Sunday, April 23, 2017

What Are You Selling

[Hanuman with Sita]“And O best of the monkeys, if you have been sent by Rama, the knower of the self, then certainly I should speak with you.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.10)

arhase ca kapi śreṣṭha mayā samabhibhāṣitum |
yadi asi preṣitaḥ tena rāmeṇa vidita ātmanā ||

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One of those rare days. You are home during the daytime. You have to go somewhere in the late afternoon, so you decided it was better to just skip work. Take it easy, instead of hustling home, changing, and then rushing out the door again.

At around eleven in the morning, the doorbell rings. Your wife is home and she says, “Don’t answer it.” Perplexed, before you can inquire into the cause she responds, “It’s probably somebody selling something. If we just keep quiet, they’ll eventually go away.”

This response implies many things. For starters, solicitors visiting the home must be a common occurrence. Your wife employed the ascending process of knowledge to make an educated guess that the person at the door wasn’t coming with an important message. Indeed, a few minutes later you see that her guess is confirmed. The person was selling something, and they have moved on to another house.

You can also infer that the thing being sold wasn’t of much value. At least that is the perspective of the homeowner. Who wants to be bothered with a sales pitch when they know they will decline at the end. “Yes” is the easy answer. Highly influential people pay to have a staff whose main responsibility it is to decline offers.

The above referenced verse from the Ramayana provides an example of a person with whom a conversation is worthwhile. Sita Devi makes the declaration, and she provides justification. The person at the door, so to speak, is Shri Hanuman. He has not come to bother Sita. He is not there to harass her. He is not interested in scaring her into submission, as were the other people surrounding the princess of Videha.

[Hanuman with Sita]Hanuman has been sent by Rama. Who is Rama? He is the knower of the self, vidita atmana. He is also Sita’s husband. Who is Hanuman? He is the best of the kapis, or monkeys. This means that he is not an ordinary forest dweller coming from the land of Kishkindha. His presence in Lanka is surely conspicuous, but it is not without cause.

Hanuman is carrying a message from Rama. The knower of the self wants to convey something important to His beautiful, chaste, and devoted wife. Hanuman is given the opportunity to deliver that message. The postman might have a difficult time in inclement weather. Driving through snow is dangerous. Walking door to door in a heat wave is no picnic.

Hanuman faced the greatest obstacles in his daring journey to Lanka. But he continued forward since he desperately wanted to succeed in delivering the message. To this day he continues to deliver a similar message to the fortunate souls: be devoted to God.

Other representatives like him carry the same message. If they are not able to reach us personally, with direct contact, they establish mechanisms for the delivery of the message. They write books. They initiate disciples who then carry those books to the interested public. They give lectures that are preserved in sound recordings.

[Shrila Prabhupada]There are so many people trying to sell so many different things. We may not want to answer the door when they arrive, but someone like Hanuman should never be turned away. Even if he appears in the oddest of settings, like a grove of trees populated with female man-eating ogres, he should be welcomed. Sita and Rama are always ready to hear from him, and he is always ready to show the path of Divine light to any who are willing to accept it.

In Closing:

A worthy messenger the declaration,

For it Sita giving justification.

 

Since by husband Rama was sent,

In face of difficulties forward went.

 

The most important thing selling,

Glories of Supreme Lord telling.

 

Others like him carrying holy name,

To be accepted with honor the same.