Jai Sri Ram!
Verse 26 (2)
संकट ते हनुमान छुडावै
मनक्रम वचन ध्यान जो लावै
Sankat te Hanumaan chudavai, manakram vachan dhyaan jo lavai
Sri Hanuman helps those who worship Him with sincerity and faith through all means: thought,
action, speech and prayer -- to overcome difficulties.
First we will examine sankat. What does it mean to be in sankat? To be in a problem situation, to be suffering, to be unhappy...?
It is simply this: the mind space is creased with duality, with the world, with the anxieties of want and the anxieties of losing. In short, the mind is fully occupied by the ephemeral, fleeting, changing, and worse, destruction causing world. If we examine this closely, we will see a mind that is overcome and absorbed by the play of the sense organs’ display of things and relationships.
Just visualise the moment, it is pathetic. The senses graze in their fields and come and display the objects, the relationships and ideas to the mind which immendiately receives them and sets them against the template it already has for likes and dislikes. Immediately these likes and dislikes rattle the mind. The mind is now severely agitated. Let us know the like or the dislike is not in the object. It is a sensor in the mind which every object merely toggles. Then the sensor is activated and the mind gets agitated. And an agitated mind = unhappy human.
Yes this is very impossible to accept that the world we focus on is itself the cause of our suffering and we would rather that someone ratifies our passion for this world and our careers and our houses and our things and our treasures and our relationships... all of which is so real indeed.
Bhagawan wishes for us to enjoy all this, definitely, which is why He gave them to us or the means to have them. But they were intended as a means to look after us while we are absorbed in this Viswaroop of the Lord and go about giving it our love, our attention, our smiles....instead maybe we have begun to enjoy the things and beings and the world has been forgotten. Like the tabalchi who loved his tabla so much, he refused to play it, lest it break.
The mind is rippling with agitations and this causes us great discomfort and restlessness. What is discomfort? Rather why are we in discomfort? Because we are grappling with things which we have to take care of... they require our attention all the time...which we cannot leave alone as they are destructible...or damageable or perishable... or steal-able ...and we know this.... and despite knowing this we end up giving it disproportionate time and attention.
Then we say, what to do, the mind is like that.
But then am I the mind? Or is the mind merely an instrument that I can apply sensibly? How then has the mind come to control me whereas I should be the owner of the mind which I use/apply for living? Instead the mind owns me and directs me.
Even the act of praying is an outcome of anxiety and this is what makes praying a moment of suffering than joy. We sit there and cry and shed tears (also good, also good, no doubt) but should we not be sitting there and laughing with Bhagawan and saying, heck did you see how the mind tried to act smart? Good you took over in time to silence it! Enter, Bhagawan!
But chanting Hanumanji’s name replaces thought. Worship with mind eases thought. (Mana)
Worship with hands – with flowers etc, diverts the mind towards satwic thought via the action we are performing...(Krama=Karma)
Worship with glorifying, chanting, speaking about Hanumanji causes us to invoke Hanuman in prayer
Or anyone who calls to mind Hanuman, or speaks about him, or dedicates his actions to him.... Hanumanji will remove their difficulties. How? Miracle?
A thing exists because it is the focus of the mind. What we think about is what we see in the world. If our thoughts words and deeds are pure, the world is that much cleansed and good to be in. So point here is Hanuman is so pure himself, such a pure and great bhakta of the Lord, so fortified in spirit by every denizen of the heaven that ‘aur devata chitta na dharai’... he alone (the thought of him alone) will ride us away from the anxiety. The anxious thoughts get replaced by peaceful thought... or, the same thought instead of causing anxiety will be at best neutral... it will be there but will not cause anxiety.
Which is why japa is always prescribed for anxiety – it is the best pacifier. It overwrites anxiety thoughts with naama thought. It is like removing dirt. It changes the mind pool so rapidly so beautifully it can only be experienced. And in fullness of time, praying becomes peaceful, relating to the Lord is also rendered a quiet one to one...and when crisis comes, the mind has been trained by the japa so that the naam plays out on its own, warding off anxiety and resting the mind in the Lord. (A lot like how the blood stream generates white blood cells the moment infection sets in, to battle the virus. The moment anxiety sets in, japaa is invoked by the trained mind, and japa removes the anxiety.)
