Hanuman, a central figure in Ramayana, is worshipped by millions. Despite adoring him, we often take the path of blind ritualistic worship or reduce him to a caricature as done by sickular Hindus, thus not enhancing anything, but our ahamkara. Here is one small attempt to look at Hanuman as a model. Since as a civilization we have lost the habit of daily reading Ramayana or at least Sundarakanda to get clarity during distressed times, we have put a wedge between the fountain of wisdom and ourselves. This eternal fountain is available to quench our thirst of ignorance, if only we can take one step with shraddha.
This insight arose while trying to explain a question, why Hanuman, the powerful didn’t help Sugreeva when oppressed by Vaali? Hanuman lives with Sugreeva, in self-exile at Rishyamukha parvata. Hanuman is instrumental in connecting Sugreeva with Rama, yet we do not see any hint of his prowess. Hence there is no question why he could not have countered Vaali, whom he still respected. Rama chose Hanuman to bear his signet ring and had complete faith in him, something Hanuman doesn’t getting cornered in a conundrum trying to do a scouting mission to Lanka.
Anjaneya, as a child, exhibited super human prowess. He thought Surya was a fruit to be eaten only to get hit by Indra’s vajrayutha. His father, Vayu, had to withdraw all the air to make Indra realize his mistake. All the Devas gave their Amsa shakti and immunity from their weapons. Since he got an elongated jaw, Hanu, due to the impact of Vajrayutha, Anjaneya becomes Hanuman. The little child irrespective of its responsibilities became playful with its abilities. The Rishis put a temporary forgetfulness to cover these abilities and blessed them to reappear when he is reminded.
During his time with Sugreeva, only his knowledge shone. We saw this in detail when Rama and Hanuman meet for the first time. After defeating Vaali, Rama coronates Sugreeva, who dispatches his vanara army to the four corners of the world in search of Sita. After the saintly lady, Swayamprabha, delivers the searching vanaras from the Riksha bila to the southern Indian ocean, the vanaras slip into deeper gloom. Having found no clue of Sita and the month allotted to finding her elapsed, Angada, the Prince leading this troop proposes fast unto death. He argues that death is certain, as Sugreeva is known for his temper, especially when it comes to failure to comply.
Hanuman chastises this loser’s mindset. Running away when confronting improbable problems or under its weight definitely doesn’t behove a person of high character, not certainly Angada. The mention of Jataayu, the valiant bird that understood the value of its responsibilities and its duty above its own limitations, drew Sampaati, his elder brother into the conversation. He freely shares the fact that Sita is in Lanka to rejuvenate the hopes of the Vanaras.
Just like in normal life, hope for a second turning into despair, the vanaras realized that without a scouting mission to Lanka and meeting Sita, the gap of the ocean remained as a hurdle. As soon as they understood the limitations in their abilities to jump, they got dejected once again. Their best heroes in Angada and Jambavan, were at best confident of a one way trip. It is then Jambavan realized that Hanuman, who was sitting aside, lost in contemplation, was their sole panacea. He reminds Hanuman of the prowess that was locked up during his childhood and this was the perfect time to use them.
Hanuman overcame numerous obstacles, enroute to Lanka and remained victorious as he was true to the cause – Rama’s mission. Even in Lanka, the search for Sita was fraught with obstacles, dilemmas and needed a constant reminder of the larger cause to guide him. (Read Practical lessons from Hanuman’s dilemmas in Lanka – Part 1 and Part 2) He persists on the mission and gives hope to Sita and thereby Rama.
So what, how does it help me?
Unless Itihasapuranas are applied on to our daily lives, they are nothing more than stories. Today as the Hindus get alienated from their own treasures, foolishly call them mythologies. We even have morons leading the brigade calling themselves mythologist and making a fortune with deliberate misinterpretations and deceptions.
