“That chastiser of the foe is a protector of His good conduct and of His people. He is also a protector of all living entities and of righteousness.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 31.7)
rakṣitā svasya vṛttasya sva janasya api rakṣitā |
rakṣitā jīva lokasya dharmasya ca paran tapaḥ ||
The leader is supposed to protect those underneath them. Those who are dependent take solace and comfort in knowing that there is someone there to look over them. In the nation the leader protects with an army, in a business with oversight of the affairs of the employees, and in a family with the guiding hand over the children. The Supreme Lord is the father of mankind, so naturally He is the best protector. In this instance, Shri Hanuman describes God to be the protector of His own people. This is significant in that by becoming one of His people, a soul gets the best protection there is.
How do you become one of God’s people? Do you have to join a specific group? Do you have to wear a certain dress? Do you have to be born into a certain family?
In this instance the people took birth in a sacred land, the same place where Rama also appeared. Rama is the Supreme Lord in a factual incarnation. He is not a myth, as the less intelligent would have you believe. He is not a rare manifestation of the impersonal Brahman, to which we all belong. He is a unique individual, a separate personality who is non-different from the Supreme Lord Himself.
Even though Rama protected the people born in His town of Ayodhya, He did not limit His protection to them. He gave the same protection to the boatman Kevata. He offered the same to the female ascetic Shabari. Indeed, the speaker here, Shri Hanuman, also came under Rama’s protection. It was through Rama’s will that Hanuman bravely crossed over the ocean, penetrated the enemy city of Lanka, and found Sita, Rama’s wife, to whom the above referenced words are directed.
To get Rama’s protection is not very difficult. The lone qualification is desire. If you want it, you’ll get it. Of course reaching the point where you sincerely want it is very difficult. In a challenging spirit, every living entity thinks they can protect themselves. They can find their own happiness through the sweat of their brow, along the difficult journey through life. If they can’t get protection this way, they’ll create many false gods, like government leaders and wealthy philanthropists. They’ll take protection from the impersonal conception of the nation. They will pledge allegiance to the flag, which is merely a symbol of the collection of neighborhoods and communities, which are made up of ordinary people.
“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.19)
After many births, one finally tries to have a desire to take protection from the Supreme Lord. The endeavor to maintain that desire is known as yoga, and such a yoga is difficult to practice with sincerity. The implementation may not seem too difficult. You just have to love. How hard is it to have affection for someone? How hard is it to constantly show that affection? With God the affection does not bring immediate satisfaction to the senses; therefore the feeling is a little different. The soul gets satisfaction, and sometimes not right away.
But the reward is worth the effort, as seen through Rama’s abilities. He is the protector of His people; which means that the citizens of Ayodhya were always safe during His time on earth. Sita too would be safe, though at this moment she is in a very dangerous situation. Rama’s protection here comes in the form of His messenger Hanuman. Hanuman’s words describe Rama, so the Supreme Lord practically manifest right before Sita. Her protector for life arrived on the scene through the words describing Him.
And so the same words give protection to those who want to be part of Rama’s family of dependents. In the Vedic tradition we learn that there are varying degrees of heavenly life. The material heavenly planets only manifest temporarily; one does not get to stay there forever. Such planets are reserved for those who lack the desire to get God’s protection, but who still behave piously.
The spiritual heavenly planets are different. There God directly protects His people. Danger is absent, and so are miseries; hence the realm is known as Vaikuntha. This is not totally the way that God protects. More significant is that He makes sure that there is always an opportunity for service, which is the best way to show affection. In the highest planet in Vaikuntha, Goloka Vrindavana, Rama in His original form of Krishna protects by giving everyone the chance to serve in their desired way. Everyone only loves Krishna there, so they are all under His protection.
The wise souls accept these descriptions of the spiritual realm and try their best to reach there for the next lifetime. Indeed, Rama’s protection is so powerful that the same environment can be created here, during this temporary stay in the material world. Replicas of the spiritual world are found wherever the glories of the Lord are sung, wherever the people take full protection from Rama through sounding His holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
In spiritual life never alone,
God to protect people His own.
To get that protection how,
Wait for afterlife or receive it now?
Desire the factor determining,
For sense pleasure or the Lord’s company yearning.
Chant holy names and from Rama protection take,
And spiritual land even in this life make.