“It is certainly the mind that is instrumental in causing the senses to act in ways that lead to either auspicious or inauspicious conditions. And my mind right now is positively situated.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 11.41)
मनो हि हेतुः सर्वेषामिन्द्रियाणां प्रवर्तने।।
शुभाशुभास्ववस्थासु तच्च मे सुव्यवस्थितम्।
mano hi hetuḥ sarveṣāmindriyāṇāṃ pravartane।।
śubhāśubhāsvavasthāsu tacca me suvyavasthitam।
1. Staying awake all night
“The Sanskrit term is brahma-muhurta. This is the moment of Brahman, which is the spiritual energy. Around one and a half hours before sunrise, on any given day, is the best time for spiritual activities, such as meditation and the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
“I know one person who is always awake during this time. Every day, without fail. The problem is that the time period represents the end of their day. They spend the night partying and drinking. They have the good fortune to see the sunrise. They are supposedly within auspicious circumstances, but their life is instead being wasted away. At least that is how I see it.”
2. Taking birth in a holy place
“I know someone who was born in a sacred land. Thousands of people visit that place every year. You can find many shrines and destination spots related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Gurus take their followers on parikrama outings every year, to have a deep dive into the meaning of that place.
“This person, however, has taken to a lowly profession. It is too embarrassing to even mention. They are within auspicious surroundings, but just see the impact. They are more fallen than those who have never heard of that land.”
3. Receiving scholarly credentials
“This person is blessed with good intelligence. They have academic credentials to support the standard. They receive respect wherever they go. In every room, there is honor and glory. They are referred to as doctor because of the high degree they earned, which was after extensive research in their field of study.
“But just see what this person is doing. They are intent on stifling debate and free speech on college campuses. They are into debauchery and sexual deviancy, to a level that is actually illegal around the world. Since they are otherwise so respected, they are untouchable. No one can make a strike against them.”
4. Showing a beautiful face
“That is one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen. They don’t have to worry about aging, since time has not done them any harm. The face is inviting to others. There is fame and notoriety, but this person is actually miserable. They would rather be known for something else, but they are stuck with relying on the visuals to get them by in life.”
5. Not having to work
“Just see their good fortune. This person never has to work. They have no idea what it is like to meet a deadline. They never have to worry about running out of money. The biggest concern on a given day is what the domestic staff will be cooking for dinner.
“With such a huge burden of daily life removed, this person is totally miserable. They are always depressed. They have bad banners. They speak in a low class language. They have no respect for themselves. The good fortune has ruined their life, it seems.”
Shri Hanuman explains that true auspiciousness is based on the condition of the mind. He rationalized as such after having accidentally reached an otherwise inauspicious condition. It wasn’t his fault, but taken in isolation the act was sinful.
Hanuman was searching through palaces. It was like peeping through a hole, but with a much better view. He could see everything that was going on. These palaces were occupied, and it looked like there was a continuous party going on.
The most beautiful women in the world. All under the control of one king. The ten-headed Ravana had every sense comfort available to him. Full intoxication. No worrying about showing a fake identification card at the liquor store. No concern about running out of stock.
There was endless animal flesh to consume. As if the animals decided to intentionally congregate in Lanka for the purpose of sacrifice, to please that Rakshasa leader. To enjoy to the highest level, there were numerous queens, with Mandodari at the lead.
It was upon this scene that Hanuman gazed. He cast a glance at unsuspecting women, while they were enjoying intimately. This is the definition of inauspicious. The first teaching in the science of self-realization is the distinction between body and spirit.
The entirety of the culture that follows is for reinforcing that truth, in the sense of realization. If you are addicted to sense gratification, if you are constantly thinking of enjoying with women, it is as if you are still unaware of your identity as spirit soul, separate and distinct from the body.
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरो ऽपराणि
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्य्
अन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही
vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ‘parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī
“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.22)
There is another side to consider, however. As described in the above mentioned hypothetical situations, even amidst auspiciousness there can be the worst conditions. We see a person who supposedly has everything and yet they are miserable. They are unhappy to the extreme of wanting to prematurely end life.
Hanuman was not affected by the interaction. His mind was still positively situated. He was still searching for Sita Devi, the missing wife of Shri Rama. Hanuman could have stuck to the rules, vowing not to breach etiquette. He could have retreated at once and informed Rama that there was a line he was not willing to cross.
Fortunately, Hanuman had the good sense to assess the situation from every angle, while keeping the interests of Rama at the forefront. There was no sin, in this case. Continuing forward was the right way. The encounter ended up being auspicious, as moving the search forward eventually led to locating Sita Devi in the grove of Ashoka trees.
If a line not willing to cross,
Then entire mission lost.
What then to Rama to say?
That after finding the way.
To follow specific rule choosing,
And valuable opportunity losing?
Hanuman assessing when trouble faced,
That mind positively placed.
Categories: the five