In this world, it is almost impossible for an individual to lead a perfect, blemish-free life – a life that is above criticism. Studying the great epic, Ramayana, we find that even Lord Rama, an incarnation of dharma and righteousness, and the divine Mother Sita, the very personification devotion and purity, were not spared. They were, and still are, unfairly blamed and criticised.
However, there is one character in the Ramayana whose actions are beyond reproach – Sri Hanuman, one of the greatest devotees of the Lord. We do not find a single incident wherein Lord Hanuman has committed any mistake or incurred blame and censure. He is the very embodiment of devotion, wisdom and service. This noble son of Vayu Devata (Wind God) has innumerable virtues. In the Sundarakanda of Tulsi Ramayana, Goswami Tulsidasa sings the glories of this exceptional devotee:
danujavanakrs – anum jnaninam agraganyam,
sakala gunanidhanam vanaramadhisam
raghupatipriya bhaktam vatajatam namami
The first thing that attracts us is Sri Hanuman’s immeasurable and incomparable physical strength coupled with great splendour (tejas). This brilliance is like a golden mountain. He possesses the rare quality of using his strength, not to scare ordinary or weak people, but to destroy those who afflict saintly persons. In addition to his physical prowess, Sri Hanuman is an embodiment of knowledge, foremost among the wise (jnani) and a repository of good and noble qualities. His thoughts and words are always pure. And above all, he is the beloved devotee of Lord Rama (raghupatpriyabhaktam).
The most admirable virtue of Sri Hanuman is his humility. Just as the wind remains with us twenty-four hours of the day, serving all beings without any desire for recognition and appreciation, Sri Hanuman served all without a trace of pride in his heart. He imbibed this great and noble virtue from his father, Vayu Devata.
Sri Hanuman crossed the boundless ocean, entered Lanka – Ravana’s impregnable, well-guarded stronghold – found Mother Sita, killed many demons and left after burning down the whole city of Lanka. Thus, he served Lord Rama in numerous ways. Sant Tulsidas declares that his exploits defy description and cannot be expressed even with a thousand tongues: natha pavanasuta kinhi jo karani, sahasahumukhana jai so barani.
Lord Rama, Himself, overwhelmed by Sri Hanuman’s service was filled with extreme love and gratitude for him. When the Lord expressed His feelings and praised him, Sri Hanuman, like a true devotee, fell at the feet of the Lord and with tears in his eyes disclaimed any recognition for his valorous feats giving all the credit to the Lord alone – so saba tava pratapa raghurai, natha na kachu mori prabhutai. He declared that nothing was unattainable or impossible for a person on whom the Lord showered His Grace: ta kahu prabhu kachu agama nahi ja para tumha anukula.
In the Ramayana we see that Sri Hanuman always has the name of the Lord on his lips and His image enshrined in his heart. It is this single-pointed devotion to the Lord that enabled him to overcome insurmountable obstacles and perform unimaginable feats, such as carrying an entire mountain and singlehandedly entering and burning down a well-fortified Lanka.What a noble an inspiring ideal of service coupled with utmost humility! It is no wonder that Sri Hanuman is considered the favourite devotee of Lord Rama. When one has supreme and true love for the Lord, He too embraces such a devotee in a thousand ways.
Sri Hanuman is dearly loved by Lord Rama. Not only is he is an exemplary devotee, dedicating his entire being in the Lord’s service, but he also leads others to his Master so that, they too, may become devotees and be blessed by the Lord.
May we all come to recognise Lord Rama as our true Master and serve Him with the attitude of his great devotee, Sri Hanuman. May we ever revel in singing the holy name of the Lord – Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama!
The author is the Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide