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Happy hanuman Jayanti

Hanuman – the Lord's messenger

To cut a long story short, Mother Sita is abducted by Ravana who comes in the form of lust. It is dharma who will bring her back. To save the soul from lust you need absolute sattwa. Only the Lord can do it and for this a medium is needed. Hanuman is the Lord's main messenger. There cannot be a better yogi that Hanuman – his kundalini shakti is always high and the moment he sits in deep meditation he has Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita in his heart.

Hanuman comes into contact with the Lord. He tells him, “Hey master, there is a monkey king by the name of Sugriva.” It is the vanaras, the monkeys, who will be the Lord's associates in bringing back Mother Sita from Ravana's clutches. In this context Sugriva is praised by the Lord and is given back his kingdom after he kills Vali. For a while Sugriva forgets his promise to Lord Rama. He is then advised by Hanuman who goes flying across the ocean, a powerful yogic feat. Imagine flying across a huge ocean, reaching the other side safely, then coming back safely after having fought with the rakshashas, with the message that Mother Sita is safe and is waiting for the Lord to bring her back.

As soon as the Lord's devotee, Hanuman, arrives on the scene, even Sri Rama pales into insignificance. Hanuman shows through his life and behaviour who is the real messenger of the Lord. As he flies across the ocean all the great devatas watch over him and the gods in the heavens are kind to him because he is on the Lord's mission.

One-pointed aim

All of us who are on the Lord's mission will encounter difficulties. Hanuman encountered three types of difficulty: a sattwic temptation, a rajasic temptation and a tamasic temptation. In sadhana we will face these three types of temptation but it is our duty to overcome them with the help of the Lord. Hanuman overcomes these obstacles only because he is sure of his target. Those of us who have one single aim, one ambition, will naturally reach our goal. Hanuman is such a sadhaka.

As Hanuman reaches Lanka a demoness watchwoman is sitting there. He tells her, “I have come to Lanka to look for Sita.” She objects to his entry. At this point Hanuman strikes her. As he does so she remembers an ominous prophecy that on the day a large ape strikes her the end of Lanka will begin. She wishes him well and says, “Now it's your time to take over. We, the demons, are going to fall.”

Alone, Hanuman travels through Lanka looking for Mother Sita. A human soul is also looking out for grace. Mother Sita stands for grace. We are also looking out for grace but we have to search everywhere for it. Sometimes we find the wrong person and think it is the right person.

Ravana is the demon king who has ten heads, which stand for tenfold arrogance. He has all the bravery in the world and yet he is smitten with lust. Our scriptures say you can have power, position, all the great qualities in the world, but if you lack poise and virtue you are going to fall. This is what the Ramayana teaches us. Ravana is a symbol of evil; he has ten heads, twenty arms, twenty eyes and yet he has misused all his power. He has a beautiful wife with a golden complexion who looks like Sita. Hanuman finds her asleep in her bed and for a moment mistakes her for Sita. Then he says, “It cannot be Sita. Sita would not be sleeping so peacefully away from Sri Rama. She must be one of the wives of the demon king.” He is surprised that such a beautiful woman is the wife of such a man who has gone after a married woman and made himself miserable because he has left the path of virtue. That is the irony of life. All those who abandon beautiful wives and run after the wrong women are only Ravana's incarnate. It is lust in man which prompts him to forget the beautiful wife at home, run after a married woman who is attached to her husband and living a life of righteous- ness, abduct her and cause so much adharma in the world.

Trials on the path of sadhana

The entire Sundarakand is the way of sadhana. While we are on the path of sadhana there are many trials, many moments when we feel depressed. Spiritual depression is the worst form. You can get over every other depression but the depression of a sadhaka is the worst because it takes a long time for him to get back to where he was. He has to keep his morale up otherwise he fails. No wonder the Lord said in the Gita, “Let bhaktas be with bhaktas.” It is necessary for us to have good company which is God-reminding company. Depression is God obliteration, forgetting that there is a Lord within you, that the Master's power, the Supreme power, is within you. That is depression.

Great preachers and sadhakas often get depressed. Hanuman said, “I have searched everywhere for Sita. Where has she gone? Master, why is it that I am not receiving success in my sadhana? Today I have had negative thoughts. If I go back and tell Sugriva that I have not seen Mother Sita then he will die.”

As soon as Hanuman had come through this depression he wondered about the reason. “Why can't I find Mother Sita? It is because I have not prayed.” What is prayer? Prayer is not merely chanting or ritual. Prayer is an experience of the palpable presence of the divine within us. And Hanuman sat in silence with folded hands and began to pray to Sri Rama, to Lakshmana and to Mother Sita. Without their grace he cannot see her. He prayed to all the gods and demigods everywhere.

