Sunday, June 17, 2018

What Is The Ultimate Goal Of Life

[Lord Vishnu]“In the Shrimad-Bhagavatam it is said that the foolish do not know that Vishnu is the ultimate goal of life. According to the conclusion of all authoritative Vedic scriptures, when a person comes to the stage of appreciating Vishnu, he is at the beginning of devotional service. If one cultivates devotional service further and further, under proper guidance, other features of devotional service will gradually become manifest.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 35)

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Friend1: Svartha-gatim hi vishnu.

Friend2: I believe that’s a quote from Prahlada Maharaja.

Friend1: In the Shrimad Bhagavatam.

Friend2: Do you know what it means?

Friend1: Going to Vishnu?

Friend2: Not just the destination. It’s talking about svartha. This is the interest, artha, of the self, sva. Reaching the destination of Vishnu is the most important.

Friend1: There is an associated term, right?

Friend2: Paramartha?

Friend1: Yes. Does that mean the same thing?

Friend2: In philosophical discussions svartha typically refers to interest in the present lifetime and paramartha the afterlife. Sort of like earthly rewards versus heavenly ones.

Friend1: And Prahlada specifically mentions svartha.

Friend2: I am glad you picked up on that. The idea is not to relegate spiritual life to something mysterious, beyond our understanding. It’s not something to be believed in only through faith. It’s not like saying, “My religion is to go to Vishnu.” No, the destination of the personal God is in your best interest right now, today.

Friend1: I’m assuming the paramartha aspect is implied.

Friend2: Both are the same, if you really think about it. This is the way the Vaishnava thinks. Goswami Tulsidas has written similarly. Stop thinking in terms of this life, heaven or hell in the next life, and then enjoying or suffering. Think about the right now. Associating with God is in your best interest, always, for any duration of time.

“When your personal and supreme interests can be easily obtained from one place, it is not sensible for you in weakness to beg at the doors of others, O Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 54)

Friend1: Would you say that is the ultimate goal of life?

[The Nectar of Devotion]Friend2: In the Nectar of Devotion there is the specific reference made to Vishnu being the ultimate goal of life. Do you understand how that works?

Friend1: It’s supposed to be juxtaposed with other stated goals of life.

Friend2: Well, everyone is searching for higher knowledge to some degree. People are looking for the essence, the origin, what have you. Vishnu is the soul of the universe. He is the atom, paramanu, and He is the Supersoul inside of every living thing. Without knowing Him you don’t really know much.

Friend1: I see.

Friend2: Knowing Him is the beginning. Naturally, there will be some appreciation. This is called shanta-rasa, or the interaction in neutrality.

Friend1: Awe and reverence.

Friend2: Notice that even this is beyond the stage of fear. It is God-appreciating instead of God-fearing.

Friend1: Which a lot of people are happy to acknowledge.

Friend2: At least appreciate Him. No need to be so afraid. The more you know Him, the closer the relationship becomes.

Friend1: Like the gopis, who actually chastise Him.

Friend2: Right. The parents, Nanda and Yashoda, think that God will not survive unless He is taken care of. Step back and ponder that for a moment.

Friend1: It is a pretty amazing attitude.

Friend2: That is what awaits a person who reaches the ultimate goal of life. Vedic literature and Vedic culture are passed down to facilitate this objective. There is no other purpose. Living comfortably through wealth, beauty, and fame is not the highest goal.

Friend1: Animals already have a lot of stuff, if you think about it.

Friend2: They get sense enjoyment already.

Friend1: In a lot of cases, their enjoyment is superior to the human beings, who have to struggle so much.

[Lord Vishnu]Friend2: So the solution is to stop struggling. Find Vishnu. Appreciate Him. Learn more. Serve through different ways described by the same Prahlada Maharaja. Live happily ever after.

In Closing:

Searching here and there,

But of real goal not aware.

That devotion to Vishnu to taste,

And all other pursuits a waste.

The current and future interest too,

His association the best for you.

