“What kind of appearance and form did Rama have, as well as Lakshmana? Please explain to me how were their arms and how were their thighs.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.4)
kīdṛśam tasya saṃsthānam rūpam rāmasya kīdṛśam |
katham ūrū katham bāhū lakṣmaṇasya ca śaṃsa me ||
Here Sita Devi is asking Shri Hanuman to explain the details of the form and appearance of Shri Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana. There are certain outstanding features to the Supreme Lord when He descends to the earthly region. In other words, there are ways to tell that He is special.
Sita herself once described these features when talking to the wicked Ravana. The king of Lanka wanted her for himself, though he knew Sita was already married to Rama. To explain her way of life, Sita described her actions as anuvrata, or faithfully engaged in the service. The object of that service is Rama, who is her husband.
“I am faithfully engaged in the service of Rama, who is greatly fortunate, fixed in truthfulness, gifted with all auspicious marks, and has the bodily measurements of a banyan tree [nyagrodha-parimandala].” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 47.34)
How else do we identify Rama? He is a person with auspicious measurements. What makes them auspicious? They are like the banyan tree. The description in Sanskrit is nyagrodha-parimandala. His arms and legs are of the same length. This unique feature is there in the descent of God as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as well.
“This baby has all the symptoms of Lord Narayana on His palms and soles. He will be able to deliver all the three worlds.” (Nilambara Chakravarti remarking on baby Chaitanya’s features, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 14.16)
Rama’s arms are long, and He uses them for several purposes. The main one is protection of the innocent. Only someone who knew Rama well would be able to identify this purpose to His arms. Sita previously had mentioned that she took shelter of His arms, considering them to be the supreme resting place.
“After having rested on the worshiped arm of the Lord of the world, how can I now take rest on the arm of any other?” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 21.16-17)
Rama has a unique voice. It is like a kettledrum. The interesting thing is that Lakshmana is practically the same as Rama in all features except one. Rama’s complexion is like the dark raincloud. This specific color is called shyama in Sanskrit. Lakshmana is gaura, or golden. He is like the bright-moon. The brothers are so similar in features because they are both divine. One is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the other a direct expansion. Basically, they are God in two different roles. Rama is the object of worship and Lakshmana does the worship.
These features are transcendental on the body of the Supreme Lord. Hence He is known as both nirguna and saguna. He is saguna because the form is identifiable to the eyes of the conditioned. Basically, through the forms of Rama and Lakshmana I am able to see God, to get an idea of what Divine really means. Still, the aspects to those forms are completely spiritual. They are not like ordinary gunas, or qualities.
One way to tell the spiritual nature of the qualities is to study the effect hearing about them has. Sita already knew these features very well. She could have told Hanuman everything herself, yet she took great delight in hearing from someone else. In fact, the hearing is as good as personal association. It is better than seeing in a way, as there is more focus when the association is through sound.
Just as delight would come to Sita through Hanuman’s perfect description of Rama, the fallen souls living in the material world today can be rescued from their dreary condition through hearing. Though we are skeptical that God exists and that He can have a bluish hue with auspicious measurements to His arms and thighs, we can still feel great happiness through just hearing His names. Therefore in this age the principal method of bringing enlightenment is the chanting and hearing of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The effect of that hearing is more pronounced when the sound is produced by someone as pure and devoted as Shri Hanuman, the fearless messenger of Shri Rama.
Asking Hanuman describing to try,
How appeared brothers arms and thighs.
Since auspicious measurements in Him knowing,
Since from time of marriage with Him going.
Sita still wanting to hear,
Power of sound becoming clear.
Some time for hearing of God just take,
And from slumber of ignorance awake.
Categories: hanuman the messenger