“There is a well-known verse spoken by Hanuman in which he says, ‘My dear Lord, if You like You can give me salvation from this material existence, or the privilege of merging into Your existence, but I do not wish any of these things. I do not want anything which diminishes my relationship with You as servant to master, even after liberation.’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 4)Download this episode (right click and save)
Bhimasena was terrifying. He was extremely strong, and known for going into fits of rage. He defeated the powerful Jarasandha, through the help of his well-wisher, Shri Krishna. Since he was a voracious eater, he was also known as Vrikodara. He was one of the famous Pandava brothers, five sons to the king named Pandu. They are the heroes of the epic Mahabharata, which teaches Vedic philosophy through the narration of historical events, from a bygone era.
Though Pandu is the acknowledged father, the Pandavas actually took birth from different demigods. Bhima is the offspring of the wind-god, Vayu. The wind is very powerful. Though it is a subtle material element, in that it can’t be seen, its potency is tremendous. Wind alone can bring down the sturdiest of buildings. It can wreak havoc on any outdoor activity. Wind within the body is very important as well. Good health is all about controlling the different airs within, allowing them unobstructed access.
Shri Hanuman is another famous offspring of the wind-god. One time the two brothers met. This was a chance encounter, for Bhima was headed somewhere else. The meeting was auspicious on both sides, with Hanuman taking great delight and Bhima learning several important things.
1. His brother looks out for him
The meeting happened through a search. The five Pandava brothers shared a queen by the name of Draupadi. She was the most chaste lady, and she became the wife through an interesting series of events and extraordinary circumstances. One time while the group was living in the forest, the wind blew a certain flower towards the princess. She was so pleased by this that she asked Bhima to find out from where it had come.
Bhima’s subsequent search led him to a mountainous area that featured plantain trees. He was headed in the direction of those trees when Hanuman spotted him. The path led to the heavenly region, and Hanuman wasn’t sure if Bhima would be safe proceeding. The celestials could curse him for entering the area without their permission.
Hanuman impeded the path by lying down, pretending to sleep. Bhima tried to get across but could not. Hanuman is in the body of a monkey, and so he told Bhima he could continue if he could move his tail. Bhima tried hard, using even both of his arms, but he was not successful in moving Hanuman’s tail. Hanuman did all of this to protect his brother.
2. The boon Hanuman received from Rama
Bhima knew he had a brother. He knew that the brother was one of the heroes of the Ramayana, which is another Sanskrit work of epic length. But Bhima did not recognize Hanuman for who he was. After speaking for a bit, Hanuman revealed his true identity. Then Bhima heard from Hanuman some of the history from the Ramayana period.
In including the life and details of Shri Rama, Hanuman explained that he received a boon from Rama. Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, identical to Shri Krishna and Vishnu. Rama is the detail behind the abstract picture of God that the human being has prior to entering the spiritual science of Vedic culture.
Hanuman is the most dear servant to Rama, having accomplished amazing things in service. Rama was ready to give Hanuman anything, but the son of the wind asked to simply remain in the world for as long as Rama’s glories continued to be told. Thus Bhima’s brother taught him what the most important benediction in life is. Continued devotion is far superior to any material reward.
3. The favor Hanuman receives from Sita Devi
Shri Hanuman does not have to go to a job. He does not have to work all day. All his needs are supplied by Rama’s wife Sita Devi. She is the goddess of fortune. Since Rama is married to her, Rama is never poor. Even if He is in the renounced garb of a forest-wanderer, Rama remains the richest person in the world. Through Hanuman’s example we see that when a person takes up devotion to God the person, whatever they need to practice that devotion is automatically provided for them.
4. Seeing a gigantic form is not so important
When Bhima learned that the person obstructing the path to the heavenly realm was his brother Hanuman, he asked the dear servant of Rama to show that gigantic form used to cross the ocean of eight hundred miles. Though he is in the body of a monkey, Hanuman has possession of the siddhis of yoga. These are perfections in mysticism, amazing abilities that normally take many years of practice to acquire.
At first Hanuman hesitated to show the form. He used the excuse that time had diminished his abilities. The events of the Ramayana took place in the Treta Yuga, which is the second age of creation. Hanuman explained the different yugas and how dharma, or virtue, diminishes by one fourth with each period.
After having heard such a wonderful explanation, Bhima was still insistent on seeing. So Hanuman expanded his form to the gigantic one he used to leap over the ocean in search of Sita, who had gone missing from Rama’s side. Hanuman explained that such a form was not so important. If it were, Hanuman would remain in that size all the time.
5. Hanuman adds to the shouts of his ferocious brother
While Bhima learned so much from meeting his brother and also had his hair stand on end from seeing the gigantic form, Hanuman was pleased from the meeting as well. Through Bhima’s visit, Hanuman was able to recount the glories of Shri Rama. This is what makes him happiest. Therefore Hanuman requested Bhima to take a boon.
The boon received was Hanuman’s favor. Hanuman explained that he would stay on the chariot of Arjuna, who was one of Bhima’s Pandava brothers. Through that flag Hanuman would add to the shouts of Bhima. Combined, this sound would instill terror in the enemies. In this way we see that Hanuman’s image on a flag is equal to his presence. The devoted servant of Sita and Rama has this amazing ability, and so anyone who earns his favor is extremely blessed.
Towards Pandava group flower blew,
Draupadi asked to find origin, where it grew.
That search Bhima towards Hanuman brought,
Vayu-begotten brother then many things taught.
How devotion to God best blessing to seek,
And dharma diminishing with yuga each.
To stay on the flag of Arjuna agreed,
Combining with Bhima’s roar terrifying indeed.