Questioner: You have said that the future is not controlled by God; in reality, various forces are acting simultaneously creating unpredictable future events. When I read Yoga Vasistha , I have found that there are chapters where Guru Vasistha talks about the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna to Rama. How is this possible? How could Guru Vasishta know these events in advance?
Acharya Prashant: The answer is contained in the Gita itself. Shri Krishna tells Arjuna, “Arjuna, there has been no time, no place when I have not been there or you have not been there. The two of us are always there. Since the beginning of time, there is you and there is Me. It’s just that I am there even before the beginning of time. But nevertheless, since t=0, the beginning of time, you are there, I am there.” Similarly, he says elsewhere that “This knowledge, Arjuna, that I am imparting to you right now, is eternal; it came directly from the central source to one sage who transmitted it to the next one, and to the next one, and that entire sequence has now come to you and Me.”
So, surely both Krishna and Arjuna are not little figures within the boundary of their respective lifetimes, and similarly, what has been expressed in the Gita is not knowledge relevant to a particular situation or to a particular place or persons. There is timelessness in Krishna, in Arjuna, and in the words of Gita. Shri Krishna talking to Arjuna is never a future event. The implication is: today as I speak to you, Shri Krishna and Arjuna are not in the past. Just as when Guru Vasishta is speaking Shri Krishna is not in the future, similarly today, for us, Shri Krishna is not in the past. It is a continuity, it is an eternity. You have to appreciate this.
Who is Shri Krishna? Shri Krishna is the timeless Truth—Truth that is the very source of time. And if Shri Krishna is the very source of time, how can he be confined to a particular point in time? The words ‘past’ and ‘future’ do not apply to Shri Krishna at all. Similarly, who is Arjuna? Arjuna is the fundamental ego-tendency. Arjuna is not a person, Arjuna is not a body; bodies come and go. In the language of the Gita, Shri Krishna is timeless Paramātman (Supreme Self) and Arjuna is the indestructible jivātman (individual soul). We should not be looking at these two as normal human figures; they are not. They are symbols of something far more deeper and eternal; that has to be understood.
If something is eternal, then it is there in the past, it is there right now, it would be there in the future—so no surprise that you can talk about it. Would it be too surprising for you if I say that the sky will be there tomorrow? Would you then be able to say, “Sir, how were you able to predict the future?” The sky will be able to be there tomorrow because the sky is not really a function of time. And it is just an example; I fully understand that this sky that we perceive with our eyes is destructible. The Truth is even more indestructible—something that cannot vanish even if the sky does.
So, unpredictable events cannot be talked about, but the Truth is very much predictable; therefore, you can easily talk about it. Not that the Truth can be contained in your talk, but when I say that you can talk about the Truth, it means you can be sure of the Truth.
The Truth is not really an uncertainty. Krishna is not an uncertainty. Arjuna, too, is not an uncertainty. As long as the world is there, the Arjuna-spirit is there, the fundamental ego-tendency; and even if the world is not there, Krishna is still there. These are Krishna and Arjuna. Krishna is there whether or not the world, the universe exists. And who is Arjuna? The fundamental spirit of this world, the fundamental sense of ‘I’, the fundamental ignorance that is at the center of the world and seeks liberation and knowledge, in other words, seeks a Krishna.