“I have declared to you all this as it actually occurred, O virtuous lady. O Devi, I am the messenger of the son of Dasharatha; please speak to me.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.72)
etat te sarvam ākhyātam yathā vṛttam anindite |
abhibhāṣasva mām devi dūto dāśaratheḥ aham ||
“At some point in the past. Don’t worry exactly when. Know that it happened based on the fact that you took birth in a world of duality. One day the heat is soothing, the next day it is too much to bear. On some days you need inflammation within the body, in order to ward off diseases. Other days the same inflammation leads to aggravation from things like allergies. Happiness is coupled with sadness. After birth there must be death. What a miserable place to be.”
The trigger to this condition is forgetfulness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the authoritative Vedic explanation on the reason for the creation. We are here because we wanted to be separate from God. You can trace out some point in the past, saying that you came from a specific energy, perhaps falling like on the edge of a sword. One direction faces towards the lotus-like face of the Supreme Lord. The other side looks towards illusion. But still, the time factor is infinite. This means that there was a point in time prior to that decision. In this way the human mind can never fully understand the concept of infinity.
Never mind tracing out the exact history. This is the recommendation of acharyas like Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. If you knew every detail about the past, then you would be like God. But you are not like Him. Neither am I. He is the Supreme Soul and we are individual soul. One of the areas of divergence is memory. Shri Krishna explained this on the battlefield to Arjuna.
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi
na tvaṁ vettha parantapa
“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.5)
Focus on the future. Be conscious of Krishna, or God, moving forward. Make sure to think of Him at the time of death. Work shapes consciousness. Work in such a way that you are always conscious of God. Whether moving or not moving, whether performing action or apparently abstaining from it, just fix your consciousness on Him.
Of course this is easier said than done. Spinning in the wheel of reincarnation, the living entity, the jiva soul, is averse to devotion to God. Even after learning the spiritual science, there are stumbling blocks. One of them is not believing in the words of scripture, or shastra. Logic takes over. The frog mentality is there as well. The frog in the well has no concept of anything outside its world. It doesn’t know how vast the Pacific Ocean is, since the frog is only familiar with the tiny amount of water in the well. In the same way, if shastra describes something extraordinary, the human mind doubts the veracity. The man posing to be wise speculates that shastra is meant to be understood symbolically. “There is allegory to help get key points across.”
The words themselves in shastra refute this. The above quoted verse from the Ramayana is an example. Here Shri Hanuman gives his concluding remarks in the introduction to Sita Devi, the wife of Lord Rama. Hanuman is in the form of a monkey. For starters, that species is out of place in Lanka, where Sita is residing, against her will at that. Secondly, what kind of monkeys talk? Hanuman speaks of Shri Rama, Sita’s beloved husband. He speaks of other monkeys, technically known as Vanaras, who have been searching the entire world for her. She had gone missing from Rama’s side, the result of unspeakable deeds of the wicked king of Lanka, Ravana.
Not only are talking monkeys looking for Sita, but one of them managed to succeed in the mission. To do so, he had to leap over the ocean of over eight hundred miles in length. The highly educated man of today wouldn’t fall into the trap of believing that these things actually occurred. This is an ancient story, after all. The Ramayana isn’t real, is it?
Hanuman says that he has explained the events as they occurred. This warning is for future generations, people listening to the holy Ramayana while lacking the proper faith. The works focusing on devotion to God are meant for the open-minded, who have some desire to connect with God. With the onset of the present age of Kali, the hypocrites wrap themselves in the pages of shastra, but distort the meanings to fit their personal desires. These desires are rooted in antagonism towards the real religion.
Hanuman says that he indeed did cross the ocean. He entered Lanka looking for Sita. He has seen Ravana. Sita knows the words to be true since Hanuman has accurately described her husband. One who knows Rama knows that anything in this world is possible through His grace. Rama’s messenger can across over the entire universe if so inclined. They can remember thousands upon thousands of Sanskrit verses. They can use their intelligence to get through any difficult situation. The wise accept the testimony of Hanuman, and use it as further justification for continuing in the path of devotional service, which is the destiny of the spirit soul placed into the auspicious human form of body.
A monkey with ability to talk,
And on reconnaissance mission to walk.
Over giant ocean leapt,
Focus on Rama’s words kept.
Lord’s messenger anything can do,
Remember verses, speak in Sanskrit too.
Shri Hanuman, for future an accurate testimony,Believe in shastra, with God renounce acrimony.