“No living being on this earth can even equal you in strength either. Therefore do you think of how Sita may be found.” (Sugriva speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 44.6)
Why does the life air exist? At the beginning of each day we get a certain stock of energy, which then gradually diminishes as we take to our various activities. Yet why is this energy even there? Why is it replenished at the dawn of a new day? The Vedas, the beautiful scriptural tradition of India, describe the soul as an entity that is fully energized at all times. Since energy is the essence of spirit, our vigor is derived from the natural properties of the source of our identity. Spirit is the driving force of matter, but the energetic nature of the soul is meant to be utilized in the proper way. The energy is intended to serve the energetic. When the two meet, the resulting spiritual synergy is unmatched. The aim of human life is to tap into our reservoir of strength for the service of the energetic. To see how this can be accomplished we need only consult the examples set by exalted devotees. Of those possessing energy, no one knows how to better utilize their vigor and splendor, tejasa, for the proper purposes than Shri Hanuman.
“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.7)
Hanuman holds a very special position amongst the pantheon of worshipable objects of the Vedic tradition. Assuming the form of a monkey, Hanuman is a divine figure known for his humility, courage, strength, vigor, and eagerness to serve the Supreme Divine Entity. This last qualification actually trumps all the others. We may know of many people who are courageous and strong, but what exactly do they do with these attributes? Every opulence that man possesses has as its source the individual spiritual spark residing within the heart. Yet from the Bhagavad-gita, the most concise and thorough scientific exposition on the original doctrine of spirituality, we see that the soul comes from the powerhouse of energy, the Supreme Spirit. Some refer to this Divine Entity as God, while others consider Him to be an all-pervading energy. While there are various aspects to the Divine, His original form is that of a personality, and a supreme one at that. Though He is nameless, He can be addressed by the appellation of Krishna. Lord Krishna is also known as Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He represents the original source of energy, the energetic if you will. All forms of life, all objects containing a spirit soul within, are considered part of Krishna’s energy, or separated expansions as opposed to personal ones.
“The living entity has no separate independent identity. He is the marginal energy of the Supreme. When he is entrapped by material energy, he is conditioned, and when he is Krishna conscious, or aware of the spiritual energy, then he is in his real and natural state of life.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bg. 6.2 Purport)
The soul is naturally energetic and full of life, and these attributes are present for the benefit of the energetic. Shri Hanuman embodies this truth through his activities. Since he is an eternal entity, Hanuman never stops serving the Supreme Energetic, no matter where he is or what he is doing. Many thousands of years ago, Hanuman got to directly engage in the Divine’s service, face-to-face. Lord Krishna had come to earth in His Lord Rama incarnation – a non-different form, or personal expansion, of the all-powerful original spiritual entity – and gave the appearance of being an ordinary human being. Yet Rama was no ordinary figure; He was a powerful kshatriya warrior with divine attributes. Faced with the task of reclaiming His kidnapped wife, Rama kindly enlisted the help of a band of Vanaras, human-like monkeys, whose king was Sugriva.
Why would God need help accomplishing a task? As mentioned before, the constitutional position of the fragmental sparks emanating from the original spiritual powerhouse is to serve the interests of the energetic. Yet the most severe negative consequence of coming to this temporary world is that the soul becomes conditioned by the elements of material nature. The most damaging result of this association is that the energy loses sight of its real position. Hence the bewildered spirit souls take to using their potencies towards pleasing the senses they acquired at the time of birth. Just as the body ultimately turns into ashes or gets buried in the ground, so the material senses must also be eventually renounced. The Supreme Energetic does not suffer from this defect. Never was there a time that the Supreme Soul did not exist, nor will there be a time in the future when He ceases to remain Supreme. This property of eternality is also present in the spirit soul. The individual spiritual spark, or atma, always remains subordinate to the Supreme, regardless of whatever temporary gains the conditioned living entity acquires through exertion of its energy.
