Lava Matra

[Rama holding 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।

Goswami Tulsidas compares time to a weapon. Like a bow held in the strong arm of Shri Rama, the arrows are the way this weapon strikes. It hits other targets in various ways, which can be compared to units. While time as a weapon has a negative connotation, with respect to rescuing the fortunes of the spirit soul, who is always linked to Divinity in some way, even one of the smallest strikes from time can become auspicious.

We should worship Rama. The mind tends to forget. This is due to the constant influx of desires, which are not always in the same direction. We can compare the mind to a chariot, which has horses attached in several directions.

Imagine if the lead horse wants to move forward at the same time that the rear horse wants to move backwards. Another horse is pulling to the west, while another wants to travel to the east. This is the condition of the mind full of desires, manoratha.

If there is contradictory force applied, is there any question of progress? Will we actually move anywhere? If the mind is always keeping us settled into a single position, how will we realize our purpose to life? How will we progress forward, in a manner where our every action can be considered worthwhile and leading to something better?

Tulsidas therefore reminds himself to worship Rama. As Rama is the controller of time, who else can be more powerful? Who else can be more worthy of honor and satisfaction? What other person can solve problems greater than time? If I have one hundred dollars, why am I desperate to find two dollars?

[Rama holding bow]Shri Rama is purna. He is complete. He is everything. Notice that Rama holds the bow. The bow is not in control of Him. This means that time works under Rama’s direction. The Supreme Lord is not influenced by time. He is not destroyed, withered, or made to feel the effects of aging.

One of the weapons of the bow, one of the units, if you will, is lava. As His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains, a lava corresponds to one-eleventh of one second. This seems like an insignificant amount of time, but the same trusted authority says that everything can change in one lava.

‘साधु-सङ्ग’, ‘साधु-सङ्ग’ — सर्व-शास्त्रे कय
लव-मात्र साधु-सङ्गे सर्व-सिद्धि हय

‘sādhu-saṅga’, ‘sādhu-saṅga’ — sarva-śāstre kaya
lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya

“The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 22.54)

Within a lava-matra, if there is association with a devoted soul, who worships the same Shri Rama, a person can attain all success. The reason is clear, if we think about it. No one else will steer us in the right direction. Does anyone else even discuss the effects of time? Is there a university degree available for the study of time and its impact on the individual, the collective, and the entire universe?

[Prabhupada]Sadhu-sanga, the association with saintly people, can clear up any confusion we have. Even if it is something as simple as accepting the remnants of food left by the saintly person, there is auspicious association. That contact can change everything.

तुलयाम लवेनापि
न स्वर्गं नापुनर्-भवम्
मर्त्यानां किम् उताशिषः

tulayāma lavenāpi
na svargaṁ nāpunar-bhavam
martyānāṁ kim utāśiṣaḥ

“The value of a moment’s association with a devotee of the Lord cannot even be compared to the attainment of heavenly planets or liberation from matter, and what to speak of worldly benedictions in the form of material prosperity, which is for those who are meant for death.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.18.13)

We see that from connecting with the Supreme Lord, in the link known as yoga, even the otherwise debilitating time can become auspicious. The arrow that is lava becomes a significant moment, to be cherished into the distant future.

In Closing:

Lava one of the units of measure,
But now a moment to treasure.

Since the sadhu to meet,
Respect at his feet.

The way forward now found,
No more to illusion bound.

Shelter of controller of time to accept,
Rama auspicious in every respect.

Categories: dohavali 121-160

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