Like Prahlada Maharaja saying,

And other Vaishnavas displaying.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Does Hell Really Exist

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.18)

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Friend1: Okay, I know you don’t like when I do this, but I’m going to proceed nonetheless.

Friend2: Ask a silly question?

Friend1: Bring up something in the news.

Friend2: Alright.

Friend1: A leader of a particular religious institution said that there is no such thing as hell.

Friend2: This was part of a sermon or something?

Friend1: A leak of an off-the-record conversation.

Friend2: Let me guess. Their explanation afterwards was something like, “That wasn’t me.” They tried to walk it back.

Friend1: I think the institution did it for them. Again, they can rely on the casual conversation part of it to discount the significance.

Friend2: Right, but if you think about it, there is no difference. You might be more honest when speaking in an informal setting. Unless, of course, there was an intentional misdirection.

Friend1: What do you mean?

Friend2: Where you tell the person that hell doesn’t exist so as to keep them from running away from religion.

Friend1: Oh, I get it. I understand the benefit of such a tactic, but shouldn’t a religious leader be truthful? That is to say when really pressed on an issue, shouldn’t they not hide anything?

Friend2: Who knows what actually went on in this instance.

Friend1: Anyway, my question is about hell. Do you think it really exists? How do you prove it?

Friend2: It really is a silly question, but I know you’re asking from the point of view of the common perception.

Friend1: Yes, the ole, “You better surrender or you’ll be doomed to hell,” line.

Friend2: The reason the wise person considers the whole issue ridiculous is because of the continuous existence of the soul. On the one side you’re worried about what will happen after death, about suffering in a mysterious place that no one has seen before. On the other side you understand that the soul continues to live on, just moving to a different body. There are hellish experiences already.

Friend1: What do you mean?

Friend2: Saying there is no hell is like saying there is no down. There is no cold. There is no winter. There is no losing. It’s just crazy.

Friend1: You mean hell is more of an experience than a physical location?

Friend2: It is both. Hell is a place where hellish conditions are experienced. Hellish here means “unwanted.” To say there is no hell is like saying there is no such thing as indigestion. You eat too many slices of pizza for dinner, guess what? The next day you won’t feel too well. That is unwanted. It is hellish, and there was a direct cause.

[pizza]Friend1: And so not only is the hellish realm real, but there are specific actions that lead to residence there?

Friend2: Of course. Sin is just doing things the wrong way. To say there are no negative consequences to improper actions is to ignore reality. I put my hand in fire, I will get burned. Others tell me not to beforehand. I don’t listen to them. “What is this sin that they speak of? What is this burning that I have never experienced? They must be making it up.”

Friend1: Is residence in hell permanent? Is there a such thing as eternal damnation?

Friend2: This is where the Vedas provide the most clarity. Heaven and hell exist, and so does the in-between, namely the earthly realm. Heaven is a little better, hell a little worse, and on earth you have experiences of both. The idea is that all three are part of the material world, which means temporary. The eternal living beings residing in a temporary land.

Friend1: Do good and go to heaven.

Friend2: Do bad and go to hell.

Friend1: What about in between? Some good and some bad.

Friend2: Depends. You might go to heaven and hell, as described with Duryodhana in the Mahabharata. You might stay here. Rebirth on earth. Pretty straightforward.

Friend1: Where does religion play into this?

Friend2: Real religion is dharma. The faith aspect you are referencing makes little difference. Real religion is based on principles in piety, with corresponding qualities, such as austerity, cleanliness, honesty and compassion. Behave piously and you go to heaven. Show the good qualities. Follow higher authority instead of the senses.

Friend1: Is there a way to escape rebirth altogether?

Friend2: That is the ultimate objective. Heaven is like the candy offered to the child as reward for taking medicine. The candy is not important; the medicine is. Similarly, the purification of the consciousness is what matters most, not the temporary enjoyment in the heavenly realm. The idea is to eventually clear the consciousness of all material contamination, allowing bhakti to have majority influence.

