“He is well trained in the Yajurveda and highly worshiped by those who know the Vedas. He is skilled in the Dhanurveda, the Vedas, as well as the auxiliary sciences connected to the Vedas.” (Hanuman speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.14)
yajuḥ veda vinītaḥ ca vedavidbhiḥ supūjitaḥ |
dhanuḥ vede ca vede ca veda angeṣu ca niṣṭhitaḥ ||
dhanuḥ vede ca vede ca veda angeṣu ca niṣṭhitaḥ ||
What type of company would you prefer to keep? In a material existence, the goal is to enjoy as much as possible. To that end, the more money you have, the further advanced you are. With more money, you can buy more objects and services to please the senses. Sense pleasure involves eating, sleeping, mating and defending.
If you know someone who goes into excess in any or all of these categories, is their association preferred? For example, if you stay with someone who sleeps more than average, is that trait beneficial to you? What if they eat more than the average person?
Though these things appear to be the height of enjoyment, the tendency is to praise those who limit themselves. Books are written about people who sacrifice enjoyment for others; those who put the interests of others ahead of their own. The association of such people is certainly preferred, as they are more equipped to defend, to teach, to enrich the life experience.
In Lanka a long time ago, a distressed princess was surrounded by people with little to no culture. They engaged in religious rituals. They were aware of the Vedas, the ancient scriptural tradition emanating from the area today known as India. Yet just because someone appears to be religious, it doesn’t mean they are more cultured than someone who doesn’t make an outward show. The reason is that religious rituals can be in the mode of ignorance as well.
vidhi-hīnam asṛṣṭānnaṁmantra-hīnam adakṣiṇamśraddhā-virahitaṁ yajñaṁtāmasaṁ paricakṣate“And that sacrifice performed in defiance of scriptural injunctions, in which no spiritual food is distributed, no hymns are chanted and no remunerations are made to the priests, and which is faithless – that sacrifice is of the nature of ignorance.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 17.13)
A ritual in the mode of ignorance is something like black magic or witchcraft. Imagine going through austerities for the purpose of doing harm to someone else. The leaders in Lanka could change their shape at will. This is known as the kama-rupa siddhi. Wouldn’t it be cool to mask your true identity in certain situations? The leaders in Lanka were ogres, known as Rakshasas in Sanskrit. They would change their shape in order to attack innocent people. The attacks were deadly, and the ogres would then feast on the flesh of their victims.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, Shri Hanuman describes someone who is the opposite in nature. He is completely cultured. He follows protocols of the mode of goodness for every type of behavior. He is not driven by His senses. Hanuman is speaking to the princess of Videha. While the leader of Lanka was described as ajita-indriya by the same princess, the person of whom Hanuman speaks is the complete opposite. He has gained victory over the almost impossible to control sense demands.
“O Ravana, inevitably all of the Rakshasas will be completely destroyed, for they have a person like you, who is stupid, lustful, and unable to control his senses, for their king.” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 48.22)
The person Hanuman describes is Rama. Rama happens to be the husband of the princess, who is named Sita. Hanuman says that Rama is well-trained in the Yajurveda. The original scriptural work is known as the Veda. This Sanskrit word means “knowledge.” It is the absolute word on the meaning of life, the reason for living. The Veda consists of hymns that glorify the Supreme Lord and His associates.
To help future generations of man, the Supreme Lord partially incarnated on earth as a sage named Vyasa, who then divided the original Veda into four parts. One of those parts is the Yajurveda, which deals primarily with rituals. Rama is expert at performing these rituals, knowing the exact time, circumstance and procedure for each.
Hanuman says that Rama is highly worshiped by those who know the Vedas. Rama is of the royal order, which is like the warrior class. The people who know the Vedas are typically brahmanas, or the priestly class. The people who know God the most give high honor and praise to Shri Rama. This means that He is respected by the most respectable people.
Hanuman says that Rama is skilled in the Dhanurveda and the Vedas themselves. In addition to the four divisions of the Veda made byVyasadeva, any work that is a derivative of the original Veda is also consider part of the Vedas. The Vedas contain knowledge for succeeding in both material and spiritual life. There is information even on fighting. There is a science to warfare, known as the Dhanurveda. Rama is an expert in this. This means that when He would come to Lanka to rescue Sita, He would do so with knowledge of how to gain victory in battle. Even in an angry conflict, Rama follows protocols handed down for generations.
Rama knows the Vedas themselves and He is also expert in the Vedangas. These are auxiliary sciences connected to the Vedas, dealing with things like phonetics, meter, grammar, etymology, astronomy and ritual. In every way Rama is cultured. He is the complete opposite of Ravana. Though the leader of Lanka seemed to be winning in life through his disregard for culture, that ascension would soon reverse itself. Rama is the Supreme Lord Himself. He is the source of the Vedas and their derivatives. The Vedas are non-different from Him, and thus it is no wonder that when He descends as Rama He pays the highest respect to them.
Ravana’s ascension to reverse itself,
By Shri Rama, the Supreme Lord Himself.
To gratify senses at any cost,
Ravana that battle long ago lost.
Rama the opposite, all the Vedas knowing,
With culture and knowledge to tasks going.
Expertise of Dhanurveda with Him bringing,
His victory devotees forever singing.