“The fortunate Hanuman, the son of the wind, upon hearing those words of Sita, a new insult to him, thought:” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.31)
सीताया वचनं श्रुत्वा हनुमान्मारुतात्मजः।
चिन्तयामास लक्ष्मीवान्नवं परिभवं कृतम्।।
sītāyā vacanam śrutvā hanūmān māruta ātmajaḥ |
cintayāmāsa lakṣmīvān navam paribhavam kṛtam ||
Found in a shloka of the Ramayana, Shri Hanuman is described to be lakshmivan. The description is in the positive, a compliment, stated when there is simultaneously an insult, paribhavam. The negative words relate to one of his ideas, but even that was positively-rooted.
Shri Hanuman wanted to return Sita Devi to her beloved husband, Shri Rama. The idea was to carry her on his back, traveling via the same aerial route that had brought him to Lanka in the first place. The initial response from Sita was not praise. Instead, it was a reference to the monkey-nature in the devoted servant of the Supreme Lord.
The lakshmivan description is nonetheless accurate, as the different definitions of the word each apply to the person sent by Rama to look for His missing wife, who was suffering greatly at the hands of Ravana, the king of Lanka.
1. Physical appearance
A monkey was conspicuous in Lanka. Not that the people were pious and pure themselves. They had association with animals, but mostly through consumption. One of the hallmark traits of the asura is lack of control over the senses. One of the more difficult senses to control is taste, and so the asura in quality has little discrimination in eating. The Rakshasas in Lanka were known as man-eaters, and their leader Ravana had a voracious appetite, which suited his ten mouths very well.
On the outside Hanuman looked like a monkey. More than what is typically encountered today, this species could talk. Though Sanskrit terms like kapi and hari that translate to “monkey” are used, Vanara is the most accurate description. This word means “forest dweller.” The race to which Hanuman belonged were monkey-like human beings.
Despite appearing in that form, Hanuman still had tremendous beauty. He is worshiped in so many temples and homes around the world today. Those physical forms are not lacking beauty. The source is devotion, bhakti. The inner qualities lead to exemplary and praiseworthy behavior, which makes Hanuman’s form one the eyes can gaze upon for lifetime upon lifetime.
2. The flight across the ocean
As stated previously, the beautiful Hanuman took a flight across the ocean. This was in an enlarged form that leaped off a mountaintop. The scene was so beautiful that the devas were watching from above. The demigods, who are beautiful themselves, marveled at the ability and dedication of the servant of Shri Rama.
3. Continuous fame
Another meaning to lakshmivan is “illustrious.” Hanuman’s fame has continued into the present day. He has suffered no diminution through the passage of time. He has the special blessing to remain in his body for as long as Rama’s glories continue to be told. He had the chance to elevate to the spiritual heaven, to leave this planet of birth and death for good, but he chose to show that liberation can occur while staying right where you are.
4. The blessings of the goddess of fortune
Lakshmi also refers to the goddess of fortune, who is the eternal consort of the Supreme Lord. Hanuman is indeed lakshmivan, despite hearing the first insult from Sita Devi. She is an incarnation of Lakshmi, as Rama is an incarnation of Vishnu, the personal side of God.
Though his idea was rejected and an insult offered, neither side took that part of the conversation seriously. That is to say neither was the rejection nor the insult remembered for very long. In fact, Sita Devi would show so much appreciation to Hanuman for his efforts. That fearless messenger has all of his needs taken care of by Rama’s wife, so that he is not required to leave his bhajana for a moment. Such is the grace and kindness of the person most dear to the prince of Ayodhya.
Hanuman as Lakshmivan known,
Through different attributes shown.
Like beauty in physical appearance,
Famous leap over ocean clearance.
Continuing fame to this day,
Fortunate those his name to say.
Lakshmi Devi’s favor receiving,
Blessed those in him believing.
Categories: the four