“Let there be all obeisances to the lord of speech [Brihaspati], the carrier of the thunderbolt [Indra], the self-create [Brahma], and also the consumer of oblations in the sacrificial fire [Agni]. Let whatever words spoken by this forest dweller in front of me be true; let it not be otherwise.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 32.14)
namo astu vācaḥ pataye savajriṇe svayambhuve caiva huta aśanāya |
anena ca uktam yat idam mama agrato vana okasā tac ca tathā astu na anyathā ||
Not knowing any better, the human being first seeks rewards which are actually not difficult to attain. Praying for food to be put on the table each day seems like a wise thing to do, but then the same prayer is absent in so many who are able to eat without a problem. The animals know nothing of prayer, and they seem to find food to consume each day.
Food is one thing, but there are so many other rewards sought as well. The person who is a little religiously inclined understands that not everything comes through their own work.
“So many people work hard, but not everyone gets the same result. Some people aren’t as smart as others. Some aren’t as lucky. Some are born into more difficult circumstances. This means that we can’t control everything. There are higher powers who manage these things, and to gain their favor, I will pray to them.”
Indeed, this is a wiser choice than ignoring the existence of higher authorities. At the very least, the human being should know that there are three kinds of miseries which are beyond their control. Miseries come from mother nature in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and the like. Then we get miseries from other living entities, like the mosquitoes that bite us for no reason and the people who cut us in line at the post office. Miseries of the third kind come from within, like a restless mind or an upset stomach.
We have little control over these miseries, so it’s wise to seek help from those who can control them. Not only is there control, but there are specific rewards the seeker can get. There is speech, which is managed by Brihaspati. His name and knowledge of his personality come to us from the Vedic tradition of spirituality. Then there is rain to help the crops grow. Indra, the wielder of the thunderbolt, manages this. Then we have our material form consisting of the three gunas: goodness, passion and ignorance. The self-create, Lord Brahma, manages this area since he creates everyone. There is also the respect offered to all the gods managing the many different departments of the material creation. Agni, the god of fire, accepts these offerings and then distributes them accordingly.
Though there are many gods of seemingly equal importance, one stands above all. He is the origin of even Brahma, who comes to be through the stem of the lotus flower that emerges from the navel of said origin of all. There are many ways to know how and why this god is supreme. For one thing, He does not always grant what the worshiper asks. He knows that the material is not as important as the spiritual. The aim of the human existence is to become conscious of Him, not to constantly be seeking material rewards that provide little to no happiness.
The supreme god is known by many names in the Vedas. One of them is Rama. This refers to His possession of transcendental pleasure and also to His incarnation that appeared on earth many thousands of years ago. That incarnation is described in detail in the work known as the Ramayana. The above quoted verse is from that work, and it gives proof to the concept of a singular deity which stands supreme.
In this verse Sita Devi, the wife of Rama, prays to various demigods to let the words of a forest dweller be true. The forest dweller’s name is Hanuman and he spoke these words in front of Sita. She did not know him prior to this encounter. She was worried about her husband at the time, and so the words of Hanuman were like nectar to her ears. Hanuman told her that Rama had sent him and that Rama was ready to come and rescue her.
The problem here was that Sita was surrounded by liars and frauds. The king of that particular land had used deception to lure her away from her Rama. So it makes sense that she would be hesitant to believe words coming from a stranger with a form that was out of place for the area. She asks that the important gods of the Vedic tradition validate Hanuman’s speech.
We know that the speech is indeed true, which means that the gods all confirm that Rama is the Supreme Lord. That is Hanuman’s more important opinion, as he serves Sita and Rama to this day without motivation and without interruption. Hanuman’s word is enough, as is Sita’s. Both are of impeccable credibility, proven through their thoughts, words and deeds. Yet Sita kindly offers the chance to the subordinate gods to support the glorious speech of Hanuman.
yo yo yāṁ yāṁ tanuṁ bhaktaḥśraddhayārcitum icchatitasya tasyācalāṁ śraddhāṁtām eva vidadhāmy aham
“I am in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship the demigods, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to some particular deity.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.21)
It is natural for the person who seeks and gets material rewards from their particular god of choice to have some affection for that god. In the Bhagavad-gita the Supreme Lord says that He helps such a person maintain their faith in their god of choice, though the rewards actually come from the original God’s sanction. With such a faith, it’s understandable if some would want to discount the notion that Krishna, Rama or Vishnu is a higher god. They will object to these claims, though they are supported by scriptural authority and the words of Hanuman.
In such cases, the gods themselves can be asked. They can be polled to see who they think is supreme. The answer coming back will be unanimous. Just as they were compelled to grant Sita’s wish, knowing that Hanuman’s words could not be untrue, they cannot lie about being under the control of the Supreme Lord. Thus the person whose faith is in a particular god can take the authority of that god to understand that there is a singular supreme being whose association is cherished by the wise.
Though to your favorite god you go,
A supreme being amongst all you should know.
Hanuman his story to Sita described,
To convince her of his message he tried.
To the demigods Sita then prayed,
That true would be speech Hanuman made.
No other choice, had to comply,
That Rama is God on their authority rely.
Categories: spotting hanuman