Jai Sree Ram!
We start the first verse:
जय हनुमान ज्ञान गुण सागर
जय कपीस तिंहु लोक उजागर
jay hanuman gyaan guna saagar
jay kapees tinhu lok ujaagar
Victory to Hanuman, who is the ocean of knowledge (gyaan) and virtue (guna); Victory to Hanuman the Lord of monkeys, known in all three worlds.
The key words here are: Hanuman, kapees
The etymological meaning of ‘hanuman’ is interesting. Scriptural history versus spiritual essence. I have tried to research a bit to see what various bhaktas say. Afterall everyone wants to glorify Hanuman!
Scholars have taken a view that Hanuman means ‘manifested (in our lives) Brahman or Supreme Consciousness’. Etymologically they have explained that as:
Ha = Supreme Spirit
Nu = that which pervades
Man = manifested
Scriptural story points to another meaning. Here the word Hanu means chin, jaw. Soon after birth, baby Maruti (as he was named on birth) saw the rising sun and thought it was a fruit. (Now his ability to fly must have been inherited from his father who was Vayu Bhagawan himself…so flight must be intrinsic to being son of Vayu.)
So then thinking the sun to be a fruit, Hanuman flew towards it and worse, swallowed it. Consequently the whole world was drowned in darkness. The gods were distressed and went to Indra who then chased Hanuman and struck at the little child with his vajra (thunderbolt) and the blow lands on his chin causing it to be cut, cleaved, split. Some also reason that the wound caused the mouth region to swell, hence those special features of Hanuman with puffed mouth and cleft chin. (This in my opinion is an extension to the ‘Is he man or…?’ debates where accepting Hanuman as non-human and hence explaining away the features with reason.)
The Vajra is a deadly weapon and is known to cause sure death. But Hanuman bore the vajra –agat. This is given as another meaning for Hanuman: he who bore the vajra agat on his chin. All the same, bearing the strike, Hanuman fell to the ground unconscious.
Father Vayu was distressed on seeing his little son hurt by the gods. So he stopped the wind from blowing. The world was now dark and also stuffy. (Another bhakta scholar has suggested that the angry Vayu Bhagawan gave colic pain to all the gods! Good strategy!)
Distressed the gods pleaded mercy and the Wind God agreed to relent on one condition, “Each of you must bless my son with your powers and good qualities!” And thus guna sagara Hanuman. Which is not to say that his qualities came from the gods only. But all the gods blessed the child Maruti with powers and strengths from their own pool of powers.
To go back in time: when Bhagawan had decided to take human form and come to earth to destroy Ravana, Brahmaji had told all the gods (devatas) to follow Bhagawan to earth and support Him. While the devatas would go anyway, Shiva (On Namah Shivaya!) an ardent bhakta of Bhagawan (this is not to separate Shiva from Bhagawan but to in fact show the supreme oneness, so that Parts of the Whole are as cohesive in spirit as well; naturally when the Vishnu aspect separates itself, the other aspects will not be separated but seek to cohese with It. This is my understanding, kindly correct it if it is wrong.) wanted for Bhagawan to have the best support, flawless sevak… and thus Hanuman was born as an ansh (अंश) of Shiva hence we also address Hanuman as Sankara suvan, son of ShivShankara;
The strength of Hanuman is something we take as a given and which is how we invoke him constantly for aid in physical distress as well as mental distress. But Hanuman himself did not use his powers for himself! His portrayal by Valmiki, Tulsidas and Kamban have celebrated him as in Brahmasthiti. We never hear him satisfying his needs or wants (wonder if he had any apart from Ram seva); the only instance I have come across which can be inferred as personal fulfilment is a very sweet episode which touches the heart and brings tears to the eyes:
No problem, let us take a detour: when Hanuman reached Asokavana and identified himself to Sita ma… they had a terrific exchange of words where in (oh I had written about this in my introductory posts but Hanumanji has hidden them again.. he wants me to say it again maybe…) Ma Sita out of matru bahva addresses him as ‘suta’ - son; overwhelmed Hanuman reciprocates and addresses Her as Mata… this is in the sunderkand verse 16.
And almost immediately, like only a child who has found his mother after searching for her all over the house, can, Hanuman tells her, “Ma I am so hungry…
Hanuman: Sunahun matu, mohi atisay bhookh laagi dekhi sundar phal rookha (Oh mother, listen, seeing the trees laden with beautiful fruit, I am provoked by extreme hunger!)
Sita-ma: Sun, suta karihin bippinna rakhvari, param subhat rajnichara bhaari! (Listen son, this forest is guarded by very powerful and capable rakshasa warriors
Hanuman: tinha kar bhaya maata, mohi naahin; joun tumha such maanhu man maahi. (Oh mother, if you give me your ‘ok’ with a happy mind, then I am not frightened at all by those (rakshasas)
Sita-ma: Then go child, hold Ramchandraji’s feet close to your heart and eat the sweet fruit.
This is a very very typical child-mother response. When our child does us a huge favour, task, help, errand and we thank him/her and tell him/her how good he has been, the dialogue usually leads to child being filled with such love and belonging that the first thing he will ask for is food or an expression of hunger… it always has seemed to me the child’s psychological need or emotive expression for love, warmth, a hug a mother-child cuddle…heartbreaking…
So apart from this there is no other record (based on my utterly limited reading of the tetxs) of Hanuman asking for anything for himself. So great is his seva bhavana. As noted by Prof. K. Ramachandran Nair in Hanumat Vibhuti (CCMT publication): “The good results of his actions always go to someone else.” Tulsidasji also says similarly that Hanuman’s strength is applied in the service of others only.
If we can reflect on this and see how the world powers and powerful individuals all use their might and wealth for self glorification, statues of themselves, and/or for self protection (black cats at micro level, nuclear power at macro level) and destroying others (as being done by terrorists).
Apart from his physical prowess, Hanumanji applied his gyaan and guna for his Master. Hanuman is known as best among all learned ones. And his dasya bahava (service attitude), his devotion, his egloessness, his complete humility all these mark him as especial. Even in the face of a Ravana , Hanuman’s words to him were kind,
“binati karaun jori kar raavan,
sunahu maan taji mor sikhavan!”
(“I implore you you with joined palms, Ravana, give up your haughtiness and listen to my words”)
Guruji says “The greatest knowledge is Self Knowledge and Hanuman has that too.” We see this reflected when Hanuman tells Rama his master:
deha drshtaya tu daasoham;
Aatma buddhayah tvamevaham iti me nischita matih!
When identified with the body, I am your servant; and when I function as the jiva-ego, I am a part of you. From the standpoint of the soul, aatma, you and I are One. Of this I am of firm opinion!
Such a gnyaani was void of ego, ahamkar, I-ness, and all that.
This is why Tulsidas refers to him as Kapeesa or King of monkeys. (Kapi (monkey)+ Eeshah (Lord);
He saved his master Sugreeva and restored his kingdom back from Bali; Later we also see Hanuman trying to drill wisdom into Ravana and even later guiding Vibhishana towards saranagati and then as King of Lanka. Thus he is the one who rules not just a physical geography, but the hearts of all those who choose to be guided by him.
And so great is his prowess, goodness, compassion, firmness, devotion, capability, dependability that he is known in all 3 worlds. Tinhu lok = 3 worlds; ujagar= spread of lumninosity (of his greatness)
Prostrations to such a wise, great devotee. May his grace ever be available to us.