Mircea of ultimate reality—which is a strictly metaphysical

Mircea
Eliade’s essay titled Time and Eternity
in Indian Thought addressed the significant aspects and functions of Indian
myths and their even more substantial influence on civilizations, religions,
and time itself. He begins by explaining two different dimensions of time: “Sacred
(mystical) Time,” the duration in which we project ourselves into a space and
re-actualize a myth, as it were, the sacred time regarding the occurrence of
said events and “Profane (historical) Time,” the individual, chronological,
continuous, and irreversible time that is our everyday, desacralized existence.

The process of imitating and re-actualizing mythical events eliminates the
elements of profane time, allowing both the narrator and listener to
successfully distinguish the archaic world from our modern societies, and from
there, determine our own sense of ultimate reality. He writes, however, that
although this elimination of the elements of the profane time occurs, when
narrating or listening to a myth, one still remains in contact with both the
sacred and reality, and therefore, are not limited to the bounds of their
profane conditions. In this sense, myths are true, because they are sacred. Unlike
the profane times, myths are timeless, as they occur in a moment without
duration, indicating their infinite significance. They breach time itself and
its surrounding world, allowing access to the sacred Great Time, as Mircea puts
(Eliade, 1954). Therefore, these
myths create a vision of infinite time, of the ever-going cycle of creation and
destruction, of the eternal return, as an instrument of knowledge and a means
of liberation.

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Mircea
continues to argue that in the perspective of Great Time, all existence is
precarious, evanescent, illusory; existence in time is ontologically
nonexistence, unreality. He explains that the process of transcending profane time,
to recover the mythical Great Time, is equivalent to a revelation of ultimate
reality—which is a strictly metaphysical reality, accessible only through myths
and symbols. “We must never forget that such forms are ‘true’ only on their own
plane of reference, and are ontologically devoid of substance” (Eliade, 1954). It is important to note
that all the images, passages, myths, and other examples that Mircea mentioned
aim to express not only the reoccurring paradoxical theme of evading time but
also the process from ignorance to enlightenment. Firstly, the cosmic egg, the
lighting flash, and the seven steps of the Buddha, all suggest the abolition of
time and thus enlightenment by crossing over the dimensions. Secondly, the
motionless Sun at the zenith, the end of the fluidity of the states of
consciousness, and the total cessation of respiration in the practice of Yoga,
all refer to an inconceivable situation. Lastly, the contradictory image of the
“favourable moment,” a temporal fragment transfigured into an “instant of
illumination” (Eliade, 1954).

 

While
his essay was chockfull with passages, myths, and many more that were used to
persuade the reader of his ideas, Mircea specifically uses symbols and
analogies evident in Sanskrit and Indian myths to further compel his arguments.

For example, his analogies connecting the four yugas to our modern society,
allow a deeper persuasive context to his writings. Additionally, he compares
and connects both the Buddhism and Jainism heterodoxies, using them to further
support the idea that we all will begin the same existence over again, billions
of times, always enduring the same endless suffering. Lastly, he uses symbols, such
as the seven steps of Buddha and the cosmic egg to describe the reversibility
of time and to further support the idea that the continuous fluidity of time is
adequate to make every “form” that is manifested in time not only perishable
but also ontologically unreal (Eliade, 1954). Ultimately, along
with his captivating writing style and intensive use of evidence, Mircea’s use
of literary strategies, such as analogies and symbols, further help drive his
arguments and make his points ever much so compelling to readers.

 

From
reading his essay, it is clear that Mircea has a passion for analyzing
religions, making inferences and connections for both past and present
conditions. As he puts it, “For ignorance is primarily that false
identification of the real with what each one among use seems to be or seems to
possess” (Eliade, 1954). This could indicate
that he himself, being so knowledgeable in religious dimensions, possesses a
skill that ultimately influences his work and what he believes is correct.

Therefore, his agreement with many ideas, philosophies, techniques, symbols,
and interpretations of time in the Indian myths, along with his incredibly
descriptive explanations, suggest its significant influence in his writing and
work. 

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