“By Him I have been sent as a messenger and have arrived here in your presence. Distressed by grief over your separation, He asks of your welfare.” (Hanuman speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 34.34)
tena aham preṣito dūtaḥ tvat sakāśam iha āgataḥ |
tvat viyogena duhkha ārtaḥ sa tvām kauśalam abravīt ||
It’s not easy carrying out a task for someone else. There are so many things that get in the way. What if I am tired? I have been working all day. I have so looked forward to going home and doing nothing. I just want to lay down and not think of the many responsibilities that will fall on me again tomorrow. Why can’t people just leave me alone? I really don’t want to do anymore favors today.
What if I can’t do what is asked of me? The boss at work wants me to fire an employee. I have never done that before. I feel for them. I know what it’s like to be let go from a company. I know how devastating such news can be. I feel that this person is being treated unfairly. The boss is being petty; the employee hasn’t really done anything wrong.
What if I don’t agree with the motives of the person asking me? A friend has asked me to help them move. I live a few hundred miles away from them. My friend knows that I specifically avoid manual labor. I get frustrated quickly when having to lift heavy things and move them. I would rather pay someone to help my friend. I also know that my friend is only asking me because they want to save a few bucks. “Rather than hire movers, have your friend drive hundreds of miles to help.” They promise to buy me some pizza as thanks. Keeping these things in mind, I am reluctant to agree to the request.
Shri Hanuman’s example makes for an interesting study. He was asked to help, and not by someone he knew for a long time. You couldn’t say that the person asking was a dear old friend. He wasn’t a boss, either. Hanuman was not officially employed by this person. The things asked of Hanuman had not been done by any person on earth up until that point. In fact, the mission looked impossible.
Hanuman proceeded anyway. The aforementioned doubts were not with him because of the nature of the person asking. Shri Rama is the Supreme Lord in an incarnation form. He is the sweetest person in the world, and He is also the most powerful. Any person who sincerely takes up work for Him ends up successful in the end. The real benefit is increased consciousness of God, which is the true way to happiness for all creatures.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, Hanuman says that he was sent as a messenger by Rama to look for Sita. He is now in Sita’s presence, which means that he has succeeded in the mission. The person who sent Him has these amazing qualities. He can shoot fiery arrows when angry. He is like both the sun and the moon in importance to the world, and He is like the maintainer Lord Vishnu. Rama is all of these great things, which Sita knows very well. She knows because she is His wife.
When Rama asks for something, Hanuman immediately obliges. He is won over by Rama’s qualities. Any person who knows God in truth feels similarly. They know that Rama does not exploit. They know that Rama is not looking to cheat anyone, that when He asks for something, He gets pleased immensely as soon as the effort is made. Rama is grateful as well, so He never forgets those who take up service to Him.
“I am His younger brother, Lakshmana by name. Due to His transcendental qualities, I have taken up service to Him, as He is grateful and very knowledgeable.” (Lakshmana speaking to Hanuman about Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 4.12)
Man has to work. This fact cannot be denied. The issues are what kind of work should be done and for whose benefit. Hanuman works for Rama. The devotees do what is asked of them by the Supreme Lord. If they don’t get orders directly, they get their direction from a bona fide representative. The general mission for the living entity is to become conscious of God through always thinking of Him. Hanuman gets the more specific mission of penetrating the enemy land of Lanka to look for the distressed Sita. Even after he succeeds, his work doesn’t stop. He continues to please Sita and Rama to this day, and they hold him very dear in their hearts.
Friend taking advantage of me,
Wanting help from me for free.
With this task I don’t agree,
Pettiness in the boss I see.
Issues understandable for reservations making,
But Hanuman assignment immediately taking.
That Rama full of sweetness and grateful so,
So for His pleasure Hanuman anywhere to go.
Categories: hanuman the messenger