Friend1: Devotion, but to whom?

[Krishna's lotus feet]Friend2: God the person. Be devoted to Him in thought, word and deed. In that highest platform of consciousness, there is no concern paid to heaven or hell. As Maharishi Valmiki notes, the pure devotees don’t mind going to hell, since wherever they are they see the Supreme Lord standing beautifully in their heart.

In Closing:

No matter to which place landing,

In heart Bhagavan beautifully standing.

So for wise hell not a concern,

A real place with demerits to earn.

Be good and to heaven go,

But all such temporary so.

Glimpses already in this life to receive,

So why difficulty in it to believe?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Four People In Distress That Hanuman Helped

[Shri Hanuman]“O very powerful one, I depend on your might. As you are the best of the monkeys, O son of the wind, do you exert yourself in such a way that by using your extraordinary strength and bravery, O Hanuman, the daughter of Janaka may be found.” (Shri Rama speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 44.17)

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Life can be stressful. An adult-aged person does not need further explanation, as through accumulated life experiences the reality of uncertainty sets in. No one knows for sure what is going to occur in the future. This means that nothing can be counted on; there are no certain situations around which to make plans.

A byproduct of this uncertainty is distress. Lamentation. Worry. What will happen? Will everything work out? Death is assured, but when exactly will it arrive? Should I keep an eye on it, like watching water boil? Or should I pretend that it won’t happen, using ignorance as a coping mechanism?

Shastra is there for guidance in the present and the future. That is to say the Vedic tradition, passed on through a descending chain of self-realized souls, is for removing fear and uncertainty, and in the process creating the best future.

History is described in the Vedas, as well, and there is one particular historical personality who was relied upon by several important and capable people. They looked to him when they were in distress, and that same person happens to still be available to help today.

1. Sugriva

He was the king of the Vanaras in a forest area called Kishkindha. There was an unfortunate disagreement with the brother Vali that escalated to an emergency. The brothers could no longer live together. One of them would have to die. Since Vali was more powerful, Sugriva fled.

The trusted minister came with him. Known as Hanuman, he was actually powerful enough to defeat Vali in battle. The puzzling nature of the events would be raised many years later by the incarnation of the Supreme Lord known as Rama. The basic question was, “Why didn’t Hanuman intervene?”

At the time he was not aware of his strength, but Hanuman was valuable to Sugriva nonetheless. From his zone of safety on top of Mount Rishyamukha, Sugriva one time saw two warrior-like men approaching. He asked Hanuman to descend the mountain and see what was going on.

2. Shri Rama

The distressed Sugriva, separated from his wife, sent the minister Hanuman to meet the men, who were the brothers Rama and Lakshmana. The elder Rama was also separated from His wife, in great distress, and in need of help.

[Hanuman carrying brothers]Hanuman learned the situation and quickly realized that Rama and Sugriva should meet. They could form an alliance and thereby help each other. Taking the brothers on his back, Hanuman brought them to the top of the mountain.

3. Angada

Rama indeed helped Sugriva win the kingdom back. Next was Sugriva’s turn. He sent his massive Vanara army to search the world for Sita Devi, who had been taken away from Rama’s side in secret. She was the dharma-patni, the devoted wife in all righteousness, to Shri Rama.

The Vanaras divided into groups, but there was a hunch from the leaders that the party with Hanuman would end up succeeding. It looked to be that way when Angada and his group learned of Sita’s location. Their elation quickly turned to lamentation, however. Sita was on the island of Lanka, which was across the vast ocean.

[Shri Hanuman]Angada and company then relied upon Hanuman, who learned of his amazing abilities after being reminded by Jambavan. Expanding his form, Hanuman took a giant leap from a mountain top and flew across the ocean.

4. Sita Devi

He reached Lanka, and from there the difficulties continued. Hanuman had no one to call for help. He had to go it alone in an enemy territory. He relied on his love for Rama, a person he had only recently met. He risked his life for the Lord’s pleasure, and receiving guidance from within Hanuman would find success.

