A Tear Fest

[Sita Devi]“Janaki obtained unequaled happiness. With great delight she shed tears of joy from her curved eye-lashes.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.85)

atulam ca gatā harṣam praharṣeṇa tu jānakī |
netrābhyām vakra pakṣmābhyām mumoca ānandajam jalam ||

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The characters of the Ramayana are so amazing that it’s inevitable for tears to be shed at regular intervals. They are mostly tears of joy, as related in the above referenced verse. The word used is praharsha. A variation of the same word is used to describe Sita’s reaction to the words of Hanuman. Harsha, which means “happiness” or “delight”, is the response of the saintly person to interacting with Shri Hanuman.

Others may cry different kinds of tears. For instance, there was the gate-keeper of Lanka. She stood in the way of Hanuman entering the city. He didn’t have a visa. There was no letter of recommendation or certificate of verification. Hanuman looked out of place in the city, too. The place was inhabited by Rakshasas, which are like man-eating ogres. Hanuman was a Vanara, which is a monkey-like creature.

Not letting anything get in the way of his service to the Supreme Lord Rama, Hanuman literally fought his way into the city. Soon there would be screams of terror. Hanuman found Sita Devi, Rama’s wife, after a long and difficult search. On his way back to Rama, while leaving the city, he set fire to it. It is not in Hanuman’s nature to cause senseless destruction. Being a wise soul, he understands the importance of private property and how much work goes into maintaining life in the material world.

Rather, the wicked king of Lanka set fire to Hanuman’s tail as a way to embarrass him. They bound up Hanuman, with his burning tail, and he was paraded around the town, as a way to dissuade others from making a similar attempt. Ravana had taken Rama’s wife and now he had embarrassed Rama’s messenger. This was in line with Ravana’s character, as he was staunchly against God.

Hanuman easily released himself and then used the burning tail to his advantage. He set fire to the city, and the people started screaming in terror. They wondered if the sinful deeds of Ravana had finally come home to roost, so to speak. They thought that maybe Hanuman was the messenger of death. At that moment, they couldn’t see his kind nature.

Sita did because she is herself kind. She always walks the righteous path. One time Rama was pleased with her and praised her for being a sadharma-charini. This is the true position of the wife. She should be the partner in the attention given to dharma, which is religiosity or religion. The wife is the better half in this sense, and she shares all the rewards that come with virtue.

“My dear beautiful wife, what you have said is befitting the occasion and also indicative of the greatness of your family heritage. You are dearer to Me than My life, for you are My companion in the performance of religious duties.” (Lord Rama speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 10.21)

Some reward she received later on, as Ravana forcibly dragged her away from the peaceful situation of life with her husband to the dreaded one in Lanka. Unequaled happiness later came to her anyway, through the words of Hanuman. He is expert at Rama-katha, or giving discourses about the Supreme Lord in His incarnation known as Rama.

[Sita Devi]It should be understood that Hanuman is capable of delivering the same unequaled happiness to anyone. The happiness is described as such because nothing can compare to the Supreme Lord. He is anupama, or without comparison. He is adhokshaja, or beyond the measurement of any instruments. The same qualities descend to the words that describe him, and Hanuman is one person who carries those descriptions with him wherever he goes. As a result of this happiness, it is natural to shed tears of joy. So many moments in the Ramayana there are that elicit the shedding of tears in a pleasant mood that the work alone suffices for delivering people from the cycle of birth and death and the ups and downs in emotion that come in between.

In Closing:

After lengthy Ramayana work read,

Natural that tears of joy were shed.

To the saintly characters entirely due,

Sita, Rama, Lakshmana and Hanuman too.

Despite the virtual path to tread,

Into horrible Lanka Sita was led.

Still unequaled happiness in spite of fear,

When Hanuman’s words of Rama to hear.



Categories: hanuman the messenger

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