All Auspicious

Shri Hanuman “He is a minister of the king of monkeys, the great soul Sugriva, and honoring the king’s desires, he has arrived here in My presence.” (Lord Rama speaking to Lakshmana about Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 3.26)

Shri Hanuman, the eternal servant of Lord Rama, is all-auspicious. Whoever has the great fortune of coming into contact with Hanuman will be immediately benefitted in all respects. This even applies to miscreants. Hanuman is famous for his feats of strength and his service to Lord Rama, but even his violent acts proved to be helpful to the demons. In this way, we see that whatever Hanuman does eventually turns out to be beneficial to all parties involved.

Hanuman In the Vedic tradition, God is known by the name of Bhagavan, one who is all-fortunate. Sometimes we go on lucky streaks where it seems like nothing can go wrong for us. We have a nice house, job, car, and family, so it seems like we’re sitting pretty. If we went around comparing our good fortune with others, we’d see that some people could claim to be more fortunate than us, while others would obviously not feel like they are fortunate at all. What makes God unique is that He is the most fortunate person in the world. How can we prove this? He is the most beautiful, wise, renounced, powerful, wealthy, and famous person in every single universe. Therefore, the term Bhagavan is accurate in describing His greatness. Bhagavan comes from the root word, bhaga, which means fortunate. It is seen that God is also described as maha-bhagam, meaning greatly fortunate. Since He possesses all these great qualities, when the term Bhagavan is translated into English, it can be taken to mean the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The Vedas tell us that Bhagavan can take unlimited forms, just as the ocean has unlimited waves. Though there are so many forms of Godhead, one of them is the original, the first candle from which all other candles are lit. This person is Lord Shri Krishna, whose original form is also addressed as Shyamasundara, or a beautiful youth with a blackish complexion similar to that of a raincloud. Possessing all good attributes is certainly enough to qualify God as Bhagavan, but there are other aspects to the Lord that serve to further enhance His opulence. One of the great ways to measure a person’s character is to see who their friends are. Who do they hang out with? What kind of characters take the time to become friends with them? In God’s case, He has the best friends a person could ever ask for. Through the makeup of His associates, God becomes even more fortunate; no one has better friends than He does. Of all of His friends, Shri Hanuman can be considered one of His best.

Lord Rama meeting Hanuman Hanuman is a very famous deity of the Vedic tradition. There are temples dedicated to him all across the world, with devotees offering special homage to him on Tuesdays and Saturdays, the auspicious days for Hanuman. Hanuman’s worshipable object is actually not Krishna in His original form, but rather one of His famous incarnations, Lord Rama. During the Treta Yuga, the second time period of creation, Krishna advented on earth in the guise of a warrior prince named Rama. His appearance coincided with the reign of terror of a Rakshasa demon named Ravana. In order to give pleasure to the pious and protect them from Ravana, Lord Rama took to roaming the forests of India. One day, His beautiful wife, Sita Devi, was kidnapped by Ravana through a backhanded plot. Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana then went looking for Sita, and they were told to go to the forest of Kishkindha and make friends with a monkey named Sugriva. During those times, the monkey race, known as Vanaras, was quite advanced. Their features were almost identical to human beings, though they maintained many of their monkey traits, such as having insatiable appetites for sex and intoxication.

Upon reaching Kishkindha, Rama and Lakshmana were greeted by a brahmana who welcomed them with kind words. This mendicant was actually Hanuman in disguise. Sugriva had seen Rama and Lakshmana approaching from afar and thus asked Hanuman, his chief counselor, to go down and see what they wanted. Sugriva wasn’t sure if the two princes had come in peace or were looking for a fight. Hanuman had special yogic powers that allowed him to assume any shape at will. Upon approaching Rama and Lakshmana, he offered to them very kind words which were flawlessly crafted and very pleasing to the ear. Lord Rama just stood there as Hanuman continued with his kind words. Eventually Hanuman gave up the disguised form and revealed his true nature and intent.