To kindly nudge the conditioned souls in the proper direction, the Supreme Energetic appears on earth from time to time to enact pastimes and set up situations where those looking to turn away from the influence of the senses are allowed to direct their energies towards the proper cause. Lord Rama had a beautiful and chaste wife named Sita. Actually, she was not a woman of this world, but rather, an incarnation of the Lord’s eternal consort who resides in the spiritual world. Sita’s behavior was top-notch; there was not the slightest trace of sin in her. Yet even she had to suffer through hardships every now and then. Probably the most troubling period of her life was when she was taken captive by the Rakshasa king named Ravana. Not knowing where Sita was, Rama, along with His younger brother Lakshmana, enlisted the help of the monkey-king Sugriva, who was living at the time in the forest of Kishkindha.
Sugriva had millions of monkeys helping him, but his most trusted and reliable warrior was Hanuman. In the above referenced quote, Sugriva is praising Hanuman’s abilities and asking him to devise a plan to find Sita’s whereabouts. While on the surface the task at hand seemed like that of an ordinary reconnaissance mission, in reality, it was a completely spiritual endeavor. The Supreme Lord presented the opportunity for the exalted Vanaras, who were actually celestials appearing in the guises of monkeys, to offer Him direct service. Not surprisingly, Sugriva looked to Hanuman since he was the most splendorous. He possessed all the qualities required for the task at hand. More than any other qualities, Hanuman’s energy and his eagerness stood out.
In material endeavors, we often praise others for their perseverance and their ability to withstand adversity. Passion goes a long way towards achieving success. The phrase, “I just wanted it more than the other guy”, is often uttered by those who go after something without any fear of failure. Boris Becker, the legendary German tennis player, once said that the fifth set, which is the deciding set in a Grand Slam match, has nothing to do with tennis, but everything to do with heart. The idea is that if you really want something, you’ll be willing to exert whatever energy is necessary to get the job done.
This principle especially holds true in spiritual life. All the Vanaras were eager to help Sugriva, but Hanuman was the one who wanted success the most. His passion was not related to padding his own legacy or boosting his stature, but only towards pleasing Rama. As soon as Hanuman met Rama, there was an immediate bond formed. Hanuman knew that this young prince was the person he would dedicate his life towards serving. Hanuman’s behavior is an indication that Krishna’s body is always transcendental, regardless of the particular form He assumes. With the living entities, there is a difference between matter and spirit. The individual soul remains unchanging and undying, but the matter that covers it is just the opposite. Matter is always changing, but since the transformations are so subtle, we may not notice them. For example, if we see a person every day, we are not likely to notice if they gain weight, start to develop wrinkles, or grow taller. Yet someone who goes months without seeing the same person will immediately notice these changes the next time they see them. The changes to matter are constant, for the hair and nails on the body grow at every second.
“Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 7.24)
With Krishna, there is no difference between matter and spirit. Everything directly relating to Him is spiritual. So when Hanuman decided to devote himself to Rama, he was associating directly with the Supreme Energetic. As future events would unfold, Sugriva’s statements relating to Hanuman’s energy would prove to be completely accurate. Hanuman would indeed meet many obstacles on his way towards finding Sita, but in the end he would succeed. His love for Rama, Lakshmana, and Sugriva proved to be too formidable a force for the opposing demons. To this day, Hanuman holds one of the most exalted positions amongst the divine figures of the Vedic tradition. Wherever Hanuman is, you can be sure that Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita aren’t too far away.
As Hanuman so wonderfully exemplifies, our life air exists for a reason. Our arms, hands, legs, feet, brain, mouth, eyes, and ears are meant to serve a purpose. Everything pertaining to our external body, though material, can be spiritualized by using them for God’s service. In this age of Kali, we are bogged down with so many concocted dharmas, or occupational duties, that we tend to forget what our energy is meant to be directed towards. Therefore the highest authority figures have recommended one simple practice that can allow any person to purify the exertion of their energy. That activity is the chanting of the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. The replenishing of our energy reserves each morning should be viewed as a renewed opportunity to take up devotional service. The Lord may not be directly in front of us in His personal form, but He nevertheless remains all around us through His transcendental features. The same all-pervasive nature exists in His associates like Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman. By keeping these great figures always in our hearts, we can make sure that our energies are used for the service of the energetic. And after a lifetime of performing this service, the individual spiritual spark residing within the heart, that basis for identity, will be catapulted back to the eternal, transcendental realm belonging to the reservoir of all energy and pleasure, Shri Krishna.
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