“The unconquerable Rama would not have sent an untried person to my presence specifically without knowing their powerful capability.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.11)
preṣayiṣyati durdharṣo rāmo na hi aparīkṣitam |
parākramam avijñāya mat sakāśam viśeṣataḥ ||
Vidita-atmana. He is a knower of the self. This is a significant attribute. Unless taught, no person will ever know who they truly are. They may reach to the penumbra, getting close but not the actual understanding. They might discover that birth and death occur in cycles. They may understand that they maintain the same identity throughout the various phases of life. But through speculation alone they can’t come to the conclusion that the individual is spirit soul, part and parcel of God. Individual spirit is never killed.
Vishesha-jna. This is a knower of distinctions. Spirit soul is inside of a covering consisting of gross and subtle elements. Mind is finer than the elements of the gross body. Intelligence is finer than the mind, and ego is even finer than intelligence. The spirit soul is so subtle that it is finer than the ego. To know something fine in substance is not easy.
To know distinctions is also significant because distinctions are many. The gross elements are composed of three base ingredients: goodness, passion and ignorance. Put together in combinations and proportions, the result is 8,400,000 different species. A true knower of distinctions understands the attributes, tendencies and images of all of these varieties of body.
“The eldest son to that king was named Rama. He was very dear, had a face resembling the moon, was a knower of distinctions, and was the best among all wielders of the bow.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 31.6)
Shri Rama, the husband of Sita, is both vidita-atmana and vishesha-jna. The testimonies of Shri Hanuman and Sita Devi confirm this. The wife knows the husband well, as they spent so much time together. There is also the basic understanding of Rama’s high nature. Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is automatically all-knowing through His feature as the Supersoul, where He rests within the heart of every living being and acts as the overseer and permitter.
“Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 13.23)
Rama is the Superself, so of course He knows the self. In His incarnation as a warrior prince, the Supreme Lord understands all the different species. He knows what their tendencies are. He knows their defects. He even knows where to find devotees, sometimes in unusual circumstances and places.
Case in point Shri Hanuman. The minister to the Vanara-king Sugriva, Hanuman was living in Kishkindha. If you are looking for a person, you normally don’t seek help from animals in the forest. Especially monkeys, who are not known for being civilized. They are renounced in the sense that they don’t live in a city and go to work, but they are still animals, driven by the senses.
Rama made friends with the Vanaras through meeting Hanuman. From hearing Hanuman speak, Rama could tell that he was something special. An immediate friendship formed. Later on Hanuman would be entrusted with a most difficult mission: finding Sita, who had gone missing after being by Rama’s side.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, we can add another feature to Rama. He is a knower of ability. Though this is technically a derivative of the vishesha-jna feature, it is significant nonetheless. Sita understands that Rama is this way based on the trust He put in Hanuman. That dedicated servant has reached her and brought to her Rama’s ring.
Rama would not have trusted Hanuman with such an important task if He didn’t think there would be success. If Rama trusts him, then so does Sita. If they both trust Hanuman, why shouldn’t we? And what does Hanuman want? With his life and activities he gives inspiration to try harder to be successful in life. He shows that in devotion success is guaranteed, and that conversely in material life no one can ever be happy.
By difficult journey coming alone,
Knower of ability in Rama shown.
Of distinctions also aware,
As Supersoul in spaces everywhere.
Hanuman towards Sita went,
With Lord’s sacred ring sent.
In him Divine couple greatness to see,
Inspiration to all seekers is he.