Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Effortless Actions

[Hanuman's heart]“If I narrate about Rama, her dear husband whose actions are effortless, she will not be frightened, as her mind will be absorbed in thoughts of her husband.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 30.41)

rāmam akliṣṭa karmāṇam sva bandhum anukīrtayan ||
na enām udvejayiṣyāmi tat bandhu gata mānasām |

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Shri Hanuman has impeccable credentials when it comes to knowledge of the Supreme Lord in His spiritual manifestation as a warrior prince named Rama, who to the eyes of the world appeared as the eldest son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. Just as a scholar who studies a particular field or personality for many years is consulted for their expertise on that subject matter, Shri Hanuman is the person to approach for learning about the inner workings of the prince of the seemingly humble guise, who was very silent in His speech but inconceivably potent in His ability to defend. Here Hanuman gives us one angle of vision with which to view Rama. Rama is of effortless actions.

In school when we have a paper to write, we procrastinate so much.

“Oh, let me take care of my other responsibilities first. Oh, let me take some rest for a few hours. Then I’ll be refreshed. I’ll be able to think more clearly. Oh, that paper isn’t due for a few weeks, so there’s no rush in completing it. Oh, I don’t know what I’m going to write, so let me wait a little bit more until an idea comes to me.”

Writing is a mental effort, but similar fears are there with projects of the physical nature.

“Oh, I don’t want to go to the gym. Maybe there’s another way I can lose weight. You know what? Starting tomorrow I’ll try to eat less. I’ll watch my diet. Anything I can do outside of exercising, I’ll take. I was so tired the last time I worked out. I can’t go through that again.”

When there is a forecast for snow, there is a similar fear.

“I don’t want to shovel again. That is such a pain. How am I going to travel to work? How am I going to go to the store if I need food? This will be terrible. I really hate it when it snows.”

In these situations, the fear is caused by knowledge of the difficulty of the work. Perhaps there is a previous negative experience contributing to the anxiety. Perhaps the fear is due to the unknown. If one has never written a paper of considerable length before, the task seems formidable.

[Rama, Sita and Lakshmana roaming the forest]In comparison, Shri Rama has done much more difficult things. In His time on earth, He roamed the forest with His wife and His younger brother, following the protocol of vanaprastha life. This is an ashrama, or spiritual institution, and it is generally reserved for those who have completed twenty-five years of married life. Sort of like a retirement on wheels, in this ashrama one gives up a fixed home and learns to live off very little. Rama entered this difficult spiritual institution at a young age due to some family infighting.

Rama also once lifted an extremely heavy bow in an assembly of the strongest princes in the world. None of them could even move that bow. They wanted to lift it very badly, as the prize was the hand in marriage of the daughter of King Janaka. Rama not only lifted it, but strung it and broke it as well. This was all done effortlessly, in the blink of an eye as a matter of fact.

“Hearing the words of the vipra, my father brought the bow forward. Bending the bow in the twinkling of an eye and applying string to it, the mighty prince Rama, who was full of valor, quickly drew the bow at full length.” (Sita Devi speaking to Anasuya, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 118.47-48)

[Rama lifting the bow]These deeds are difficult, but still conceivable to the mind. Rama is so great that He does amazing things without effort as well. One time He fended off 14,000 attacking ogres all by Himself. They wanted to kill Him. Their justification was that He had offended their leader’s sister, who had visited Rama in the forest. That sister threatened Rama’s wife, and so Rama’s younger brother sent her away with a disfigured face. That female ogre’s brother retaliated by sending his best fighters to do away with Rama. Unfortunately for them, they would never see their leader again.

These are some of Rama’s deeds up until the point in time of the above referenced verse from the Ramayana. After making this statement, Hanuman would see Rama build a bridge across an ocean using rocks that floated. He would see Rama win back Sita from the clutches of the evil Ravana using an army of monkeys, who would use trees and rocks as their weapons.

In this way we see that Rama extends His potency to those who serve Him with heart and soul. What seems difficult becomes easy due to the nature of the servant. Shri Hanuman himself had leapt across a massive ocean. He was working for Rama, whose actions are effortless. The Lord empowered the dearest Hanuman. In this situation too, Rama’s potency is passed on to Hanuman in the form of wisdom from within. The devoted messenger has found Sita after a long journey and now is considering the best course of action for notifying her of Rama’s intention to come and rescue her.

In His other forms, Rama effortlessly creates the entire universe and then destroys it. In His form of Vishnu, He simply exhales to create innumerable universes. When He inhales, everything comes back into Him. Thus both creation and destruction are accomplished almost involuntarily. We tax our brains to complete creative writing assignments. We put our body through so much simply to clear the driveway to get the car out after a snowstorm. Rama creates on the grandest scale, and then destroys everything again, and to Him both are as easy as breathing in and out.

[Shri Hanuman]Here Hanuman is about to narrate the glories of Shri Rama. Of all tasks for the mind, this would seem to be the most difficult. This is because the glories of Rama are endless. The Ramayana is thousands of verses, and though perfectly composed, they don’t finish the story of Rama and His dearest servants like Hanuman. Nevertheless, due to the grace of the man of effortless deeds, the devoted soul is able to succeed in such a task, deriving so much pleasure from it that they never want to stop.

In Closing:

Writing assignment taxes the brain ours,

Knowing that work to require many hours.

 

Rama so many amazing things can do,

Accomplished without any effort too.

 

To His dearest servants extends the potency,

Writing and singing His glories proficiently.

 

From love to accomplish anything desired,

Hanuman, by his work this heart inspired.

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