top of page

Yoga Sutra

Samadhi Pada

Sutra 1.26
स पूर्वेषाम् अपि गुरुः कालेनानवच्छेदात्॥२६
sa pūrveṣām-api-guruḥ kālena-anavacchedāt

Not being limited by time, He is even the master of the ancients.

sa = He
pūrveṣām= earlier
api= too, even, also
guru= master
kālena = by time
anavacchedāt = without interruption

Guru is one who dispels the darkness and imparts the knowledge. God, demigods, yogis, and other humans can be Gurus.  All are limited by time except God who is not limited by  time. Hence God is the Guru of the ancient.

Commentary by Maharishi Vyasha

The teacher of the earliest ones, because there is no limitation in time.

It is understandable that earliest sages are limited by time. He, not being limited by time, is the master of the earliest sages. He is superior in this cycle of creation. It should be understood as such for the previous creations also.

Commentary by Swami Vivekananda

He is the Teacher of even the ancient teachers, being not limited by time.

It is true that all knowledge is within ourselves, but this has to be called forth by another knowledge. Although the capacity to know is inside us, it must be called out, and that calling out of knowledge can only be got, a Yogi maintains, through another knowledge. Dead, insentient matter, never calls out knowledge. It is the action of knowledge that brings out knowledge. Knowing beings must be with us to call forth what is in us, so these teachers were always necessary. The world was never without them, and no knowledge can come without them. God is the Teacher of all teachers, because these teachers, however great they may have been—gods or angels—were all bound and limited by time, and God is not limited by time. These are the two peculiar distinctions of the Yogis. The first is that in thinking of the limited, the mind must think of the unlimited, and that if one part of the perception is true the other must be, for the reason that their value as perceptions of the mind is equal. The very fact that man has a little knowledge, shows that God has unlimited knowledge. If I am to take one, why not the other? Reason forces me to take both or reject both. It I believe that there is a man with a little knowledge, I must also admit that there is someone behind him with unlimited knowledge. The second deduction is that no knowledge can come without a teacher. It is true as the modern philosophers say, that there is something in man which evolves out of him; all knowledge is in man, but certain environments are necessary to call it out. We cannot find any knowledge without teacher, if there are men teachers, god teachers, or angel teachers, they are all limited; who was the teacher before them? We are forced to admit, as a last conclusion, One Teacher, Who is not limited by time, and that One Teacher or infinite knowledge, without beginning or end, is called God.

Commentary by Sri Osho


What is time and how one goes beyond time? Try to understand. Time is desire, because for desire time is needed. Time is a creation of desire. If you have no time, how can you desire? There is no space for desire to move. Desire needs future. That’s why people who live with millions of desires are always afraid of death. Why are they afraid of death? Because death cuts time immediately.

There is no time any more, and you have millions of desires, and here comes death. Death means now no more future; death means now no more time. The clock may go on ticking, but you will not be ticking. And desire needs time to fulfill – future. You cannot be desirous in the present; there exists no desire in the present. Can you desire anything in the present? How you will desire it? Because immediately if you desire the future has entered. The tomorrow has come in or the next moment. How can you desire in this moment here now?Desire is impossible without time – time is also impossible without desire – they are a phenomenon together, two aspects of the same coin. When one becomes desireless, one becomes timeless.

Future stops, past stops. Only the present is there. When desire stops it is like as if a clock goes on ticking and the hands have been taken off. Just imagine a clock goes on ticking, and no hands, so you cannot say what is the time. A man without desire is a clock ticking without hands. That is the state of a Buddha. In body, he lives, the clock goes on ticking, because the body has its own biological process to continue. It will be hungry, it will ask for food. It will be thirsty and ask for a drink. It will feel sleepy and will go to sleep. And the body will need, so it is ticking. But the innermost being has no time: the clock is without hands.

