tāni rāmāya dattāni mayā eva upahṛtāni ca |
svanavanti avakīrṇanti tasmin vihata cetasi ||
Wouldn’t it be nice to make a moment last forever? Obviously, it would have to be something pleasant. In the temporary enjoyment found in the material world, a person often knows that something good won’t remain for too long. Preparing themselves, they say something like, “I am going to savor this. I want to soak it all in.”
How do you bring back the association of someone you have lost? Especially if that person is dear to you, is there a way to again experience what it was like to be in their company? The above referenced verse from the Ramayana gives us one way. Somehow time has stood still for Shri Rama, the person who is time Himself. This has happened through receiving ornaments belonging to His beloved wife, Sita Devi. The experience is real, as just from seeing the ornaments Rama has lost consciousness.
If you visit museums and archives in the cities of Philadelphia and Washington in the United States, you can find objects dating back to the time of the founding of the country. There are the original documents themselves, like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and there are things relating to notable personalities of that era, such as Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.
The purpose of seeing these items is to in some way transport back to an important time in history. In the spiritual tradition of the Vedas, the same kinds of objects can be found. The objects date back much further and they remind the individual of the amazing potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That potency is used directly in this earthly realm for the benefit of those who serve Him in thought, word and deed.
For instance, one can find a rock belonging to Govardhana Hill. This is a massive landmark in the town of Vrindavana. The rock is so important that it actually gets worshiped. It seems silly to the outsider, but the person whose eyes are anointed with the salve of devotion, premanjana, can directly travel back in time through the vision of this rock.
From worshiping the Govardhana-shila they see the Supreme Lord in His all-attractive and original form of Shri Krishna. They see Him lifting Govardhana Hill to save the residents of Vrindavana. They witness directly, as if given spiritual television, Krishna holding up the hill with the least powerful finger on the typically non-dominant hand. Under the massive umbrella of the uplifted hill is protection. There is security combined with bliss. Just outside that umbrella is danger. There is a devastating flood caused by a torrential downpour. The close proximity of the danger makes the shelter underneath the umbrella all the more soothing.
In the timeline of the earth, that incident took place some five thousand years ago. Yet the person worshiping the Govardhana-shila relives that incident at any time. They can relive it every single day, in fact. It is not like viewing old pictures, where a person may look at them a few times over the course of many decades. The amazing devouring enemy of material enjoyment that is time can be conquered only by the association of the Supreme Lord.
In this verse from the Ramayana, something similar has happened. This is God teaching that the objects of His devotees are also in a way non-different from them. Sita Devi went missing in the forest of Dandaka. She was in the company of her dear husband Rama, who is the same Krishna. In the search for Sita, Rama met up with Vanaras in Kishkindha. They had briefly seen Sita from afar when she was being carried away by force by the wicked-minded Ravana. Some of her ornaments fell from the aerial car, and the Vanaras gathered them for safekeeping.
In this verse Hanuman is speaking to Sita many months later. He is relating to her how he himself brought the ornaments to Rama to look at. Upon seeing them, Rama lost consciousness. This is because He was immediately reminded of their time together. Rama is not attached to His wife in the typical way. She is not a vehicle for sense enjoyment that makes a person forgetful of the righteous path. Rather, Sita is so dear to Rama because of her faithful service. Rama remembers that service by seeing her ornaments and He is overwhelmed just by thinking of Sita’s dedication to Him.
Sita and Rama are the best couple to remember. Hanuman’s devotion that continues to this day attests to the fact. He remembers through singing their names constantly. He loves to hear about them by reading from the Ramayana. Since he sees them in others through the devotional potency, he likes to inspire people to come to the devotional path by speaking of Sita and Rama. In this way time can always stand still for the devotees, who relish the association of the person whose association is most desired.
From an ornament taking in hand,
Time finally still to stand.
Since now to previous memory going back,
Bringing association of person to lack.
Rama when seeing ornaments in this way,
Hanuman this incident later to Sita to say.
Lord’s image in their heart always keeping,
His association life’s best reward reaping.