“Resembling a mountain, with a coppery-red face and teeth and nails with might like a thunderbolt, that monkey in the fearful form spoke to Vaidehi: ‘I have the potency to carry with me this entire Lanka, along with its mountains, deep forests, decorated arches, defensive walls and also its king.’” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.36-37)
हरिः पर्वतसङ्काशस्ताम्रवक्त्रो महाबलः।
वज्रदंष्ट्रनखो भीमो वैदेहीमिदमब्रवीत्।।
लङ्कामिमां सनाथां वा नयितुं शक्तिरस्ति मे।।
hariḥ parvata samkāśaḥ tāmra vaktro mahābalaḥ |
vajra damṣṭra nakho bhīmo vaidehīm idam abravīt ||
saparvata vana uddeśām sāṭṭa prākāra toraṇām |
lankām imām sanathām vā nayitum śaktiḥ asti me ||
Friend1: Do you ever feel pressured into feeling guilty over something?
Friend2: Like what?
Friend1: That you are not doing enough for a specific cause. Everyone else is out on the front lines, but you are sitting at home, hoping for everything to get better.
Friend2: I see. Well, are these people urging others to support them or is it a more specific issue, like wanting money?
Friend1: Take the example of a person speaking to me directly. They are criticizing. They are accusing me of sitting on the sidelines. They want me to be engaged in the field of battle.
Friend2: Well, do you feel guilty? What is stopping you from helping?
Friend1: I don’t think I have the skillset. It is not my thing. I appreciate what others are doing. I praise them. I offer financial support. But their style of involvement is not suitable for me. At least not yet.
Friend2: Oh, okay. That seems reasonable enough. We should not be eager to do another person’s work. You see this principle in sports all the time. The other team scored a goal in hockey because I decided to cover two of the players in the defensive zone. That was someone else’s responsibility, but I thought I would help out a little more.
Friend1: When you should have just stayed in your lane.
Friend2: There is something analogous in Bhagavad-gita, when Krishna is talking about trying to do the work of someone in a different varna, which is occupation:
श्रेयान् स्व-धर्मो विगुणः
स्व-धर्मे निधनं श्रेयः
śreyān sva-dharmo viguṇaḥ
sva-dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ
“It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though they may be faulty, than another’s duties. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.35)
Friend1: Thanks for that. It makes me feel a little better. But what about the guilt? Even if I know better, I feel belittled.
Friend2: That’s going to happen, sadly. A person gets consumed by the thrill of their specific occupation or way of life. They insist that others follow along.
Friend1: Am I deficient if I help in another way?
Friend2: Absolutely not. We have the example of Shri Hanuman.
Friend1: From the Ramayana.
Friend2: Can you list some of Hanuman’s major accomplishments?
Friend1: Travelling to Lanka. Finding Sita Devi. Helping Shri Rama. Helping Sugriva. Collaborating with the other Vanaras under the command of Sugriva. Meeting with Bharata prior to the group returning to Ayodhya.
Friend2: Too many glories to count, you will have to admit.
Friend1: That is why we still worship him.
Friend2: Just see what is missing. Hanuman never belittled the other Vanaras. He did not boast about leaping across the ocean to reach Lanka. Hanuman was strong enough to carry the entire island back to Rama, to help in punishing the wicked Ravana.
Friend1: Yeah, it’s amazing. Hanuman can expand to a large size, when necessary. He later showed this form to his brother, Bhima.
Friend2: Hanuman does not shame the other Vanaras for not accompanying him to Lanka. This is a mark of a saintly person. They help others. They lift them up. They work according to their capacity. In the eternal occupation that is service to God, every person has something to offer.
Friend1: I guess you are right.
Friend2: Work in the way that you can. If you have extraordinary ability, use it. If you are of modest means, sacrifice in a way that will keep you in the path, connected to the interests of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appreciates every gesture of kindness, affection, and honor.
For true potency to understand,
Entire Lanka can carry in hand.
To largest size can grow,
Later to Bhima to show.
But never others to belittle,
Appreciated whether a lot or a little.
Since in service to Rama connected,
Each for occupation selected.