“Covered with flowers, Hanuman, the son of the wind, became brilliant in the middle of the Ashoka grove, looking like a mountain of flowers.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 14.11)Download this episode (right click and save)
The devotee is a symbol of sacrifice. They set the best example for others to follow. As devotion is within the very core of every individual’s being, its exercise isn’t uniform. Some like to repeat sacred sound vibrations. They can be found always chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Others prefer to meditate. They start at the lotus feet of the transcendental body of the Personality of Godhead and work their way up.
Consciousness is the key. In whatever way a person remains conscious of the Supreme Being, looking after His pleasure first, they sacrifice material pleasure for a higher gain. There is the famous Shri Hanuman, featured prominently in the Ramayana. The paraphernalia on his body, as depicted in different scenes from his activities, gives an idea of how amazing a devotee he is.
1. The tilaka mark on the forehead
God the person has lotus-like features. You can start with the navel. From the lotus-like navel springs a stem and a flower, from which the creator Lord Brahma takes birth. God also has lotus-like eyes and hands. His feet are the servants of His transcendental body, and they are also lotus-like.
The tilaka mark on the forehead of Shri Hanuman indicates that he is a servant of Hari, which is one name for God. The mark represents the lotus feet, and placed on the forehead it is a reminder that the body is like a temple, where everything is dedicated for the Lord’s pleasure. Hanuman serves God specifically in His transcendental form of Shri Rama, the prince of Ayodhya.
2. Armlets and other jewels
Shri Hanuman is in an unusual form for someone who worships constantly. He is also a hari, which can mean “monkey.” The Sanskrit word most typically used for that body type is Vanara, which is a specific race of creature living in the forest. The Vanaras from the Ramayana time were advanced in the sense that they could speak and organize in civilized society to some degree.
Despite being a monkey, Hanuman is extremely beautiful. The necklace, armlet, and other ornaments on his body serve to further enhance the image. His inner beauty is just as great as his outer. On the inside he is fully devoted to Shri Rama and His wife Sita, who is the goddess of fortune. The ornaments are befitting someone of his stature.
3. The club in his hand
Hanuman chants the holy names. He sometimes meditates. He worships the lotus feet. But he is not strictly nonviolent. If called upon, Hanuman will fight aggressors, bad characters who are against God at their core. In the Ramayana, we read of Rakshasas, who are also known as nishacharas. They range the night, ready to pounce on the innocent sages. They don’t stop with a lethal blow. They consume the resultant human flesh afterwards.
Hanuman doesn’t need much to fight against the ogres emanating from Lanka. His club is sufficient. With it, he strikes fear and pain into the chest of the enemy. Hanuman is essentially undefeated in battle. One time he was bound by the weapon hurled by Indrajit, but the defeat was intentional. Hanuman wanted a meeting with Ravana, the king of Lanka and father of Indrajit. Ravana had taken Sita away in secret, and Hanuman wanted to get further information about the king and his powers before reporting back to Rama.
4. The mountain in his hand
Hanuman is like a minister. He works for Sugriva, the king of the Vanaras in Kishkindha. When Rama formed an alliance with Sugriva, Hanuman became the Lord’s minister as well. He gathered valuable intelligence by travelling to Lanka and then returning to home base. Blessed with that vital information, Rama and the entire Vanara army marched to Lanka to win Sita back.
In the ensuing conflict, Rama’s younger brother Lakshmana was struck mightily by a weapon hurled by the Rakshasas. Hanuman was instructed to visit a hill and find a specific medicinal herb. Hanuman had trouble locating the herb, and in fear of losing time he decided to uproot the entire mountain. He brought it back with him to save Lakshmana. Hanuman can do things like this because he has amazing strength.
5. The victory garland of flowers around his neck
In pictures we see Hanuman wearing a garland of flowers. He is most deserving of this honor, which symbolizes his victory in service to Rama. Even during his service one time flowers fell on him serendipitously, as he was searching for Sita in the Ashoka grove in Lanka.
Knowing the true nature of devotion, or bhakti, Hanuman’s service never stops. He does not simply walk around with his garland of flowers, reliving the glory days in his head. He continues to remember and serve.
Rama offered Hanuman any boon of his choosing. The great warrior asked to remain in this world for as long as Rama’s glories continue to be told. In the same manner, as long as Hanuman is here, he is the beneficiary of praise and honor from those who wish to never forget him.
Hanuman most blessed picture to be,
Various items on him to see.
Like club carrying in hand,
Used when fighting in Lanka land.
Sacred tilaka mark on head,
Symbol that by bhakti led.
Flowers garland in service victorious,
Continuing on, Rama’s servant most glorious.