“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 ||
Shri Hanuman is the most trusted servant. Any minister would be lucky to have him. If the position were open to a typical employment screening process, no other candidate could compare. Whatever work history they could produce, they would not be able to match Hanuman’s qualifications in terms of assigned duties in the future.
This is because Hanuman displays amazing versatility and adaptability. He is like a CEO in a box, but he also accepts instruction without issue. His successes further glorify those higher up in the chain, like the Vanara-king Sugriva and the sun of the solar dynasty, Shri Rama. From the Ramayana history, we have several displays of Hanuman’s amazing abilities.
1. Descending from a mountain and taking the form of a beggar
Rama is also an avatara of Vishnu, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The one God worshiped since time immemorial, by the entire population of intelligent creatures, spanning race, gender, ethnicity, religion, culture, and even period of time.
In the narrative of Rama-lila, there is an initial meeting with Hanuman. Here the dedicated servant is ready to act at the direction of Sugriva. The two are at the top of Mount Rishyamukha, where they notice Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana approaching down below.
The issue is that the identification has not yet been made. The brothers are foreign to the area. They could be assassins deployed by Vali to take out his rival brother, Sugriva. They could be looking to hunt Vanaras. The brothers could be up to no good. There is no way to know for sure, without a meeting.
Sugriva deputes Hanuman to action. The minister descends from the mountain and decides to take a false form. He shows the vision of a brahmana, which is like a priest by occupation. This decreases the likelihood of hostilities at first. The two brothers, who resemble warriors, are expected to be charitably disposed towards a brahmana.
2. Reciting beautiful Sanskrit poetry, composed on the fly
If changing shapes at will weren’t enough, Hanuman further impresses by reciting beautiful Sanskrit poetry, without prior knowledge of the subject matter. Just by looking at Rama, Hanuman knows what to say. His words resemble someone who has studied the Vedas in-depth. He is like a learned scholar, though the circumstances would say otherwise.
These verses are so impressive that Rama immediately takes notice. In a sidebar discussion with Lakshmana, Rama says that every king should have such a minister, for there is a greater chance of work being completed through such an emissary.
3. Taking the brothers on his shoulders
He already changed shapes. He spoke beautiful poetry in praise of Rama. He won over the total stranger, who was roaming the area in search of His missing wife, Sita Devi. Add to the list the ability to expand the shape to a large size.
Hanuman decides that it would be mutually beneficial for Sugriva and Rama to meet. They share the predicament of being exiled from their respective kingdoms. If Sugriva helps Rama find Sita, then Rama can also help in the quarrel with Vali.
Hanuman takes the two brothers on his shoulders and jumps to the top of the mountain. Who knew that someone so smart could be so strong at the same time? And he also knew when to utilize each skill, suitable to the situation.
4. Reading from the Ramayana
A famous image depicts Hanuman reading from a book. This is the Ramayana, which includes many of his exploits. He reads not to hear his own praises. Rather, the direct interaction with Rama and family, and the many struggles they went through, with the eventual triumph over Ravana and return to Ayodhya, is so endearing to the consciousness that the material never gets old.
Hanuman as servant known,
With great versatility shown.
Such as from mountain to descend,
And words of praise to extend.
On his shoulders carrying back,
Sufficient strength for mission’s track.
And ever since interaction then,
Reading Ramayana again and again.
Categories: the four