“Covered with various flowers, shoots and buds, that monkey, resembling a cloud, became beautiful to behold, looking like a mountain with fireflies.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 1.51)
स नानाकुसुमैः कीर्णः कपिः साङ्कुरकोरकैः |
शुशुभे मेघसंकाशः खद्योतैरिव पर्वतः
sa nānākusumaiḥ kīrṇaḥ kapiḥ sāṅkurakorakaiḥ |
śuśubhe meghasaṃkāśaḥ khadyotairiva parvataḥ
“Not that I am keen on travelling. If I am visiting a friend who lives in another city, I do not bother them every day to go to tourist sites. I am fine just sitting at home, relaxing, chatting, eating good food and the like. The change of setting is enough for me.
“From hearing about life in bhakti-yoga, or genuine spiritual practice in general, it seems like a person might get stuck in the same place for a while. You hear about these yogis going to live in a remote cave. They don’t have possessions, what to speak of a mode of transportation. This means that their coverage area is limited.
“Is that not a potential issue? By following bhakti-yoga, would I be forced to live in a certain place, unable to visit others due to the lack of attention on sense gratification? Actually, it’s a complete renunciation of sense gratification, and I would think that wanting to travel is a kind of sense demand.”
From the pastimes of Shri Hanuman, who is the dedicated servant to the Supreme Lord in the manifestation of Shri Rama, we see that wherever the Almighty directs, the devotee will go. They are sometimes asked to keep a fixed location, such as with sannyasa life. Sometimes they travel to unexpected destinations, facing hostility from every direction.
1. The ocean
It’s nice to visit on a summer evening. The breeze created by the waves is cooling. The sun has gone down for the day, ready to emerge again after a night of sleep. The sounds are peaceful. Some people listen to a tape recording of the same in order to help them sleep at night.
Hanuman visited the ocean, but from above. He did not make contact, as the purpose was to cross. This was not spelled out at the beginning. When the Vanara leader, Sugriva, gave the orders to search the globe for the goddess of fortune, Sita Devi, he did not explain that one of the members of the search party would have to leap over an ocean of unimaginable length.
It almost does not seem fair. Why did not the other Vanaras get assigned the same task? Why did Hanuman have to take the great risk in order to please Rama? Devotion gets tested based on the individual’s abilities. Indicative of ultimate mercy, the service propensity meets the full potential in exercise.
The destination on the other side was an island called Lanka. A beautiful city, for sure. Hanuman immediately noticed the abundance of gold. It was in the construction of the buildings, along with crystals on the walls.
This was not a sightseeing expedition, though. Crossing the ocean was only the first part. Now he had to find Sita Devi. The island was ruled by Ravana, who was a man-eating ogre known as a Rakshasa. The entire place was filled with Rakshasas, and they would not be happy to see a messenger sent by Rama.
Everything ended well. Hanuman played a major role in the ultimate triumph. Ravana and his men got what they deserved. Sita remained safe. She returned to the side of her husband. Her devotion never wavered, and Rama did so much to rescue her.
The journey could have ended there, but Hanuman accompanied the victorious party back home to Ayodhya. Accustomed to living in the forest, Hanuman and the Vanaras were treated like royalty in that great city of devotees.
4. The entire world
Actually, the initial search parameters were quite wide in range. The Vanaras were told to look through the entire world to find Sita. Sugriva could give such orders since he had many Vanaras in his kingdom of Kishkindha.
From this review we see that Hanuman is ready to go anywhere to please the Supreme Lord. Heaven, hell, a royal palace, a desolate forest – the conditions make no difference since through smaranam [remembrance] a person can always see Shri Rama standing by, holding His bow and arrow.
Through smaranam unfolding,
Image of Shri Rama holding.
The amazing arrow and bow,
Unyielding protection to know.
To travel a distance ready,
Hanuman of devotion steady.
Never a dull day,
When bhakti showing the way.
Categories: the four