Understanding In Your Terms

[Lord Vishnu]“He is splendorous like the sun. He is pleasing to the whole world like the moon. He is the king of all the worlds like the demigod Kuvera, and He is endowed with valor like the greatly famous Vishnu.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 34.28-29)

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āditya iva tejasvī loka kāntaḥ śaśī yathā ||
rājā sarvasya lokasya devo vaiśravaṇo yathā |
vikrameṇa upapannaḥ ca yathā viṣṇuḥ mahāyaśāḥ ||

A living entity can appear in the material world in a variety of circumstances. The human species alone gives us evidence of this, where some are born into squalor and others into splendor. Some live their whole lives without electricity, running water, or a telephone, while others could never imagine a life without these things. Since the living being, bhuta, is spirit at the core, it can have any type of material covering. That combination of spirit and covering can appear in the sky, the water, or the earth. It can appear on other planets as well.

“Birds, beasts, men and many other living creatures are moving living entities; trees and plants, however, are inert – they cannot move, but only stand. Every entity is contained within the scope of 8,400,000 species of life; some of them are moving and some of them are inert. In all cases, however, the seed of their life is Krishna.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 7.10 Purport)

The human being has the gift of reason, which is an aspect of the advanced intelligence. Intelligence is one of the subtle elements of the material body. With reason, man can make assessments. Whether judging high or low, in whatever sphere the human being may find themselves, there is an aspect of the Supreme Lord that relates to them.

In simpler terms, any person can find a way to understand God. Let’s say that I am an athlete. I appreciate others who have athletic ability. I try to learn from them in order to improve my performance. I offer respect to those who came before me and those who excel in the field of competition. I am able to assess where I am based on how others do.

In this situation, I can understand God as being the greatest athlete. He has the most ability. This may seem like a trivial comparison to make, but if we are to give respect to other human beings, why not to the source of everything? Only out of foolishness do we think that God cannot be a person. Only due to the misfortune of never having heard Vedic wisdom do we forgo studying the divine qualities possessed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The wise souls both understand God and teach what they have learned to others. They don’t hoard the information for themselves. They realize that if their own teachers had remained quiet, then the information wouldn’t have passed on. If knowledge of God is most valuable, shouldn’t that precious commodity be shared with those who are suffering?

[Marriage of Sita and Rama]Hanuman is one such wise soul. He knows God and he knows how to speak about Him to others. In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, the recipient of his words is in a particularly bad situation. It is a special circumstance since she already knows God; she is married to Him. Marriage is an event of this temporary world. The blessed event joining Sita and Rama in Janaka’s kingdom is there for us to enjoy, to show us how the Supreme Lord interacts with the goddess of fortune, who is His eternal consort.

Sita already knows Rama but has requested Hanuman to continue further. She delights in Rama-katha, or discourses about the Supreme Lord. At the same time, she is in a place where everyone is staunchly against her husband. They are cheaters to the core, as the foundation of dishonesty is antagonism towards the origin of spirit and matter. If you deny the existence of the Supreme Controller, then you are automatically a cheater. In Lanka, the people had no problem stealing, killing innocent animals for consuming as flesh, and breaking the general rules of warfare.

Their leader Ravana employed the kama-rupa siddhi many times. He used it to steal Sita away in secret and bring her back to Lanka against her will. It was no wonder, then, that Sita was a little skeptical when she saw a monkey-like person approach her in the Ashoka grove in Lanka.

Hanuman knows the many sides of God, and he speaks according to the time and circumstance. In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, he lists some of Rama’s qualities. The things he mentions have specific relevance to the circumstance at hand. Hanuman says that Rama is splendorous like the sun, Aditya. Lanka is in darkness, so this means that when Rama will arrive the darkness will dissipate.

gām āviśya ca bhūtāni

dhārayāmy aham ojasā

puṣṇāmi cauṣadhīḥ sarvāḥ

somo bhūtvā rasātmakaḥ

“I enter into each planet, and by My energy they stay in orbit. I become the moon and thereby supply the juice of life to all vegetables.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.13)

[The moon]Hanuman says that Rama is pleasing to the world like the moon. You can’t really hate the moon; only a fool would think like that. In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna mentions that He is the moon who supplies juice to the vegetables. Rama is the same Krishna, just appearing on earth in a different visible form and during a different time period. Therefore Hanuman’s statement is equivalent to Krishna’s.

Hanuman says that Rama is the king of the worlds like Kuvera, who is a celestial. Kuvera is the treasurer of the demigods, so he is like a sovereign in his ability to distribute wealth to others. Hanuman intentionally uses the name Vaishravana. This references Kuvera’s relationship as son to the father Vishrava. Ravana happens to have the same father. The difference is that Kuvera was a deva, or demigod, while Ravana was a Rakshasa, or man-eating atheist. Ravana would never have spoken of Kuvera in such a way. Therefore the comparison to Vaishravana was a further clue to Sita that Hanuman was a genuine messenger of Rama.

Hanuman says that Rama is valorous like Vishnu, who is highly famous. Again, this reference is applicable to the situation. The Rakshasas previously had a war with the demigods. Lord Vishnu Himself had arrived on the scene to help the demigods and drive the Rakshasas out. The same Vishnu was now on earth as Rama, and so history was set to repeat.

[Lord Rama]Sita did not need to worry. Rama was going to come and save the day. Hanuman spoke words that were truthful and appropriate to the situation. Every person has the opportunity to understand God. Using their own perspective, juxtaposing with their own life experiences, they can study Vedic literature and understand how the Supreme Lord has a relationship with every aspect of His creation.

In Closing:

Young and old, both tall and small,

Chance to understand God have them all.

Like Aditya giving heat and light,

And the moon shining at night.

Like Kuvera on whose wealth world relies,

And Vishnu of fame and valor high.

Wherever you live, in whatever your sphere,

Know the Lord and to Him become dear.

Categories: hanuman the messenger

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