“He is well trained in royal knowledge and gives honor to the brahmanas. He is full of knowledge, endowed with good conduct, and humble. He is a chastiser of the foe.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.13)
श्रुतवान्शीलसम्पन्नो विनीतश्च परन्तपः।।
śrutavānśīlasampanno vinītaśca parantapaḥ।।
“There is a verse from the Ramayana wherein Shri Hanuman describes the husband of Sita Devi to be vinita. We can say that this Sanskrit word translates to ‘humble’ or ‘modest.’ The word is included in a list of qualities.
“The purpose here is proper identification. Sita Devi already knows her husband, but this stranger should provide additional evidence to authenticate. There is no password system to speak of. Dual-factor mode is not enabled.
“Sita Devi has to go by what Hanuman knows, and one way to show what you know is by speaking. Hanuman thus communicates his familiarity with Rama’s qualities. An enemy would have a difficult time faking it. They might reference some biographical information, but little beyond that.
“I am not saying that Hanuman is wrong. Any person who studies Rama’s behavior from the Ramayana would have to agree with the assessment. Rama is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, after all. Vinita is a good quality to have, and we know that God is pure goodness, shuddha-sattva.
“Contemplating a little further, one has to wonder if Rama is merely putting on an act. How can He really be humble? He lifted the mighty bow of Lord Shiva in the contest to win Sita’s hand in marriage. He rid the forest of the menace that was Tataka. As an inexperienced youth, He successfully defended against the attack of Rakshasas, Maricha and Subahu.
“God is the greatest there is. What need is there to be humble? How can this description appropriately affix to Him?”
The humility is in dealings with others. Shri Rama can be the most boastful, if necessary. He has the most over which to be proud; which is important to understand. Rama particularly sets the example for proper behavior. He is the ideal son, husband, elder brother, king, friend, teacher, etc.
We are reminded that a true hero does not speak much. They let their actions do the talking. Someone like Ravana, meanwhile, cannot get enough of highlighting their own glories. Ravana tried his best to win Sita over with listing his accomplishments.
The goddess of fortune was not interested. Neither is any sane person. This is because they understand, as confirmed by Prahlada Maharaja, that the source of strength in every person is the same.
न केवलं मे भवतश् च राजन्
स वै बलं बलिनां चापरेषाम्
परे ’वरे ’मी स्थिर-जङ्गमा ये
ब्रह्मादयो येन वशं प्रणीताः
na kevalaṁ me bhavataś ca rājan
sa vai balaṁ balināṁ cāpareṣām
pare ’vare ’mī sthira-jaṅgamā ye
brahmādayo yena vaśaṁ praṇītāḥ
“Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahma, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.8.7)
The words I compose at this moment are because someone else is providing the energy. I can try my best, but unless nature cooperates, I will fail every time. I am not the doer; though I am bewildered into thinking so.
गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः
कर्ताहम् इति मन्यते
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.27)
Just as Rama accepts spiritual guides in the progression through an earthly lifetime, so He shows humility in order to establish a standard of proper behavior. Etiquette in this light is beneficial for every person involved.
The superiors receive the proper respect in order that they may continue to guide others. The dependents remain in their place, if even intentionally suppressing their abilities. This is for honoring time and circumstance. There is an appropriate time to exhibit every wonderful attribute a person possesses.
For the conditioned living entities, every ability and every action should be sacrificed at the altar of devotion to the same Rama. Everything should be done as an offering to Him. Then it will be easy to remain humble, while at the same time unabashedly carrying out prescribed responsibilities.
यत् करोषि यद् अश्नासि
यज् जुहोषि ददासि यत्
यत् तपस्यसि कौन्तेय
तत् कुरुष्व मद्-अर्पणम्
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)
Servants like Hanuman, who know the humility in the Supreme Lord, are humble themselves, despite having stunning accomplishments to their name. That humility is beneficial in the long-run, while foolish pride, sourced in the false ego, is binding to the cycle of birth and death.
To cycle of rebirth binding,
When false ego finding.
Better as humble to stay,
Like Hanuman’s way.
Who described Rama as so,
His wife Sita already to know.
With proper understanding steady,
Every godly gift used when ready.