“All is well with your Rama, who is the best among all wielders of the weapon. The same for Lakshmana, who is always engaged in the worship of his elder brother and has all auspicious characteristics.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.74)
kuśalī tava kākutsthaḥ sarva śastrabhṛtām varaḥ |
guroḥ ārādhane yukto lakṣmaṇaḥ ca sulakṣaṇaḥ ||
Hanuman’s description up until this point was sufficient. He laid out the case for his being an authentic messenger sent by the Supreme Lord, Shri Rama, who is also known as Kakutstha, which references His appearance in the solar dynasty of kings. Hanuman explained how he reached the island of Lanka, which was far away and surrounded by a vast ocean. The king Ravana thought he was safe there, that he had gotten away with taking Rama’s wife Sita. Of course, for the messenger of God there is no task too daunting. Impossible only applies to the conditioned souls who lack the favor of the Divine.
Despite saying everything perfectly, we see here that Hanuman continues further. He does not stop in his glorification of Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana. He informs Sita that all is well with Rama, who is the best among wielders of the weapon. Two similar Sanskrit words are of note here. One is shāstra and the other shastra. The first refers to the scriptures. These are the ancient teachings passed on in written form through the generations. Time travel of great magnitude can occur through simply reading shāstra. The teachings are so old and the incidents referenced from such a long time back that no one can accurately come up with a date of origin. Shāstra is as timeless as the Supreme Lord Himself.
The second word, shastra, refers to weapons. Shāstra protects through words and shastra through physical application. Rama is God, but He appeared in a specific type of family. They were saintly kings who passed on shāstra and protected the people through shastra. Rama’s weapon of choice was the bow and arrow. There were so many wielders of the weapon during that time, but Rama was the best among them.
He proved this many times, with the most notable occurrence at the contest in Tirahuta. This was for determining the husband of Sita, the daughter of King Janaka. Ravana was there too, and though he was very proud of his strength, he could not lift the bow of Lord Shiva. Some even consider Ravana to be a devotee of Shiva, who as the great god is also known as Mahadeva. Yet that devotion is not pure; it is more a business arrangement. For that reason Shiva did not help Ravana lift the bow. Among the great princes assembled that day, only Rama could lift the bow, which He did effortlessly. Many years later, Ravana thought he would reverse that fortune through a backdoor move, taking Sita in secret.
All was well with Lakshmana too, who has auspicious characteristics. The word lakshana can also refer to marks. Both Rama and Lakshmana are auspicious on the inside and out. Rama’s bodily measurements are described as nyagrodha-parimandala. This means “like a banyan tree.” His arms and chest have the same measurements. This specific feature reveals His identity as the Supreme Lord.
“I am faithfully engaged in the service of Rama, who is greatly fortunate, fixed in truthfulness, gifted with all auspicious marks, and has the bodily measurements of a banyan tree [nyagrodha-parimandala].” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 47.34)
Lakshmana is practically the same as Rama; just the bodily complexion is different. Lakshmana reveres Rama. Rama is the eldest of four brothers, and the three younger ones look to Him as their guru, or most respected personality. Lakshmana is always engaged in the worship of that guru. Of his many auspicious characteristics, this is the most important.
By continuing to describe the two, Hanuman gives more and more pleasure to Sita. In her situation, she is desperate for news about her husband, from whom she is separated. As an empowered representative, Shri Hanuman has this amazing ability to bring Rama’s presence. Every living entity is in need of this connection, for it is the real definition of yoga.
From clutches of maya to be freed,
Of Rama’s presence desperately a need.
Hanuman capable of it bringing,
Lord’s glories in beautiful verses stringing.
To Sita Devi one time brought,
Arriving in Lanka, place with dangers fraught.
To characteristics of brothers never an end,
An entire lifetime in contemplation can spend.