“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)
āditya iva tejasvī loka kāntaḥ śaśī yathā ||
rājā sarvasya lokasya devo vaiśravaṇo yathā |
vikrameṇa upapannaḥ ca yathā viṣṇuḥ mahāyaśāḥ ||
To whom should we offer our respect? Who is worthy of adulation, attention, and honor? Someone who provides us with necessary things would be a good candidate. If they give us food, clothing, and shelter, then they are important to us. They may not provide these things directly, but through at least some connection to them life is able to continue.
It is for this reason that the Sanskrit word “guru” applies to people beyond just the spiritual guide. In today’s vernacular, a guru is an expert. If you want to lose weight, visit a diet guru. Your computer giving you trouble? Consult a tech guru, also known as a geek or nerd. The common use of the word guru in Sanskrit refers to spiritual guides. The word appropriately extends to parents and other respected personalities as well.
This is because the guru is a life-giver. With spiritual matters, they give the second and more important birth. A person who has taken initiation from a spiritual master is known as dvija, or twice-born. Every living being has a first birth, but only the human being is eligible for the second one. Initiation marks entry into the timeless occupation of dharma, which is the soul’s essential characteristic. Dharma is what defines us, though we likely don’t know it.
The parents are guru also because they give life. They are the first guru, actually. Respect your elders. Thou shall honor thy mother and father. We’ve heard these edicts, and there is a reason behind them. It’s an issue of basic appreciation. Without our parents, we would not be in this world. Sure, they may make mistakes from time to time. They are not perfect. But since they are older and in charge, they deserve some respect.
What about a person who provides for all of humanity? Should they not get even more respect? My parents take care of me and my siblings, but there are higher forces which take care of everyone. Shri Hanuman provides a few examples. There is the sun, also known as Aditya. The sun is for everyone’s benefit. They say that if the sun were to go out, i.e. lose its heat and light, life on earth would survive for only a few hours at best. This shows how important the sun is.
There is also the moon. It shines bright in the night to give light in an otherwise dark time. It is responsible for the tides and it gives juice to the vegetables. The sun and the moon don’t play favorites. They don’t purposefully withhold their energy from the bad creatures on earth. No matter how much you have screwed up, the sun will be there for you. The moon does not make a character judgment.
Hanuman mentions Kuvera, who is the treasurer of the celestials in heaven. Kuvera distributes wealth to the world, so he is like a king. He takes care of people by giving them essential items. Hanuman mentions Vishnu and His valor. Vishnu is also the maintainer of the universe, with Brahma creating and Shiva destroying.
The sun, the moon, Kuvera, and Vishnu are all like Rama, who is the Supreme Lord. Notice that God is responsible for things that every person relies on. Even the atheist needs the sun. The criminal relies on wealth, though the kind that belongs to others. In this way God is for everyone. Goswami Tulsidas mentions something similar in his Dohavali. He says that he knows that Rama is God because the essential items in life are relatively inexpensive and abundant in quantity. The sunlight is free and it comes around practically every day. Though on a cloudy day the sunlight gets blocked, its influence is still there.
Hanuman spoke these words to Sita, who is Rama’s wife. She was stuck in the darkness of the city of Lanka. Rama would come as the bright moon to alight her hopes for a better day. Just as Rama is like the sun and the moon, He is like Hanuman as well. Hanuman is brave, courageous, dedicated, intelligent, and highly knowledgeable. By giving hope to Sita in a stressful time, he further increased the glory of the already glorious Supreme Lord.
Rama’s wife, distressed was she,
To give her message sent was he.
Hanuman, to the moon and sun bright,
Comparison to Rama, Sita’s hopes to alight.
To both good and bad providing,
Should appreciate He on whom relying.
Hanuman increasing glory of already a host,
Supreme Lord, worthy of respect the most.
Categories: hanuman the messenger