Bringing Great People Together

[Rama and Sugriva friendship]“I presented the truth of the matter about those two to the great soul Sugriva. After conversing with each other, a great friendship was born.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.32)

niveditau ca tattvena sugrīvāya mahātmane |
tayoḥ anyonya sambhāṣāt bhṛśam prītiḥ ajāyata ||

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada clarifies that many of the modern sciences are actually arts. They are not exact in their teachings, since those teachings change. That is the very nature of progress. You can only progress from something if the starting point is imperfection. As science features never-ending progress, there is a subtly acknowledged defect at every point along the way.

One of those arts is psychology. The human mind is difficult to grasp. Just when you think you have figured out a pattern, you meet a person who is unique. You study why they are that way and if others will turn out the same if presented with the same stimuli. Though the studying continues, with the art tweaked and redefined along the way, there are some interesting patterns among some groups. One of them is with friends. Consider this hypothetical scenario:

“My friend told me about the latest movie that came out. I was interested in seeing it too, when I first saw the trailers on television. My friend said the movie is really good. Then I asked what the general reception is. They said that pretty much everyone loves this movie. Now, the more I hear people praising it, the less I want to see it. I’m not going to go along with the crowd.”

The commenter here can be described as a contrarian. Their instinct is to go against what others say. Obviously, the emotion by itself is irrational, since every person is living in the same existence. If my kneejerk reaction is to go against what someone recommends, why shouldn’t they behave the same way with me? If I really like something, I will share it with my friends and family. That only makes sense. Why should others automatically reject that? As a contrarian I am doing that to them, so in one sense I am behaving dishonestly.

[Benjamin Franklin]Yet this tendency among friends is quite common. An incident is related in the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, where the famous statesman used some word play to get something accomplished. One time Franklin had an idea for a subscription library, where people could donate books to a central location and others could then borrow those books. The group forming the library had to canvass for members, who would each pay a subscription fee. In the Colonial Era, books were a rare and valuable commodity. Franklin knew that if he said the idea for the library was his, the people of the community might not agree with the proposal. They would be seeing one of their peers succeeding in a venture, and so envy was a likely outcome. He instead said the idea came from “a number of friends.” In this way enough subscribers were signed, paving the way for the vast public library system we have today.

“The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting one’s self as the proposer of any useful project, that might be suppos’d to raise one’s reputation in the smallest degree above that of one’s neighbours, when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that project.”  (Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography)

Shri Hanuman is such a pious soul that his recommendation is trusted by his friends. He knows how to bring together the right people, also. In this verse from the Ramayana, he describes how the alliance between Shri Rama and Sugriva was formed. Rama was wandering the forests with His younger brother Lakshmana. They were searching for Rama’s wife Sita.

Hanuman was Sugriva’s chief minister. He was asked by Sugriva to see what the two princes wanted, as they were unknown to the area of Mount Rishyamukha. Hanuman arranged so that Rama could meet Sugriva. Hanuman informed Sugriva about the truth of the matter. Essentially, through Hanuman’s word trust was formed. Then the two brothers spoke with Sugriva. From the conversation emerged a great friendship.

[Rama and Lakshmana with Hanuman]There are obvious reasons for skepticism during an initial conversation. No matter how well the other person may speak, they may have outside motivations. The salesperson is trained to speak kindly. They are looking to make a sale, after all. Sugriva could have been lying. He could have intended to take advantage of Rama’s strength. Rama was the son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. By appearance He looked to be very strong. Sugriva was deathly afraid of his brother Vali. Sugriva could have been acting nicely to have Rama help him, without doing anything in return.

Sugriva was also of the Vanara species, which is like a monkey. This means that Sugriva could have been driven by his sense urges. Why should Rama and Lakshmana trust a total stranger? Hanuman was the key piece. His qualities gained Rama’s trust immediately. Hanuman, too, recognized the Divine qualities of Rama and Lakshmana.

[Rama shooting Vali]This incident from the Ramayana is both part of factual history and symbolic. If you win over Hanuman’s trust, he will arrange the best meeting for you. Shri Rama, the Supreme Lord, has full faith in him. It is for this reason that Goswami Tulsidas made worship and adoration of Hanuman so popular. People may utter the Hanuman Chalisa, a prayer to Hanuman, out of fear or for material desire, but the association is very powerful. If Hanuman gives his endorsement, then friendship with Shri Rama occurs. To have God the person as your acknowledged best friend is to succeed in life.

In Closing:

Interests with your friend to share,

But tendency to envy still aware.

Not agreeing since from you coming,

Due to insecurity resistant becoming.

With Hanuman no defects at all,

Friend to Rama, Sugriva’s minister to call.

After on his back the brothers seating,

Friendship emerged from ensuing meeting.



Categories: hanuman the messenger

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