“Being very much delighted and satisfied, those monkeys enthusiastic to see you arrived at the northern shore of the ocean.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.68)
vindhyādutthāya samprāptāḥ sāgarasyāntamuttaram |
tvat darśana kṛta utsāhā hṛṣṭāḥ tuṣṭāḥ plavamgamāḥ ||
Union with the Divine is the goal of life. The link is known as yoga. A connection between two entities. One is the individual soul, jivatma. The other is Supersoul, Paramatma. The link doesn’t happen through a magical revelation. Someone doesn’t come along, touch you on the forehead, and suddenly make you enlightened to the fact of your real identity and the occupation that is attached to it.
Yoga takes work, and to even know what that work entails a person has to be familiar with their identity. Material life is compared to a man about to fall into a pit of snakes, with danger in every direction. If he rises above, he will get eaten alive by animals who were rushing at him. If he falls, he will get bitten. While hanging in the balance, there is a drop of honey that comes to him periodically. He thinks this taste is amazing, so much so that he forgets his actual predicament.
Yoga comes through remembrance. Understand your real identity, that you are spiritual in nature. The temporary and miserable are not the ideal experience. Find permanent happiness, which can only come through the link to the Divine.
The work in yoga is difficult for the conditioned soul, as they are struggling hard with the six senses. There are the five commonly known senses, and then you add the mind to the mix. The mind can be our best friend, and also our worst enemy. To control the mind is not easy, but it is possible.
The representative of God the person helps to awaken the jivatma out of the slumber that came due to contact with illusion. This representative, known as the guru, gives instruction on how to practice yoga properly, to get the link with God and then keep it.
The process is difficult, so certain factors are conducive to success. One of them is enthusiasm. Known as utsaha in Sanskrit, without having this enthusiasm a person is less likely to stick to yoga. If utsaha is missing, then the recommendations of the guru are not carried out steadily. It is like going through the motions. It is like being forced into an occupation in which there is no interest.
The above referenced verse from the Ramayana provides an example of utsaha. Here Shri Hanuman is telling Sita Devi how he arrived in her presence. He and a group of his friends were tasked with finding her. The monkey-king Sugriva gave the order to scour the entire world, dividing his massive army into different search parties.
Hanuman’s group was enthusiastic at first, but after much time elapsed without success, they became despondent to the point that they were ready to give up their lives. Then out of nowhere, after openly lamenting their plight, they got the gift of valuable intelligence. Someone told them where Sita was.
Hanuman says the group was delighted and satisfied. In that mood with enthusiasm they reached the northern shore of the ocean. Without this enthusiasm it would not have been possible for Hanuman to leap from a mountain top and cross that very ocean. It would not have been possible for him to infiltrate the city of Lanka undetected and keep searching for Rama’s missing wife.
The work of the monkeys was yoga since they were working for the pleasure of Shri Rama, who is God Himself. There are many things to learn from this example. One is that devotional service, bhakti-yoga, is not limited to meditation, living in a temple, or reading books. It can involve reconnaissance missions, fighting, and even telling stories.
Utsaha comes through knowing more and more about the Supreme Lord. Hanuman and his friends had the enthusiasm because they knew Rama. The guru inspires the disciple by delivering Hari-katha, or discourses about God. Shri Hanuman is also an expert on this type of discourse.
For advantage of this life to take,
Union with Supreme Lord must make.
By term yoga this is known,
Path by the guru is shown.
Still, utsaha necessary to be there,
Like with monkeys searching for Sita where.
Then even despite temporarily despondent,
Success from Hanuman resplendent.