Finally meeting Sita, Hanuman calmed her worries. He assured her that Rama would soon arrive in Lanka and rescue her. Of all the people he had met, Sita was likely in the most distress, as she was living amidst the enemy. There were no friends; only wicked characters who intentionally harassed her day and night.

The conditioned soul distressed by the material existence can look to the same Hanuman for rescue. He is the gatekeeper to the spiritual kingdom where Shri Rama and family live. Through honoring him, through remembering him, and through following in his example of pure devotion the valuable human life can be made successful.

In Closing:

Despite capability in search party each,

Only Hanuman the destination to reach.

Sugriva the trusted minister taking,

Who first assessment of brothers making.

From him that alliance made,

Benefit to both sides paid.

That same person today can call,

To raise from material world’s fall.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Three Ways To Know That All Economic Classes Can Worship Shri Rama

[Shabari offering fruits]“O best among men, thus I was spoken to at that time by those greatly fortunate sages. O best among men, indeed for Your sake I have collected a variety of forest fruits which were growing on the banks of the Pampa Lake, O tiger among men.” (Shabari speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 74.17)

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He was ready to leave home. Not a planned trip by any definition, it was a sudden reversal of fortune. The wife Sita insisted on accompanying. So did the younger brother Lakshmana. As a king’s son, Shri Rama had valuable possessions. If net worth were calculated, it would be considered tremendously high.

Yet the stipulations for this journey were that the group had to live like renounced mendicants. Therefore, prior to leaving Rama gave away practically everything He owned. The recipients were the brahmanas, the priestly class. Accustomed to worshiping Rama without motive, they received material benedictions directly from Him.

Though Rama is never poor, He possesses the full renunciation spirit simultaneously. It is not surprising that those who are renounced themselves are eligible for worshiping Him. An aspect of worship is offering, and even those who don’t have much can still honor Rama satisfactorily.

1. The brahmanas worship Him

As mentioned above, they are something like the priests of society. They have six designated occupations, and just performing one is sufficient for fulfilling the obligations of the order. The brahmanas are to be like the brains of society, guiding the hands, legs and stomach represented by the other classes.

Since they are usually poor, what can they offer Shri Rama? There is no large house in which to set up worship. Sufficient funds for hiring a top-rated chef to prepare food dishes are lacking. They accept gold and jewels from others in charity, so how can they offer the same to the Supreme Lord?

The Supreme Lord is still known as brahmanya-devaya. He is the worshipable deity of the priestly class. Especially dear to Him are the brahmanas and the cows, neither of which are known for their material wealth.

2. He accepts fruits as offering

Take a look at the altar in a formal house of worship. There is likely fruit sitting in front of the deity. Shri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are usually standing on either side, with the devoted servant Hanuman in front. The offering is made to all four, as Bhagavan is never considered to be alone.

[Shabari offering fruits]The fruits are sufficient for pleasing Him. Surely something more palatable can be prepared and offered, but the sentiment is what counts. In the mood of bhakti, love and devotion, the offering wins Rama’s favor. The simple fruit or water offering shows that bhakti is not restricted by economic class. Even a person without a home can find a piece of fruit to offer. The principle is validated through Rama’s own pastimes, like when He met the female ascetic named Shabari in the forest. She was renounced, but she still pleased the Lord through offering the fruits she could find.

3. The goddess of fortune is His wife

Who is actually wealthy, anyway? This life is temporary. The living force within is permanent, but a life as we know it involves the combination of spirit and body. The stay, the lease for that residence, so to speak, does not renew indefinitely.

During that temporary residence a person may become wealthy, either through their own work or from the efforts of past generations within the family. Nevertheless, the real source is always the goddess of fortune. The wealth is something like on loan from her, with an intended purpose.

