“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. God is the greatest and I am miniscule
“This is one of the reasons I worship. I am humbled by the comparison. I get tossed around on a daily basis. I have difficulty sleeping. Others earn a higher annual salary. They have a larger family and seem to juggle multiple responsibilities without issue.
“Meanwhile, the Supreme Lord is the greatest there is. He never succumbs to pressure. He defeats everyone in terms of competition. No one can be greater than Him. Always the winner and never the loser.”
2. I am nothing compared to Him
“What have I done in my life? I am fortunate to be where I am today. That is how I feel. I don’t get complacent or spoiled. If not for some timely help from the outside and some lucky decisions at just the right moments, I would still be stuck on the lower rung, suffering much more.
“Meanwhile, He never needs another person’s help. He creates this universe effortlessly. He is the origin of the Vedas, and He passes on the timeless wisdom to great souls like Brahma. God never requires instruction; He is the first self-taught individual.”
3. He is large and I am small
“One look out the window during an extended flight reminds me of just how insignificant I am. The land is large and beautiful. No one went to work creating the landscape. There was no planning commission with an elaborate scheme. No one intended to place those trees where they are, beautifully arrayed to give peace and calm to the fortunate observer.
“I am small both in terms of capacity and physical stature, while God is infinitely large. He is greater than the entire universe. If we had to appropriately dress Him, we would come up short in finding material.”
4. He is unlimited, while I am restrained
“I can only work a certain number of hours each day. Eventually, I get tired. If I do not subsequently rest for an appropriate amount of time, there is a negative impact on my experience with work the next day.
“I can only be in one place at a time. When I process new information, there is a limit to how quickly I can assimilate and understand.
“God is without limits. In His descent as Shri Krishna, He accepts over sixteen thousand wives. He lives with those queens simultaneously in the kingdom of Dvaraka. He dances with each and every gopi individually under the bright moon in the forest of Vrindavana. He is present everywhere as the Supersoul, Paramatma.”
5. He spans the entire scope of time, while I can barely remember yesterday
“Never was there a time that I did not exist. Nor will there be a time in the future when I cease to be. This is the instruction of Bhagavad-gita. The issue is, unless someone told me, I would have no way to validate. I have no memory of my time within the womb in this lifetime, so how will I remember previous experiences?
बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि
जन्मानि तव चार्जुन
तान्य् अहं वेद सर्वाणि
न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi
na tvaṁ vettha parantapa
“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.5)
“The Supreme Lord remembers everything. He is the only one who can properly teach about the infinite existence of the soul. He alone has the proper credentials because He is the same throughout the time continuum. He is never subject to birth and death.”
While it is only natural to view the Almighty in such terms, the greatness is not limited in a single direction. That is to say, God is also smaller than the smallest. If we think in terms of dependents, those requiring assistance from others, no one can be better than Bhagavan at inspiring others to offer service.
One example is the meeting with Hanuman in the Kishkindha forest. The Divine descent of Shri Rama is roaming the area with His younger brother Lakshmana. Hanuman is a Vanara working for the forest-leader named Sugriva.
Hanuman is so great that he can change his shape at will. He can jump from mountains and land without hurting himself. He chooses the form of a brahmana in order to properly discern the intent of the two brothers; just in case there might be trouble.
The conversation concludes with a new friendship. Rama trusts Hanuman implicitly, which is evident in the two brothers ascending Hanuman’s shoulders. That great Vanara, of significant stature, then prepares to leap back to the top of the mountain, acting as a sort of aerial transport vehicle for the brothers.
In this way, we get confirmation that although the Supreme Lord is so much greater than me, I should not be overwhelmed to the point that I desist from making offerings. The kindness and compassion on the other side are too great to measure. If I am sincere in my efforts, He will treasure every offering that I make, and He will facilitate such devotion for as long into the future as I like.
Natural to think as great,
That always in superior state.
In stature comparing small,
Juxtaposed standing tall.
But also dependent can make,
Like Hanuman on shoulders to take.
Where the offer happily to accept,
Never the service to reject.
Categories: the five