Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Five Things Hanuman Tells Us About Rama

hanuman_chanting13“He is fully resplendent, highly honored, and situated in the vow of brahmacharya. He knows how to help the sadhus and He knows how to popularize good actions.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.12)

arciṣmān arcito atyartham brahma carya vrate sthitaḥ |
sādhūnām upakārajñaḥ pracārajñaḥ ca karmaṇām ||

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The Supreme Lord is difficult to be known. This is one of the reasons for His having the name Adhokshaja. The Sanskrit word means “one who cannot be measured by instruments.” In track and field, we know who the “fastest man in the world” is based on the time it takes to complete a specific race. In other words, there is a measurement needed to apply greatness. A college degree is a way to measure a potential employee’s intelligence. The passing grade on a medical school exam is one way to tell if a student is worthy of entry.

What to do if the person you’re assessing is beyond measurement? There is only one person that meets this description, and fortunately they are kind enough to still give us some idea of their greatness. They appear in the earthly realm every now and then and display features and behavior that allow us to make comparisons. In other words, we can understand God through His descents known as avataras. Here are some notable facts about Shri Rama, as described by Hanuman one time while speaking to Rama’s wife Sita.

1. He is fully resplendent

The most resplendent object we know of is the sun. Nothing can be hotter. Nothing can provide more light. The sun is so important that it is worshiped in many traditions of spirituality. In Vedic culture it is known as Surya-deva. The person accepting the post of Surya differs in each creation. The Bhagavad-gita mentions the person known as Vivasvan.

“The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshvaku.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.1)

Shri Rama is fully resplendent, or archisman. He has more light than the sun. In His original home, there is no need for lighting or electricity for this very reason. As the sun gets worshiped for its splendor, the same holds true for Rama. He is even more deserving.

2. He is highly honored

Rama has three younger brothers: Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Lakshmana one time remarked that even the people who were punished in Ayodhya held Rama in high esteem. Rama is the eldest son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. The kings during that time period were like the police. They were in charge of both making the laws and enforcing them. It would make sense for a criminal to be upset at law enforcement, but Rama was so highly respected that even the apprehended liked Him. Wherever Rama goes He is honored, which is another indication that He is God.

3. He is situated in the vow of brahmacharya

Vedic culture divides the typical lifespan into four spiritual institutions, or ashramas. The first is known as brahmacharya, and it is equated with student life. The foundation of this ashrama is the lack of sex life. Since this is very difficult for adults to do, it is ideal for youngsters. The more you can stay away from the biggest distraction in material life, the more quickly you will advance in consciousness.

Hanuman mentions brahmacharya for a reason. At the time Rama was living in the forest with Sita and Lakshmana. Sita was taken away in secret by the evil king named Ravana. Sita was so beautiful that Ravana had to have her. Yet Rama lived with the very same beautiful woman for almost fourteen years and still maintained the vow of brahmacharya. Only the Supreme Lord can do this. Only He has full mastery over the senses.

4. He knows how to help the sadhus

Ravana was a Rakshasa, which is an ogre-like creature. The Rakshasas were concentrated in the city of Lanka, and for sport they would hunt religious men, known as sadhus. The Rakshasas would attack in the dark of night, hidden through changing their shapes. The sadhus had no other recourse but to ask Rama for help.

ananyāś cintayanto māṁ

ye janāḥ paryupāsate

teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ

yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham

“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form - to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)

The Supreme Lord knows how to help those who are genuinely spiritual. In this instance He carried His bow and arrows and eliminated the attacking Rakshasas. He protected the sacrifices of the sages. In other words, if you are genuinely interested in having the Supreme Lord’s association, He will provide help. In the Bhagavad-gita He promises to give what is lacking and preserve what is already there.

5. Rama knows how to popularize good actions

The Sanskrit word of significance is prachara. This word has several meanings, such as publicity, conduct and application. Rama knows how to conduct the right actions, and He knows how to make those actions visible to others. Not that He is a shameless self-promoter, but He wants others to advance. He knows that good conduct is the way to transcendence. The foundation of good conduct is detachment from sense enjoyment. Whenever required, Rama would give up something important for the good of others.

By mentioning this, Hanuman is subtly bringing up the most well-known occasion where Rama popularized good conduct. Rama left the kingdom of Ayodhya for fourteen years. He did this to preserve the good name of His father. Rama did not have to do this. Lakshmana wanted Rama to stay home and take over the throne by force if necessary. Lakshmana argued that the father had lost his mind. Still, Rama held to good conduct and showed others that following righteous people is always beneficial in the end.

hanuman_chanting30Rama is the most righteous person, and so He is the most worthy of worship. Shri Hanuman has an impeccable character, and he knows Rama very well. For this reason he continues to worship Rama and carry out His orders. The testimony of Hanuman is evidence enough of Rama’s divinity and the need for taking up bhakti-yoga, the highest occupation for man.

In Closing:

If education on Rama wish to earn,

From Hanuman’s words just learn.

 

That Lord most resplendent of all,

Highly honored by the saints to call.

 

Even with beautiful wife of Sita the name,

In brahmacharya from sex life to refrain.

 

By His arrows the sadhus protected,

Through His example righteousness projected.