||Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Aum Namo Narayanaya
On this auspicious day I offer my praanams to Sri Ramachandra and invoke His blessings for the welfare of creation. Blessed are we to be given an opportunity in this birth to glorify and worship Him. It filled my heart with peace and indescribable joy to be immersed in a divine mood as we worshipped Sri Rama and unpacked the wisdom of eternal happiness locked in His life story, the Ramayana.
This blog takes root in last week’s edition when the discussion centered upon desire as being the central cause of our anxiety, sorrow and suffering. Our minds have become a container of desire and other vices which inevitably displaces the divinity, allowing our minds to become yodhya (place of despondency). Essentially the Lord cannot live side by side with these adharmic qualities. We ourselves have sent Rama to exile from within allowing Ravana or the asuric qualities to plot a successful coup of our mind.
By taking the Ramayana under review during this period I was quite intrigued about one character in this epic who seemed to be totally unaffected by the variables of unhappiness that plague us. He seems to be in a perpetual state of ananda from start to finish. This unusual phenomenon, if it may so be termed, summoned a deeper excavation into His life for better understanding.
Under the microscope of many thought circles, Sri Hanuman is presented as one of the central and important components of the Ramayana giving emphasis and meaning to Sri Ramakrishna’s idea that God can only be attained through sincere and one-pointed devotion. This inextricable relationship between Sri Rama and Hanuman holds a special place in the annals of Hindu Dharma exposing devotion (bhakti) as the soft spot of the divine.
What still picks at my curiosity though, in what seems to be an evolved society, is the relevance of having the ape army and especially Hanuman play such a pivotal role in Sri Rama’s life. There is no doubt purely from a literary point of view, the character of Hanuman is extremely lovable and especially draws attention to the younger ones, making this epic appeal to audiences across all spectrums.
We find that the defining factor between the animal kingdom and humanity is the faculty of discrimination or viveka. The ability to differentiate between right and wrong elevates man to the top of the evolution table. Hence the greatest victory that man can celebrate is the gift of a human birth which provides a portal for self realisation.
Unable to control our senses and apply this viveka, man has essentially lived like an animal which purely lives to eat and procreate. The inability of man to utilise his discrimination stems from the overwhelming control that desire and attachment through the senses has on his being. The thirst for instant gratification intensifies with his attachment to the material world, thus spinning a web of suffering and pain around him.
|Sri Hanuman burns Ravans Kingdom|
In drawing a parallel between ourselves as man and Sri Hanuman as a monkey - what is it that allowed Sri Hanuman never to be captured by this web? Even when the snares of maya tried to bind Him in the confines of materialism, He broke loose and destroyed it with the fire of knowledge that God alone is real. This is clearly illustrated by the incident when Ravana tries to tie Him up in his palace (representing materialism). He then broke loose; after which they lit fire to His tail which He used to burn down most of Lanka.
I recall one instance when Swami Vivekananda said He wished He could undo all the secular learning he undertook. This type of education has inflated our egos alone and does nothing to nourish our spirituality. It has become the fertiliser that feeds our desires. Many make decisions using the ego instead of their viveka, landing them in unwanted territories.
Master Sri Ramakrishna said that when you clap your hands, birds that are perched on a tree fly away. In a similar manner when we joyously sing the name of God and clap our hands then the birds of desire and other vices fly away.
That was the secret of Sri Hanumanji! That is why whilst the rest, including Rama, lived on the main land of attachment resulting in pain and sorrow; He was always on the island of peace and joy. Despite being an ape which is normally devoid of discrimination, Sri Hanuman possessed immense strength, intellect and discrimination because every cell of His being was immersed in ‘Raam-Naam’, leaving no void for desire or any other negative tendency. That name - Sri Ram - which enabled rocks to float, or Him to fly, resonated with thunderous proportions within Him. He was so immensely absorbed in Raam and becoming one with Raam. It was Raam Himself living as Hanuman.
That is what the character of Sri Hanuman teaches us: Irrespective of who you are - like how Valmiki the thief became a saint - when you immerse yourself completely and surrender unconditionally to the Lord, then there is no distinction between you and the Lord; both become one. Then, all your thoughts, all your actions are that of the Lord Himself.
Sri Ramakrishna said: “If we can weep for God the way we weep for material possessions, then God shall and definitely manifest before us”. I can find no better practical example of unalloyed single-pointed devotion to God or His Master like that of Hanumanji to Sri Rama and Swamiji to Sri Ramakrishna. That is the only ingredient for success and joy.
May Sri Rama and Sri Hanumanji guide , protect and inspire us always is my sincere prayer.
With love and prayers always