“How can I ensure that the purpose of my task does not get destroyed? How shall I avoid mental disparity, and how do I ensure that my crossing of the ocean does not go for naught?” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 2.41)
न विनश्येत्कथं कार्यं वैक्लब्यं न कथं भवेत् |
लङ्घनं च समुद्रस्य कथं नु न वृथा भवेत् ||
na vinaśyetkathaṃ kāryaṃ vaiklabyaṃ na kathaṃ bhavet |
laṅghanaṃ ca samudrasya kathaṃ nu na vṛthā bhavet ||
“There is a trend in the employment world that I have just picked up on. It is paradoxical, if you ask me. It doesn’t make sense. At the heart of the matter, the behavior is ultimately unfair.
“Let’s say you have an office environment. There is a team dedicated to working on a particular aspect of a product. They receive their routine work through official assignments. There is an online tracking system, which allows a task to go from beginning to end, with every period of time documented.
“Let’s say that one of the members of the team is more productive than the rest. Just how much? They lap the field, so to speak. They complete more tasks than the other members do, combined. No one really minds, as each person works to their full capacity.
“This all-star employee gets fed up, however. This is because they assume that the more work they complete, the more perks they will enjoy at the office. One of those perks should be some sort of appreciation or easing of restrictions.
“For instance, if my top employee shows up to work an hour late every day for a week, it’s not that big of a deal. This is because they perform much better than everyone else. You could say that the treatment is unfair, but I am only looking out for the best interests of the office.
“The trend I have noticed, however, is that the top employee ends up getting rewarded with additional responsibilities. That is where I see the contradiction. If there is a really important task to finish, the manager will find the busiest person to do it. I think there is a common saying along these lines.
“This got me to thinking about Shri Hanuman, from the Ramayana. We glorify him because of the amazing accomplishments. There is the famous depiction of him holding a mountain. This is to carry the life-saving herb for the ailing Lakshmana.
“The thing is, Hanuman had too much of a burden; according to my opinion. Why would Rama punish him like that? There were so many Vanaras within Sugriva’s army. Why did one person have to shoulder the burden? Why did they have to be the one to worry about success or failure, about pleasing Sita and Rama, about making sure everything ended successfully? It is unfair to expect that much of a single person.”
The truth of the matter is that life is entirely unfair, if we judge off the visible indications. One person grows up in wealth. They have servants cater to their every need. They get picked up and dropped off to school, which is the most exclusive and well-funded in the neighborhood.
There is so much money in the family that there isn’t much attention on what to do as an adult. They can get married, have kids, and no additional pressure. There will be so many servants to help out, to take care of the household, to manage everything, and such.
Another person is born into poverty. They are not sure if they will have dinner to eat at night. School is available, but the conditions are poor. The children of the neighborhood are into drugs and alcohol. To make it into adulthood without joining a criminal gang is rare.
One person lives until an old age without any health issues. Another person exercises constantly, pays strict attention to diet, and still suffers from chronic illness. One person has a loving and caring wife and another has to dodge projectiles on a daily basis.
This is the way of the world, so to complain about an additional burden of responsibility is not a wise use of time. The extra pressure on Hanuman only further speaks to his amazing qualities. His gunas cannot be properly described in a single lifetime. Perhaps multiple births, with proper artistic expression, with the words preserved in page and song, will do justice to that heroic servant of the Supreme Lord.
Whether it went to the busiest person or the one waiting on the sidelines, Rama’s work was accomplished. The eldest son of King Dasharatha knew where to turn. He knew how to achieve success, within the rules of the exile period forced upon Him by Queen Kaikeyi.
It is not possible to find a way out of the darkness of maya on our own. Fortunately, there are representatives of Rama appearing in this world past, present and future. They accept the burden to maintain the disciplic succession, to show the way towards transcendence, and they are more than eager to continue in the responsibility of saving souls and bringing them back to the spiritual kingdom.
An imposition to levy,
With burden too heavy.
On Hanuman’s shoulders to land,
Like mountain carrying in hand.
Infinitely glorious is he,
As reward for success to see.
That more and more to take,
As ideal representative to make.