“O Devi, I have arrived here as a messenger for you, being ordered by Rama. Vaidehi, all is well with Rama, and He has asked about your welfare.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 34.2)
aham rāmasya saṃdeśāt devi dūtaḥ tava āgataḥ |
vaidehi kuśalī rāmaḥ tvām ca kauśalam abravīt ||
A message involves four aspects. There is the sender. This is where the message originates. There is the message itself, also known as the content. What is it that the sender wants to say? Why are they creating a message? What needs to be communicated? The third aspect is the recipient, also known as the audience. For whom is the message intended?
The fourth aspect is the method of transmission. The origination can be a person, who then delivers the message personally. This is preferred when the origination and the destination are side by side. But when we think of a message, we think of communication between two parties that are not necessarily close in proximity.
In modern times the method of transmission can be electronic, such as through a text message, an email, or a phone call utilizing voice over IP. In this verse from the Ramayana, the transmission is through the old fashioned way: a messenger.
Here the messenger is unique because he has affection for both parties. The point of origination is Shri Rama, the son of King Dasharatha. He is the prince of Ayodhya, the greatest bow fighter in the universe, and the beloved husband of Sita. She is a devi, or goddess, as addressed here by Hanuman. She is the daughter of the king of Videha; hence her name of Vaidehi.
Rama’s message is important to Hanuman. The messenger wants very badly to deliver the message, but the difficulty is finding the recipient. It is not like with a package that has an address listed on it. It is not uncommon for airlines to lose the checked-in luggage of a traveler. After all, so many suitcases get loaded onto a flight, and there are connecting flights to consider. A smart move for the traveler is to write their address, or at least contact details, on their suitcase. This is helpful if the suitcase gets lost.
Despite starting with little information of her whereabouts, Hanuman ended up finding Sita. Here he explains to her that he is a messenger sent to her. He was ordered by Rama. This lets Sita know that Hanuman is not an enemy. He is not there to exploit her, threaten her, or grill her for information. He is there on the orders of Rama, who wants to let her know that He is okay. The two were suddenly separated while living together in the Dandaka forest.
Rama also asks of Sita’s welfare. This implies that Hanuman’s work is not finished. He is the method of transmission for the message between husband and wife, and that communication is meant to continue. He is tasked with taking a message from Sita and bringing it back to Rama.
This factual episode from history, which is documented in the Ramayana of Valmiki, perfectly symbolizes the role of the messenger of God. They deliver vital information to important people. In this case Sita was awaiting the message; she was receptive to what Hanuman was telling her. In the same way, the Vaishnava representative of the Supreme Lord looks for the receptive audience who is willing to hear the message of Divine Love.
Their message is that God indeed exists and that He is full of bliss. Since He is all-attractive, He is known as Krishna. Since He has full transcendental pleasure, He is also known as Rama. The Supreme Lord wants His children to escape from the dangerous situation known as material life. Like with Hanuman, the communication is not just one way. Upon finding the proper recipient, a message should come back to the Supreme Lord. The rescued person offers their prayers on a daily basis, worshiping in the method authorized by the messenger. That worship originally goes to the representative, who eventually brings it back to the source, Shri Rama. From Hanuman’s heroic exploits we get a better appreciation for the servant of God, who is willing to travel anywhere to deliver the most important message in the world.
From message to receive,
Words of another to retrieve.
Hanuman a messenger to make,
Ready for one back to Rama to take.
With Supreme Lord the same way,
Sending back with words to pray.
Like Hanuman going without fear,
Vaishnava giving message of God clear.
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