“Hearing those wonderful words from the best of monkeys, Maithili’s every limb was thrilled with joy. She then spoke to Hanuman as follows: ‘O Hanuman, how can you desire to carry me such a great distance? Verily I think this is due to your apishness, O chief of the monkeys.’” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.28-29)
The subscription library system came about in the eighteenth century, an idea from a wise Colonial who would later become one of the founding fathers to a nation. Books were in short supply. Not every person could afford to purchase. Why not keep just a few copies in a single place and allow members to borrow them for a period of time? This way everyone in the community could benefit from the presence of books.
Those works are nothing more than recorded thoughts and observations; the same communication accomplished previously through aural reception. Descending knowledge works in this way. Accept from a higher authority and then pass down to future generations. The knowledge flows downwards instead of having to gain personal experience in order to assemble a knowledgebase.
Shri Hanuman was the leader in a difficult mission many thousands of years ago. Not the acknowledged leader to his group, but to the people assigning it was known that if there were to be success Hanuman would likely be the only person to deliver it.
During that ancient time period there were no libraries, or published books for that matter. If there had been, certainly some important titles were not in stock. That is to say Hanuman was not blessed with specific descending knowledge in written form to help him overcome several obstacles.
1. How To Jump Across Oceans For Dummies
This book would have been helpful during a critical moment in the mission. The orders came from Sugriva, the king of Vanaras in the forest area known as Kishkindha. Hanuman worked for Sugriva, who was in an alliance with the prince of Ayodhya, Shri Rama. The directive was to search the globe for Rama’s missing wife, Sita Devi.
The many Vanaras under Sugriva divided into groups. Hanuman’s group came upon valuable information, namely Sita’s location. Then a torturous problem arose. A physical barrier. A large ocean, separating the shore from the island of Lanka, where Sita had been taken against her will.
Fortunately, Jambavan was there to remind Hanuman of amazing abilities gifted to him at birth. Hanuman could change his shape at will, to either large or small. Assuming a large stature, the valiant warrior then took a giant leap from a mountaintop.
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The single leap was enough. Hanuman made it across the ocean. A reference book would have helped, but there was none available. Of course the issues did not end there. Hanuman now had to enter Lanka and search through it undetected. As a monkey-type person, he would certainly be conspicuous in a city of man-eating ogres.
Hanuman had only his intelligence on which to rely. He decided to again change his shape, this time to one resembling a cat. In a much smaller form he was able to search the entire city, even entering various palaces belonging to the king, the ten-headed Ravana.
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Though essentially a hired worker, everything was done out of love. Hanuman had known Rama for only a brief period of time, but a single meeting was enough to elicit a strong sense of duty. He wanted to see Rama happy. He wanted to reunite the Divine pair.
Leaping across an ocean was amazing. Searching for so long amidst the enemy was also impressive. But for a long time success did not come. It would have been nice to get encouraging words from a book on how to keep the faith. Maintain an optimistic outlook, when in truth the future looks bleak.
Again Hanuman had to rely on himself, and after careful deliberation he decided to proceed. Quitting wouldn’t help anyone, and without taking action there would be zero chance for success. Where there is life there is hope.
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He eventually found Sita, who was in a grove of Ashoka trees, suffering terribly due to the forced separation from her husband. Her body was emaciated from grief, and she was understandably skeptical of anyone approaching her. Certainly a monkey-figure, who was not native to the area, would raise suspicions.
Hanuman had to again figure out something important on his own. He had to find a way to win Sita’s trust, to convince her that Rama was on His way to rescue her. He succeeded yet again, but in his enthusiasm over success he proposed to bring Sita back to Rama by himself.
The initial response to this kind gesture was a personal insult. Sita dismissed the idea, saying that perhaps Hanuman’s monkey nature was showing through this ill-conceived plan. After you’ve worked so hard, risked your life, suffered through self-doubt and the falling hourglass of time, you meet success and then get insulted by the person for whom the effort is dedicated.
How to proceed? Get angry? Keep your cool? Respond with biting words of your own? No reference book to help him, Hanuman maintained a level-head, understanding the situation. In the future, the love of Sita and Rama towards him would be well-known, beyond any doubt.
It was the devotion to Rama that kept him going. There were no reference books available, but the Supersoul was with him the entire time, guiding him. This personal intervention arrives only in the bhakti path, as material desires do not catch the interest of the Supreme Lord. For such matters karma is there to handle the appropriate and timely delivery of results. For the devotees, Bhagavan provides what they lack and maintains what they have.
Certain library books not in stock,
Like dealing with ocean’s obstacle shock.
Crossing over in single leap how,
Or searching in ogre-city now?
For Hanuman going it all alone,
Aided only by what previously known.
But helping Shri Rama was entire time,
Facilitating that devoted servant to shine.
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