“That chastiser of the foe is a protector of His good conduct and of His people. He is also a protector of all living entities and of righteousness.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 31.7)
rakṣitā svasya vṛttasya sva janasya api rakṣitā |
rakṣitā jīva lokasya dharmasya ca paran tapaḥ ||
The blockbuster movies tend to have common themes. There is a reason for their popularity. Aside from the use of special effects and modern imagery machines that enhance the viewing experience, the storylines themselves must resonate with the public. One of those themes is family. The message is to stop living your life so much based on money. Instead of chasing the almighty dollar and sacrificing everything as a result, step back a little and see the bigger picture. Realize what’s more important, namely spending time with your loved ones, caring for them in the process.
The message resonates with the viewers because people inherently want to love. There is the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss. The living being should always be in ananda. In a material existence, the ananda is covered or distorted. That which looks pleasurable in the beginning ends up tasting like poison in the end. Think of the drunkard who has a fun night out and then regrets everything the next morning.
yat tad agre viṣam iva
tat sukhaṁ sāttvikaṁ proktam
“That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.37)
Real ananda begins to flow from acts in righteousness, or dharma. Such acts are in the material mode of goodness. The experience in that mode is like poison in the beginning and nectar in the end. To have compassion for one’s own family members is one aspect to righteousness. It is showing basic respect to people who deserve it.
Yet there is something else to consider. What if the people are themselves bad? What if you have a bad character who also loves their family? Are they following righteousness? We define bad here as someone who does not care for other living entities. They kill at will, they steal if necessary, and they think everyone else should live under different rules. As an example, consider the modern day tyrant. They have no problem hurting others. These rulers care for their family members, however. They take care of their own.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, Shri Hanuman describes someone who has the full and complete understanding of compassion. That person cares for His own people. There is no denying that. The person is of the royal order, which in the time period in question was in charge of protecting through the application of force, when necessary.
The person Hanuman describes also protects all the living entities of the world. This is the proper understanding. After all, we had no say in who our parents would be. We naturally have affection for them because of the bodily relation, but other people have their own parents. These people are strangers to us, but that’s only because we don’t know them. If we knew more about them, we would see that they are actually no different from us.
The person of whom Hanuman speaks is Shri Rama, who is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By extension, we now understand that God is for everyone. He is automatically the greatest protector, even if people don’t ask for it. He looks out for the welfare of every creature, large and small.
Rama protects His own good conduct. This means that He takes dharma very seriously. He doesn’t need others to judge Him; He is on the case already. Hanuman also mentions that Rama is the chastiser of the enemy. Does this contradict the protection of all living entities aspect?
Actually, that chastisement is a form of protection too. Think of it like getting a bad grade on an exam. The grade is a truthful representation of what is known, or in this case not known, of the material. If the person who doesn’t know anything is told they are knowledgeable, the lie doesn’t do them any good. The earned poor mark hopefully motivates the person to try harder to understand the material, to correct whatever is wrong.
In the same way, Rama punishes those who deserve it. Hopefully they don’t commit the same mistakes again. Hanuman is telling all of this to Sita Devi, who is Rama’s wife. The words are so important that the exact same verse was spoken earlier to Sita by the same Hanuman.
The description stands in stark contrast to Ravana, the king of Lanka. He protected his own people, but not anyone else. He couldn’t protect his own good conduct because he didn’t have any. He tormented many foes, but Rama would be the exception. Sita was there in Lanka against her will. Ravana brought her there in secret. If he really cared about Sita, he would have brought her back to Rama, as she desired.
Hanuman’s words indicate that Rama is the ideal candidate for worship. The loving propensity found within the individual should first be directed to the Supreme Lord. Though it looks like He is invisible, through enough practice in bhakti-yoga, which is the highest dharma, He slowly reveals Himself. Eventually the worshiper sees Him everywhere, and is blissful as a result. Inheriting the wonderful attribute from Rama, they start to have compassion for every living entity, viewing the entire creation as their family.
For family of mine loving so much,
But towards others not a touch.
And then taking even a person not good,
More to love than just family understood.
With Rama extending to creatures all,
Their foremost protector everyone to call.
Worship Him first and then to others extend,
Then soon compassion to everyone send.
Categories: hanuman the messenger