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Love and Light

Hanuman: An Inspiring Example of Devotion, Service, and Leadership

As we celebrate Hanuman Jayanthi on the 15th of April, I recall memories from my childhood sitting with my Grandmother as she watched the Ramayana on T.V. with great humility and devotion. I vividly recall tears of joy rolling down her face as she witnessed Hanuman’s example to the world as the perfect servant of the Lord. His unconditional love, his unflinching faith and his readiness to serve the Lord at all times - steadfast devotion and faith with not even an iota of doubt in Lord Rama’s Divinity.

“Doubts readily spring to the mind of the worldly wise. They may be clever and intelligent where worldly matters are concerned but pretty dumb where real discrimination is required. Sugriva was one such person. In his heart he felt that Rama was divine; yet, he had to test Rama’s skill in archery – there were doubts in his mind; the mind and the heart were not in harmony. Hanuman provides a striking contrast to Sugriva in such matters. From the moment he first set eyes on Rama, there was never even an iota of doubt that Rama was God Himself. It is the so-called educated ones who become plagued with all sorts of doubts. This is what is happening today. Man is totally preoccupied with the acquisition of worldly skills and worldly knowledge, completely ignoring basic values and the necessity for the cultivation of virtues. Modern education may make you clever, but it would never help develop character.”
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Summer Showers in Brindavan 2000, page 125.

Whilst Swami’s quote may be over a decade old, His message seems more relevant than ever. As spring takes hold again this year, so too the green shoots of recovery are blossoming as the UK economy bounces back from a double dip recession. Organisations are placing higher demands on their employees and we employees are continually striving to progress onwards and upwards by acquiring more skills and knowledge, in order to gain better positions and salaries. I am reminded by Swami’s message of the dangers of focusing solely on worldly ambitions without so much of a thought for the cultivation of virtues and rendering selfless service. Hanuman – often referred to as “Gunavantha” (highly virtuous) - provides us with an inexhaustible reservoir of how we should strive to please the Lord.

Where there is Rama, there cannot be Kama, says our Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

"Rama wanted to proclaim Hanuman as an ideal person to the world. At the time of the coronation of Rama, he was giving presents to various people. Although he had given presents to everyone, he did not give any present to Hanuman. This caused some trouble in the mind of Sita…….Sita quietly and slowly told this to Rama; and Rama said that if she felt so strongly, she could give Hanuman any present which she liked. She had a very valuable necklace of pearls around her neck which she removed and gave to Hanuman. Hanuman held this very valuable pearl necklace in his hand, began to remove all the pearls, one by one, from the necklace and break them. He put each pearl near his ears and began throwing it away. In this way, he was throwing away all the pearls of the necklace. Looking at this sight, Rama and Lakshmana were very surprised. Sita became somewhat angry, but she knew very well the situation. She called Hanuman with a view to proclaiming to the world Hanuman’s nature, and she asked Hanuman why he was throwing away the pearls and thus behaving truly like a monkey? Hanuman told Sita that he was examining if by breaking the pearl, he could listen to the name of Rama out of each pearl. He said that if he did not hear the name of Rama, the pearl was of no value to him and so he was throwing such pearls away. Hanuman said, even if it be a pearl, if there is no sound of Rama in it, the pearl is no better than a stone for him. Sita asked if he could hear the name of Rama even in lifeless matter. Hanuman said that he did not want anything to remain on him if it did not produce the sound of Rama. Sita asked, in return, if he meant that his entire body is filled with the name of Rama. Hanuman then plucked out one single hair from his body and put that hair at the ear of Rama and Sita. Sita found that even that little bit of hair was uttering the name of Rama. Here we see that Hanuman’s entire body was filled with the name of Rama and so where was the room for kama on the body of Hanuman? It is an established truth that where there is Rama, there cannot be kama, where there is kama, there is no place for Rama.

Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1977, page 117.

One cannot help but think about Hanuman when contemplating on the glories of Lord Rama. In one sense, Rama and Hanuman are inseparable. Hanuman was so near and dear to Lord Rama because of the way he expressed his love and devotion through action. “‘Yad bhavam tat bhavathi.’ One’s actions will reflect the kind of ideas which one has in one’s mind. Because all these good ideas were in the mind of Hanuman, the good ideas in the mind of God also synchronized with them, and the two were in unison. Immediately, Rama, who was on the shoulders of Hanuman, signalled to Lakshmana and assured him that because they had acquired such a good friend, their efforts will also be very successful. Amongst messengers, there are three kinds of messengers. The first kind are those who take the orders of the Lord, will not obey Him, but will take such actions as will go contrary to the wishes of the Lord. The second kind are those who will take literally what the Lord has said and will follow them without either adding something or taking away something. The results of such work will be accepted and will be carried back to the Lord. The third kind are those who will take the wishes of the Master and will perform the task in such a way that the wishes will be completely and at all costs fulfilled. He will become victorious and take back to the Master the message of victory. Rama and Lakshmana told each other that Hanuman is the third kind of friend who will see that the Master’s orders are taken to a stage which will ensure victory.”

Summer showers in Brindavan 1977, page 106.

Hanuman was always victorious in his endeavours for two main reasons; i) his mind was always focused on Rama only and; ii) harmony of thought, word and deed – which bestowed upon him the Grace of the Lord. Bhagawan narrates: “When he first presented himself before Rama and offered his services, Rama turned to Lakshmana and said, "Brother! Listen! Notice how Hanuman has mastered the Vedas. His speech is saturated with the humility and dedication which the Rig' Veda embodies, the retentiveness and reverence that the Yajur Veda promotes and the intuitive vision that the Sama Veda grants. Hanuman knows all the scriptural texts. He is a genuine devotee. Sugriva is fortunate to have him as his minister, Hanuman, whose thoughts, words and deeds are offered to God." When these three are in perfect harmony, the person wins the Grace of God, as Hanuman succeeded in securing.

Sathya Sai Speaks volume 19, chapter 8.

I am also reminded of his innate characteristics which made Him so dear to Lord Rama. “Hanuman was a very innocent person. He had no deceit in him. Today human beings are covered by considerable amount of deceit. We think that such people are very clever people. One who takes to the path of truth and one who does not know how to practise trickery is an innocent person. However, today we regard all such innocent persons, who do not know trickery, as people who are not clever at all and who do not know how to get on in the world. This is not right. An innocent person is really a very strong person”.

Bhagawan Baba, Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1977, page 122.

When Swami asks us to be “child-like” it’s these very same qualities of innocence and purity that He is referring to.

What strikes me above anything else is the manner in which Hanuman obeyed Rama’s Commands with devotion and faith together with confidence in his own self. When any order was given to Hanuman, he never questioned whether he has the strength or the capacity to fulfil the task. He had the firm faith that the very orders of Rama will give him the necessary strength to fulfil those orders. Hanuman’s examples of courage, devotion and service are infinite and this is why he is such a source of inspiration and strength to past, present and future generations.

Mr. Rajesh Patel,
Leicester, UK