Who Is Smart

[Shri Hanuman]“Looking sideways, up, down and even below, she then saw that Hanuman of inconceivable intelligence, minister to the lord of monkeys, and the son of the wind-god, looking like the rising sun.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 31.19)

sā tiryag ūrdhvam ca tathā api adhastān |
nirīkṣamāṇā tam acintya buddhim |
dadarśa pinga adhipateḥ amātyam |
vāta ātmajam sūryam iva udayastham ||

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What makes a person smart? Have you ever considered this? Perhaps we know a few people who we believe have a higher intelligence than the average person. On what basis do we make this determination? Perhaps they are quick to figure out the proper wiring for connecting the new television set that we purchased. Perhaps they can fix our computer when it starts to malfunction. Maybe they score very high on a standardized exam. This verse from the Ramayana describes a person as having inconceivable intelligence. This means that it is not possible to measure; that’s how smart he is. From the context we see how that intelligence is used and why he earns this unique distinction.

[Shri Hanuman]By the way, the person addressed here is in a monkey’s body. According to some theories, the humans evolved from the monkeys. The smartest ones gathering together, generating offspring, leaving a more advanced species in the next generation – the idea is that from something less intelligent you get something more intelligent.

But actually, how are the human beings more intelligent? The monkey does not worry over mortgage payments. It does not lament the breakup of fictional characters on a television show. It does not get angry when someone insults it. In fact, it doesn’t really worry very much. This is the case with most animals. They eat, sleep, mate and defend.

The so-called intelligent human being may be able to solve complex math equations and even deduce that their own death is imminent, but do they know how to make the best use of their life? From their advanced intelligence they find new ways to exploit the material nature, which is meant to be used by all. In previous generations, man could sit down to a meal in peace, holding a conversation with others at the table. Thanks to the work of the smartest among us, now man constantly checks their mobile telephone, incapable of breaking away from it. They have to be warned to not send messages on their phone while driving. Thus through intelligence there is less peace.

Though the person addressed here is in a monkey’s body, he has intelligence which is beyond measure. The context explains the reasoning for this description. Here he is in a foreign territory, but that isn’t so noteworthy. Monkeys are known to jump from tree to tree. The monkey here is on a tree branch, also.

The person here is looking down at a distressed princess. Again, nothing too amazing. If you can climb up a tree, certainly you’d be expected to look down on the people at the ground level from time to time. The person here hid himself. This takes a little more intelligence, but that doesn’t make the monkey noteworthy. Anyone who is in a place they shouldn’t be will try to conceal themselves.

The various aspects to this scene become important once we see the mission assigned to the monkey. That’s right. He wasn’t simply roaming around looking for food. He wasn’t going through a typical monkey day where they steal from others. The monkey named Hanuman leaped across a massive ocean to reach this small garden of Ashoka trees. He was not to be discovered. If others found out, the mission would be jeopardized. There was no book to consult. There was no best-selling author who could guide him on how to reach an island far, far away, enter it, and then find a person who was being hidden from everyone else. There was no smartphone to use for looking up directions. Hanuman had to go it all alone.

Consider also that the reconnaissance wasn’t enough. It takes a smart person to find this missing princess, but then he had to also speak with her. It is after introducing himself in some way that he gets the description of inconceivably intelligent, achintya buddhi. He figured out a way to speak to this princess without startling her. He gave her very important news about her husband, from whom she was separated for a while, against her will. That news made her so happy.

[Hanuman's heart]The most intelligent person in the world uses their brain for serving God. They do not work so hard for the sake of science, which is used to explain that of which already enough is known. The lesser intelligent species don’t have science to study, and they seem to survive just fine. Service to God is the boon of the human existence, and only the truly intelligent will take it up. Hanuman of an inconceivable intelligence excels at it; he figures out ways to make God happy every single day.

That intelligence can be our guide as well, showing us the way towards real happiness, which comes only in service to the origin of all things. Sita is His wife in their play on earth, and she is with Him eternally in their spiritual home. Hanuman uses his intelligence for pleasing her, which pleases her dear husband Rama too. And those who please Hanuman get the gift of the light of knowledge to be used in pleasing the same Sita and Rama.

In Closing:

Across ocean a journey unbelievable,

Then showing intelligence inconceivable.


In words to Sita Devi sending,

Through sound her broken heart mending.


To please Supreme Lord way finding,

Obstacles thrown his way never minding.


Hanuman, of great qualities a host,

Pleases Sita and Rama using intelligence the most.


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