So, Sankat te Hanuman chudavai.... this is how he does it. This 2 line-stanza is to be read along with the earlier two lines (and together they form the 4 line stanza) -- nasai rog, harai sab peedha, japat nirantar hanumt veera... Tulsidas ji says, nirantar Hanmaan naam japo...so that rog and peedha are both destroyed, which together make up our sankat. For rog and peedha are of not just the body; one can be sick in the emotions, in the thoughts... that is anxiety. Where thoughts jump out of your head to receive you even before you have come awake ...Jai Hanuman.
Hanuman ji eases the destruction wreaking anxieties from us by leading us to Ramji or Bhagawan. As we suffer and yet call out to Hanuman, he leads us to Ram dwaare – Rama’s door, and pointing to the Lord he shows us that our essential nature IS Bhagawan! That we are formed OF Rama. And coming from Hanuman, there is no doubt in our mind, we immediately accept this and simultaneously, the body and mind identification is dropped. And we come to revel in the Lord. Therefore nirantar Hanuman naam japo, continuously chant the name of Hanuman.
Then there are examples of how Hanumanji actually came and lifted the anxiety. These were people who did not know Hanuman’s glory. He was their minister or sevak or just a person who was severely in love with Rama; these were Sugriva, Jambavan, Vibheeshana, Lakshmana, Sita, Bharata...Hanuman literally went and helped them out of their severe moment, but we know him now as Ramdhut atulita baladhama....and we have their examples before us to know what he did for them...
Sugreev sat atop a tree in the Rsymukha Hills, frightened and in hiding from his brother Vali. His minister is Hanumanji who unconditionally stands by, guarding the forest and his King. Hanumanji knows Sugreev’s plight. In that state of anxiety and fright, the identification with mind and body was highest and Hanumanji knew the only way that would be cured is by replacing that identification with the identification with the Lord. And when Lord Rama with Lakshmana enter the Rshymukha forest, a frightened Sugreev spotting the 2 men from atop, sends Hanuman to go spy on them.... and then Hanuman at first sight develops such horripilations that he knows this is his Master, who he had awaited all his life.
And in a self introduction he says, he is Sugreeva’s minister and thus brings about Sugreev’s bonding with Rama and presently Sugreev’s anxiety thoughts are replaced with Rama thoughts, especially after Vali is annihilated.
And when Rama broaches the matter of His own difficulties and the loss of Sita, Sugreev is confident that only Hanuman can help find Sita and suitably glorifies Hanuman’s prowess. In the words of Sugreev (now brave and vocal after ‘finding’ the Rama in himself! – we must see this is what uniting with the Lord does for us) – we will be again transported to the greatness of Hanuman which is what we hang on to, through this chalisa. Once again Sugreev’s words remind us that we must/can hand over our most difficult task to Hanuman... why? (In Sugreev’s words, spoken as justification for why Hanuman is the best person to find Sita-ma) – (Kishkind Kaand, Valmiki Ramamyan, 44)
*Oh, foremost monkey, Hanuman, I do not foresee any impediment in your transit on land, ...... or in high skies (where there is no foothold), or in the wild blue yonder (where celestial bodies alone gravitate), nor in waters (where there is no underwater movement for earthly beings), nor in the heaven, (the abodes of immortals), where those immortals will not allow mortals like us to meander as we like....
*All the worlds that contain demons, gandharva-s, naaga-s, humans, gods, and the oceans and mountains therein are known to you....(teenon lok haankte kaampai!)....
*With your unusual mobility, unstoppable celerity, unremitting vivacity, and untold ability you are identical to your father Maaruti, the Air-god of marvelling dynamism.
* Or even by your radiancy none on earth is coming to mind who can be a coequal of yours, thereby you alone shall think about that process as to how to access Seetha.
* Oh, Hanuman, in you alone there are brawniness, astuteness and venturesomeness, and oh, ethicist, you conduct yourself in abidance with time, place and ethicality." ---- Thus Sugreeva said to Hanuman.
Essentially Sugreev is reminding Hanuman of his skills and prowess as we know in the normal course Hanuman cannot remember his skills, consequent to a curse upon him during childhood.
It is a very confusing moment now, because at one level one is sad that Hanuman needs to be reminded or that he forgets. Therefore those who don’t know how to pray or have never understood the power of prayer, to them his protection is restricted... but at another level, what joy for us who now have multiple opportunities to invoke Hanuman, praise him, talk to him, think about this contradictory situation where the owner of wealth does not know of his wealth! But we get such joy chanting the chalisa which is nothing but a list of Hanuman’s skills which we recount for him!