[Sita-Rama]As she serves the Supreme Lord, so the benedictions she offers should be earmarked similarly. In whatever way a person is blessed by her, with either a little or a lot, there is always the opportunity to serve her husband, which is the ultimate objective of life.

In Closing:

Money with you not a lot?

Still opportunity you’ve got.

For worshiping in way sufficient,

Person who of nothing deficient.

Example from Rama’s forest time stay,

Like when coming Shabari’s way.

The brahmanas as worshipers known,

His wife already fortune to own.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Four Reasons It Is Not Surprising That Children Would Be Killed In The Womb

[Durga Devi and Kamsa]“Having uprooted all relationships with his sister because of intense selfishness, Kamsa, who was sitting on his knees, grasped the newborn child by the legs and tried to dash her against the surface of a stone.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.4.8)

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“It has to be fake news. Just look at the viral video that everyone is talking about. It is edited beyond belief. A cut here, a fragment there - how to tell what really happened? Who would actually admit to this on video? No, something else must be going on here. The pro-life people are working overtime to nab the people who are for choice.”

This is one reaction to a recent news story. Would a place that facilitates abortions actually try to sell intact fetal matter? Would they really strategize their killings on a particular day based on what people were willing to purchase?

In reality, it is not a surprise that the level would descend that low. It is already acknowledged that the killing takes place. The end of the pregnancy can only occur when something is living; otherwise there would be no reason to intervene. Based on other behavior in a material existence, it is understandable that human beings would be willing to do this to other human beings.

1. Animals are killed all the time

What occurs at the slaughterhouse? Animals are rounded up, in large numbers, and sent some place for a specific purpose. Killing. Death. There is no way to sugarcoat. Children instinctively know that something is wrong with the picture. It is not until they are programmed otherwise that they accept the behavior. Better to have them not see anything in the first place. Put the resulting meat on the dinner table, but don’t explain the source.

2. They say animals have no soul

Eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Animals follow these behaviors just like human beings do. They feel pain. They show signs of excitement, enthusiasm, happiness, and depression. Cows feel so much love for their children that an abundance of milk results. There is so much milk produced that the children can drink to their satisfaction and there is still so much left over for human beings to take advantage of.

[Krishna with cows]One of the excuses for the killing is the claim that animals have no soul. There isn’t much conviction behind the statement, as the same supposedly soulless animal in the form of a dog is protected. In fact, if a dog is mistreated it is a violation of law. Animal-cruelty. Public shaming is a possible result. “How could you treat a dog that way? Have you no heart?”

3. Like Kamsa in mentality

The infamous king of Mathura described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam, he was afraid of his life of sense gratification coming to an abrupt end. He received a tremendous blessing. A voice from the sky informed him of the time of his death. It would arrive through the eighth child of his sister Devaki.

Kamsa tried to reverse destiny. Wanting to maintain the sinful life as long as possible, afraid of what would happen after death, he went through with killing each of Devaki’s children as they were born. He performed abortions the old fashioned way. He took the infants and threw them against a stone. Harsh, cruel, gruesome and yet not really much different from what goes on today in the womb in the doctor’s office. Fortunately, the last time he attempted such a move the baby survived. It was Durga Devi, who then gave warning that the king’s days were numbered.

[Durga Devi and Kamsa]Modern-day abortion is due mostly to inconvenience. The unwanted child would be a hindrance on the life of sense gratification. If there weren’t the option to end the pregnancy, then so much care and attention would have to be given to sex life in the first place. Who would want to live that way? Marriage would become a de facto requirement for engaging in such risky behavior.

4. Not understanding the law of karma

Kamsa did not understand that there would be stiff punishment for every child that he killed. Those children could not defend themselves, and one day Kamsa would not be able to protect himself from the swift, fierce, and accurate hand of death. He literally saw such a hand, coming at him at the appropriate moment. The source was indeed that eighth child, and in the special circumstance it was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Shri Krishna.