Rama and Lakshmana In the above referenced statement, Lord Rama is addressing Lakshmana and reacting to Hanuman’s speech. Initially there was trepidation was on both sides, for Rama and Lakshmana didn’t know anything about Sugriva or Hanuman. Actually the Lord is omnipresent, so He certainly knows everything past, present, and future, but while enacting pastimes, He plays the role of an ordinary human being perfectly. We see from Rama’s statement that He is happy to be meeting Hanuman because he is a counselor of Sugriva’s. Previously, Rama was advised to make friendship with Sugriva if He wanted to find out where Sita was. And now here was a very kind monkey named Hanuman who came to take Him to Sugriva.

From this incident, we see that Hanuman is the deliverer of all good things. Even though he initially approached the Lord with some inhibitions, upon seeing Rama’s beautiful face, Hanuman’s heart melted. He immediately went into praising the two brothers with words that came from the heart. After this exchange, Hanuman would carry the two brothers on his shoulders and take them to Sugriva. Hanuman would then go on to perform some of his most famous feats, such as his leaping to Ravana’s island kingdom of Lanka, setting fire to the city with his tail, and carrying a huge mountain to help save Lakshmana. Though he is famous today for his wonderful service to Rama, it all started with that fateful meeting in Kishkindha.

Hanuman carrying Rama and Lakshmana Anyone who is graced with Hanuman’s association should consider themselves very lucky. Not only is Hanuman worshiped in so many temples dedicated to him, but he is also part of the famous Rama Darbar, which consists of Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana. The Lord is never alone. When we speak of God in His forms of Krishna, Vishnu, or Rama, we include all of the Lord’s associates and devotees. In one sense, pure devotees can be considered to be even more fortunate than the Lord. God has all great qualities and enjoys the service offered by the devotees, but the devotees get to enjoy God. For instance, a devotee of Hanuman gets to enjoy the association of Hanuman and Shri Rama. In this way, they can be considered even more fortunate than the Lord.

An argument may be made that Hanuman didn’t bring anything auspicious to Ravana, the demon who kidnapped Sita. Hanuman was the key component in bringing Lord Rama to Lanka. For those who are unfamiliar with Vedic tenets, any person who is killed directly by God is granted salvation immediately. Salvation is also known as liberation, and it means that a person no longer has to suffer through the cycle of birth and death. Devotees also are granted liberation, but a special kind. Ravana merged into the body of the Lord, while devotees get the benediction of association with God in the spiritual world. Hanuman proved auspicious for Ravana since his presence in Lanka eventually led to the demon’s salvation. Hanuman was also auspicious for Ravana’s younger brother, Vibhishana. Ravana was demonic by nature, while Vibhishana was just the opposite. This was actually due to Ravana’s mother. Initially the demon’s mother approached the great sage Vishrava to bear his children. Since the sage was meditating at the time, he was angry at the lady for disturbing him. He subsequently cursed her to give birth to Rakshasa sons who were sinful by nature. The lady was upset at this, so she asked the sage to somehow balance out the curse by giving her a boon. With his anger mollified to an extent, Vishrava agreed to her request by granting her the boon that one of her sons, though born a Rakshasa, would be pious in nature. Hence Ravana and Kumbhakarna were born as demons, while Vibhishana was born a devotee.

Hanuman setting fire to Lanka Hanuman proved to be auspicious to Vibhishana because when Hanuman set fire to Lanka, he made sure not to touch Vibhishana’s house. Later on, when Vibhishana decided to join Lord Rama’s side in their fight against Ravana, it would be Hanuman who would vouch for Vibhishana, telling Rama that he would be an asset to their side. In this way, we see that anyone who associates with Hanuman will have all of their desires in life fulfilled. It was for this reason that Goswami Tulsidas composed the famous Hanuman Chalisa, a poem in praise of Lord Hanuman. This poem has been recited daily by millions of people for the past several hundred years. It can easily qualify as one of the most famous devotional songs in history, and not surprisingly, it is tied completely to Shri Rama’s most faithful and dear servant.

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