“Abandoning his beggar form and reassuming his monkey form, the elephant among monkeys [Hanuman] placed those two heroes on his back and departed.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 4.34)
The play of the Supreme Personality of Godhead performed on the stage of the earthly realm, the land of birth and death, is not limited by the properties of that place. That is to say the images remain through the passage of time. First, they are safeguarded in the pages of sacred works like the Ramayana and Puranas. They are additionally passed on in an aural tradition, where people discuss the pastimes of God the person and then share their memories with future generations. The process continues in a chain, or what is known as parampara.
The incarnation of Shri Rama, God in a human-looking form, spent some time in the forest of Kishkindha. You typically wouldn’t find warrior princes in that place, and so a Vanara-king watching from above took note. He sent his chief minister down from Mount Rishyamukha to see what was going on.
1. The brothers looking for Sita
Rama was accompanied by His younger brother Lakshmana. Together, they were like fire and wind. The fire was to set ablaze the sinful mark left by the Rakshasa class. For a long time they had been coming to the forests to harass the innocent sages, who had sought refuge there to better concentrate on their service to God. Rama’s arrows were the fire, and those amazing weapons were supported by the equally powerful Lakshmana, who always stayed by Rama’s side.
The brothers arrived in Kishkindha not by accident. They were looking for Rama’s wife Sita, who had gone missing. In this image Rama does not appear very happy. He is looking here and there, with the different objects in nature reminding Him of the time spent with the beloved wife, who was so devoted to Him. The image proves that God thinks as much about His devotees as they think about Him.
“For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.30)
2. Hanuman carrying on shoulders
Sugriva was the king of the Vanaras, who were something like monkeys. The Sanskrit word itself refers to a forest-dweller. These were uncivilized human-like creatures that had features of monkeys. The Sanskrit words kapi and hari are also used to identify them, and these words mean “monkey.”
Hanuman was the chief minister asked to learn why these two princes were walking in the forest. Hanuman took on a false guise. His first interaction with the Divine incarnation of Rama involved deceit. That slowly dissipated, as he couldn’t help but praise Rama’s features.
The Supreme Lord had a sidebar discussion with Lakshmana, where it was discussed how well Hanuman spoke and how valuable such a minister must be. Trust formed immediately, to the point that Hanuman took the two brothers on his shoulders, leaping up to the mountain where Sugriva was.
3. Rama shooting Vali
Sugriva was in Rishyamukha because of a feud with his brother Vali. Unfortunately, cooler heads would not prevail; this was not a conflict that could be resolved peacefully. Rama and Sugriva shared a predicament – separation from the wife. Rama agreed to help Sugriva, and Sugriva would in turn help Rama.
In this image Rama is preparing to shoot Vali. The task is a little difficult since the brothers look identical. The plan arranged beforehand was for Sugriva to fight with Vali, and Rama would support from a hidden area. Such a tactic is considered against dharma; it is sinful for the ordinary person. For God, there is no influence of piety or sin. Whatever He does is auspicious. This image shows that He will do anything for those who are devoted to Him. The end result is beneficial to every person involved.
4. Rama giving the ring to Hanuman
Sugriva regained the kingdom, and soon it was time to hold up his end of the bargain. The massive Vanara army prepared to scour the earth in search of Sita. Before they departed, Rama entrusted something very special to Hanuman. It was Rama’s ring, bearing His name on it. It was understood that if anyone were to succeed, it would be Hanuman. This ring would show Sita that he was a genuine messenger sent from Rama.
Most trusted Vanara becoming,
Ring sign that from Rama coming.
In false garb at that first meeting,
But still with pleasant words greeting.
Hanuman on his shoulders taking,
Help for feud of brothers breaking.
Sugriva the kingdom to regain,
Repaying honor to Rama the same.
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