Hanuman is one of the most
colourful characters in the Ramayana. He has the appearance of a monkey. Some
scholars claim that he is symbolic of the mind.
A monkey’s predominant
character is never to be still, but to jump from branch to branch. Compare it to
our mind. Isn’t that what the mind does - always moving from one desire unto another.
Hanuman reminds us that even
though he is a monkey yet he is close to Sri Rama (the Lord God himself); and if
a monkey can make it to that proximity, can’t we?
Some claim that Hanuman in this
life took up the body of a monkey on purpose because as an animal he would be
able to serve better.
Hanuman has a colourful
parentage. The mind is as fickle as air. So popularly Hanuman is knows as the
son of the wind (Pavana Putra). His presence is therefore felt everywhere which
shall remain to be present as long as the world exists.
‘Charo yug partap tumhara
Hai parsidh jagat ujiyara’
This couplet is from the famous
prayer of Sri Hanuman (Hanuman Chalisa) and it means that the Influence of Sri
Hanuman is present everywhere, every time and everyone is aware of this fact.
Hanuman is symbolic of mind and
air. To his devotees, he is like a cool breeze, but to eradicate evil he is like
a tornado capable of uprooting mighty trees.
A not very well-known belief is
that during King Dasaratha’s sacrificial prayer, a little portion of the
blessed milk was snatched by a bird who dropped it on Hanuman’s mother Anjali.
Hanuman’s mother partook of the same, so this school of thought claims that
even Hanuman is a half-brother of Rama.
Some scholars claim that Hanuman
is the Reincarnation of Lord Shiva who wanted to be part of the Leela (Drama)
enacted by the Reincarnation of Lord Vishnu -
Hanuman has great qualities. He
is a great soldier instrumental in reuniting Rama with Sita.
Hence a lot of young ladies who
want to get married earnestly recite the Hanuman Chalisa hoping that they would
soon be united with husbands.
It is said that a prayer to
Hanuman never goes unheeded because Hanuman’s selfless and devoted service has
kept the Lord of Lords indebted to him forever.
Bali, the King of the Monkeys,
was the elder brother of Sugreeva. Bali was so powerful that he tied up the
mighty Ravana in his tail and kept him prisoner in his kingdom Kishkinda for
Bali had unjustly banished
Sugreeva from the kingdom and had taken Uma, Sugreeva’s wife, for himself.
Once a powerful demon, Dundubhi, challenged Bali for a fight. Bali drove the
demon into a dark cave where they continued the fight for years. Sugreeva, who
had been keeping a watch at the mouth of the cave, saw blood gushing out of the
cave, and thought Bali had been killed and closed the mouth of the cave with a
huge boulder. When he reported this to the ministers and elders on his return to
Kishkinda they insisted on his being crowned the king. Bali after killing
Dundubhi called out to Sugreeva, but there was no answer. He found the mouth of
the cave closed but using his superhuman strength, removed the boulder and
rushed back to Kishkinda where he found Sugreeva crowned as the King. This
infuriated him so much that he drove out Sugreeva from Kishkinda, though
Sugreeva pleaded his innocence.
Rama promised to help Sugreeva
get his kingdom and wife back. There was a fight. While Sugreeva and Bali
fought, Rama shot an arrow from behind a tree and Bali was killed.
Shooting from behind a tree is
symbolic. We may think that we fight and win all the battles of life but it is
actually God’s unseen hand that is behind our victories.
While Bali lay wounded he asked
Rama to take custody or care of his son Angada. Rama wanted to bring Bali back
to life since Bali felt repentant of his previous deeds. But Bali being a good
soul, who had been deluded for a while, feared that he may not have the
opportunity of dying in the Lord’s arms if he chose to recuperate from his
wounds this time.
Bali died with a smile on his
Sugreeva, Bali’s Son Angada
and Hanuman with their monkeys promised to help Rama find Sita. Rama gave a ring to Hanuman to be given to Sita as a token that Rama
would soon be on the way to rescue her.
During their search for Sita the
monkeys arrived at a cave inhabited by a lady saint by the name of Prabha.
Prabha informed the monkeys that they would find Sita if they closed their eyes.
This statement is symbolic.
An aspirant on the spiritual
path must open his eyes and see the form of God in everyone. If, however, he
is unable to do so then he must close his eyes to outside influences,
distractions and look within.
The monkeys opened their eyes
prematurely. So they realised that they had not got to Sita but had stopped
short and reached the sea.
Now they realised that they
would have to cross the ocean to get to Lanka where Sita was held