“Hearing those words of that monkey, and looking around at all quarters and all regions, Sita was remembering Rama fully and obtained a supreme thrill of delight.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 31.18)
niśamya sītā vacanam kapeśca |
diśaśca sarvāḥ pradiśaśca vīkṣya |
svayam praharṣaṃ paramaṃ jagāma |
sarvātmanā rāmamanusmarantī ||
How great is Hanuman, you ask? Where does he stand amongst historical figures? Actually, it’s not possible to describe him fully in one lifetime. Though he is single-minded, his glories cover all areas of importance. It would be too simplistic to say that he is a great devotee of the Supreme Lord. It would be almost insulting to remember him only as a very strong individual, capable of lifting mountains. If you were forced to choose one thing to remember about him, you couldn’t go wrong by recalling the time he allowed Sita Devi to remember her dear husband in full.
Anusmaranti – this is the Sanskrit word used in this verse from the Ramayana to give us an indication of what resulted after Hanuman described Shri Rama to the distressed princess in the Ashoka grove in Lanka. Hanuman was not entirely sure who this woman was. He had to base his judgment on outward symptoms. He had not met her previously. Yet the most important people in the world to him were counting on his pattern matching abilities. He was the last man standing in a search that spanned the world and consisted of thousands of eager, loyal and capable warriors.
They were true warriors in that they were fearless. Their only worry was that their leader, Sugriva, would be extremely upset at them for not succeeding. This concern could only be relieved by Hanuman, who was the lone Vanara from the Kishkindha kingdom to make it to where Sita had been taken against her will. By finding Sita and seeing her, he was ready to give a wonderful account of his journey to his friends, once he would see them again.
Before he would return, he was intent on letting Sita know that her husband was looking for her. Thinking that she would have no way of knowing if he was a friend or foe, Hanuman chose the surefire way to accurately reveal one’s character: attempt to describe God. So many ways to describe the infinite there are, so what was Hanuman to do? Well, Sita knew God very intimately in His incarnation of Shri Ramachandra, the eldest son to the king of Ayodhya, Dasharatha.
Hanuman described that Rama to the best of his ability. And how effective were his words? Did he do a good job? Here we get the answer. Sita felt a supreme thrill of delight. This came by remembering Rama in all ways. From birth up until that point in the timeline of Rama’s appearance on earth – Hanuman covered everything beautifully. He allowed for Sita to remember.
The anusmaranti shows that there is a way to have the association of a very dear person without them being nearby. We are greatly saddened by the loss of a loved one. That they have left this world means that we now have a void to fill. Also, it is chilling to think that we will never talk to that person again. We will never again be able to express to them what they mean to us. Death is so final for the living.
From anusmaranti, we can bring back that person’s association. With Rama you have the best person to remember. We think that He is not with us right now, for we lack the vision necessary for perceiving the Divine. We think that we can’t talk to Him and that He can’t hear us, so we lament and instead choose to make gods out of ordinary living entities.
Through a beautiful description of Him, however, we can remember Him in full. And that remembrance brings so much delight that it can’t be measured. In this way we see how great Hanuman is. He leaps over massive oceans for his friends. He uses his mastery over mystic yoga to figure out how to enter an enemy territory unnoticed. He uses his skill in Sanskrit composition and poetry to put together a flawless extemporaneous speech that allows another person to fully remember God.
But most of all he shows that love for Rama is what guides him. And that love is all he needs, which means that the same applies to everyone else. We can make the most of this single life by retrieving the association of our best friend. He is the only well-wisher of every living entity, from the criminals to the saints. He is the supreme enjoyer to all sacrifices and austerities, which means that our best friend should be the beneficiary of our work. And He is the Supreme Lord of everything, all the planets, so we can take comfort knowing that the person who wishes us the best has control over everything; no one surpasses Him in anything.
One way to know His greatness is to observe Hanuman, who brings delight to blameless goddesses like Sita. He brings delight to those who want to remember Rama, who feel as if life is slipping away from them if they don’t get to remember Him on a daily basis. Hanuman allows for that remembrance to happen in full, which means no one can surpass him in kindness.
Association of loved one we’ve lost,
To bring them back would pay any cost.
To remember is way one,
Same with Supreme Lord is done.
Hanuman told of Rama while in tree to hide,
So Sita remembered though not by His side,
Facilitated by Hanuman’s wonderful narration,
Extemporaneous speech of Lord’s glorification.
Categories: hanuman describing rama