“O most fortunate one, I am a Vanara, messenger of the intelligent Rama. And behold this ring, O Devi, marked with Rama’s name.” (Hanuman speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.2)Download this episode (right click and save)
vānaro aham mahābhāge dūto rāmasya dhīmataḥ |
rāma nāma ankitam ca idam paśya devi angulīyakam ||
You’ve got something important to send. In addition to accounting for speed of delivery, there is attention to safety for the parcel. It can’t get lost. It would be a real shame if someone opens it prior to reaching the intended destination.
One safeguard is to purchase insurance. The person behind the counter informs you that the insurance isn’t that expensive. The key is to put a monetary value on the contents of the package. Over a certain amount, the price of the insurance goes up.
A long time ago a messenger was carrying something that was priceless. There was no way to properly assign a monetary value to it. In the place he went, there was gold everywhere. The floors and walls had crystal in them. The buildings were tall, and the leader called the best palaces home.
Inside was every material enjoyment imaginable. The four pillars of sinful life are meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. In these palaces wine flowed like water. There was lots of animal flesh, enough for many people to consume. And the king had the most beautiful women in the world as queens.
Known as Ravana for his terrifying scream, the leader of Lanka enjoyed sinful life to the fullest. Nothing from today’s world could compare, since Ravana had real wealth. He was not invested in a market that liquidated in paper currency. He had physical gold everywhere. His brother in spirit from ages past was named Hiranyakashipu. The literal translation to that Sanskrit name is “soft bed” and “gold.” Ravana was the same way.
Though he enjoyed to the fullest, he was never satisfied. That is the nature of kama, or sense gratification. It is like a raging fire that when extinguishing is tried through further indulgence, the fire only increases in intensity. Ravana’s kama led him to steal another man’s wife.
During that time period it wasn’t that uncommon for kings to increase the number of queens in the kingdom. Typically, it was to the victor go the spoils. The kings would fight each other and the winner would get the wealth and the queens.
In this case Ravana did not put up a fair fight. He knew he would lose, as the opposing king was the Supreme Lord Himself, Shri Rama. Deep down Ravana knew Rama was something special, though he always made fun of the Lord for voluntarily living in the forest, like a poor man.
Ravana simply heard of Sita’s beauty and that was enough. He couldn’t let go of his desire. He hatched a plot to take her away in secret. That situation led to Hanuman the messenger carrying the most valuable object with him.
He brought a ring inscribed with Rama’s name. It was meant for Sita only. The key was to find her. In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana he is finally showing that ring to Sita. It is something like a certificate of authenticity. You can tell genuine gold by being able to bite into it. You know that a flower is real by the aroma. You know that you are eating pizza by the taste.
Sita could know for sure that Hanuman was a friend through this ring. She could recognize that it indeed belonged to her husband. Sita is addressed as Devi, which means “goddess.” She is also maha-bhage, which means “the most fortunate.”
Another name for Sita’s husband is Adhokshaja. One way to understand this name is to say that it means “beyond measure.” The ring is an example. There is no way to put an accurate or fair price on it. It can’t be purchased. It can only be given, and someone like Hanuman protects it. That ring gives him the strength to carry on, to persevere in the face of great obstacles.
The name on the ring is everything. The name is identical to the person it addresses. This is only true with the Divine. For this reason the most valuable sound vibration today is found in sacred chants like the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This priceless mantra makes its real impact when it is repeated and remembered with devotion, the kind which Hanuman possesses.
Hanuman carrying with him treasure,
Rama’s ring, of value without measure.
Most important with protection to save,
So that eventually to Sita he gave.
Inscribed on it the name,
Having potency to Lord the same.
Today coming in sacred sound,
Like in maha-mantra found.