of the men “in Time”; inasmuch as the only difference between them and the latter lies not in their methods (which are the same, and cannot but be so) but in their selfless, impersonal ends.
They serve those ends with merciless realism but, to the extent they are “above Time” also, with the detachment preached to the warrior in the Bhagavad-Gita. In fact, the Teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita is nothing else but the philosophy of the perfect Man “against Time,” yogi in spirit, warrior in action; a Man like King Akhnaton, the Only-One of the Sun, free from the bondage of Time, and whose strength is cosmic Energy Itself, but… who uses that strength, on the material plane, in the service of his ideals, with all the remorseless logic of a Genghis Khan.
Alone Kalki – the last Man “against Time,” at the end of every historical Cycle; the last Saviour, Who is also the greatest Destroyer – impersonates that double ideal perfectly, and succeeds completely. It is He Who restores to the world its primeaval health, beauty and innocence, thus opening a new Time-cycle.
The other men “against Time” – before the very end of each humanity – succeed, and are recognised and exalted by millions, permanently, inasmuch as they, or their followers, abandon their spirit and work decidedly “in” Time, compromising with the forces of death; in other words, inasmuch as they have in them, – like the Prophet Mohamed, – more “lightning” than “sun.” Otherwise, they are defeated by the agents of the dark forces, broken in their might by the down-ward rush of history, which they are unable to stem. And such a fate awaits, always, until the very end of any Time-cycle, those who are too magnanimous, too trusting, too good; those who put too much confidence both in foreigners and in their sown people; those who do not “purge” their following often enough and thoroughly enough; who love their people too much to suspect ingratitude or actual treachery where it lies; who are not merciless enough, and sometimes spare their, fleeing enemies; in one word, those who, like Adolf Hitler, have, in their psychological make-up, too much “sun” and not enough “lightning.” Be He, himself, but the last one in date of these, come back with superhuman might after apparent annihilation, or a new one altogether, “Kalki” will avenge them and the people who struggled at their side, for no visible result whatsoever, in their days. And then, He will make their apparently impossible dreams the living reality of the next great Beginning!
In every great Beginning, the men “above Time,” lonely ascetics, saviours of souls, or planners of an ideal order, too good for the fallen earth – Arhats, Boddhisatwas, or Rajrishis, to use the Sanskrit terminology, – meet the great Ones “against Time” on the material plane as on every other. Then, in a world in which violence is no longer necessary, nay, no longer thinkable; in which freedom and order go hand in hand, things are, according to the very law of manifestation in Time, what both the men “above Time” who cared to give a thought to collective life, and the greatest men “against Time” wanted them to be. The City-of-the-Horizon-of-the-Disk as King Akhnaton dreamed it; the “Seat of Truth” which, even in his far-gone days, he failed to establish upon earth, and the world New Order which Adolf Hitler fought in vain to install in the midst of our present-day, worthless humanity, are, then one and the same living, tangible reality in time, – as long, at least, as unavoidable decay does not once more set in.
And thus, through the perfect, impersonal – mathematical – justice of the Cosmos, each different agent of universal Destiny has the success which is due to him as a man. Those who work for the immediate result of their action, in a selfish spirit, obtain that result (and what a tremendous one, sometimes!) and play their part in the evolution of a world that must pass through degradation and death before it can experience the glory of a new birth and of a new youth. They bring that world nearer to its end. On the other hand, those who have renounced the bondage of Time and, purposely, either do not act, or else act in the selfless spirit of the warrior in the Bhagavad-Gita, get the glorious result of their life’s thought and work at the beginning of the following Time-cycle. And it may well be that the efforts of the men “against Time,” apparently wasted upon an ununderstanding and ungrateful world, actually do add to the beauty of every new Beginning, and that they even hasten its advent. For nothing is ever lost.
And as we have said, Destruction and Creation are inseparable. Even the most destructive men “in Time” are creative in their way. Men “above Time” are also destructive in their way – indirectly, as the former are creative. Men “against Time” are actively, consciously, willingly both creative and destructive – like Lord Shiva Himself: the divine Principle behind all change; the Destroyer, Who again and again creates; and like Vishnu, the Preserver, Who, once at least in every Time-cycle, comes as Kalki, to destroy completely. In them, the Cosmos is for ever seeking its Principle, against the irresistible Law of Time, which steadily draws it away from It, from the beginning to the end of every successive material manifestation in time.
Completed in Karlsruhe railway station on the 6th December, 1948.
 Once in Central Asia, in the early thirteenth century, by the “Gurkhan” of the Kara-Khitai, against both Islam and Nestorian Christianity, and another time, in seventeenth century Japan, by the first Shoguns of the Tokugawa Dynasty, Iyeyasu, Hidetada and Iyemitsu, against Christianity.
 See the life of the Founder of Islam.