“I do not think it is a dream, for seeing a monkey in a dream certainly is not prosperous. And prosperity has come to me.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 34.22)Download this episode (right click and save)
na aham svapnam imam manye svapne dṛṣṭvā hi vānaram ||
na śakyo abhyudayaḥ prāptum prāptaḥ ca abhyudayo mama |
Sita Devi is still wondering if what is happening before her is real. She sees a monkey. Not the kind we encounter today, but a creature from ancient times. The Sanskrit word is Vanara, which means “forest dweller.” Hanuman could talk, even in Sanskrit. That is the language of the gods, whose script is known as Devanagari. The literal meaning to that word is “city of the demigods.” Even amongst the forest dwellers of his time, Hanuman was not ordinary.
Sita references the old adage that seeing a monkey in a dream is not auspicious. Long before Freud began analyzing dreams, Vedic culture had created an auspicious-inauspicious list for so many things in life, including dreams. There are certain days that you should get married and certain days that you should not. If your left side is twitching before an important event, it portends a certain outcome. If you see a specific bird as you begin your journey, again it is a clue as to the result.
We follow similar behavior in modern times. Statistics show that most automobile accidents occur after 9 pm. This makes sense due to the factors at hand. 9 pm is nighttime for most of the days in the year for the majority of the industrialized nations. The night automatically lowers visibility, which makes it difficult to react to emergency situations on the road. If someone is driving at that late an hour, the odds that they are tired increase. If they are out having fun, they are probably consuming adult beverages. Bearing these things in mind, it is inauspicious to travel during that time of day.
Time and circumstance - these are the two factors that should be considered when beginning any endeavor. Yet both of these are part of the material creation, predicting results in karma, which is the network of action and reaction. Karma is fruitive work, where you do something and then receive an outcome at a later time. The outcome doesn’t have to manifest right away. Think of the flowers that blossom in the spring. The seeds may have been planted a while back. That was action in karma, with the results appearing at the allotted time. The results are known as karma-phala.
In this situation, Hanuman is bringing news of Rama and Lakshmana. Hanuman traveled far to reach Lanka. Bravery was required in his journey; he had to withstand the elements and those intentionally acting as obstructions. Hanuman’s work was not in karma; it was in bhakti. For devotion to the Supreme Lord, the time and circumstance are always appropriate.
Sita says that prosperity has come to her, and it is due to seeing a Vanara. Since a Vanara in a dream is not prosperous, this cannot be a dream. The sign of the prosperity is news of Rama and Lakshmana. The same news can come to us today courtesy of Vedic literature and the people who speak about Rama. They may not be in a monkey’s body and they may appear to us while we live in a hellish place, but the news is so powerful that it automatically brings prosperity. The presence of the prosperity makes the situation auspicious.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has revealed the way to create auspicious conditions at all times. Simply chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Remember Hanuman and his heroic journey. Ponder over how he eventually won the trust of Sita, Rama’s beloved wife. Keep in your mind the mercy of the all-powerful Lord, who always protects His devotee, no matter in what situation they may find themselves.
Sita was in a difficult spot, surrounded by enemies of her husband. She couldn’t trust anyone, as they were expert at masking their true selves. Then something even more strange occurred: a monkey appeared before her. The prosperity in the form of news about Rama and His brother told Sita that this was no dream. In the same way, this dreamlike material existence - featuring ups and downs, highs and lows, birth and death, and happiness and sadness - can be made to feel real when there is the prosperity in news of the Divine. The fearless messengers like Hanuman deliver that news, and it is for this reason they are always favored by the goddess of fortune, Sita Devi.
Objects here and there seen,
Still, existence seeming like a dream.
But news of Rama to make it real,
Like when Hanuman before Sita to kneel.
Surrounding her people that were fake,
So with skepticism his words to take.
But coming to her was prosperity,
Meant that Rama’s messenger definitely.