OM JAGAD GURAVE NAMAHA (50)
Obeisances to Sri Rama, the Guru of the world
OM RIKSHA VANARA SANGHATINE NAMAHA
Obeisances to Sri Rama, the Lord who organized the hordes of monkeys
OM CHITRAKUTA SAMASHRAYAYA NAMAHA
Obeisances to Sri Rama, the Lord who took refuge at Chitrakuta Hill
Om Sri Aanjaneya Namah!
Stanza 35 and 36
और देवता चित्त न धरई हनुमत सेइ सर्व सुख करइ (35)
संकट कटई मिटै सब पीढ़ा जो सुमिरै हनुमत बल बीरा (36)
aur devatä citta na dharaé |
hanumata seii sarba sukha karaii || (35)
Even though a devotee does not bring to his mind (worship) any other deity but through Hanuman, he will (surely) enjoy all happiness.
Sankata katai mitai saba peedha ||
jo sumirai hanumata balabeerä || (36)
All miseries and torments vanish when one remembers the brave Hanuman.
Firstly, how does Hanuman ji qualify for such devotion and love and appreciation and adoration? What about him enchants our devotion? He does not have wealth or kingdom or power or any assigned department like say Indra has been appointed for rains, Varun for the rivers, Surya Bhagawan for light and energy, Chandra devata for nourishing plants and thus us, enabling our mental evolution, for removing the darkness of this world etc.
The role we have assigned to Hanuman ji is one of protector, remover of obstacles, one who protects the mind, one who leads us to Bhagawan, ---- these are what we have given him, not what he got as his role. The role allotted to him was to be Sri Rama’s das, and this was given to him by all the devatas and Brahma. To look after the Lord, ensure His success, take care of every need…. Exactly what we would like to be for our Guru.
On a different plane, since we are not super human, since we live in samsara and will be sautéed by experiences that frighten us and challenge us, we will clutch our heart and sob when things get inexplicable, when times come when we feel life is being very very cruel…and then we want to cry out to One who we can know with unfailing faith that He will rescue us. The Lord sometimes seems to be unhearing. We feel our prayers are not being heard. So we need a go between. Often the Guru is that, because we have not come to see him as Brahman – because we are so small. So we consider the Guru as the Lord’s chosen one and we unload all our woes upon him and then tell the Guru, now please you make all this go away.
Hanuman is like that too. We have already seen that he is Ram dwaare rakhwaare. Hot-h na aagya binu paisare… Hanuman ji being the door keeper to the Lord’s domain and being such a firm devotee, we fall at his feet and ask him to take our prayers to the Lord. But we also know that telling Hanumanji is the same thing – he just makes everything happen, he protects, takes care.
How? Because Ramji had blessed him thus. Let us recall, when the Lord was returning to Vaikuntha, after ruling for eleven thousand years, while many joined the Lord back to His abode, Sri Rama ‘ordered’ Hanumanji to stay back on earth and watch over His devotees and the prospective ones. What was more and this is utterly valuable for this naam: Bhagawan told Hanuman ji to be the source of inspiration to devotees.
Now the glory of Hanuman is so evident to us. We have seen his seva, his dasa –ship, his egoless state, his love and compassion for the team that was helping Rama, his devotion to the Lord, his singlepointedness….his whole existence whose DNA was the Ramavatara and hence Hanuman as the chosen servant, equipped with a host of powers by every devata, Brahmaji and Lord Shiva, we see that Hanumanji was truly the equipment of the Lord. He did as he was made to do. This is what the Lord wants us to be like too. And this is why He left behind His dearest devotee Hanuman ji so we have an icon of servant-hood, an icon of real service, an icon of faith, devotion, surrender and commitment to the Guru and Lord.
Hence Bhagawan told Hanuman ji to stay back and be the inspiration for the rest of mankind. Now it is upto us of course to observe him and imbibe or not.
What is more, Rama blessed Hanuman ji that as long as Ram naam was chanted in the world, as long as Lord Rama was worshipped, glorified, heard, kept pure in the hearts of people, until then Hanumanji would stay on earth, to be able to hear the Lord’s name, for that was Hanumanji’s nourishment!
Now let us see how we pray. We resort to Hanuman ji when we have difficulties, obstacles – hence we have even labelled him Sankatmochan Hanuman. We pray to him when our devotion starts flagging and we say – you so easily led Vibheeshan from Lanka to the shelter (saranagati) of the Lord, look at me, today I don’t even trust my faith!’ And then we label him Bhakta Hanuman; And when fear and hopelessness fills us, when great tasks have to be performed and the heart starts sinking, in the silence of our heart we clutch at Hanuman’s feet and plead with him, ‘Like you held Rama’s ring and flew over the ocean with such ease, and that Rama who is the Lord of all, you accomplished His work too, fill me with similar courage that I am worthy of you, worthy of your permission (Ram dwaare) to enter the Lord’s abode, worthy of all the love and grace my guru showers upon me, so fill me with courage and bravery let me conquer this moment please….!’ And we label him Veera Hanuman.
