Arguing Who Is The Best

[Rama and Lakshmana with Hanuman]“Having understood the truth of the matter from me, those two were very affectionate. Placing them on my back, we arrived at where Sugriva was.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.31)

tau parijñāta tattva arthau mayā prīti samanvitau |
pṛṣṭham āropya tam deśam prāpitau puruṣa ṛṣabhau ||

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Prior to the dawn of the industrial revolution, there was no such thing as professional sports or interest in games at such a grand level. To pass the time, perhaps gentlemen would sit around and play chess, but “professional chess player” wasn’t a kind of occupation to strive for during youth. Today, not only are there documentaries about sports franchises and their marches to victory, but even the supporters of such teams get studied. Known as fans, these supporters clash with other supporters, as not everyone likes the same team.

At the end of the day, the support is rather trivial. The fans don’t know the players and the players don’t know the fans. Whether one team of randomly selected players from various backgrounds, all looking to earn money, wins or loses is not so important. Life will go on. Indeed, the interest in sports is there as a way to escape from the serious matters in life. Why be so angry at someone who supports someone or something that has no bearing on their life? Nevertheless, the rivalries are real.

[Packers-Bears]Spiritual life features similar rivalries. It seems silly, as everyone should supposedly be on the same team. The first teaching in Vedanta philosophy is that the individual is spirit soul. Immediately this points to oneness. I am actually the same as you. You are no different than me. Even the cows, the ants, the birds and the beasts are spirit at the core. We share something in common with everything that lives. And not just something trivial, but rather the entire essence of our being – that is identical with every other living thing.

It’s understandable for there to be rivalries drawn from distinctions in preferred books, languages and time and place. One person has their name for God and another person has a different name. Not understanding that God can only be one, the two groups clash. In reality, the competition is something like attacking a person for using a different name for water. The Spanish-speaking person says “agua” while the English-speaking person says “water.” One person says agua is the best in taste, while the other says water is superior. The argument is silly since both are referring to the same thing.

Vedic culture is known for having many divine figures. These are referred to as devas in Sanskrit. Despite the worship of many heavenly beings, sanatana-dharma, which is the real way to describe what is otherwise known as Hinduism, is monotheistic. There is a Supreme Godhead who is readily acknowledged. He may be known by different names and have many forms to His personal self, but there is still only one chief deva. He is described as deva-vara or deva-deva. He is the chief of the devas and the deva to the devas themselves.

“O best of men, today, by worshiping You, Rama who is the greatest of all the gods, my religious practices have become fruitful and my ascension to the heavenly realm will surely take place.” (Shabari speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 74.12)

[Rama and Lakshmana with demigods]Among those who are aware of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His various personal forms, sometimes there is a quiet rivalry. One side will say that Krishna is the best. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His original form. His name means “all-attractive,” which cannot be surpassed as a way to describe the Supreme Lord.

Others will say that Vishnu is the best. He is opulently adorned, looks beautiful with His four hands, and is resting comfortably with His eternal consort Lakshmi and His greatest well-wisher Ananta Shesha Naga. Vishnu is declared to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead in so many places in Vedic literature. When Prahlada Maharaja described the nine processes of devotional service, bhakti-yoga, he mentioned Vishnu, not Krishna. One of the processes is vishno-smaranam, which means remembering God the person.

[Lord Vishnu lying down]Others will say that Shri Ramachandra, also known as Rama, is the best. Though He is described to be an incarnation of Vishnu, since there is no difference between the original and a personal incarnation, Rama is equivalent to God Himself. Rama looks beautiful carrying the bow and arrow, being accompanied always by His wife Sita and His younger brother Lakshmana.

Those who favor Rama can use the above referenced verse from the Ramayana to support their position. Here Shri Hanuman is describing to Sita his first meeting with Rama and Lakshmana. They were roaming the forest looking for her, and Hanuman was sent down from Rishyamukha to meet them by the Vanara-king Sugriva.

The brothers were so pleased to meet Hanuman that they agreed to climb on his back and be taken to meet Sugriva. The uniqueness of the Rama avatara is the presence of Hanuman. There is no one in the world like Hanuman. Because of his qualities he can purify others through his association. He wins over the hearts of even the most atheistic people. His pure devotion shines through in every one of his deeds. Though he is strong, capable, courageous, learned, and loyal, he is best known for his love and devotion to Shri Rama.

[Rama and Lakshmana with Hanuman]The brothers reciprocate by acting without reservation when with him. This was a meeting with a stranger in a strange place. Yet the trust was there immediately. Hanuman carried the two brothers with great attention, fulfilling whatever was promised. In the same way, he promises to allow entry into Rama’s kingdom to anyone who is sincere. It is for this reason that Goswami Tulsidas made worship of Hanuman so famous and widespread through the prayers known as the Hanuman Chalisa. The Vaishnavas, the devotees of God the person, will always have friendly debates as to which form of Godhead is superior. Only with Rama and Lakshmana can such a beautiful, magnanimous and unique individual like Hanuman be found.

In Closing:

In interest in sports scene,

Rivalries between fans of teams.

Supporting strongly for people not known,

Interestingly in spiritual life also shown.

Some all-attractive Shri Krishna prefer,

Others everything to Vishnu offer.

With Shri Rama and Lakshmana one thing unique,

Hanuman, carrying brothers on shoulder each.



Categories: hanuman the messenger

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