Hanuman and Me
"There's certainly a Wind behind taking me forward that I know nothing about. It does not bid my command nor do I fathom it's purpose. Yet it propels me to a superior and higher goal that I trust must be my future."
Chinmaya Mission introduced me to Lord Hanuman. Growing up in a non-traditional environment, I was not fully conversant with the glories of this hero from our great epic, the Ramayana. Hearing the chants of Hanuman Chalisa waft through my ears, the profundity of its words and their inherent meaning were lost till I attended discourses on this iconic figure. Over time, I understood the depth of those verses and the significance behind his birth and life.
Initially, one can look at Sri Hanuman’s life-story and perhaps be inspired by it objectively. Later, it dawned on me that I needed to be Hanuman subjectively, both within and without. That was and is His eternal message.
Meeting Sri Hanuman at Sidhbari, during the mastakabhishekam utsav in 2007, I was awestruck as He stands 25 feet high in veerasana, the posture of the brave – ever ready to propel into action. I learned that it was Gurudev who instructed the making of His massive idol in homage to the wind god, His father Vayu, to control the powerful winds that swept through the region. And to this day, I believe that the numerous pujas and offerings conducted there by Masters and pure hearted devotees have had a visible calming impact upon those raging winds and the fact that the statue does not attract birds to ever use it as their perch is proof of its unseen power and sacredness.
For sincere seekers, to see the Lord in every thing that the eye rests upon is important and forms the very crux of any advaita spiritual teaching. Therefore, selfless service becomes the cornerstone for inner purification. Service or seva to the body, mind and intellect, service to other human beings, service to every creature, to plants, rivers, mountains and any being in distress was indeed His first teaching understood by me. By virtue of His posture at the Lord’s feet, He represents the pinnacle of seva, humility and preparedness to do the Lord’s bidding. This translates into empathy and love devoid of ulterior motives. As sadhaks, we can understand this simple readiness to serve the Guru in worship, in thought, in word, through action and finally through refined understanding.
Sri Hanuman represents all that is positive, good, strong, wise, and yet humble. These are qualities that cannot be presented on a plate for all to see. They are seen, felt and experienced through our thoughts, emotions, speech and actions. He is the devotion through which we move closer to Sri Rama, in first cleansing our minds of negativities (Bali), encouraging the good to manifest (Sugriva), doing the Lord’s work (rescuing Sita), singing the Lord’s praises and glories, and protecting the weak, noble and the good. As our minds, intellects and hearts get cleaner and purer, we imbibe these qualities and develop the power within to face whatever comes into our lives with faith, clarity, strength, fortitude and acceptance. Thus In our constant remembrance of Him, the power through which we act is Sri Hanuman’s power.
Perhaps the clearest indication of His power when applied in daily sadhana lies encapsulated in the following shloka, a part of our daily invocation mantras at Chinmaya Mission – the eight sidhis or powers potentially within all of us.
Buddhir Balam Yasho Dhairyam Nir Bhayatvam Arogata
Ajatyam Vak Patutvam Cha Hanumat Smaranat Bhavet
As our minds are purified, the intellect or buddhi gets subtle and precise and develops the ability to acknowledge whatever happens objectively with dispassion. Then we gather the strength or balam to deal with and respond to challenging situations or emotions. Keeping focused and calm, the capacity to reduce tension and maintain harmony brings yasha or good repute. Dhairyam is the patience to withstand and wait things out in the midst of difficulties or turmoil and to always see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fearlessness or nir bhayatvam arises because we understand deep within that everything that happens is because of the Lord’s doing and not as a result of personal effort. All this has a natural and therapeutic effect upon our body and we remain in good physical health, free of illness – arogata. We become strong physically and mentally. This bestows ajatyam or alertness at all times and we are able to complete tasks successfully as amply demonstrated by Sri Hanuman. He was never lazy and was ever ready to do the right thing. And finally, the power of eloquent speech or vak patutvam cha is discovered by us with the fluency to express ideas using right words at the right time.
As personal testimony, I have found that in troubled times or difficult situations, remembering Him by name; or keeping His image within the mental frame; or worshipping His picture on a wall; or just thrusting problems upon His wide shoulders; I am absolved of anxiety, worry and apprehension. The clouded sky ALWAYS gives way to brilliant sunshine. Slowly, I learned to depend upon this unseen power and it this that takes me anywhere and everywhere in my life.
May all use it as a guide because Sri Hanuman is eternal.
Jai Hanuman (son of Vayu, the God of Wind)