Five Things I Learned From Shri Hanuman

[Shri Hanuman]“An intelligent person has respect for the body which brings them attachment to Shri Rama. That is why Hanuman gave up his form of Rudra in order to be a Vanara.” (Dohavali, 142)

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जेहि सरीर रति राम सों सोइ आदरहिं सुजान।
रुद्रदेह तजि नेहबस बानर भे हनुमान ॥

jēhi sarīra rati rāma sōṁ sō’i ādarahiṁ sujāna.
rudradēha taji nēhabasa bānara bhē hanumāna..

What is it that makes a person alive? If a skeptic insists upon visual evidence that God exists, to believe that there is a supreme authority controlling the entire cosmic manifestation, just what is the proof that they exist? Any person can deny anything. That which is right before them, if they lack the proper tools for identification, if they are clouded in judgment and perception, will be denied on account of lack of evidence.

One way to prove a person exists is to measure the impression they have left. This is also a way to preserve their presence, extending into the future for as long as the impression remains. For example, if a person writes a book, the content is like a tape recording of their thoughts and ideas. The physical impression of the ink on the paper simultaneously represents the impression of that individual, while they were manifest in this world.

In this way, I have access to great personalities. The impression of Shri Hanuman remains in this world, and from that association I have learned many great lessons. I continue to derive benefit from that selfless, capable, and fearless representative of the Almighty.

1. The playing field is not so significant

One way to understand God is to know that He transcends both time and circumstance. We may hold a particular text to be sacred. We may hold the work in high esteem, and there is an associated time of implementation. That sacred text was written down by someone at some place.

This does not mean that access to God is limited. The same Almighty was ruling over the universe prior to the time the sacred text was produced. He will continue to be in the topmost position if ever the knowledge within that text should become lost. He simply reinstitutes the tradition whenever He sees fit.

एवं परम्परा-प्राप्तम्
इमं राजर्षयो विदुः
स कालेनेह महता
योगो नष्टः परन्तप

evaṁ paramparā-prāptam
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha mahatā
yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa

“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.2)

From the example of Hanuman, we see that the exact area of practice of spiritual life is not so important. That is to say, a person is not limited by where they live or what places they have access to. Hanuman serves God directly. He meets the avatara named Shri Rama while in the forest of Kishkindha.

This is outside of civilized society. This is not within the confines of an ashrama. The initial meeting is not within a temple or an established house of worship. Hanuman descends from the top of a mountain called Rishyamukha and meets Rama and His younger brother named Lakshmana.

2. The type of body is not necessarily a hindrance to success

Goswami Tulsidas provides an important teaching in this regard. The type of body we accept, albeit temporarily, is not so important. Rather, the key performance indicator is attachment towards the lotus feet of Shri Rama. In whatever circumstances that attachment arises, strengthens, and solidifies, we will naturally have affinity for.

[Shri Hanuman]He gives the example of Rudra, who prefers the deha of a Vanara. This refers to Shri Hanuman taking the kshetra of what appears to be a monkey. It is within that form that Hanuman not only serves Rama, but thrives in that service. He is most exemplary, and there are no barriers to success. There is no ceiling that Hanuman cannot break and no physical area so vast that he cannot cross.

3. Life is full of tough decisions

Though Hanuman is so dear to Rama and His wife Sita Devi, this does not mean that the journey within that devotion is easy. There is difficulty here and there. Tough decisions to make. Disappointments to face. Failures to contemplate. Hopelessness and despair to tolerate.

4. Remembering is important

Despite the troubles, Hanuman always remembers. He never forgets Sita and Rama. My ego might swell due to successes. Suddenly, I earn so much money. My stature within society rises. I have less difficulties than my friends. I am beloved by my family and respected by my colleagues.

I should still remember from where my ability comes. There is the saying that you meet the same people on the way down that you met on the way up. Hanuman remembers when he is in trouble. He uses Rama’s interest to gauge whether a particular action should be taken. He uses the same interest to assess his previous actions.

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 ||

“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)

5. Sita and Rama are everything

[Sita-Rama]From the impression that Hanuman has left, we know that he is dear to Sita and Rama. They acknowledge the sacrifices he makes for them. They appreciate even the smallest gesture done in their favor, so we can only imagine the appreciation they have for the bravery and selflessness exhibited by that best of the Vanaras. If Sita and Rama are everything to Hanuman, then they are also everything to me.

In Closing:

Everything for Hanuman to be,
Then the same applying to me.

Because the best impression leaving,
Benefits to this day receiving.

How journey of life to navigate,
How time to appropriate.

For the best work to do,
For Sita and Rama who.

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