“Whom are you lamenting for when you yourself are pitiable? Why do you pity the poor when you yourself have now been made poor? While in this body that is like a bubble, how can anyone look at anyone else as being worthy of lamentation?” (Hanuman speaking to Tara, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 21.3)
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शोच्या शोचसि कं शोच्यं दीनं दीनाऽनुकम्पसे।
कस्य कोवाऽनुशोच्योऽस्ति देहेऽस्मिन् बुद्बुदोपमे।।
śocyā śocasi kaṃ śocyaṃ dīnaṃ dīnā’nukampase।
kasya kovā’nuśocyo’sti dehe’smin budbudopame
1. He knows the difference between body and spirit
The mature human being should learn this integral principle of an existence. It explains so much. It is the foundation of education. It explains how to see properly. Otherwise, there is vulnerability to illusion. Mistaking a rope for a snake. Accepting an outcome as pleasurable when the long-term consequence is detrimental.
The most basic result of the illusion is to lament over that which is not worthy of lamentation, such as with Tara in the Vanara kingdom. This incident is described in the Ramayana poem of Maharishi Valmiki.
She had just become a widow. This was the result of direct intervention by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Rama. Tara was caught in the middle of two feuding brothers, Sugriva and Vali. Sugriva became exiled from the kingdom in Kishkindha, fleeing in fear for his life.
He later formed an alliance with Rama, who was searching for His missing wife, Sita Devi. Sugriva did not accept Rama’s ability on faith or on the truthful word of that eldest son of the pious King Dasharatha. Rama had to prove Himself first with a test in marksmanship.
Then having full confidence that Rama could get the job done, Sugriva baited Vali into a physical conflict. This resulted in Vali’s death, succumbing to one of Rama’s arrows released from behind. Tara lamented that her husband had been killed. He had been vibrant and full of life just moments prior.
Hanuman showed his intelligence by rhetorically asking why Tara was lamenting. The idea is that every person is actually equal. We consider this person to be poor and that one to be wealthy, but these are just temporary situations.
Nothing illustrates the dangerous condition of accepting a material body, dehe, like a bubble. It forms and maintains it shape, but it can burst at any moment. Every living being suffers the same vulnerability, so no one should be considered superior to another.
2. He is loyal to his friends
The alliance between Sugriva and Rama materialized because of Hanuman’s efforts. Hanuman was Sugriva’s chief minister, and so he inherently understood the leader’s interests. He first intercepted Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana on their way in the forest, seen from the perch on Mount Rishyamukha.
Hanuman determined that an alliance would be beneficial to both parties. A paid minister would get the job done as long as the payment continued, but Hanuman considered Sugriva and the Vanaras to be like family. He would do anything to meet their interests and keep them happy.
3. He is loyal to the Supreme Lord
The greatest risk was taken for Shri Rama. We can see from the Ramayana that the period of familiarity was short. Hanuman barely knew Rama, and yet he understood everything about Sita’s husband. His loyalty skyrocketed to the highest level, to where he continues to be dedicated in devotion, serving as the gatekeeper to the spiritual kingdom presided over by Sita and Rama.
4. He is willing to accept any challenge
Even if he is not prepared, Hanuman will dare to risk defeat. He had to cross the ocean to reach Lanka after it was determined Sita had been taken there against her will. He did not know how to make the journey until Jambavan reminded him of the special ability to increase in size.
With an enlarged stature, the safe passage across was not guaranteed. Neither was there a roadmap when inside of Lanka, as the inhabiting Rakshasas would not welcome an ally of Rama. Hanuman continued forward, doing whatever was necessary to succeed in the mission.
5. He can fly like the wind
He is the son of the wind, after all. The demigod in charge of air, Vayu, is his biological father in terms of the experience on this earth. If a person can control the different airs inside of the body, they can become very strong. This is one of the benefits achieved through meditational yoga.
Hanuman can fly like the wind via the aerial route across the vast ocean to reach Lanka. He swiftly finds the mountain area to search for a healing herb to bring back to Lakshmana. He wastes no time in bringing back the entire mountain so as to avoid any mistakes.
Most trusted minister is he,
Rewarded with success to see.
Difference of body-spirit knowing,
Intelligence in difficulty showing.
Swiftly coursing through the sky,
Returning with mountain to fly.
All done for Sita-Rama’s sake,
Nothing for himself to take.
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