Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Unparalleled Joy

Shri Hanuman“Observing Maithili, who was tolerant, had perfectly proportioned limbs, and was shining even without ornaments, Maruti felt unequaled joy.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 17.30)

tām kśamāṃ suvibhaktāṅgīṃ vinābharaṇaśobhinīm |
praharṣamatulam lebhe mārutiḥ prekṣya maithilīm ||


What makes Shri Hanuman happy? He has possession of the six siddhis of yoga. He does not practice yoga as a fad. He doesn’t sign up for classes for thirty days so that he can improve his health. Not that there is anything wrong with trying to keep the body fit, but Hanuman’s yoga practice is pure. It is in line with the original intent of yoga. Despite full mastery over the various siddhis of yoga, and knowledge of the Vedas inside and out, Hanuman doesn’t want anything from this world. He doesn’t seek fame, fortune, comfortable living conditions, or release from the cycle of birth and death. All that he desires is for Shri Rama to be happy, and part of that happiness involves seeing His family members safe and sound.

Imagine if one of your family members has been wrongly accused of a crime. There is nothing you can do about it either. The matter is out of your hands. The law came, saw the situation, and determined that your family member was guilty. The law enforcers are supposed to be unbiased; they are supposed to be objective. They should not get emotionally involved in any issue. But then again, for these conditions to be met the enforcers must be of the utmost character. If they are addicted to sinful activity, how can one expect them to be completely down the middle in their administration of justice?

In an ancient time period, the administrators were so pious that even the punished couldn’t find fault with them. Such was the case with Shri Rama. As the eldest son of the King of Ayodhya, Rama had to sometimes administer justice. Yet everyone knew that Rama wasn’t invested in the outcome to any case. If someone committed a crime, the Lord would punish them but not harbor any ill will. He was not out to look for people to punish as a means of fulfilling a quota. He wasn’t particularly interested in stamping out this crime or that. For this reason even the criminals in His kingdom couldn’t say a bad word about Him.

“I have not seen anyone in this world, not even an enemy or someone expelled, who would speak ill of Rama, even behind His back.”  (Lakshmana speaking about Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 21.5)

Rama and LakshmanaWithout God consciousness, without fully realizing who the Supreme Lord is and what His laws in the material world entail, how is anyone supposed to be truly objective? Therefore there is every chance that the innocent may go to jail, that they won’t get a fair trial. Imagine if such a thing happens to a family member of yours that you love very much. The moment that they are released from jail you will feel unbounded happiness. If you see them set free after having suffered so much, you will be thrilled beyond belief.

Take that feeling and multiply it by a very large factor and you get an idea of what Hanuman experienced in the Ashoka grove in Lanka. And mind you, the innocent person in this case wasn’t even set free yet. She was only found. Hanuman located her after a dangerous and lengthy search. In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, Hanuman is said to have experienced unequaled joy upon seeing Sita, who still wasn’t in the best of situations.

It is said that she was tolerating her situation. She was stricken by grief and her sighs were so strong that it looked like the surrounding trees were being burnt by them. Her grief was understandable. Previously, she had been living peacefully in the forest with her husband Rama, the aforementioned objective administrator from Ayodhya. She had already suffered enough when her husband was forced into exile without cause. Why should she expect any more suffering?

It came nevertheless. She was totally innocent, but due to unforeseen events she ended up in Lanka. The king of Lanka wanted her as a wife, but she refused. She remained in the Ashoka grove as a prisoner, tormented day and night by ghoulish creatures who were at the beck and call of the king. Hanuman found her finally and felt so happy. He could have stayed home and just relaxed. Why risk your life for someone that you don’t even know? Hanuman was sent to look for Sita by Sugriva, who had formed an alliance with Rama. Though ordered by Sugriva, Hanuman actually felt that he was conducting the mission for Rama. Whether he had to be asked or not did not matter. Hanuman was going to fight to the death to look for Rama’s missing wife. He knew that finding her would take away some of the Lord’s grief.

Sita DeviHanuman knew that finding Sita would take away some of her grief too. And that is what made him so happy. While tolerating the situation, her limbs still appeared beautiful. She was shining though without ornaments. She was all beautiful because that is her nature. When a woman takes to devotional service in earnest, it is seen that her aura changes. The same occurs for any person in fact, as the soul’s constitutional occupation is service to the Supreme Lord. Sita serves God as His devoted wife.

Hanuman shines as well, and one aspect of that splendor is his heroism. He is courageous in fighting against the enemies of God. And he takes supreme delight in meeting Sita and Rama and pleasing them in any way possible. The devoted souls, who dedicate their lives to thinking of the same Sita and Rama, take similar delight in seeing Hanuman, hearing about him, and praising him. Though he doesn’t covet such praise, there is nothing he can do to stop the devotees from worshiping him, as he is the source of unbounded delight for millions.

In Closing:

Like a mountain can stand tall,

In an instant become very small.

 

Of yoga he holds every perfection,

But his mind goes only in one direction.

 

On how the Supreme Lord to please.

In what way His concerns to ease.

 

Thus in Lanka unbounded joy Hanuman found,

When he saw Rama’s wife seated on the ground.

 

Without ornaments her body still did shine,

Was tolerant though in situation certainly not fine.

 

Because message of husband to bring,

Today the glories of Hanuman we sing.

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