Impatience

Hanuman's heart“(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 ||

Impatience is typically not a behavioral characteristic you covet. The result of not meeting your desires right away is frustration, which can then lead to anger. When driven by an angry mood, rational and good judgment is cast aside in favor of impulse. A common and humorous example of this is when we are desperately looking for something that shouldn’t be misplaced, like car keys. If we can’t find our keys when we need to drive the car somewhere, it’s not difficult to get frustrated. If others are around that we can point the blame to, the anger doubles in intensity. Yet many times we might be holding the keys right in our hand, or they are placed in one of the pockets of the garment that we are currently wearing. It was the impatience that led to the irrational anger that caused us to behave so ridiculously that we can only laugh about it afterwards. As they say, “good things come to those who wait”, so if the proper time and circumstance are accounted for, everything necessary and beneficial can be found eventually. One individual a long time ago given a difficult task finally started to lose his patience. He was so eager to meet one woman, the most beautiful in all the lands, that not seeing her after searching through countless areas seemed to get the better of him. Since his motives were the purest and his personal characteristics the finest, not only would he eventually find who he was looking for, but he would never lose sight of her for the rest of his life.

Even in the Vedas, the ancient scriptures of India, the need to wait for the proper time and circumstance is stressed. Astrology, palmistry, fortunetelling, etc. are all rooted in the Vedic tradition, which is the oldest system of scriptural knowledge in existence. The exact constellation of stars at any given moment, especially at the time of birth, portends future events, i.e. it reveals either good or bad omens. Therefore important functions like weddings, funerals and sacred rituals are held at specific times that are considered auspicious with respect to the event. Even when it comes to routine tasks, the central practices are assigned specific times. For instance, the period right before sunrise, known as brahma-muhurta, is considered the most auspicious for chanting the holy names of the Lord, such as those found in the maha-mantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”, and performing worship. Again, at the end of the day, at the junction of day and night, the sandhya prayers are performed.

“The time early in the morning, one and a half hours before sunrise, is called brahma-muhurta. During this brahma-muhurta, spiritual activities are recommended. Spiritual activities performed early in the morning have a greater effect than in any other part of the day.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.20.46 Purport)

Rama and Lakshmana with VishvamitraDuring ancient times, including when the Personality of Godhead Himself roamed the earth as Lord Rama, these auspicious periods of the day were never neglected. When Shri Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana were roaming the forests as escorts to Vishvamitra Muni, they would tend to the sage’s every need, but they still wouldn’t forget their daily prayers. The Treta Yuga was millions of years ago, so there weren’t any alarm clocks or digital watches around. The worshipers had to rely on the position of the sun, which they kept an eye on. Some famous sages used to rely on their wives to remind them to perform their daily ablutions. If perhaps the sage was asleep at the time the rituals needed to be performed, it was the responsibility of the wife to wake him up and remind him; otherwise she would be liable for the transgression of missing the prayers.

Aside from the scriptural value assigned to it, the need for having patience can also be seen in our daily affairs. Standard behavior followed by children, especially their sentiments echoed which are not based on rational thought, is considered a sign of immaturity and not something to be emulated by adults. As an example, children have trouble dealing with concepts like conflict, war, poverty, defeat, and other unwelcome aspects of life. “Why can’t everyone just get along? I hate war. I wish nobody would ever fight. I wish no one would be poor, and that everyone had enough money.” The sentiments behind these statements are surely endearing, but if these opinions remained with the child into adult life, adjusting to the real world would be very difficult.

