The Hundred Year Journey

[Sita Devi]“Alas, the common saying, ‘Bliss eventually comes to a man who lives, even after one hundred years,’ appears to me to be true.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 34.6)

kalyāṇī bata gathā iyam laukikī pratibhāti me |
ehi jīvantam ānado naram varṣa śatāt api ||

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Things not going well for you? Life got you down? Does it seem that nothing ends well? The pressure never stops, does it? In youth there is one assignment after another. You have to do well in school in order to move ahead. There is a reason that young people share a similar recurring nightmare. They dream about showing up to class one day after having missed everything that was taught. They are then given an important exam, for which they are not prepared.

[exam in school]In adulthood things only get worse. There is immense pressure to hold down a job. Even if you do everything right at the office, it doesn’t mean that the company’s future is secure. So much in business takes place through contacts. The concept of “networking” exists precisely because people do business with people that they know; it only makes sense. Therefore if there is a fissure in a key relationship, the company you work for can go under.

There is constant uncertainty. Even if there is enough money to maintain home and family going forward, there is no guarantee that health will remain steady. A disease can strike at any moment. Disease can be fatal. Therefore you can lose the association of your loved one at any time.

Such was the case with Sita Devi. She was living peacefully with her husband in the forest of Dandaka. Her husband’s younger brother was with them. The three were very happy in each other’s company. But one day an imposter came along who changed everything. He took the false dress of a priestly mendicant. Prior to his arrival, he set up a ruse that drew Sita’s husband and His younger brother away from the cottage in which all three were staying.

The imposter was the King of Lanka. Named Ravana, he terrorized the world with his mighty prowess. He took Sita back to his home on the majestic island. She refused his advances and so he resorted to threats. Anyone in Sita’s situation would consider such a life to be hellish. It’s not fun to be separated from someone you love, especially when there is no way to communicate with them.

In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana Sita recalls the adage that happiness eventually comes. In modern times there is a similar saying: good things come to those who wait. And wait you must. Even if it takes one hundred years, eventually that bliss will come. Actually, this is a fact. Life in the material world features ups and downs. The pendulum swings between desire and aversion, like and dislike.

icchā-dveṣa-samutthena

dvandva-mohena bhārata

sarva-bhūtāni sammohaṁ

sarge yānti parantapa

“O scion of Bharata [Arjuna], O conqueror of the foe, all living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.27)

[Sita Devi]In Sita’s case the ananda is of a different nature. She has just head news about her husband and His brother. She is so happy to learn that they are okay and that they are thinking about her. Though it’s not a direct communication, the messenger is reliable. He is named Hanuman and he is a fit representative for Shri Rama. Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, God as He is known beyond the abstract. Sita is Rama’s wife, so she is actually never separated from Rama. She is always thinking of Him, which is known as bhakti-yoga.

Bhakti-yoga can also be translated as “Krishna consciousness.” Krishna is another name for God. It also references a specific form. Krishna holds a flute in His hands, wears a peacock feather in His hair, and enjoys in the sacred land of Vrindavana. Krishna and Rama are the same person, just appearing differently due to the time and circumstance.

What to speak of one hundred years, there can be one hundred lifetimes without getting news of the Supreme Lord. Yet eventually that information can come, and the fortunate feel tremendous bliss as a result. The idea is that as long as one is living, they have a chance at the pinnacle achievement in life: the bliss of surrender in devotion.

Sita always has that bliss, as does Hanuman. The fallen souls who perpetually spin on the wheel of material existence, reincarnation, birth after birth, have forgotten about Rama. They would rather hear about anyone else. They are eager to know what the latest poll numbers are in the election campaign, how their favorite sports team is doing in the standings, and what new movies are playing.

[Shri Hanuman]Ananda, real bliss, can only come when there is a desire to hear about God. That news will be delivered by a fearless messenger like Hanuman. Sometimes Rama Himself will arrive on the scene. The exact moment of delivery is unknown, but one who continues living and maintains a sincere desire to know and serve God can rest assured that the pleasing words will eventually reach their ears.

In Closing:

If waiting long time with sincere,

The good eventually to reach the ear.

Even if after one hundred a year,

News of Supreme Lord to hear.

Then real bliss not to believe,

Like when Sita from Hanuman to receive.

Message of Rama and Lakshmana to bring,

To suffering like sweetest music to sing.



Categories: hanuman the messenger

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