Deciphering Enthusiasm

Hanuman“(Hanuman did not see Sita) who was firmly situated on the eternal path of devotion to her husband, had her gaze always fixed on Rama, was always possessed by love for Rama, had entered the glorious mind of her husband, and was always the most exceptional of women.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 5.24)

sanātane vartmāni samniviṣṭām |

rāmekśaṇāṃ tāṃ madanābhiviṣṭām |

bharturmanaḥ śrīmadanupraviṣṭām |

strībhyo varābhyaśca sadā viśiṣṭām ||

“Do I have to? I really don’t want to. Can’t I do it later? Can’t we go some other time?” The dependent compelled to act will be reluctant to take up their assigned duties. The chances of enthusiasm being absent increase when force is applied. As such, the success of the mission, and the enjoyment experienced while performing it, will also be notably missing. But nevertheless, these tasks are sometimes very helpful, for Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita that those things which at first seem like poison but then later on turn into sweet nectar are in the mode of goodness, which is the level of material activity most conducive towards realizing the highest system of knowledge. Some tasks are more difficult than others; thus making it harder for the leader to find able bodied persons willing to take them up. With one combination of individual and task, however, there was no need for a pep talk. Because of the nature of the mission and its targeted beneficiaries, this worker was full of enthusiasm and conviction, so much so that he felt tremendous dejection anytime it seemed like success wouldn’t come. Because of this emotional response he is the most endearing person to those who are trying to find the true light in life, the spiritual sunshine that provides unending comfort.

Mother Yashoda with Lord KrishnaUnwanted tasks are introduced during childhood. The child is a bundle of energy; it can play for hours on end and find ways to stay amused. The child has no worries about where they are in life, how they will pay the monthly bills, or what their future goals should be. The new blood that joins this earth is after preyas, or immediate satisfaction of the senses. It is therefore up to the guardians to instill some discipline, to get the child to follow some regulated behavior so that they can reach a higher end. It is likely that in our childhood our mother and father gave us specific chores that required completion on a regular basis. Taking out the garbage, washing the dishes, and cleaning the room are not jobs accepted with enthusiasm, but they are nevertheless necessary responsibilities because of our parents’ insistence.

Then there are the infamous family trips. Though the child may not know this, their parents are no different than them in terms of how they choose to enjoy. The parents have siblings and friends of a similar age that they enjoy spending time with, though these people may not live very close by. When the weekend arrives after a difficult work week, the parents may just want to get out of the house and see their loved ones and close friends. For the children, such trips aren’t always welcome because the impetus for the visit is rooted in the parents’ interests. It is not surprising therefore for the child to put up opposition. “Why do I have to go? They’re your friends. Why can’t I just stay home by myself?” If the child is not old enough to take care of itself at home or if the parents want to maintain a strong family presence during their visit, they will compel the child to go. Left with no other choice, the child reluctantly follows, all the while refusing to have a good time.

While these difficulties must be endured during childhood, adults have more independence. There is a choice with every action, an up or down vote whether to accept or reject. In the business world the motivation, the driving force influencing the outcome of the mental poll, is the benefit received by the worker. Employees show up to work on time because they expect compensation from the employer. While at work, different tasks are undertaken, some of which are not so pleasant, simply to satisfy the boss, who will in turn pay a salary.

For the employer, the person assigning the tasks, it is beneficial for the employees to have enthusiasm while working. This will make them more invested in the outcome. With every action there is the initial work applied and the corresponding result. The employee’s primary obligation is to apply the work. The results are not always guaranteed, nor can they be predicted. Obviously for the employer the priority system is reversed. The person assigning the task is more interested in seeing the intended result. The actual work undertaken certainly shows effort on the part of the employee, but if there is failure encountered on a regular basis, the work applied isn’t very effective. Without a successful outcome, the employer is essentially wasting money on fruitless work.

The employer loves to see enthusiasm in his workers, because they know this will increase the chances of success, of reaching the intended outcome. The child forced to go to grandma’s house on a Saturday will not be very happy; they will not be a pleasant person to be around. Similarly, a worker just going through the motions will not have anything invested in the outcome. If there is no fear of failure, the chances of not succeeding increase all the more. When there is enthusiasm, however, there is an emotional attachment to the job. The worker desperately wants to see a successful outcome, as it will please both them and the person distributing the task.