The absence of conflict is the ideal situation, but what would the person do if they got attacked? If a burglar were to come into the house to try to steal everything, would the occupant simply respond with, “Why can’t you be nice? Why can’t we all just be friends?” In some cases there are violent attackers who don’t leave any time for questioning. Faced with these challenges, the adult knows that conflict is sometimes necessary, as not everyone will be law-abiding or peaceful. The same principle applies to poverty and disease. Not everyone will become rich and wealthy, nor do they need to be. Actions have consequences, as does the exercise of abilities. If an individual is not skilled enough to become a valuable asset to a company or produce a good or service that can generate large enough profits, they will not become as wealthy as those who do possess the necessary attributes. If there are mental problems or addiction to drugs and alcohol, there will also be many negative consequences, with destitution being one of them. In these situations, the childish mentality would want to constantly give away money, but unless and until the destitute have a steady source of earned income, a way to provide for themselves, they will never find their way out of their troublesome situation. No amount of money distributed can permanently eliminate the negative conditions encountered in life. Indeed, it is seen that in countries where massive government efforts are undertaken to fight poverty, the percentage of the population that is destitute remains the same afterwards.

Of the many childish behaviors to avoid in adult life, an easy one to identify is impatience. “I want it now! I don’t want to wait until later. Dad, are we there yet? When will we get there?” The classic scenario of the children riding in the backseat of the car and asking the parents if they have arrived at their destination yet crystallizes the difference in levels of patience between adults and children. The child is after immediate gratification, or preyas, while the mature adult has the ability to understand that in order to get the ultimate goal, or shreyas, patience is required. This is one of the reasons why good parents don’t spoil their children. If the child is given whatever they want, whenever they want it, they will not be able to adjust to adult life, where desires are very difficult to satisfy. Even during childhood, whatever desires were met only came about through the work of the parents. When the parents are no longer supporting the children, impatience will lead to frustration, anger, and an overall bad attitude.

“One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.56)

Shri HanumanImpatience when seeking to satisfy the demands of the senses is detrimental, but having an eagerness to meet the Supreme Lord or anyone dear to Him so strong that it causes a temporary loss of steadiness of mind is actually a spiritualized version of impatience, and thus a wonderful thing. This type of impatience was seen during the Treta Yuga with one particular warrior. He was tasked with finding the wife of Lord Rama, Sita Devi, who had been taken away from her husband’s side through a sinister plot perpetrated by someone who had no patience at all. Ravana, a Rakshasa by both nature and outward appearance, was the ruler of the majestic kingdom of Lanka. He had every material amenity available to him. He was so wealthy that the floors in his numerous palaces were bedecked with jewels. The archways of the gates of his city were made of gold. Can we imagine such opulence? We see high-rise buildings and skyscrapers today and marvel at them when they are lit up at night, but we don’t find networks of tall buildings made of gold anywhere.

Lanka’s opulence was so great that the inhabitants were really lacking nothing. Ravana had regular animal flesh to eat, including that of human beings. He had hundreds of the most beautiful princesses in the world as wives. Yet, as a spiritually immature adult, one who was driven by the demands of the senses that were met way too often without any thought or concern given, he had no patience when it came to sex life. Hearing of a beautiful princess residing in the forest of Dandaka, Ravana was determined to have her. There was just one slight problem. This princess was married already, to a man who had just wasted away 14,000 of Ravana’s soldiers. Ravana had sent his henchmen to take care of this prince after the prince’s younger brother had mutilated Ravana’s sister Shurpanakha. She had gone to the forest and tried to attack the prince’s wife after she found out that the prince was married. In defending his sister-in-law, Lakshmana lopped off Shurpanakha’s nose and ears, which left the witch running away in pain back to Ravana.

Thinking that he could easily defeat this prince, Ravana sent 14,000 of his most capable fighters to Dandaka. But the prince residing there was no ordinary man; He was the Supreme Lord Himself roaming the earth in the form of an expert bow warrior. The Lord’s primary purpose for incarnating was to kill Ravana, who had terrorized the world enough with his wicked ways. After the Rakshasa force was defeated by Rama, who fought alone, the demon Akampana managed to make it back to Lanka. He informed Ravana of what had happened and warned the king not to fight Rama one-on-one. Instead, he advised that Ravana should find a way to get Sita, for she was the very life and soul of Rama.

