Honoring Those Who Honor Him

[Rama and Lakshmana with Vishvamitra]“He is well trained in royal knowledge and gives honor to the brahmanas. He is full of knowledge, endowed with good conduct, and humble. He is a chastiser of the foe.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.13)

rāja vidyā vinītaḥ ca brāhmaṇānām upāsitā |
śrutavān śīla sampanno vinītaḥ ca param tapaḥ ||

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In this verse Shri Hanuman describes what he has seen with his own eyes and what he knows to be true. He does not exaggerate. There is no need. If Hanuman didn’t believe what he was saying, he wouldn’t have risked his life in the dangerous journey across the ocean to Lanka. He wouldn’t have gone up against Simhika and Surasa. He wouldn’t have transformed his shape into that of a cat to roam through the city of Lanka undetected.

“At night, on the sun having set, Maruti [Hanuman] contracted his body. Becoming the size of a cat, he was a wonderful sight to behold.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 2.49)

[Shri Hanuman]He wouldn’t have continued on after almost losing hope. He wouldn’t have tried as hard as he could to win over the trust of Sita, who was justifiably skeptical. After all, everyone else in Lanka was against her husband. She wanted desperately to be reunited with Him. As the goddess of fortune, she could have given unlimited riches as a reward for coming through on her request. She could have blessed the person for lifetime after lifetime.

Hanuman believes what he is saying. In this verse he continues to describe Shri Rama, the beloved husband of Sita. We know from Vedic literature that Rama is Divine. He is the Supreme Divine Being, in fact. The Sanskrit word is avatara, which means “one who descends.” It is not that God is formless and attributeless and then decides to assume material elements when roaming the earthly realm. Rather, He descends, always remaining who He is. In the Bhagavad-gita, He describes how the less intelligent never understand this.

avyaktaṁ vyaktim āpannaṁ

manyante mām abuddhayaḥ

paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto

mamāvyayam anuttamam

“Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.24)

There are specific qualities that accompany being Divine. In other words, the human mind isn’t relegated to mental speculation when trying to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They can take the testimony of Hanuman and try to study it carefully.

Several key aspects are mentioned here. Hanuman says that Rama is well trained in royal knowledge. Rama appears in a kshatriya family, which is like the royal order. Though Rama is God, He does not blatantly violate tradition. He does not do whatever He feels like, as He wants to set a good example for the citizens. He takes up training in the military arts, and so He knows the way of diplomacy and what to do if people violate the laws of the state.

[Rama and Lakshmana with Vishvamitra]An important aspect to royal administration is respecting the brahmanas. This point is also mentioned by Hanuman. He says that Rama gives honor and worship to the brahmanas, who are the priestly class. This fact has relevance beyond just the royal order. The Supreme Lord is the worshipable deity of the brahmana class. The Sanskrit term is brahmanya-devaya.

In return, God holds the brahmanas very dear. The same goes for the cows. In a place where the priestly class and the cows are protected, the Supreme Lord is very pleased. He gives honor back. He loves those who love Him. The ideal brahmana engages in one or more of six distinct occupations. They read the Vedas, teach the Vedas to others, engage in sacrifices for Rama’s pleasure, teach others how to perform such sacrifices, accept charity, or give charity to others. The specific occupation is not important. It is the consciousness which matters. The brahmanas who are dear to Rama are always thinking of Him. They see the equality of all creatures, and they are thus the true embodiment of compassion.

A wise person realizes that if Rama honors those who honor Him, why shouldn’t everyone take up service to Him? Rama is also full of knowledge, shrutavan. He listens to what people tell Him. Rama has good conduct. He is not a mean person. He respects others. He is also humble. Even though He has everything and is the most skilled person in any area of expertise, He does not flaunt His greatness.

He chastises the foe as well. This means that in addition to honoring the priestly class, He protects them from outside attack. That is the definition of “foe” to the Supreme Lord. Weighing these facts, the devoted souls realize they are always under the shelter of the Divine. They know that they can safely continue chanting the holy names to feel the association of Shri Rama: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Rama not worship from others to expect,

To brahmana class giving highest respect.

Since honor to Him always to give,

In service conscious of Him to live.

Where brahmanas and cows protected,

Quickly to there Rama’s mercy projected.

So chant holy names without fear,

And to Lord always remain dear.



Categories: hanuman the messenger

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