With his presence in form of a statue at the end of every street and sometimes in middle of a traffic island, Hanuman is the most popular God across the length and breadth of India. Hanuman’s popularity is wide in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bali, Fiji and the Caribbean. He is known with the name Sang Kera Pemuja Dewa Rama in South East Asia and there is an 85 ft Hanuman statue in Trinidad and Tobago.
The first impression which comes to our mind when we think of Hanuman; is courage, which comes out of sheer dedication and commitment to the goal of his Master, Lord Ram. The dedication and commitment takes birth from the immense Bhakti he has for Lord Ram. Often Hanuman as a God symbolises – Shakti (strength and power), Yukti (trick and logic) and Bhakti (love and devotion). Hanuman has immense love for Lord Ram.
It was so immense that when Lord Ram would say something everybody would think twice before doing it but he wouldn’t even wait for a jiffy. He didn’t wait when he had to carry the ring of Ram to Sita in the Lanka crossing the vast Hindu Mahasamudra (Mahasagar). He didn’t wait to jump into the fire and smoke of the Paataal Loka (the world under the earth) to kill Mahiravana. He didn’t think a moment to jump across the Dandakaranya to fetch the Sanjeevini medicine to cure the wounded Laxmana.
To accomplish a task of this scale and magnitude, one needs unflinching commitment and strength. Undoubtedly, Hanuman was blessed by all the Gods with abundance of that. But the secret catalyst to Hanuman’s recipe was Bhakti! The Bhakti manifested dedication in him to work with a single mind towards Lord Ram’s goal.
Every word of Lord Ram was a rule for Hanuman. Lord Ram’s smile – a blessing, his love – an ocean of contentment, his anger – war conch, his compassion – a rain of abundance! Hanuman would often say – “When I am the body, I am Lord Ram’s servant. When I am the Soul, there is no difference between me and him.” The love was so intense. For him duty meant Lord Ram’s work, happiness meant Lord Ram’s company and peace meant Lord Ram’s worship.
When Hanuman was a kid, one day he went to his mother Anjana Devi and asked her the purpose of his life. To which Anjana Devi smiled and replied – “One day you will meet a person. When you meet him, all your sorrows and thoughts will disappear. When you meet him, you will find yourself in middle of bliss and experience unconditional happiness. And you heart will say – Are you that magic beyond the realms of the dreams which I waited all this while to meet and longed for you eternally?” Serving him and living the message and spirit of service will be the purpose of your life”. He found Lord Ram, one day in midst of the dreaded Dandakaranya frantically searching for his abducted wife, Sita. That longing seamlessly transformed into love for his Master.
One of the Sanskrit verses from Hanuman Chalisa, an ancient 40 couplet song written by Saint Tulasi Das which translates to
“Wherever the glory of Raghunatha (Lord Rama) is being sung, Maruthi, the antidote to all the demons in this world shall be present there with folded hands and tears in his eyes.”
Hanuman proved that a devotee is supreme; devotion is Supreme and, a tad bigger than the Divine.
A less known story about Hanuman epitomises the power of his devotion.
Once upon a time, the kingdom of Kashi was ruled by a pious king. One day he goes to River Ganga to have a bath during the dawn. Due to the darkness, he accidentally stepped on Sage Vishwamitra who was also taking bath in Ganga. He is cursed by Sage Vishwamitra that he would die for insult caused to him in Kashi. Vishwamitra also curses Hanuman that he would order his disciple Ram to kill him. On Vishwamitra’s instructions, Ram vows to kill the King of Kashi in 3 days. The King of Kashi respects and admires Ram and decides to surrender to Ram so that he can die in hands of the Divine. When he begins the journey towards Ayodhya, his journey is stopped by his Rajaguru Narada who refutes his claim that he committed a mistake. Narada convinces The King of Kashi to seek refuge from Anjana Devi, mother of Hanuman, who is the dearest to Ram. The King goes and seeks protection from Anjana Devi as Narada feels Hanuman is the only person who can save him from the crisis. The King of Kashi narrates the entire story to Anjana Devi, surrenders to her and prays for protection. Anjana Devi mollifies him and blesses him as “Chiranjeeva! (which means may you be blessed with a long life” and calls out to her son. Hanuman arrives instantly. The King of Kashi narrates the entire story to him. Anjana Devi passes on the formidable responsibility of protecting the King to Hanuman. Hanuman assures protection saying that “Ramo Vigrahavan Dharamaha” which is “Ram is the towering edifice of Dharma” and Ram would never commit anything which is out of Dharma.
Hanuman goes to meet Ram. He is surprised as Ram is inured to his words as he has already made up his mind to attack Kashi and is briskly preparing for the war. Moreover, he resists to what Hanuman says as he treats it as an insult to his guru Vishwamitra. In the heat of the argument, a conflict breaks out between Ram and Hanuman. Hanuman feels that King of Kashi is innocent while Ram feels that he is guilty. Hanuman, bound by the promise given to his mother, thereby announces to confront Ram in the battle of war and protect the King. The war conch is blown and battle lines are drawn. Ram and his army arrive in Kishkinda and start raining arrows on King of Kashi. Hanuman starts singing Ram Naam (chants of the name of Ram) to which all the arrows start falling. The best of the Astras including the Bramhastra fail before the chants of Hanuman. The chants of Ram Naam by Hanuman are so powerful that they form a protective hemisphere around the Gandhamadhana Mountain in Kishkinda where Hanuman was sitting with the King of Kashi. The war intensifies as Ram tries a diverse range of Astras and Mantras to kill the King. Hanuman’s Bhakti also intensifies as he starts singing even more loudly and even start dancing and jumping in the intoxication of Ram Kirtan. Ram himself is surprised at this sheer failure and decides to kill himself to save himself from the defeat of war. Vishwamitra, then walks in and tells Ram and others present there that it was a drama hatched by him to send out a strong message that – A devotee and his/her devotion are greater than the Divine himself.
Everybody played their part well in the drama but the hero of the drama Hanuman innocently was soaked in the ocean of devotion and became an example for generation. Hanuman proved that a devotee is infallible.
More stories to follow …
Surya Tej Borra