It is the Supreme Lord who institutes the system of karma. What a person does, they will have to suffer or enjoy the consequences later on. That is only fair. If an innocent animal is killed, that same departing soul has the right to reverse the situation, to kill the killer, in the next life. If such a law were understood, the practice of killing children in the womb might be curbed or eliminated altogether.

The solution to every unwanted activity is the same. The way to eradicate barbaric behavior is through Krishna consciousness. On the positive side, not like Kamsa who was living in fear of Krishna, focus the mind on the origin of all things. Sing His glories, follow the path set by His representatives, and automatically respect for all forms of life will come. Even karma will no longer have an influence, as Krishna will take over responsibility for the devoted soul.

In Closing:

How fetus such punishment to receive,

Death sentence after parents to conceive?

So much blood already spilling,

Like with innocent animals killing.

The Kamsa mentality alive,

Who to reverse destiny tried.

Not understanding karma’s way,

Only solution with Krishna to stay.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Everything Rests On Me

[Krishna's lotus feet]“O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.7)

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Friend1: Krishna creates the entire world.

Friend2: Technically, it is Vishnu.

Friend1: Yes, I know, but He is an expansion of the Supreme Lord.

Friend2: Right, the same person.

Friend1: I also know that it is done effortlessly.

Friend2: While lying down in rest.

Friend1: Exhaling creates the many universes and inhaling brings them back into Him.

Friend2: Dissolution. Destruction.

Friend1: Vishnu is also the maintainer.

[Vishnu lying down]Friend2: Within the material world, He plays that role. Brahma takes the ingredients of goodness, passion and ignorance to generate the different kinds of suits. These are the 8,400,000 species. Lord Shiva is called upon to destroy when the time is right. Vishnu is there maintaining all along.

Friend1: There is that verse in the Bhagavad-gita where Krishna says that everything rests on Him.

Friend2: Like pearls on a thread.

Friend1: The question, then, is how is He not involved in everything?

Friend2: What do you mean? Like implicated? Because not a blade of grass moves without Krishna’s sanction.

Friend1: Yes. Responsible for stuff. Taking the blame for when things go wrong. People like to thank the Almighty when good fortune comes their way, but what about the many tragedies? Yes, I know about karma. I know about the material nature. I understand the issue of personal choice and how Krishna is the Supersoul within the heart, witnessing everything but not interfering.

Friend2: Then? It seems like you already know the answer.

Friend1: But everything rests on Him. That means He is responsible.

Friend2: He is simultaneously involved and not involved. He does the greatest work, but none of the results attach to Him. He is responsible for the creation of the playing field. He even maintains it. But what goes on amongst the people living on that field is not attached to Him. He gives shelter to the devotees, who technically live in the spiritual world. He provides to them what they lack and preserves what they have.

“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form-to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)

Friend1: Okay, but shouldn’t some of the blame attach to Him?

Friend2: Where is that going to get you? Try that for a few days. Blame Krishna for everything unwanted in life. Curse at Him for allowing birth to take place, which is the cause of every other negative condition. Let me know how that works out for you.

Friend1: You’re saying to accept the situation, that complaining won’t get you anywhere?

[Krishna's lotus feet]Friend2: The truth is the truth. Neither you nor I can change it. Krishna is above karma. That is one way to know that you have found God. It is one of countless ways to define Him. Better to join His side than to not. He is pure goodness, after all, so there is no risk of being burned. No one else can provide the same shelter.

In Closing:

Massive rain outside falling,

Another misery of life calling.

In good times of Him thinking,

But no blame for first sinking?

Into this world of misery and pain,

Everything resting on Him the same.

Reality that for devotees to protect,

Others not same shelter to expect.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Four Times Hanuman Expanded His Form

[Hanuman and Surasa]“I offer my obeisances unto you, O daughter of Daksha. Indeed, I have entered your mouth, and the truth of the boon granted to you has been maintained. I shall now go to where Vaidehi is.” (Hanuman speaking to Surasa, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 1.169)

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A true hero doesn’t speak much. The idea is that if you are confident in your abilities, if you know that you can accomplish difficult tasks, then there is no reason to go on and on talking about it. There is also the saying, “The empty can rattles the most.” There isn’t much there, so to compensate the person keeps boasting as a way to distract. Create fear when there really is no reason to be worried.