But because of the body you are anchored in the world – in that world of time. Your body has a weight, and because of that weight the gravitation still functions on you. When the body is left, when a Buddha leaves body, then the ticking itself stops. Then he is pure consciousness: no body, no hunger, no satiety; no body, no thirst; no body, then no need.

Remember this – desire and need – these two words. Desire is of the mind; need is of the body. Desire and need, then you are a clock with hands. Only need, no desire, then you are a clock without hands, and when need also drops, you have gone beyond time. This is eternity; beyond time is eternity.

For example: if I don’t look at the watch – and I have to look continuously the whole day – if I don’t look at the watch, I don’t know what is the time. Even if I have seen it five minutes before, again I have to look because I don’t know exactly, because now – no time inside – only the body is ticking.

Consciousness has no time. Time is created when consciousness desires something: immediately time is created. In existence there is no time. If man is not there on the earth, time will disappear immediately. Trees tick, rocks tick. The sun will rise and the moon will set and everything will continue as it is, but there will be no time because time comes not with the present, it comes with the memory of past and the imagination of future.

A Buddha has no past. He is finished with it; he doesn’t carry it. A Buddha has no future. He is finished with that also because he has no desire. But needs are there because the body is there. Few more karmas have to be fulfilled; few more days the body will go on ticking, just the old momentum will continue. You have to wind a clock. Even if you stop winding, it will continue to tick for few hours or few days. The old momentum will continue.


When need and desire both disappear, time disappears. And remember to make a distinction between desire and need; otherwise you can be in a very deep mess. Never try to drop needs. Nobody can drop, unless the body drops. And don’t get confused what is what. Always remember what is need and what is desire.

Need comes from the body and desire comes from the mind. Need is animal; desire is human. Of course, when you feel hungry you need food. Stop when the need stops; your stomach immediately says, ”Enough” But the mind says, ”A little more. It is so tasty.” This is desire. Your body says, ”I am thirsty,” but the body never says for Coca Cola. The body says, ”Thirsty” – you drink. You cannot drink water more than is needed, but Coca Cola you can drink more. It is a mind phenomenon.

Coca Cola is the only universal thing in this age – even in Soviet Russia. Nothing has entered, but Coca Cola has entered. Even the iron curtain doesn’t make any difference because human mind is human mind.

Always watch where need stops and desire starts. Make it a continuous awareness. If you can make the distinction, you have attained something – a clue to existence. Need is beautiful, desire is ugly. But there are people who go on desiring, and they go on cutting their needs. They are foolish, stupid You cannot find more idiots in the world, because they are doing just the opposite.

There are people who will fast for days and desire for heaven. Fasting is cutting the need and desiring heaven is helping desire to be more there. They have a bigger time than yours, because they have to think of heaven – they have a vast time, heaven included in it. Your time stops at death.

To you they will say, ”You are a materialist.” They are spiritualists because their time goes on and on. It covers heavens – not only one, seven – and even moksha, the final liberation, is within their time limit. They have a vast time, and you are materialists because your time stops at death.

Remember, it is easy to drop needs, because body is so silent you can torture it. And body is so adaptive that if you torture it too long it becomes adjusted to your torture. And it is dumb It cannot say anything If you fast, for two, three days it will say that ”I am hungry, I am hungry” But your mind is thinking of heaven, and without being hungry you cannot enter. It is written in the scriptures: ”Fast – so you don’t listen to the body. It is also written in the scriptures that ”Don’t listen to the body – the body is the enemy.”

And body is a dumb animal: you can go on torturing. For few days it will say, if you start a long fast, at the most the first week... Fifth, sixth day, the body stops because nobody is listening, so body starts making adjustments of its own. It has a reservoir for ninety days. Every healthy body has a reservoir of fat for ninety days for some emergency situation – not for fasting.