When Hanuman prayed he got a flash. Most of us say, “I got a flash”, without knowing that the Lord has sent the flash. This intuition comes from the power within us. Only prayer can discover this unknown strength within us which is what we lack at times. In order to regain that strength and have it constantly we need consistent prayer and sadhana. That is why bhakti is not spasmodic, sporadic or capricious. It is the continuous, consistent conviction that the Lord is with us.

That bhakti is now in Hanuman and after he prayed he got a flash: “There is a place called Ashokvana where I have not searched. I am sure Mother Sita is there.” He finds her there. She is sad without the Lord. Anybody who is separated from the Lord and cannot have His darshan is naturally sad when he is a devotee. She wonders when the Lord will come and take her back. In the Sampurna Ramayana it says, “It is possible for the moon to live without moonlight, for the sun to live without sunlight, but how can Sri Rama live without a beautiful, good woman like Mother Sita.” Hanuman wonders how the Lord can live and breathe being separated from a wife like Sita.

He finds she is being persecuted and threatened by Ravana. Ravana, who has so much power, is going to fall because of that infirmity of the noble mind called lust. Sita is contemplating suicide. She decides not to live in a world where she is separated from her husband. As she is about to commit suicide Hanuman appears. She asks him, “Does my Lord ever remember me?” Hanuman replies, “He remembers you day and night. Just as the supreme soul is remembered by the individual soul, the individual soul is remembered by the supreme soul.” Sita says, “Ask Rama to come and take me away. I can't live without him. Death will take me if my master doesn't come and take me back within one month.” Hanuman promises to take this message back to Ram and Sita gives him a crest jewel, a chudamani.

The ideal ambassador

Hanuman is the ideal ambassador. According to the rules of politics a messenger should know what is happening in the enemy's camp, what their military strength is. He wants to destroy that beautiful place because it is the only way to invite attention and get taken into the courtroom of Ravana. He sees a ten-headed eagle seated on the throne. From his mouth comes this ejaculation, “What a great, charismatic personality, how splendid, prosperous and courageous he is.” For a while you wonder if Hanuman has forgotten his fidelity to Rama? He says, “No, no. If only this great man was not adharmic, not lustful, he could have become the king of the demigods. Sometimes the greatest people fall because they lack poise.”

An ambassador should not be attacked. Even according to the laws of international politics if two countries declare war the ambassador of the other country should be sent back to his country by first flight. Even today those ethics are still observed by all great states and countries. Unfortunately Ravana wanted to kill Hanuman who had begun to attack him with sharp and abusive words. But his younger brother, the dharmatma Vibhishana, said, “No, my elder brother, one does not attack ambassadors. You can't kill the postman if he brings a bad letter, because he is not responsible for it; he is only delivering a message. The person who writes the letter is offending you not the postman.”

Here Hanuman's tail is set on fire. With his tail alight he sets fire to the entire Lanka. Then he wonders, “Why was I so impulsive? Mother Sita must also be burning in this fire.” He begins to curse his anger, saying, “Anger is a terrible enemy, so terrible that a man can even kill his guru when angry because anger is temporary insanity. Why does anger come? Anger is born out of ahamkara, ego. If a man has no ego there is no anger at all.” Hanuman looks at his tail and sees that only the tip is burning. He realizes, “This is not by my power, it is only because of Rama and Sita's grace, their kripa. I am sure Sita can save herself.” He gets over his little mood of repentance and realizes that Mother Sita has saved him.

Hanuman allows the monkeys to celebrate. They enter a beautiful forest garden, full of beehives and drink so much madhu that they are all happy and making merry. Then Hanuman says, “No, celebrations can't go beyond a certain point. We have to go back, it's our military duty to report to the Lord.” When they return it is Angada who goes to Sugriva, because military protocol demands that you first report to your commander-in-chief, who reports to the king, who reports to the king of kings. The hierarchy has to be observed.

The most enviable combination in Hanuman is brains, brawn, beauty and bravery. Those who are strong in mind are not strong in body, those who are strong in body are not strong in soul, those who are strong in all these are not capable, and if they are capable they are not successful, whereas Hanuman is successful in every way.

The gift of God

Now the Lord asks Hanuman, “What can I give you? You have brought me the best of messages. I am an impoverished prince. I don't have a credit card, I have nothing with me. I give myself to you.” The Lord takes Hanuman into his arms. What more does a man want? The greatest gift from God is God Himself. What else can you want but the embrace of the Lord? We belong to everybody else in the world, to our husbands, our children, our relatives, our friends, but not to the Lord. The only thing that the Lord wants is the ultimate commitment that we belong to Him.