“There if death itself, demigods, or demons were to stand in Rama’s way, He will destroy them, too.” (Hanuman speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.36)
tatra yadi antarā mṛtyuḥ yadi devāḥ saha asurāḥ |
sthāsyanti pathi rāmasya sa tān api vadhiṣyati ||
Just how strong is God? Is there a way to measure? One of the Sanskrit words used to describe Him is Adhokshaja. This references a person whose features cannot be assessed using blunt instruments. In essence, God’s height is both too large and too small to fathom. He is simultaneously greater than the greatest and tinier than the tiniest. He fits within the heart of both the ant and the elephant. As the Supersoul He expands to reside within both the intelligent person and the animal-like one.
The incarnations help to give an idea about God’s features. A popular animated television series from the 1980s had a tagline of, “and knowing his half the battle.” Knowing God is extremely important. In fact, that knowledge is more worthwhile than the latest news produced by the leaders of state.
That knowledge can shape consciousness, and consciousness is what determines the nature of living going forward. There will always be a future, as the individual, who is spirit soul, can never be killed. If we are going to continue to live, we might as well consider how to make that living pleasurable.
The incarnation of Rama has the name that indicates God’s possession of full transcendental pleasure. Bliss, or ananda, is given to others who interact with Him in the proper mood. Rama assumes the role of protector of the innocent, and in order to protect properly you have to overcome any obstacles encountered. With Rama, some of the most formidable foes are no match.
The Sanskrit words are sura and deva. These are gods. They reside in the heavenly region; hence they can also be known as celestials. They are individual spirit souls temporarily residing in amazing bodies. Though the first sura, Lord Brahma, lives for billions of years, in the grand scheme even that length of time is not much.
“By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together is the duration of Brahma’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.17)
Rama can overcome the devas, should they stand in His way. This is the opinion of Shri Hanuman, Rama’s messenger. The opinion is validated through knowledge of God’s features.
Why would the devas ever go against God? Doesn’t the word sura indicate that they are good guys, on the side of righteousness?
Demigods are still conditioned living entities, so there is the chance that they might succumb to jealousy. This occurred one time with the king of the celestials, Indra. He tested the strength in God by instigating a devastating rainstorm in Vrindavana, intended to kill innocent men, women, children, and cows. The same Rama was there, but in His form of Krishna. God thwarted the attack by simply lifting a massive hill and holding it up as an umbrella.
The Sanskrit word asura is a negation of the word used for demigods. The asuras are already against God, so it is not surprising that they would try to thwart the Divine will. In Rama’s case there were many encounters with the asuras prior to meeting Hanuman. Rama one time handled fourteen thousand asura-like men attacking Him at the same time.
Hanuman knows that Rama will destroy any demons that stand in His way of rescuing Sita, who was held in Lanka against her will by the king of the land, Ravana. Lanka was populated by Rakshasas, which are a special kind of demon, the lowest of the low in terms of consciousness. They had heightened ability in fighting, but they didn’t know how to use it for the highest benefit.
In the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna says that He is time itself. The Sanskrit word is kala. The word is synonymous with death. Time is the great destroyer. It is undefeated. Every person who takes birth must eventually succumb to death.
As Rama is God, He is above birth and death. If death personified were to stand in His way of rescuing Sita, Rama would win. This is the power of God. He creates the many universes effortlessly. He can destroy them, as well. Though He is time itself, He is separate from it. He does not directly involve Himself with the ups and downs found in the material world.
Through offering protection Rama similarly empowers His servants, who are known as devotees. Death still strikes, but it has no influence on the ability to practice devotion going forward. Demigods and demons may get in the way, even powerful sages. Durvasa Muni was defeated by King Ambarisha, just because Ambarisha was a devotee of the Supreme Lord. In the same way Hanuman could not be defeated by Ravana or his men. Such knowledge gives further confidence in the path of full surrender in devotion, which makes the most out of the human birth.
Most power ever in person to see,
Not even formidable enemies three.
To have chance in victory over Him gaining,
Like celestials the highest region attaining.
Indra in anger sending devastating rain,
Lord lifting hill of Govardhana name.
Death or even weapons of asuras showered,
No match, same for devotees empowered.