Why, even before we sit to perform a small havan, we glance at Hanuman ji and shutting our eyes tight we say take care, let this devotion of mine remain pure and reach the Lord…’
So whether we want fearlessness, courage, purity, success, peace of mind, ability, capability, efficiency, inner strength… for everything we pray to him. For we know his own devotion to the Lord to be pure and reinforced with gnyaana and wisdom. It was not blind devotion – it was one that found the Lord’s endorsement! Quoting from Mrs. Ramanam in Hanumat Vibhuti: “The glories of Hanuman indicate that if one has to achieve success in all his undertakings, one has to cultivate truth, simplicity, purity, selfless service, and an unswerving devotion to duty or single-pointedness…. And whoever meditates upon Hanuman with the ring bearing Rama Nama is freed from all misery and is successful in his ventures…”
Just quoting this lady reinforces all that we studied about Hanuman so far.
And now there is the Sita-ma standpoint of Hanumanji’s glory. In Sundarkaand, we see how Hanuman sits atop a tree and struggles with how to present himself to Ma. Such a great power that he is, we adore him so much, and see his humility, he is sitting atop a tree and thinking, if I suddenly jump before Ma, she may get frightened of my looks.
Oh! Hanuman ji did not once feel bloated by a sense of power that he has been sent by no less than Bhagawan to rescue/find Ma. Instead Hanumanji is struggling with how to break all this very gently to Ma.
Even so, he does appear ant sized at first, sings the entire glory of Rama so that her thoughts of suicide and abandonment will be gradually cleansed and then replaced by thoughts of Rama. This original healer, Hanuman ji, had been alarmed that Ma had become so low in her thinking as to contemplate suicide and this he realised was a function of her sangat (Ravan, demonesses, Lanka the bhognagari); and the consequent turning of the mind away from Rama. So he administered to her Ram naam…. Then he dropped Bhagawan’s ring to her and once again strengthened the Lord’s presence in her mind… And once she had been restored, he told her who he was and so on…
At first, it is said, Ma had turned her face away from Hanumanji.But once she began to trust him and see him as a pure messenger of the Lord, Sita Ma was sad that she had thought poorly of him. Later Ma blessed Hanumanji. First she blessed him to become the repository of strength. Then she blessed him with a life immune to death and disease; then she blessed him that he be a storehouse of good qualities…..but when Ma said, “May the Lord of Raghus shower His grace on you… Hanuman ji was choked with emotion. He said, “I have now accomplished all that I had to accomplish. For, your blessing is unfailing, everyone knows that!”
So what we have in Hanuman ji is the combined love and grace of both Sri Rama and Sri Sita. From Rama he has the power to remain here among us, what can be better? Better is, being here Hanumanji has the grace of the Lord on him, as granted by Ma Sita. Hanumanji uses both these abundantly on us who are devoted to him.
Aur devata chitta na dharaii Another meaning given to this sentence construct is this: Other Gods may not remember your prayer to them, but Hanuman ji because he is blessed with a sharp mind, will never forget. Yet we have seen that Hanuman ji was cursed to forget his strength. So it was just his strengths he forgets. And all we need to do when we invoke him, is to remind him of his strengths! And this is why the Hanuman Chalisa is filled with praises and descriptions of Hanuman’s great and glorious feats! Hanumanji is not essentially forgetful. He remembers only the task he is assigned to do and he stays singlepointed there. This is what we want too, to be able to focus on our work and stay concentrated there. Like Hanuman. His undistractable nature has been often called forgetful but not so. It is not that he forgets; what we need to see is, what is it he remembers and what he remembers constantly is the Lord. And this is owing to his constant state of being in Brahmasthiti, God consciousness. And history has shown us that anything Hanuman ji did accrued to the benefit of another person. He himself got or took nothing. This makes him even more credible for us devotees.
Then again, other devatas have a pure functional role and can help us only for their area of specialisation. But Hanumanji is a pure devotee, ever surrendered to Lord Rama, as a result he can enable for us material blessings as well as the non-material, ie the spiritual. Especially since he has the grace of the Lord upon him, PLUS he is non competitive and non ego centered, as a result whatever he does he does for the Lord, not for himself.
It is said of the ashta siddhis and nava nidhis granted to him by Sita Ma, that these were for him to use it for the good of the devotees of Sri Rama.
Here Guruji’s words are very valuable. In his commentary, Pujya Guruji says:
some people worship other gods or deities like Lord Indra etc. asking for worldly pleasures or success etc., but these deities are themselves full of desire. Lord Indra is always afraid that some one who carries out great penance may take over the throne of his heavenly kingdom. So such deities may forget to answer your prayer. But Sri Hanuman’s devotion is without any selfish desire. He is always engaged in the service of others. So he will never forget to answer your prayer. Therefore worship him. All your problems, pains and sorrows will be eliminated.
