“This divine lady’s beauty and the perfection of every body part is like it is in Rama, and His beautiful features are the same as this dark-eyed lady’s. Hence she must be His.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 15.51)
asyā devyā yathā rūpam anga pratyanga sauṣṭhavam |
rāmasya ca yathā rūpam tasya iyam asita īkṣaṇā ||
Aside from the documented historical evidence presented in Vedic literature, there are other indications that can be used to substantiate the claims of divinity with respect to notable characters. Depending on time and circumstance, a particular divine incarnation will appear and carry out specific tasks. In many instances only a representative is sent, as through that leader’s influence others get a tangible example to follow. The path is set for returning back to the spiritual kingdom, an ascension that grants a release from the prison-like environment. To help in recognizing the divine presence, there are also features considered unique and auspicious and which only belong to the Supreme Lord and His eternal consort. These were duly noted by a clandestine agent deep within the enemy territory of Lanka a long time ago.
The special agent’s name was Hanuman, and he was in the form of a monkey. As these events took place so long ago, the population of the earth was a little different than it is today. The monkeys were known as Vanaras, and they had human-like tendencies. In addition, many notable figures were adept in mysticism, so they could make use of the various siddhis of yoga. Real yoga is not practiced for ancillary health benefits. Just by eating and sleeping in moderation, allowing the air to flow freely through the body, one can remain relatively healthy. Real yoga is an out-of-body experience, connecting the individual soul with the higher spiritual being. In that discipline the inhibiting influence of the body is lessened, allowing the spirit soul to do amazing things like change shape, become extremely light, and travel at the speed of the mind.
Hanuman was also an expert at all aspects of yoga. He used whatever features he possessed to carry out service to the Supreme Lord. Rama was the divine incarnation of the time, and Hanuman noticed auspicious signs in Him at their first meeting. There was extraordinary beauty coupled with gentleness, a combination rarely seen in a warrior. Rama was chivalrous and at the same time wholly affectionate. He was deferent to the law codes of dharma. He never backed down from a fight, and yet He was greatly saddened when His wife Sita went missing.
Along with many other Vanaras in the forest of Kishkindha, Hanuman was sent to find Sita. He finally reached the end-point when he saw a beautiful woman from a distance in a grove of Ashoka trees. This princess looked like she could be Rama’s wife. It was difficult to know for certain due to external conditions. This woman’s clothes were not in a good condition. She was also sighing repeatedly and her body was worn thin from fasting.
But from what Hanuman could make out, he could tell that the image was a match for what was seen prior on Mount Rishyamukha. Sita was taken against her will by the king of Lanka, Ravana, through a backhanded plot. Upon the initial aerial exit from the scene of the crime, Sita struggled with Ravana and some of her ornaments fell to the ground. Vanaras were perched in trees at the time and so they took note of these ornaments. From what Hanuman could tell now, this woman was wearing whatever was kept on her body, that is to say the ornaments that previously fell matched what this woman had on at present.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, Hanuman notes that Shri Rama’s beauty and the perfection of every one of His limbs matched that of the divine lady in question. The same held true the other way around. Sita’s beautiful features were a perfect match to Rama’s. Through this match Hanuman had another leg to stand on with his assertion that the woman in the distance was indeed the missing princess of Videha.
That these features should exist in Sita and Rama is not surprising. They are the most benevolent, the kindest souls with respect to how they treat their devotees. In the Supreme Lord the opulences exist to the highest degree. As an incarnation dedicated to protecting the innocent, Rama played the role perfectly. At the same time, His divine features couldn’t be hidden. From His beauty one could tell that He was not of this world. To be paired with a wife, there had to be a perfect match. And so Sita’s features were equally as brilliant, showing that she too was not of this world. The divine couple resides eternally in the spiritual sky, and they are always served by devotees like Hanuman. Though he is in the form of a Vanara, he too is beautiful, and so are his acts of devotion, which include contemplating upon his beloved Sita and Rama.
Towards devotion to God we must go,
But how the divine qualities we will know?
Vedic texts of God’s incarnations tell,
But cheaters in this age of Kali do dwell.
Hanuman, missing wife of Rama to seek,
In princess in grove saw features unique.
Divine beauty and perfection of every body part,
Match to Shri Rama, resident of Hanuman’s heart.
Features thus gave the divine indication,
Hanuman to make proper identification.