“Abandoning his beggar form and reassuming his monkey form, the elephant among monkeys [Hanuman] placed those two heroes on his back and departed.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 4.34)
भिक्षुरूपं परित्यज्य वानरं रूपमास्थितः।
पृष्ठमारोप्य तौ वीरौ जगाम कपिकुञ्जरः||
bhikṣurūpaṃ parityajya vānaraṃ rūpamāsthitaḥ।
pṛṣṭhamāropya tau vīrau jagāma kapikuñjaraḥ ||
1. This guy is a fake
“I have a sneaky suspicion that this person is not really a brahmana. We have met a good amount in our travels thus far in the forest, but it seems rather strange that another one should randomly appear along our path.
“Typically, we see them in an ashrama. It is their makeshift home within the tapo-vana. They come here for the increased auspiciousness as it relates to austerity and penance. We usually come bearing gifts. My wife especially likes to visit the sages and present offerings to their wives.”
2. You can’t trust monkeys
“Wow, so I was right. Don’t doubt me. I knew this guy wasn’t who he claimed to be. He is actually a Vanara. Not a brahmana, and more like a monkey, so why should we trust him? The first impression is everything. If he was dishonest from the beginning, who is to say he will be trustworthy moving forward?”
3. We don’t need help
“It is nice to offer a helping hand, to extend friendship, but we don’t need the assistance. Lakshmana and I will find Sita. She can’t be too far away. We will keep searching by foot. For all we know, this Sugriva person is the one who took her. Perhaps the Vanaras will want to blackmail us. No thanks.”
Shri Hanuman did notice that Rama presented something like a poker face. The Nectar of Devotion describes this feature of Bhagavan as “grave.” One cannot tell what He is thinking simply by appearance, which is similar to the way no one can truly know the mind of the acharya, who leads by example in devotion to the same Bhagavan.
“A person who does not express his mind to everyone, or whose mental activity and plan of action are very difficult to understand, is called grave.” (Shrila Prabhupada, The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 26)
Hanuman eventually gave up the ruse. He had to come clean, so to speak. There was no ill-intent. He was simply protecting against harm, as the two brothers were foreign to the area. Sugriva had his own reasons to be suspicious, based on the ongoing feud with his brother Vali.
एवं मां परिभाषन्तं कस्माद्वै नाभिभाषथः।।
सुग्रीवो नाम धर्मात्मा कश्चिद्वानरयूथपः।
वीरो विनिकृतो भ्रात्रा जगद्भ्रमति दुःखितः।।
evaṃ māṃ paribhāṣantaṃ kasmādvai nābhibhāṣathaḥ।।
sugrīvo nāma dharmātmā kaścidvānarayūthapaḥ।
vīro vinikṛto bhrātrā jagadbhramati duḥkhitaḥ।।
“When I have spoken to you thus, why are you not responding to me? A pious soul named Sugriva, who is a warrior and a hero among Vanaras, being expelled by his brother, wanders the earth with a distressed mind.” (Hanuman speaking to Rama and Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 3.19-20)
The result was rather unexpected, at least based on the circumstances. Rama immediately extended trust. He was impressed by Hanuman’s words. He validated them in a side conversation with Lakshmana. Rama knew that Sugriva had a terrific minister working for him.
This means that there is no concern for others trusting the same Hanuman. He is a dedicated servant, through and through. Though he is the most capable, he is focused on seeing success in the tasks assigned to him. Though he has the most justification to be proud, he remains humble in front of Sita, Rama and Lakshmana.
That first meeting went so well that the brothers climbed on Hanuman’s shoulders. The Vanara hero then expanded his form and leapt to the top of Mount Rishyamukha. He brought together two parties for a mutually beneficial relationship.
In the same way, through his stellar display of devotion Hanuman brings us to an eventual meeting with the Almighty, which is the ultimate purpose of our human birth. If we should be fortunate to extend the same level of trust, to always stay with Hanuman in the spirit of devotion, following in the footsteps but not imitating, we can surely be lifted by his grace to the spiritual world.
Lifting by his grace,
Despite obstacles to face.
That once again found,
Spiritual world bound.
Because to Sita-Rama dear,
Since first meeting clear.
That trust to extend,
Their interests to defend.
Categories: the three