The Changes Caused By Time

[Rama lifting bow]“Mind, why are you not worshiping Shri Rama, whose bow is like time, with weapons of arrows representing the different units of time, such as paramanu, lava, nimesha, barasa, yuga, and kalpa?” (Dohavali, 130)

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लव निमेष परमानु जुग बरस कलप सर चंड।
भजसि न मम तेहि राम कहँ कालु जासु कोदंड।

lava nimeṣa paramānu juga barasa kalapa sara caṃḍa।
bhajasi na mama tehi rāma kaha~ kālu jāsu kodaṃḍa।

We see that within a single lifetime the situations change. Sometimes the change is drastic, sometimes it is subtle. As an example, I am one of thousands in attendance for a sporting event. The event features several stadiums. As a bunch of us are gathered in line to gain entry, to show our tickets, rain starts falling from above.

We quickly take shelter underneath an awning. We are safe for the moment, from the rain that is falling heavily. A person nearby has their smartphone out. They are watching one of the matches, in near real-time. The match is taking place on the main stadium. We can see this stadium from the outside. We are steps away from it.

The match is still going on because there is no rain falling. Sure enough, we look up and get visual confirmation. The cloud pouring rain is directly above us. There is bright sunshine hitting the main stadium. A wonder of nature, for sure, but then in the matter of minutes everything changes, again.

[sunshine]At one moment I am within the womb. I do not remember this experience, but from everything I have heard this was my entryway into this world. At least in the physical sense, where people could recognize me. Where they could pinpoint a location, take a picture, and share details on the visible with others, I started out in the womb of my mother.

A short time later I was crawling on the ground. I did not yet know how to walk. There were certain people around me. Caretakers, well-wishers, family, friends, neighbors. A little while later I could be found in school. The teachers would scold me for not falling asleep on time, for not listening, for playing pranks with the other children.

A while later I was driving a car, attending classes with adults, and worrying over the future. Then I ended up becoming fully self-sufficient. I worked for a living. I began to pay bills. I connected with others, started a family, and took care of other children.

Things changed so much that the people I see on a daily basis as an adult are totally different from the people I associated with a mere ten years earlier. The situations will continue to change, to the point that I might require assistance in eating, moving, and walking.

Using the comparison given by Goswami Tulsidas, these changes are due to time. We can think of time as a great weapon, in bow-form. The weapons released from that bow are different units of time. This great devourer attacks in different ways. Not everything changes at once.

We could flip our desires in a split second. The living being enters a particular body in the amount of time required by the sun to cross over an atom. There are days, weeks, months, and years. In the grand scheme, the day of one important person is billions of years, and so is his night. His one hundred years of living is the unit of measurement for the duration of a creation, upon which everything gets reset, on the grandest level imaginable.

सर्व-भूतानि कौन्तेय
प्रकृतिं यान्ति मामिकाम्
कल्प-क्षये पुनस् तानि
कल्पादौ विसृजाम्य् अहम्

sarva-bhūtāni kaunteya
prakṛtiṁ yānti māmikām
kalpa-kṣaye punas tāni
kalpādau visṛjāmy aham

“O son of Kunti, at the end of the millennium every material manifestation enters into My nature, and at the beginning of another millennium, by My potency I again create.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.7)

Tulsidas reminds himself to worship Shri Rama, who is the wielder of this bow known as time. Rama can lift any bow, no matter how formidable. The symbolic representation of this truth is the well-known incident of the contest created by King Janaka. Shri Rama won that contest since He was the only one who could lift the bow passed down by Mahadeva.

इत्युक्तस्तेन विप्रेण तद्धनुस्समुपानयत्।।
निमेषान्तरमात्रेण तदाऽनम्य महाबलः।
ज्यां समारोप्य झडिति पूरयामास वीर्यवान्।।

ityuktastena vipreṇa taddhanussamupānayat।।
nimeṣāntaramātreṇa tadā’namya mahābalaḥ।
jyāṃ samāropya jhaḍiti pūrayāmāsa vīryavān।।

“Hearing the words of the vipra, my father brought the bow forward. Bending the bow in the twinkling of an eye and applying string to it, the mighty prince Rama, who was full of valor, quickly drew the bow at full length.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 118.47-48)

[Rama lifting bow]Rama lifted the bow and applied string to it in the twinkling of an eye. This is one of the measurements of time mentioned by Tulsidas. A twinkling, nimesha, is one of the weapons of the bow known as time. In association with Rama, nimesha can become auspicious.

We can remember that twinkling of an eye for throughout our eternal life of devotion. Someone worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead has protection from the otherwise debilitating influence of time. They might still undergo change, but they will always be placed in situations advantageous for the continuation of that devotion.

In Closing:

Since to my memory dear,
Nimesha as auspicious clear.

Because amount of time it took,
When from sound the earth shook.

For Rama bow in air to take,
And with string to break.

In the twinkling of an eye occurring,
At Janaka’s contest during.

Categories: dohavali 121-160

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