“It is proper for me to console the wife of He who is of immeasurable potency and kind to all beings, for she is hankering to see her husband.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 30.6)
yuktam tasya aprameyasya sarva sattva dayāvataḥ |
samāśvāsayitum bhāryām patidarśana kānkṣiṇīm ||
God is good. God is great. This is essentially what Shri Hanuman says here as he deliberates on what course of action to follow subsequent to his amazing discovery of the beautiful wife of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We have heard bad things about God. It doesn’t take much intelligence to harbor these sentiments. Just whatever is bad in your life, blame it on the man upstairs. Whenever things don’t go your way, even if you know it was your decision that led to the unfortunate outcome, don’t take responsibility; blame it all on the cruel hands of fate which belong to the Supreme Controller.
It’s more difficult to see past the constant negatives and extract the essence of life, which is God. In seeing the good, one has a better way of understanding the Supreme Lord. Here some more details into the greatness and goodness of God are provided. He is described as aprameya; this means “immeasurable.” What exactly can’t be measured? For starters, think of time. I celebrate my birthday on the day in the year that marks the anniversary of the day I emerged from the womb of my mother. If I am twenty five years old today, it means that I was born twenty-five years ago.
But what about before that time? Did nothing exist? Well, we see children being born today and can thus verify that life does indeed go on before things are born. So many children will be born this year, in the future, which means that life existed prior to their birth. Moreover, so many people leave their bodies and life continues for everyone else. This means that time goes on in both directions.
Now try to think of the beginning of time. Have you reached a point in your mind? Okay, now understand that there is always something before that. There is a beginning to the beginning, and an end past the end. That is the nature of infinity, which is the property held by both time and space. We don’t create time or space. We can only perceive them based on relative changes to the outer world. We know that time is a factor based on the changing of seasons, the withering of bodies, and the outcomes to actions. We know what space is based on walls and boundaries. A small room is considered a small space, but it is simply a way to mark out some territory. The space itself isn’t affected, for you could knock down the walls and see the much bigger space then.
God is also good. How good? He is compassionate towards every single creature. He makes the essential items in life relatively inexpensive and abundant in quantity. What we really need to survive are grains, milk and water. These are always in larger supply than meat, fish and wine. They are also inexpensive compared to high definition televisions, high end automobiles, and yachts and palatial mansions. Just in granting the ability for us to continue in life God shows His goodness. He plays no favorites. He wants everyone to live and fulfill the real destiny of an existence.
“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)
Hanuman knows these things about God intuitively, but he also witnesses them in the activities and qualities of Shri Rama, an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. The form of God is not concocted on a whim; it is not the product of the creative mind of the comic book writer. It is real and can be seen in the flesh, such as with Shri Hanuman. In that transcendental form that roamed this earth, Rama gave a glimpse into the features of the Supreme Lord. He has a potency which is immeasurable, which is an abstract concept. By exhibiting greatness on the battlefield, Rama gave a slight idea of what exactly immeasurable in strength means. By showing kindness to all creatures, including strangers in the forest of Kishkindha, Rama gave a glimpse into how He holds no grudges and plays no favorites.
Remembering these qualities of God, Hanuman here considers that he should console Rama’s wife Sita. She is hankering to see her husband, whom she has been separated from due to the ill-conceived plan of the king of Lanka, Ravana. Rama is powerful and so kind, so why should not Hanuman do something nice for Rama? Why shouldn’t he console Sita as well, who is the wife of that compassionate Lord?
Hanuman wasn’t specifically tasked with consoling Sita. He was asked to find her, as were a host of monkeys serving in the army of Sugriva, the king of monkeys in Kishkindha. Hanuman takes the initiative here out of compassion for God, which shows that love for the Supreme Lord automatically brings the intelligence necessary to succeed through any difficult time. No one was there to help him, but his compassion for the all-compassionate Rama guided Hanuman all the way to success.
The person whom Sita so much does treasure,
Of compassion and strength beyond measure.
As Supersoul with everyone lives,
To those wanting it guidance gives.
Hanuman to repay a thought in mind,
To such a benefactor to him so kind.
Sita wanting to see Rama so dear,
So His glories from Hanuman to hear.