For the employer, gauging the level of enthusiasm in the field of candidates is often difficult. In the beginning, the qualities belonging to each candidate will be reviewed. “Okay, this person has done such and such in the past. It looks like they are dependable and take orders very well. This other person looks like they can work independently and handle difficult situations. This other person has every skill necessary for the job.” When all the relevant factors have been taken into consideration, a final judgment is made.

A high enthusiasm level will naturally put a prospective candidate into a better position, but how do we judge this? Surely a candidate can verbally express how desperate they are to undertake the task in question. “Please give me the job. I’m ready. I’m up for the task. I won’t let you down.” If these statements are to be accepted, the employer must invest some faith in the worker, as they will have to assume that the candidate is being honest about how they feel. A way to get more assurance, however, is to get references, i.e. talk to people who know the worker and can vouch for their enthusiasm and ability to carry out specific tasks.

Sita DeviWith Shri Hanuman, the Vanara warrior asked to find a missing princess, all of the necessary qualifications were there. Sita Devi, the wife of Lord Rama, had gone missing while she was residing in the forest of Dandaka. Her husband was the strongest bow warrior of the time, but when He was temporarily lured away from the couple’s cottage, a fiendish character swept in and forcibly took Sita with him. No one was really sure where she had gone, or if she was even still alive. Sita was fixed in a vow of dedication to her husband, so she could never survive long without being in His company. Indeed, it would be learned later on that she only kept her vital breath within her body by keeping her thoughts fixed on her husband, His qualities, and the time they previously spent together.

Since outwardly there was not even a hint as to where Sita had been taken, Rama thought it wise to enlist the help of others. Who better than the Vanaras of Kishkindha, who were monkey-like creatures beaming with enthusiasm for pleasing Rama? A monkey is especially known for being hyper and capable of jumping from tree to tree without exhaustion. These monkeys were more human-like, as these events took place in an ancient time. The Darwinists believe that man descended from monkeys, but the Vedas correctly reveal that dull matter is incapable of causing shifts in species. Without a spiritual injection, no form of body, which is nothing more than a machine, can do anything. Without a driver an automobile just remains stationary. Even in advanced airplanes that can fly themselves, there must be the human influence of a programmed computer or remote pilot available.

Vanaras fighting for RamaSpecies are crafted according to specific combinations of the material elements of earth, water, fire, ether and air, along with mind, intelligence and ego. No life form is capable of creating a new permanent species on its own; as nature has full control over the human being. Just as we can’t stop the sun from rising and setting, we can’t suddenly generate a new race of human beings having three hands or some other advanced feature set. While the bodies themselves don’t evolve, the souls that reside within them can travel from one form to another. This is known as transmigration, or reincarnation. In the Treta Yuga, the second time period of creation, conditions on earth were so pure that even the monkey race had advanced characteristics. When the presence of the mode of goodness is strong, the abilities of a species are enhanced. The Vanaras, who were forest dwellers more than anything else, were predominantly monkey-like, but they nevertheless had the ability to think rationally at times and converse with human beings.

The leader of the Vanaras in Kishkindha was Sugriva, and he had a massive army of monkeys at his disposal. To find Sita, however, required great effort, courage, resourcefulness, intelligence and humility. This last quality would come in handy because the worker would have to follow specific instructions and not alter the objectives of the mission. Whoever would find Sita would certainly be praised for their accomplishment, but if their ego got too large, if they suddenly felt they were superior to others, they might violate the orders given. Rama wanted Sita to be found, but He was going to rescue her Himself. Shri Rama was of the princely order, so it was His duty to protect the innocent. If He had to rely on others to rescue His wife, His and His family’s stature would immediately be deprecated.

Lord RamaThough Sugriva dispatched thousands of monkeys to scour the earth in a frantic search, he knew that only Hanuman had any real chance of succeeding. Hanuman was Sugriva’s trusted aide, and he had many times prior proven the worthiness of his high position. Seeing his qualities personally and trusting Sugriva’s words, Rama had full confidence in Hanuman’s ability to succeed in the task. Indeed, the Vanara would go on to perform amazing feats, such as leaping across a massive ocean and defeating several powerful forces obstructing his path.