Then again, as people often when we have to request help from people who are haughty or arrogant and who keep reminding us that they did us a favour, we dislike it and hence in future we try not to go to them. Hanuman ji is such that whatever he does for us, is out of love for his Master, Sri Rama; with a desire to help us so we rise higher in our bhakti. And given how singlepointed his mind is, which has just one thought, ‘Ram’, the question of another thought, least of all a memory thought of having done us a favour in the past, does not even arise.
Sankat kataii mitaii sab peedha...
What is our sankat? Simple: this samsara where everyhting hurts, offends, pains causes sorrow. Where nothing lasts, everyhting is fleeting and on top of that this mind becomes a slave to this fleeting-ness. We want to come out of this, to be rid of this torture, but the harder we try and deeper we sink...
What do we jivas want in this life? To be liberated from this agony of a BMI that is saturated with feelings, emotions, desires, anger, frustration, hopelessness, inabilities (which is often more a state of mind than a real ability issue); we want to have equanimous relationships; we want to not ask for anything; we wish to not cause anyone any grief; we wish to not be the cause of sorrow in any life; we want that we do not take from life more than we need; we want that our vasanas are burnt fast; we want that desires do not plague us; we want that every work we do we do it for the Lord with absolutely no expectation of any kind. In fact we wish we are kept continuously so pver occupied and engrossed by the Lord in HIS work that we have not a breath’s time to do anything else.
Now let us see what Hanuman has:
He is the icon of bhakti, shakti, vidya, seva, das-hood, humility, clarity of speech (how we struggle to express what is in our heart!), no greed, and action that is completely selfless. In earlier stanzas we saw that even if Jambavan and Sugriv praised him for these qualities Hanuman had only attributed all glory to Sri Rama. With all this centered in one Hanuman, and with all these being exactly what we need/want on our path, why offer prayers any other place?
Which is really not meant to undermine the other powers in our hierarchy. But what is intended here is, we need not doubt our faith in Hanuman ji. Often people have troubles from many categories: health, wealth, success, inter-personal relationships, children welfare…. And following the karma kaanda people make offerings to a host of gods and in the silence of their hearts they even wonder what they are doing. The devatas are powers that are vested with authority to look after certain functions. But the mind grapples with who its master is. It grapples with how all the lesser gods are related and finally is all this just material gain.
Hanuman ji fulfils all needs and in a holistic manner. Praying to him we can be assured of inner quiet even as our samsaaric needs are fulfilled. In the process all difficulties, sufferings everything is removed. It is said that even the debt collector, Shani Devata, to whom we owe for all the wrong actions of the past, and who is known to be without mercy, Shani Devata too lowers his intensity if we pray to Hanuman ji.
Therefore remembering Hanuman ji, may we remain steadfast on the Path, attain vidya like him, attain wisdom like him, attain sweetness of tongue and clarity of speech (vaakpatuta) like him, devotion and seva bhaavana like him and singlepointedness at the Guru and God’s feet, like him.
Now to resort to scriptural wisdom and their presence in Hanuman ji. Finally, no matter how emotionally fraught we are, no matter how desperate for help we may be, somewhere inside, we ardently desire that our approach is in sync with Vedanta. Is logical and based on effort (purushaartha) and not succumbing to praarabda. In the case of Hanuman we see effort combined with total submission and surrender to the Lord Rama and a pathological faith in the Lord, His counsel, His words.
Hanumanji’s inner reasoning or attitude is seen in his entire life and this again is why ‘Hanumat sei sarva such karai’. At every point in his life that is portrayed to us in the Ramayan, Hanumanji resorts to wisdom and Rama (although in his mind both are the same!) There are stories of so many gods we read. But they rarely have the kind of difficulties that Hanuman had. From being berated by rishis as a child, to falling off the skies having mistaken the sun to be a fruit, to looking after Sugriv in a forest, to the troubles from Mainaka and then flying to Dronagiri, to being tied up by Ravana, then his tail set on fire, then being hungry in Lanka (and then asking Ma Sita: ‘Ma I am so hungry, please may I eat some fruit from the trees here?’) to the battles with all kinds of warriors in the war at Lanka to protect and save Rama and rescue Ma Sita…. Hanuman only had trouble.
Also, at no point does he discuss his mind or troubles with anyone in a manner of confiding or asking for advise. This is very very heart warming. Everytime he has a situation, Hanuman thinks about it, delves within for a solution, talks to himself…and invoking the Lord, goes ahead with his plan of action and wins. Rarely do we think about this!
It appears therefore that Hanuman ji’s counsel and way of life is clearly this: Purushaartha and not prarabda determines success.
This is why remembering Hanuman makes sense when seen from the standpoint of logical, cut and dried Vedanta.