Shri Hanuman is a genuine hero, and his abilities are amazing. He possesses the mystic perfections of yoga, and he can use them at any time. One of those siddhis is the ability to become very large. Since he is so humble and pure at heart, Hanuman only exhibits that ability when necessary, when the shape shift is helpful in his service to the Supreme Lord Rama.

1. When ready to leap over the ocean

From the Ramayana we learn that Hanuman didn’t even know about these abilities for a long time. Something like having a million dollars in the bank but still worrying about how to find money for food and shelter, there was a wealth of ability residing inside him, just waiting to be used.

There was a curse previously applied to Hanuman, so that he would only be able to use these abilities when reminded. That reminder came from Jambavan, and at a very opportune moment. A group of Vanaras from the Kishkindha forest were on the verge of success in an important mission. They were tasked with finding Sita Devi, the missing wife of the prince named Rama.

The group received valuable intelligence information. Sita was on the island of Lanka, held there against her will by the Rakshasa king named Ravana. The problem now was that the island was far away from the shore. The monkeys had no ability to cross the ocean.

Except for Hanuman. After the reminder from Jambavan, Hanuman expanded his form so as to be able to leap across. Using the top of a mountain as his launching pad, the fearless servant was on his way.

2. When encountering Surasa

That large form was coursing through the sky, but there were some impediments. A female demon had received the benediction from the gods that no one would be able to pass by her without first entering her mouth. This usually meant that she would eat such a traveler.

[Hanuman and Surasa]Hanuman used his intelligence by asking Surasa to expand her mouth to be able to fit his size. Then his own size started to increase more and more. When Surasa’s mouth was sufficiently enlarged, Hanuman quickly became diminutive again, entering and exiting her mouth before Surasa could close it. Problem solved.

3. When meeting Sita for the first time

Hanuman finally found Sita, in a grove of Ashoka trees of all places. She was naturally skeptical at first, as there were fakers all around her. That was how Ravana had succeeded in taking her in the first place. The wicked ten-headed one masked his real rupa, or form, and assumed that of a wandering mendicant. This was to fake innocence, to keep others in a neutral or accepting position.

Hanuman was a Vanara, which is a monkey-like person. Even more reason to be skeptical of the claims that he was sent by Rama, Sita’s husband. After her favor was won, Hanuman felt great empathy for her plight. He thought maybe she could return to Rama’s side, that he could bring her back with him. He proposed the idea, but she rejected it. He then expanded his form to show that he was indeed capable of crossing the ocean, that she should have no reason to worry.

The sentiment was appreciated, as there were only good intentions. But Sita did not want to have contact with a man other than her husband. She also wanted the glory of rescue to go to her beloved, which Hanuman wanted as well.

4. When meeting Bhima

Years after the incidents of the Ramayana, the Pandava warrior named Bhima was roaming through a particular forest. He came upon an impediment on his path. Something that looked like a giant log, Bhima was unable to move it, despite having great strength.

That object was actually the tail of Hanuman. He knew that Bhima was coming and set up the roadblock on purpose, to protect the Pandava from harm that awaited up ahead. The two were actually brothers, both born of the wind-god Vayu.

[Hanuman and Bhima]After learning that it was Hanuman, Bhima felt great appreciation. He repeatedly asked to see the large form that Hanuman had used to cross the ocean in Rama’s service. Hanuman was reluctant, but seeing the persistence he finally acquiesced.

In Closing:

After made repeated request,

Hanuman finally acquiesced.

That large form to brother showing,

Who from stories the prowess knowing.

Once also when ocean to cross,

And past demon Surasa across.

Ability only for Shri Rama using,

Proper time and place choosing.