Hanuman’s enthusiasm didn’t need to be proven, as he was always devoted to Rama. Though he barely knew the prince of the Raghu dynasty or His younger brother Lakshmana, Hanuman could decipher their divine natures. Thus when he was told to find Sita, Hanuman took the mission as his life and soul. As if there were any doubt on the matter, when on the precipice of finding the divine princess, Hanuman would once again show us his terrific enthusiasm, his undying love for Rama and his eagerness to please Him.

HanumanSita Devi had been taken to the island of Lanka, which was inhabited by Rakshasas headed by their leader Ravana. These creatures were similar to ghoulish monsters, almost like ogres. They were attached to sinful behavior and thus lived mostly in the mode of darkness. Hanuman reached the shores of Lanka and then entered the city in a guise difficult to spot. Since he had mastery over every yogic siddhi, or mystical perfection, Hanuman could change the size of his stature at will. Taking on a form having the dimensions of a cat, Hanuman scurried through the city and searched different places looking for Sita. But he could not find her. Instead, he found many beautiful women, all dedicated to their ogre-like husbands. The women were looking very nice, but Hanuman could not be distracted.

Normally, seeing such opulence and beauty would bring some pleasure to the mind. After all, the entire aim of sightseeing is to gaze at amazing wonders, things that are not seen in ordinary life. Living in the forest his whole life, Hanuman was not accustomed to the wonderful opulence found in Lanka. But from the above referenced passage from the Ramayana, we see that he was still dejected even after having gone on a most wonderful visual tour. Since he was searching for Sita, it’s safe to assume that Hanuman noted every inch of space within Lanka. Therefore he was well acquainted with the city and its inhabitants; yet he was still unhappy.

HanumanTo give us an indication of why Hanuman was not pleased, some of Sita Devi’s foremost qualities are listed. These stand in stark contrast to the qualities possessed by any normal person, let alone the queens in Lanka. Sita was eternally chaste, as Ravana had tried to win her over many times, but she flat out refused. Sita Devi is actually the goddess of fortune and her husband the Supreme Lord Narayana. Their time on earth was like the showing of a play, with the actors playing their roles perfectly. If Sita and Rama weren’t divine figures, the Ramayana would be no more important than any ordinary poem. Hanuman’s stature and endearing nature are further enhanced by the fact that he was ever devoted to the Supreme Lord and His wife. Hanuman doesn’t dedicate his life and soul to just ordinary people who have no relation to God.

It is also said that Sita always kept her eyes fixed on Rama. Even when not in the company of her husband, she simply kept her mind’s eye fixed on the Lord, whom yogis, mental speculators and ascetics undergo trials and tribulations to understand. God is always there for those who love Him, and amongst such lovers none can be more dedicated than Sita. These facts were well known to Hanuman, as it is also mentioned in the above passage that Sita was the very mind of her husband and that she was the most exalted woman. God is atmarama; He is in need of nothing. The general tendency for the illusioned soul is to try to see God or find Him in different places. Yet the devotees are so wonderful that the Lord always sees them. Sita Devi, through her devotion and divine qualities, etched a permanent mark in the mind of her husband. Hanuman was fully enthralled just by thinking of Sita’s qualities and her strong devotion. She was the only person he wanted to meet. Even if he saw the most beautiful women and greatest level of opulence, he would still not be deterred in his mission.

Hanuman’s dejection over not having found Sita shows that his enthusiasm for serving Rama was unmatched. While the eagerness to serve can be measured by the behavior shown at the beginning of a task, it can be more accurately ascertained later on down the line. If there is temporary failure or things don’t go as planned, the reaction of the worker provides the best indication of their interest in the mission. Hanuman showed eagerness at the beginning of the task, and he also had references to his qualities given by Sugriva. Yet when he felt such strong dejection after having not found Sita in Lanka, Hanuman showed that he took the mission as seriously as Rama did.

Hanuman thinking of Sita and RamaSita and Rama are Hanuman’s very life and soul, and his enthusiasm towards pleasing them is unmatched. Because of this eagerness, he would eventually succeed. Hanuman only wants to think of God and sing His glories. Through accepting difficult missions assigned to him, Hanuman further glorifies the Supreme Lord by showing the benefits of devotional service. While Sita and Rama are worshipable for their divine qualities, wonderful nature and kind-heartedness, their glories are further increased by the brilliance of their most enthusiastic servant, Shri Hanuman. Whoever is fortunate enough to remember Hanuman for who he is and honor and respect his level of dedication will never be out of favor with God. To them will come the rarest, most unique and most valuable gift of all: divine love.

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