“And she has been found by me, for with respect to her appearance, her complexion, and her beauty she is just as I heard from Rama.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 31.15)
yathā rūpām yathā varṇām yathā lakṣmīm viniścitām ||
aśrauṣam rāghavasya aham sā iyam āsāditā mayā |
In the Vedic tradition of spirituality, you don’t realize God all by yourself. It’s not like you get a divine revelation and then after that share with the world what you saw. For the truly serious transcendentalist, who is looking to fulfill the mission of a human existence, the immediate goal is not even to just have this vision of the divine. The preferred method is to act in a way that the Supreme Lord will notice you and from there shower His mercy upon you.
How do you determine the proper way to act? Is it discovered through contemplation? Does it come in a dream? Actually, everything gets passed on by the guru, or spiritual master. If he is bona fide and if you have trust in him, everything will work out eventually. Even if you’re not so convinced in the beginning, if you maintain faith in the guru’s words, you’ll eventually receive the benefit. The above referenced verse from the Ramayana is proof of this.
Here Shri Hanuman reveals how he has concluded that the beautiful woman seen below him from the tree is indeed the beloved wife of Shri Rama. She is Sita Devi, the daughter of King Janaka who received her name due to the unique circumstances of her birth. She emerged from the ground, and so Janaka named her Sita. She is also known by the name Janaki because of her father.
Hanuman was sent to find her. She had gone missing. Hanuman did not know what she looked like. He had never met her before. He accepted the mission from Sugriva, the monkey-king who was working on behalf of Rama, the prince from Ayodhya. Rama was thus the guru in this situation. He explained to Hanuman the features of Sita. He explained her golden complexion, her loveliness, and her beauty and opulences.
Hanuman took the information that Rama gave him and used it to make a pattern match. He could not know for sure whether this person was indeed Sita, for he had yet to speak to her. These words were uttered within her audible range, meaning that these were the first words coming from Hanuman to Sita. If this woman wasn’t Rama’s wife, Hanuman would be wasting his efforts. He would be risking getting caught as well, for he was in an enemy territory at the time. The people of Lanka wouldn’t take too kindly to having one of Rama’s messengers enter their city uninvited.
The trust in Rama’s words was there, so Hanuman knew that this woman was Sita, that the mission reached a successful end. Hanuman is a liberated soul who is always engaged in devotional service. Therefore he will always trust in Rama’s words. The conditioned souls, who unfortunately travel through the cycle of birth and death for a seemingly indefinite period of time, rarely get the chance to hear from one of Rama’s messengers, let alone act on the advice they give.
manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣukaścid yatati siddhayeyatatām api siddhānāṁkaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.3)
The guru who is a true representative of Shri Rama or one of His incarnations, including His original form of Krishna, advises the sincere student to always be conscious of God.
“Think of Him. This is your main goal. Whatever you can do to make that happen, do it. Whatever gets in the way of your thinking, try to remove it from your daily life.”
These are the guiding principles, but the guru gives still further information, helpful hints. They say to always chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
“Make a routine out of this. Get a japa mala, or string of beads, and chant the mantra repeatedly, going around those beads. Go around at least sixteen times a day.”
The doubting soul may not initially understand the purpose to this routine.
“What is repeating a mantra going to do for me? Why not just really concentrate and chant the mantra one time? Wouldn’t that be better than acting like a robot?”
The guru also advises to refrain from meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. They say to offer food to the Supreme Lord and to describe His glories to whomever you meet.
The recommendations may not make sense in the beginning, but one who faithfully acts on such instruction will get the benefit in the end. Hanuman acted on Rama’s words and he was rewarded with the sight of Sita, who is the most beautiful woman to have ever graced this earth. His work didn’t stop there, as he continued to serve both Sita and Rama, making him boundlessly happy in the process. In the same way the soul who follows bhakti-yoga, having full faith in the representative of the Lord, who enthusiastically serves both Sita and Rama in the model of Hanuman, will eventually see God and understand Him with firm conviction.
The beautiful princess he could see,
Hanuman while perched on a tree.
Since Rama’s words to trust,
This woman is Sita, it must.
In guru have faith the same,
And daily chant holy name.
Success to come your way,
Soon enough, if not today.