Beginningless time and a nice whish from Veṅkaṭanātha

“[Obj.:] Then, let it be that there is a beginning in the liberated beings (i.e., that there is a point in time in which conscious beings started achieving liberation). Before that, there would be no liberated one.
[R:] There is no contradiction in the idea of a continuous and beginningless succession of liberated [beings]. For, it is not the case that someone who was ab initio liberated is then bound. In this case the liberation (and not the bondage) would be something to be realised, which is contradictory. Rather, all beings, bound ab initio liberate themselves, the one after the other, when they get the way”.

(atha mukteṣv ādiḥ, sa kathaṃ tvayā viditaḥ? tataḥ pūrvaṃ muktābhāvād iti cet, tam api kathaṃ vettha? anādimuktau vyāghātād iti cen na; muktapravāhe vyāghātābhāvāt | na hy anādimuktaḥ kaścid badhyate, sādhyamokṣo vā bhavet, yena vyāghātas syāt; kiṃ tu, anādibaddhās sarve ´pi labdhopāyāḥ krameṇa mucyante |, autocommentary on TMK 2.25)

The permanence of time and the radical alterity of mokṣa seem to create a tension here.
Does it entail that each one of today’s beings will be liberated, sooner or later? In other words, do all possiblities need to actualise themselves sooner or later in an endless time?

Comments and discussions are welcome. Be sure you are making a point and contributing to the discussion.

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3 thoughts on “Beginningless time and a nice whish from Veṅkaṭanātha

  1. The simplest answer should be, that moksha transcends time, in such a way that the liberated being is liberated from the beginning despite having been, from the point of view of bound beings, liberated at a given point in time. I would suppose that time itself is only something that makes sense to bound beings.
    In Islamic philosophical “mysticism”, souls reaching contemplation are able to commune with all other souls past, present and future.

    • Very interesting, thanks. I am not a specialist in soteriology, but I do not recollect any explanation like that, namely that liberated souls are all liberated from the beginning. Some schools claim that the bondage is only illusory and that souls are eternally liberated, although they do not know that they are liberated. But this is still something else, since for these schools there is strictly speaking no liberation at all.
      As for the communion of liberated souls, a main problem of that claim is that it presupposes a dualist viewpoint. It does not work, in other words, if all souls become part of the brahman or just abandon their individuality. Yogis are, by contrast, said to be able to enter other minds (but it is all about living beings).

      • Sorry, I was unclear about the Islamic viewpoint I was referring to (which is by no means universally accepted Islamic orthodoxy anyway): the communion refers to souls that are able to commune _while their body is alive_. There’s plenty of mystically inclined thinkers in Classical Islam who espoused a monistic, or near-monistic, soteriology whereby individuality is indeed lost in contact with the One (or Intellect, or Necessary Being, according to different texts). The mystic is able to catch glimpses of this liberated state during bodily life (indeed has to, in order to attain the supreme bliss in the afterlife), during which it is possible to have a contemplation that trascends time, but the soul is still bound to the body, so individuality remains until death.