“O best of the monkeys, how do you desire to take me from here to the presence of my husband, the king of human beings, with such a small body?” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.30)
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कथं वाल्पशरीरस्त्वं मामितो नेतुमिच्छसि।
सकाशं मानवेन्द्रस्य भर्तुर्मे प्लवगर्षभ।।
kathaṃ vālpaśarīrastvaṃ māmito netumicchasi।
sakāśaṃ mānavendrasya bharturme plavagarṣabha।।
Friend1: I know sometimes you get questions about when the virata-rupa was shown.
Friend2: The universal form. Everything included. Not a static image, either. Three dimensional, motion, the present and the future, all the planets and their inhabitants.
Friend1: It’s pretty amazing, if you think about it. I understand why Arjuna required a special vision prior to viewing. There is no way to accurately portray that scene from the Bhagavad-gita in a painting.
Friend2: There are attempts made, but nothing is entirely accurate, as you said.
Friend1: It is certainly a wonderful thing – God proving to the doubters that He exists. He is not merely a chariot driver. He is more than a youth carrying a flute and wearing a peacock feather.
Friend2: It is so easy to be fooled, otherwise. Especially with these Salvationist concepts that are so widespread, the idea of applying intelligence, rational thinking, and logic to topics of the Divine is not always welcome.
Friend1: The proof was there in the words, the instruction provided to Arjuna. The virata-rupa was not necessary, but the less intelligent always insist on “seeing” God.
Friend2: As if the other senses are meaningless.
Friend1: Let’s transition to a similar phenomenon, but involving one of God’s most trusted servants.
Friend1: There is Shri Hanuman.
Friend2: The devotee in the monkey-form.
Friend1: Not an ordinary monkey, either. Hanuman doesn’t show the virata-rupa, but he has a form described as svarupa in one place in the Ramayana.
Friend2: The self-form, that which properly identifies him.
Friend1: The svarupa is tied to a specific accomplishment. This vision is of the gigantic Hanuman.
Friend2: Just how big are we talking here?
Friend1: Enough to take notice. Not ordinary. Beyond the ability of most expert yogis, even.
Friend2: One of the reasons Hanuman is considered amazing.
Friend1: Here is my question. When Hanuman met Sita Devi in the Ashoka grove in Lanka, she didn’t believe that he was capable of crossing over the ocean.
Friend2: Wouldn’t you be skeptical? The blameless princess was surrounded by cheaters. Ravana had transformed to the vision of an innocent travelling saint previously. This was to win her trust, to carry out his plan to steal her away from Rama’s side.
Friend1: I get the initial skepticism. But Hanuman won her over with words. He convinced her that he was sent by Rama, an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. He was there to find her and report back to Rama about her location.
Friend2: Yes, the dedicated servant had to go it alone. No one gave him advice on how to convince a doubting princess.
Friend1: The thing is, he went one step further. He suggested taking her back to Rama with him. They would cross the ocean together. Sita was skeptical to the point that she kind of insulted him.
Friend2: That the idea was due to his monkey nature.
Friend1: Yes. Crazy. Preposterous. Beyond consideration. Should never have been uttered.
Friend2: Humorous, if you think about it.
Friend1: Shouldn’t she have recognized his ability? Why did Hanuman have to subsequently display the enlarged form for proof?
Friend2: As you began in this discussion, think of how many times Hanuman has taken that size. Not many. Each one is a special occasion, something to be celebrated. Many years later the brother Bhima would ask Hanuman to show that form. Rama’s dedicated servant, a son of the wind, was hesitant. He made up an excuse at first, but eventually relented.
Friend1: Sita was skeptical on purpose, then? She wanted to see Hanuman’s amazing svarupa?
Friend2: The exchange led to the result. Similar to how Arjuna didn’t require to see the virata-rupa from Krishna, but afterwards it is a good thing that he did, Hanuman’s visual evidence is a moment to be glorified. He can do amazing things in the service of the Supreme Lord, a service which continues to this day.
As if his ability not knowing,
So required svarupa showing.
That form large taking,
For ocean’s leap making.
But Sita doubting him why,
When Shri Rama on him to rely?
Glorification, a memory to endure,
Way for doubters to assure.
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