- Right attitude to right actions: Hanuman was committed to Rama Kainkarya, any task set forth by or for Rama. There was no desire, prompted by ego centric vasanas. Our mind operates solely on the “I, Me, Myself” mode. If it needs to rise above, it needs a larger goal, a larger vision. Hanuman was able to perceive the ParamaPurusha in Rama. He gladly made himself available and proudly lived as ”Dasoham Kasusalendraya”, a humble servant of Rama.
- Raising the mind through right actions: The ability to align ourselves with the Cosmic needs and wants is a perfect way to have the entire cosmic will as our tailwind. In essence this is Yoga. Hanuman excelled in this, as he had no purpose behind any of the actions, except in the service of Rama. Even while executing it was all done in the constant remembrance of Rama. During the search of Sita, he came across many amorous actions and poses of women in Lanka. The Brahmachari Hanuman trembles at this plight. After a long internal debate, he concludes that there was only one way to prove if his mind is tainted. He administers a test to his mind by closing his eyes. His mind’s eyes only flashed Rama’s images and none of the women. He thus concluded that his mind and heart is seated at Rama’s feet and bravely continues with the mission.
This again highlights the practical path Hanuman demonstrates. Keep the heart and minds at the feet of Rama and deploy our indriyas to HIS mission, HIS causes and HIS goals.
- Dynamic action without attachment: Immediately our poorly developed intellect revolts in favor of our mind, “How can we lead normal lives”. The resolution is simple. It won’t be understood unless we elevate the intellect to the feet of Brahman, as advised by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 6-5. We can do that with any Ishtadevata. As we train our minds to start relying solely on ego centric vasana based actions and reactions, it needs a higher goal to latch on. As Krishna reminds that no one can exist without action – na hi kaśhchit kṣhaṇam api jātu tiṣhṭhatyakarma-kṛit (Chapter 3, Sloka 5). The goal of shastras is not inaction, but effective, efficient action, without attachment.
- Go beyond 100%: We are all having human birth due to our GunaKarma and Prarabda. Yet instead of realizing this truth and knowing our real existence is Atman, we let the overbearing Vasanas to arrogate this body as Atman. This fundamental ignorance keeps us repeating this eternal cycle of samsara. Hanuman sets the most perfect example. His Buddhi and Manas are completely and actively engaged in any task of Rama. He ensures he goes over and beyond the literal mandate. Instead of merely sighting and conversing to Sita, he decides to send the message to Ravana on his impending doom. Instead of merely showing his prowess, he approaches diplomatically as Rama’s messenger, a role not demanded by Rama. He decides to teach the Adharmic act of Ravana setting fire to his tail, by lighting up Lanka. He gives a complete military assessment for Rama. This was entirely possible because he rose above individual desires and constantly thought on how to give beyond his very best to the mission. Freeing the mind beyond the fruits of action helps it to focus on better planning and execution of what is demanded by the situation on hand.
- Purushartha: After exerting our best, sometimes it may not be enough. It appears that there is no hope in doing whatever our task is. Ending our life or abandoning the mission may sound more appealing, like the vanaras felt. Yet by remaining committed to the larger cause, one can punch their way through the darkness. In the worldly plane, it can amount to being persistent and digging deeper within to make things happen. But on the spiritual side, there is the firm understanding that there is no alternative to holding and serving the feet of Paramatma.
- Who will be our Jambavan?: Our next excuse is, there is no Jambavan to help me identify my strengths. Well, we are wrong. The scriptures are our real Jambavan. Not only do they remind our true nature as Atman, but also how to tap into it, reveal the path and guide us till the final goal is reached. Depending on the vasana baggage, we have a huge corpus of tomes and books, besides different Sampradayas to guide us reach the same Paramatman.
As long as we take some consistent effort to study, implement and live the life per the scriptures, we can start tapping into the fullest potential as a human. All the material and scientific advancements humanity has witnessed simply pales in comparison to its potential. As we start purifying our chitta, by studying and practicing the scriptures, we make more in roads into the genuine potential of mankind. Hanuman serves not only as the best role model, guide and mentor, but also the one who can lead us to Rama’s Padapankaja. May Hanuman strengthen our resolve in this regard. Jai Hanuman. Jai Shri Ram.