Three Factors At Play In Rama’s Alliance With Sugriva

[Hanuman fire]“Simply by the persuasive words of a messenger who is this qualified, all of the objectives of a king, in whose service the messenger is engaged, are achieved.” (Lord Rama speaking to Lakshmana about Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 3.35)

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एवं गुणगणैर्युक्ता यस्य स्युः कार्यसाधकाः।
तस्य सिध्यन्ति सर्वाऽर्था दूतवाक्यप्रचोदिताः।।

evaṃ guṇagaṇairyuktā yasya syuḥ kāryasādhakāḥ।
tasya sidhyanti sarvā’rthā dūtavākyapracoditāḥ ।।

1. Can play within the rules

The less intelligent use it as a source of criticism. They think they have found a defect, a small crevice to allow entry into a world of endless derision. They can nullify the entire concept of Divinity and thereby disenfranchise millions of worshipers. Sort of like telling a child that Santa Claus isn’t real, if they can prove Shri Rama to be mortal, human, and error-prone, they will take much delight.

The basis for their argument is the acceptance of forest-dwellers as an army. Rama was wandering through the woods, serving out a fourteen-year exile period. He was not allowed to bring the capable soldiers from Ayodhya. He was not allowed to return home and reclaim what was rightfully His. If Rama did so, the father’s word would be ruined. Dasharatha had promised Queen Kaikeyi any two boons of her choosing, and unfortunately her wicked desires directly affected Rama, His wife Sita Devi, and His younger brother Lakshmana.

The derisive remarks go something like this:

“This is the God that you worship? Look at Him. He made friends with monkeys. They are not even civilized. Do they wear clothes? Look at their leader, Sugriva. He got into a bitter feud with his brother, Vali. They were ready to kill one another. Then Sugriva took Vali’s wife, after Rama helped by literally stabbing the brother in the back. I would think God would find a higher caliber group of helpers.”

[Rama with Vanaras]This episode from the Ramayana exhibits the dexterity, shrewdness and intelligence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He can play within the rules to accomplish His goals. He does not require outside assistance. He could have marched to Lanka on His own, but He simultaneously brings glory to those who wish to serve Him.

2. What goes around comes around

Rama required an army because of a grievous wrong committed by the king of Lanka. The man-eating ogre named Ravana had taken Sita away in secret. Though he boasted of his fighting prowess, he was too afraid to take on Rama in battle. The advisors warned him against such folly.

As Ravana had committed the unlawful act of taking another man’s wife, so the monkeys would invade the territory of Lanka and help Rama correct the wrong. Monkeys are known for stealing; they do not respect private property rights. In many places around the world the locals train monkeys in the art of theft. This is to take advantage of the vulnerability of tourists.

[Hanuman fire]Rama’s friends were expert at invading. They knew how to ravage through an area, as well. Hanuman would later destroy the entirety of Lanka in a fire. Ravana lit the original flame, trying to embarrass the messenger. Hanuman used his burning tail as a weapon against the wrongdoers.

3. Inherent nature is not a disqualifying factor

It is in the monkey’s nature to be uncivilized. They are prone to stealing and not much can be done to change the nature. This does not mean that someone is unqualified to serve the Almighty. They can use their tendencies for good, through directing the activities to devotional service.

In a similar manner, having taken birth in a fallen age, growing up attracted to and attached to unprofitable behavior [anartha], I have very little qualification compared to saintly people. Yet Shri Rama is so kind that He maintains my eligibility, no matter how much I have fallen. At a bare minimum, I at least have the ability to speak, to repeat sacred sound vibrations, as a kind of offering of love and devotion: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

With urgency to act,
Despite not ability exact.

Where properly composing,
My flaws everywhere exposing.

But maintained eligibility still,
So now my days to fill.

With glorification of Rama so,
Who friends even in monkeys to know.

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