“You are courageous. You are qualified. You are intelligent. O best of the Vanaras, this place of the Rakshasas has been taken on by you alone.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.7)
Anyone can say anything. That is a byproduct of independence, of which the living entities in this world have a small amount. This freedom makes it difficult to invest absolute authority in any one person or governing body.
For instance, typically the ruling of a court is respected. The judge is looking at the law, are they not? But what if on a specific case they let their political preferences influence the ruling? If the judge suddenly says something ridiculous, devoid of legal basis, should the ruling be accepted?
Man is fallible, after all. They are prone to committing mistakes. What to do, then, when someone claims to be a man of God? How do we know that God even exists? From studying just a single historical personality we get ways to properly assess whether a person can indeed be sent to our presence by the Supreme Lord Himself.
1. Do you carry something of His
A messenger is bringing something. Back in the days when the telephone network wasn’t so vast, there was something called a telegram. A person brought to the door a simple message. It was just text, delivered to the proper destination.
If someone claims to be a messenger of God, they should be bringing something of His. Right away we see a dividing line, a way to eliminate so many so-called messengers. The messenger must believe that God is a person. They cannot discount the Divine as some abstract or collective. A message has an origination, and an attribute-less white light is not capable of crafting a message.
The true messenger could be carrying an object belonging to God. Again, possessions are only tied to distinct individuals. If the messenger is not bringing anything from the Divine, then they aren’t really even a messenger.
2. Do you take risks to please Him
The discussion is about a representative, sort of like a travelling ambassador. So many people are dedicated servants, trying to restore the lost connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are practicing bhakti-yoga, devotional service, to some degree. They are trying their best, and though they are a symbol of sacrifice, they may not be openly declaring themselves to be a messenger.
The true messenger must take all risks to please the Supreme Lord. That is one of the effects of knowing Him. If I know the most wonderful person in the world, love will surely be there. From love there is sacrifice. God also gives assurance to the devotees that He will protect them from any negative reactions that may result from surrendering to Him.
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
The genuine messenger of God who is mature in their understanding takes all risks in service. They sacrifice their own pleasure for the happiness of the person they are serving. They are not interested in praise or adulation; just having the opportunity to serve is enough.
3. Are you happy bringing others closer to Him
Having met God and getting something to deliver to a specific destination, the messenger goes out to carry out the work. Having reached the destination, what exactly are they looking for? What makes the mission successful? What pleases them?
The true messenger takes delight from bringing others closer to God. If they are simply looking for a large number of followers or a steadily increasing bank balance, they are not a real messenger. They are posing as such simply to increase their own stature.
From the modern day we have examples of saints who travel the world to spread the message of Divine love, which penetrates the heart directly through a most powerful sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. They carry the sound of God’s names, which are identical to Him. They take risks in travelling from place to place, and they are most pleased when they see others regain the connection to God through bhakti-yoga.
Shri Hanuman is a historical personality who meets every criteria in this regard. He met God in the incarnation of Shri Rama, made famous from the Ramayana poem of Valmiki. Hanuman brought with him the message of Rama and also Rama’s ring. The intended destination was Rama’s wife Sita, whose whereabouts were initially unknown. The risks Hanuman took in that journey are so amazing that they are difficult to believe. He derived so much pleasure by bringing just a little comfort to Sita. He was a firsthand witness to the joy she felt from knowing that Rama was thinking of her and preparing to rescue her.
To this day Hanuman continues to act in that capacity. He travels to different destinations through his deity form. There are also many songs glorifying him, with the intended purpose of bringing people closer to him. The more one knows Hanuman, the more they know the real purpose of life: devotion to God.
When more of him to know,
Further into devotion to go.
Association of Hanuman the effect,
Best example of messenger to get.
For Shri Rama all risks taking,
For higher cause comforts forsaking.
Carrying with him God’s existence evidence,
Wherever worshiped blessed that residence.