“By my good fortune I shall be able to remove the grief of the army of monkeys who were lamenting, telling them of my having found you.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.77)
diṣṭyā aham hari sainyānām tvan nāśam anuśocatām |
apaneṣyāmi samtāpam tava abhigama śaṃsanāt ||
All good qualities come to a person through devotional service, bhakti-yoga. A separate endeavor needn’t be made, as the material world is limiting. I may try to perfect a certain shot using a billiards cue, but it is not guaranteed that my shot will be perfect each time. There are outside conditions to factor. The felt used on the table, the moisture in the air, the lighting in the room - any of these things can get in the way of my preparation.
Humility is a good trait to possess since it is rooted in intelligence. False humility is showing off to people that you don’t think much of yourself, when on the inside you really do. This is because humility garners more attention than excessive pride. The intelligent person realizes that so many other things had to fall into place in order for their desired outcome to manifest.
Nevertheless, there is still the effort put in. The effort is made with the desire to succeed. Fruitive activity is known as karma in Sanskrit. There are the accompanying fruits, known as phala. Karma-phala is the outcome manifesting from work. Obviously, the desire is to obtain fruits that are preferred and beneficial. If I work towards something and then achieve it, why should I not give myself some of the credit?
Excessive pride clashes with humility. Even if a person is knowledgeable about outside factors contributing to their success, there is the risk of being proud over humility. “Look at me. Just see how humble I am.” In a world of duality, where temporary gains get washed away by the onset of time, any particular quality or condition is difficult to maintain.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana we get an example of true humility which was not specifically sought. Shri Hanuman is the humble person, and he shows this quality in recounting his successful journey to Lanka to find Sita.
One way to appreciate this verse is to think of how it could have been said differently. Hanuman could have spoken the following:
“The monkeys will be so proud of my effort. Because of me they will be happy that our party succeeded in finding you, the beautiful and chaste wife of Shri Rama. Sugriva and Rama are lucky to have a heroic person like me leading the search party. How fortunate is the world that I came into it.”
Though this is bragging and shows hints of excessive pride, the words would have been mostly accurate. Hanuman is heroic. Any person is lucky to have his association. Hanuman is the best friend a person could ask for. In the case of the Supreme Lord Rama and His good friend, the monkey-king Sugriva, Hanuman’s association was through the role of servant. Hanuman carried out the requests of Rama and Sugriva.
He found Sita after a difficult and long journey to Lanka. Through meeting Sita he reached success. Now he says that it was his good fortune to remove the grief of the army of monkeys. They were waiting for him at the northern shore of the ocean. They could not cross over, though they knew someone had to. They could only stay there and wait for Hanuman to return. They hoped he would come back with good news.
Hanuman considers it a great fortune to relieve the grief of people who are concerned about pleasing Shri Rama. His association itself is a relief from the burning fire of a material existence. There is duplicity everywhere, as each person is competing to get ahead in life. Even the religious leaders are shown to be liars, cheaters and thieves, so who can be trusted?
Shri Hanuman is pure in his motives. He thinks only of Rama’s welfare. Rama is God in an incarnation form famously described in the epic Sanskrit work known as the Ramayana. Hanuman has more strength than any person can imagine. He has done more than the greatest heroes of history. He succeeded in a dangerous mission all by himself, and he never let it get to his head. He relieved Sita’s grief borne of separation from Rama. He would remove the worry of the monkeys that were his friends. In the present age of Kali he removes the doubt over the mission of life and the destination of the devoted soul. Through Hanuman’s example we see just how everything good manifests from devotion.
Shri Hanuman deserving to boast,
That servant of Rama heroic the most.
That over the vast ocean he flew,
And easily for battle form of his grew.
But actually humble always remaining,
Considered great fortune Sita’s vision attaining.
Always welfare of God and His friends thinking,
Hanuman the hero to rescue from despair sinking.