Rama giving ring to HanumanFast forward many months later and you get Hanuman, the most capable Vanara warrior residing in the Kishkindha forest, desperately searching through Lanka for Sita. After seeing so many beautiful women getting ready for a night of fun with their husbands, Hanuman remembered Sita’s qualities and thus could understand that he had yet to find her. Ravana had taken her away through a backhanded plot, thereby leaving Rama and Lakshmana frantically searching for her whereabouts. Allying with a band of monkeys residing in Kishkindha, Rama put His faith and trust in His sincerest devotee, Shri Hanuman, to find Sita and allay her fears.

Hanuman’s trek to Lanka was not easy by any means. He had to face so many obstacles in the form of geographical boundaries, ill-motivated demons, and most importantly, his own mind. Endowed with every ability necessary to carry out the mission, Hanuman was fully capable of succeeding, but since he is naturally very humble, on a few occasions he thought that maybe he had no chance of finding Sita. Though he had momentary struggles with self-doubt and trepidation, he carried on nonetheless. This was because his love for Rama superseded any other emotion.

From the above referenced verse from the Ramayana we see that Hanuman’s love for Sita was equally as strong. He had never met her up until this point, but since she was Rama’s wife, he knew that she had every divine quality. We see that Hanuman was fully aware that Sita was forever devoted to chastity and never looked at any man except her husband. She was so devoted that she had become the very mind of Rama, for this is what Akampana noticed as well. If I truly love someone with all my heart, and I know that they are fully pleased in the mind by someone else’s devotion, someone who is their religiously wedded spouse, naturally I will have great affection for that person as well. Knowing that Sita had these wonderful qualities and that she was being held against her will, Hanuman became increasingly impatient. He wanted to meet her very badly and deliver to her Rama’s sacred ring, which would indicate to her that her rescue was coming soon.

HanumanHanuman’s temporary impatience would actually further endear him to both Sita and Rama and countless other well-wishers spanning many generations into the future. When rooted in the desire for sense gratification, impatience leads to frustration, which then leads to anger and loss of rationale. But when the impatience comes from the desire to please the Supreme Lord and His associates, the tables are turned; the eagerness then only increases one’s resolve and attachment in the spellbinding practice of bhakti-yoga, or devotional service. Through his determination, Hanuman would meet Sita later on and temporarily allay her fears. All would end well, as Rama would march to Lanka with the Vanaras of Kishkindha and soundly defeat Ravana. The couple that resides together eternally in the spiritual sky would be reunited on earth, and Hanuman’s role in the victory would be forever glorified.

On that particular day while searching through Lanka, Hanuman was seeking to meet Sita just once. As a reward for his eagerness indicated through his impatience, Hanuman would get to see the vision of Sita and Rama every single day for the rest of his life. As soon as he hears their names or hears others glorifying them, he immediately remembers the divine couple. This remembrance brings him the greatest delight. The devotees are always anxious to see their beloved Lord and His eternal consorts, regardless of how many times they have been remembered in the past. Just as Hanuman is always anxious to remember Sita and Rama, anyone who has complete impatience in wanting to remember, celebrate, honor and glorify Shri Hanuman will get to see the dedicated warrior appear in their thoughts always. Whether sleeping or awake, remembering Hanuman is always beneficial, as he is forever endeared to Sita and Rama.

In Closing:

In regular affairs impatience is bad,

Causes frustration, it does make one mad.

From uncontrolled anger comes dejection,

Thus rise of impatience should be met with rejection.

It is said that good things come to those who wait,

Instance satisfaction bad for you, don’t take the bait.

But in spiritual life rules sometimes reversed,

In wanting to please God one should be immersed.

This was the case with Hanuman, looking for Sita,

In Ravana’s land, opulent kingdom of Lanka.

After overcoming obstacles, Hanuman still could not find her,

Impatience rising up, his resolve it wanted to deter.

But find her he would, for in loving Rama and Sita he is first,

With the practice of divine love, in bhakti he is well versed.

His impatience brought him divine vision every single day,

In his heart do Sita and Rama forever stay.

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Categories: searching for sita

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