“Looking sideways, up, down and even below, she then saw that Hanuman of inconceivable intelligence, minister to the lord of monkeys, and the son of the wind-god, looking like the rising sun.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 31.19)
sā tiryag ūrdhvam ca tathā api adhastān |
nirīkṣamāṇā tam acintya buddhim |
dadarśa pinga adhipateḥ amātyam |
vāta ātmajam sūryam iva udayastham ||
Shri Hanuman is many things. He is a friend. In fact, he is the best friend you could have. He’s willing to risk his life for you after having only been your friend for a short time. He is a warrior. He can fight the good fight without any fear. He has doubts sometimes, for sure. He is not always certain of which path to take. To clear the uncertainty, he deliberates fully, which shows his intelligence. That intelligence is described here as inconceivable; we can’t really compare it to anything we’ve seen.
Hanuman is also a minister. He gets orders from someone and then follows through on them. He doesn’t need to be told again and again what to do. Using his intelligence he derives the essence of the instructions and then figures out a way for the mission to get completed. Since he has faithfully and successfully carried out many tasks for his minister, he gets a vote of confidence from Shri Rama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnation as a warrior prince who roamed this earth during the Treta Yuga, or second time period of creation.
“In all respects, the lord of monkeys [Sugriva] is certain about Hanuman's ability to meet the objective, and Hanuman is even more certain of his ability to carry out the work necessary for success.” (Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 44.9)
Hanuman is also a son. He is the offspring of the wind, which is a vital aspect of nature. Disease enters the body when the flow of the wind, or air, gets obstructed. To cure disease means to better allow the air to flow within the body. Perfection of mystic yoga is based on the control of this air. Being the wind-god’s son, it is not surprising that Hanuman would have full mastery over the perfections of yoga. Hence he is also a yogi.
The Ramayana gives us another description for Hanuman. He is like the rising sun. As we live in a world of duality, the rising sun can be either a good thing or a bad thing. If I’m a criminal who waits for the nighttime to commit my unlawful acts, the rising sun is not auspicious for me. On the other hand, if I’m surrounded by unwanted darkness, the rising sun is my savior. The sun gives me hope. Not only does it vanquish the horrible night, but since it is rising it leaves potential for the rest of the day. The setting sun would be helpful too, but since it is on its way down, I know that darkness again is imminent.
In this instance, the rising sun is auspicious for the person in question. This is because she had been surrounded by figurative darkness for a long time. Female ogres of cruel deeds harassed her day and night. She was already married but since they worked for the evil king, they were ordered to try to scare her into changing her mind. This woman refused. Named Sita by her father Janaka, she was known throughout the world for her chastity, for her unflinching vow of devotion to her dear husband, Shri Rama.
Hanuman found her in the Ashoka grove in Lanka. Bearing a message from Rama. he introduced himself by first speaking of Rama’s glories from atop a tree branch. When Sita heard these words, she looked around everywhere. After gazing up, down and sideways she finally spotted Hanuman. To her he looked like the rising sun. This is true because of the darkness of the situation. The ogres lived in the mode of darkness as well. Three modes of nature govern behavior, and the lowest of the low are in darkness, or tamo-guna.
tamas tv ajñāna-jaṁ viddhimohanaṁ sarva-dehināmpramādālasya-nidrābhistan nibadhnāti bhārata
“O son of Bharata, the mode of ignorance causes the delusion of all living entities. The result of this mode is madness, indolence and sleep, which bind the conditioned soul.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.8)
Hanuman was like a sun on the rise since he was to vanquish that darkness. It cannot survive around him. It cannot survive around Sita, either. She remained in pure goodness and so did Hanuman. His news of Rama was like sunshine in that dark area. And so in any time where there is darkness of ignorance, where the people are lacking knowledge of their true identity as spirit and the ultimate purpose of the human mission, the sound of the description of God which arrives is like the rising sun.
And the more that sun shines, the more the previously dominant darkness stays away. No longer is there fear that the life will go in vain. No longer is there a strong attachment to the temporary, which is always changing and is destined to leave. No longer is there the misery of repeated days of unfulfilled dreams. The sound of the description of God brings eternal hope. Even if the previous day saw joy, the next is not automatically worse. Instead, the happiness is always increasing. Hanuman is indeed the rising sun to dissipate the darkness of Kali Yuga, and from hearing the Ramayana repeatedly the brightness from that sun increases further and further.
Hearing words about Rama a surprise,
Spotted Hanuman looking like sun on the rise.
Message of husband to Sita to give,
So that no longer in fear to live.
True mission of life we don’t know,
So roaming in darkness we go.
Hanuman the same light on us to shine,
For devotion is meant this life of mine.