“O Vaidehi, taking you on my back and coursing through the sky, I shall undoubtedly return in the same manner that I arrived here.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.27)
yathā eva aham iha prāptaḥ tathaiva aham asaṃśayam |
yāsyāmi paśya vaidehi tvām udyamya vihāyasam ||
There are popular internet images relating the same idea. It is a quick and straightforward counterargument to the standard logic of the atheists. As they discount the idea of God, relegating it to mythology or some faint hope for a brighter future in the afterlife, by their very claim so many contradictions arise.
One of the obvious relates to the origin. Forget the past for a moment. Put aside predictions of the future. We know what exists right now. We can see for ourselves. We can smell, taste, hear and touch, also. There is no doubting that we have trees. There is no debate about whether the sky exists. We see living beings all around us.
If the claim is made that there is no God, it means that there is no origin. Or at least there is no intelligence behind the origin. Since we have the image of what exists now, there had to be a beginning. That is to say everything we see had to come from somewhere. We have no experience of something manifesting out of thin air. The dark clouds arrive quickly on an otherwise sunny day, and the rain pours down soon after. Yet intelligence says that the rain was gathering for some time. The cloud is the result of past actions in nature.
In the same way, there had to be something that triggered the creation. In the God-denial paradigm, everything came from nothing. Perhaps there was a single cell. Maybe an explosion that triggered everything. But where have we seen a random collision, something lacking intelligence, produce so much intricacy and nuance, with predictability and governing laws that can be organized into something called science? Does the smartphone result from an explosion? If I light a fire in my room, will that produce an automobile?
These kinds of questions are the beginning of a pursuit into the true origin. This is the real benefit of the human birth. Sense gratification is available in the animal species. Longevity is there in the trees. Enjoying effortless air travel is there in the birds. Living in the beautiful, cool water is for the fish. The human beings are distinct because of their intelligence. An integral aspect to intelligence is the quest for knowledge, especially of higher topics.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, Shri Hanuman explains how he will accomplish a difficult task. His proposal is to take Vaidehi, the princess of Videha, on his back and return to Shri Rama, who is her husband. Vaidehi is also known as Sita, and she has suffered long enough in a prison-like environment in Lanka. The blameless and sinless goddess deserved better.
Ravana, the king of Lanka, took Sita away in secret and held her in his kingdom. The doubt here relates to how Hanuman will be able to escape Lanka while taking away someone that Ravana obviously wanted to remain there.
Hanuman’s response is logical. In the same way that he arrived in Lanka, in that manner he will exit. He took the aerial route. This seems unbelievable. How can someone in a monkey-like body fly through the air? The ocean was vast, as well. How could someone that size make it across in a single leap?
There was no reason to doubt, as proof was there in Hanuman’s presence. He would be able to do the same on the return trip. The sentiment was appreciated, but Sita Devi preferred to wait for her husband to rescue her, as He was in the warrior occupation. It might reflect poorly on Him if one of His representatives did the rescuing instead.
Shri Hanuman and others arrive on the scene to rescue devotees who are in distress. Proof of their ability to rescue is found in their very arrival. That is to say if they can make their way towards me, to educate me about the real meaning of life and how to escape the cycle of birth and death for good, then they are capable of taking me back to the spiritual world in the same way. Representatives like Hanuman are empowered directly by the Supreme Lord, and so the devotion they practice is capable of saving the entire world.
Empowering the holy name,
By very power to me came.
Representative in this way saving,
Path to spiritual land paving.
Like Hanuman on Sita’s side,
Proposing on his back to ride.
To Shri Rama in reunited state,
But she rather for husband to wait.