Sometime you are lost in a forest and you cannot get food. Sometime there is a famine and you cannot get food. For ninety days the body has a reservoir. It will feed itself; it eats itself. And it has a two-gear system. Ordinarily it asks for food. If you supply food, then the reservoir remains intact. If you don’t supply, two, three days it goes on asking. If you still don’t supply, it simply changes the gear. The gear is changed; then it starts eating itself.

That’s why in fasting you lose one kilo weight every day. Where is this weight going? This weight is disappearing because you are eating your own fat, your own flesh. You have become a man-eater, a cannibal. Fasting is cannibalism. Within ninety days you will be a skeleton, every reservoir finished. Then you have to die. 

It is easy to be violent to the body: it is so dumb. But to the mind it is difficult because mind is so vocal, it won’t listen. And the real thing is to make the mind listen and cut the desires. Don’t ask for heaven and paradise. I was just reading a book on new religions in Japan. And as you know Japanese are so technically skilled people; they have created two paradises in Japan. Just to give you a glimpse, on a hill station they have made a small paradise – how it is up there... You just go and have a glimpse. A beautiful place they have made and absolutely clean they keep it – flowers and flowers and trees and shades and beautiful small bungalows, and they give you a glimpse of paradise so that you start desiring.

There is no paradise Paradise is a creation of the mind. And there is no hell That too is a creation of the mind. Hell is nothing but missing the paradise; that’s all. And first you create, and then you miss because it is not there. And these people, these priests, the poisoners, they always help you to desire. First they create the desire; then follows the hell; then they come to save you.

Once I was passing through a very primitive road, and suddenly – and it was summer – I came on a path of road so muddy that I couldn’t believe how this road has become so muddy. There has been no rain. But a patch almost of half a mile, but I thought it cannot be very deep so – I was driving the car – I went into it; then I was stuck. It was not only muddy, it has many holes. Then I waited if somebody comes to help, some truck.

A farmer came with a truck. When I asked him to help me, he said he will take twenty rupees. So I said, ”Okay You will take twenty rupees, but get me out of it.” When I was out, I told the farmer that ”At this price you must be doing the job day and night.” He said, ”No, not in the night, because I have to tote the water from the river for this road. Who do you think creates this mud here? And then I have to have a little sleep also because just early in the morning the business starts.”

These are the priests. First they create mud: they tote water from the faraway river. And then you are bogged, and then they help you. There is no paradise and no hell, no heaven, no hell. You are being exploited, and you will be exploited unless you stop desiring.

A man who doesn’t desire cannot be exploited. Then no priest can exploit, then no church can exploit him. It is because you desire, then you create the possibility of being exploited. Cut your desires as much as you can because they are unnatural. Never cut your needs because they are natural: fulfill your needs.

And look at the whole thing. Needs are not very many: they are not many at all. And they are so simple. What do you need? Food, water, a shelter, somebody to love you and somebody so that you can love him. What else you need? Love, food, shelter – simple needs. And all these needs, religions are against. Against love, they say practice celibacy. Against food, they say practice fasting.

Against shelter, they say become monks, move, become wanderers – homeless. They are against needs. That’s why they create a hell. And you are more and more in suffering, and more and more in their hands. Then you ask help, and the whole thing is a created thing.

Never go against needs, and always remember to cut desires. Desires are useless. What is a desire? It is not a desire of shelter. Desire is always for a better shelter. Desire is comparative, need is simple. You need a shelter, desire needs a palace. Need is very, very simple. You need a woman to love, a man to love. Desire? Desire needs a Cleopatra. Desire is simply for the impossible; need is for the possible. And if the possible is fulfilled, you are at ease. Even a Buddha needs that.

Desires are foolish. Cut desires and become aware. Then you will be beyond time. Desires create time; if you cut desires you will be beyond time. Bodily needs will remain til the body is there, but if desires disappear, then this is your last or, at the most last but one life. Soon you will also disappear.

One who has attained desirelessness will sooner or later become beyond needs only because then the body is not needed. Body is a vehicle of the mind; if the mind is not there, body cannot be needed any more.

bottom of page