Three Things Working Against The Vanaras In Kishkindha

[Shri Rama]“It is My vow that if one only once seriously surrenders unto Me saying, ‘My dear Lord, from this day I am Yours,’ and prays to Me for courage, I shall immediately award courage to that person, and he will always remain safe from that time on.” (Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddha Kand, 18.33)

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सकृद् एव प्रपन्नो यस्
तवास्मीति च याचते
अभयं सर्वदा तस्मै
ददाम्य् एतद् व्रतं मम

sakṛd eva prapanno yas
tavāsmīti ca yācate
abhayaṁ sarvadā tasmai
dadāmy etad vrataṁ mama

A quick look at their home, their location in the world, and especially the form of body inhabited, the thought of receiving the Divine mercy, offered to them through personal interaction, would be laughed at:

“Are you kidding me? Them? I don’t believe it. It must be your imagination running wild. Mythology. Understand the symbolism. No way they would be on an equal footing with Him.”

1. Low-birth

The Vanaras of Kishkindha, as described in the original Ramayana, are of low-birth. Gradations in this respect are based on the potential for understanding the spirit soul, atma. We know that a person who attends school during the childhood years has a better chance of being able to read, write, and get a job in the professional workforce during adulthood. The same could be accomplished by someone staying at home, but success is more difficult due to the environment.

Correspondingly, a high birth carries with it a better opportunity for conducting a sober analysis on the manifest world, i.e. that which I see before me. Unless taught, I will not know the difference between spirit and body, and especially the contrasting natures.

If I do happen to come across someone who can teach me, as a human being there is the potential to understand; hence the high birth. The Vanaras described in Sanskrit literature so ancient that there isn’t an accurate date of composition are something like monkeys with human-like traits. The literal translation of the word is “forest dwellers.” Vanaras are of the “vanas”, the forests.

This group is typically uncivilized. They do not organize formal governments, schools, hospitals, and the like. They do not have ashramas assigned to divide the time spent in life. There is no dharma or adharma. They are animals, after all. It is a type of body which is a stop on the train of transmigration, reincarnation.

2. Comparison to false renunciation

Monkeys are used to describe the false kind of renunciation. One way the human being gets help in their quest to understand the Absolute Truth is vairagya. The lack of attachment, maintain control over eating, speaking and sleeping.

कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य
य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन्
इन्द्रियार्थान् विमूढात्मा
मिथ्याचारः स उच्यते

karmendriyāṇi saṁyamya
ya āste manasā smaran
indriyārthān vimūḍhātmā
mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate

“One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.6)

The full life of renunciation may involve taking up residence in the forest. The issue is that a person may be a bhogi, a sense enjoyer, in spirit. Despite living in renounced settings, they have not made a shift in attitude. They can be compared to monkeys, who also live in the forest but are anything but renounced.

3. Known for stealing

[Vanaras grove]Always engaged in unclean behavior, monkeys are also known for stealing. They do not respect private property. The Vanaras of Kishkindha one time ravaged a grove. This was in celebration of success in a difficult task. The owner of the grove was quite upset, but the behavior was tolerated since it follows the nature of monkeys.

Such beings were eligible for receiving the Divine mercy to the point that they were placed on equal footing in the end. The future king of Ayodhya, the most important person in the world, made friends with the Vanaras. Through their chief minister, Shri Hanuman, and their exiled king, Sugriva, the Vanaras came into the good graces of the one who notices everything.

Shri Rama is already antaryami. He is the all-pervading witness through the feature of Supersoul. This means that instead of trying to see God, I can act in ways that He will notice me. He will appreciate my behavior, even if I am not directly in His company.

[Shri Rama]He will not hold my physical shortcomings against me. I could be born into inauspicious circumstances, but I am equally as eligible for constantly thinking of Him and putting a smile on His face with my service. Rama triumphantly returned home to Ayodhya with His wife Sita and His younger brother Lakshmana. Some of the Vanaras arrived with Him, and they were treated like royalty. Only in God’s kingdom.

In Closing:

On equal footing placed,
Idea of low-birth erased.

Since after victory chased,
Engaged in battle with feverish pace.

Where Hanuman eventually found,
Sita again to her husband bound.

What to speak then of me,
Rama only devotion to see.

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