And that is what Sugreev is doing now. Telling Hanuman why he alone can perform the most difficult of all tasks, finding Sita-ma. (Therefore in the sankat mochan prayer we say, “Ko nahin jaanat hai jag mein kapi sankat mochan naam tiharo!”(Who in the world does not know that your name removes ALL difficulties and obstacles!)
Rama is already pleased, and He sees Hanuman as the efficient cause! In this thought of the Lord alone we must completely drown our doubtful mind and reinforce it with the Lord’s faith in Hanuman. If Bhagawan Himself thinks of Hanuman as the efficient cause for His problems, then what are we? Why would our difficulties be difficult for Hanuman?
So Rama Himself beseeches Hanumanji to take His ring and go find Sita. And as Hanuman graciously accepts the task and leaps into the sky, a very beautiful picture is visualised: a robust, bright Hanuman (made brighter by the bidding of his Master Rama and King Sugreev) shining like the moon in the sky dotted on all sides by accompanying little vanara-s who have merely risen to the sky to give him a send off (they don’t have his skills to stay in flight) and our hair stands on ends as Rama shouts out His encouraging prayer to the already in-flight form of Hanuman: (Kishkinda Kaand, Valmiki Ramayan 44:17)
atibala balam āśritaḥ tava aham
hari vara vikrama vikramaiḥ analpaiḥ |
pavana suta yathā adhigamyate sā
janaka sutā hanumān tathā kuruṣva
“O very powerful one, I depend on your might. As you are the best of the monkeys, O son of the wind, do you exert yourself in such a way that by using your extraordinary strength and bravery, O Hanuman, the daughter of Janaka may be found.”
"Oh, highly powerful Hanuman, I rely upon your vivacity, being the best venturesome monkey, oh, son of Air-god, showing your adventures that are not inconsequential you make happen as to how access can be gained to Janaka's daughter, Seetha."
One cannot but stop to make a repeated mention here of why one thinks Hanuman ‘forgets’ his powers. Powers, skills, capabilities are glories received from the Lord and in Hanumanji’s case they came as contributions from every devata. So they belong to the Lord. Hanumanji does not identify with them. Hence they are never in his consciousness. (We are conscious of our skills and we are quick to say, ‘I did that! It is my work!’) Then again, Hanumanji has surrendered his ego long ago, and powers and skills are appellations of the ego. As far as he is concerned he has handed them all to the Lord and he sees them as the Lord’s, so that if we invoke his skills, he hears us through the Ram naam japa going on perennially in his mind and he then takes the powers for that task, from the Lord again. He does not ‘hang on to or keep’ the skills in his consciousness, possession!)
So we may too use Lord Rama’s prayer to invoke Hanumanji. Here is the prayer again with specific word meanings to assist :
atibala balam aashritaH tava aham
hari vara vikrama vikramaiH analpaiH |
pavana suta yathaa adhigamyate saa
janaka sutaa hanuman tathaa kuruSva || 4-44-17
17. ati bala= oh, highly, powerful one [Hanuman]; hari vara vikrama= monkey, the best, venturesome one [or, lion, the best, charging, i.e., a best lion charging - this synonym of hari as lion is not taken here]; pavana suta= oh, Air-god's, son; hanuman= oh, Hanumaan; aham tava balam aashritaH= I [Rama,] on your, vivacity, relying upon; an + alpaiH= not, with inconsequential; vikramaiH= by adventures; saa janaka sutaa= she, that Janaka's, daughter; yathaa adhigamyate= as to how, she can be accessed; tathaa kuruSva= in that way, you do - you make happen.
"Oh, highly powerful Hanuma, I rely upon your vivacity, being the best venturesome monkey, oh, son of Air-god, showing your adventures that are not inconsequential you make happen as to how access can be gained to Janaka's daughter, Seetha." Thus, Rama shouted at Hanuman flying in the sky. [4-44-17]
Even if the prayer ends with ‘how access can be had to Janaka’s daughter Seetha’ it still applies to our situation if we understand ‘access to Seetha’ as being access to oneness with the Lord (for she ever was one with her Lord Rama) and that one ness implies separation from all other things!
So when we ask for access to Janaka’s daughter Seetha, we ask for access to her state of unity with the Lord.
Before closing :
Others whose difficulties Hanuman ji removed are Vibhishan, Bharat, Angad, Jambavaan which I will post in quick succession, else this post will become unwieldy.