Sri Hanuman, one of the main characters in Ramayana, is a very unique personality. He is the only one who has just as much strength, learning and capacity as Prabhu Sri Rama, but he never goes out of his way to show off his strength or learning.

If Prabhu Sri Rama was ‘Maryaada Purshottam’ – a man who never crossed his limits, Sri Hanuman was no less. He is Param Veera and Param Bhakta too – one who never wanted any recognition from anyone other than SitaRama. He is one of the eight Chiranjeevis, an immortal being. He is Param Veda Pathi – he knows all the Vedas, is a Param Gyaani – he has received Brahma Gyaan, and he has mastery over the Ashtha(8) Siddhis and has access to all the Nau (9) Nidhis (sources of wealth). He is Maha Rudra Avataar – an incarnation of Shiva. But above all this he is humble and loves to be known as Sri Rama Dasa.

When Sri Rama and Lakshmana roam the forests in search of Sita Mata, they come across a very polite Brahmin enquiring about their visit to that part of the forest. Sri Rama immediately assesses his personality as being unique and tells Lakshmana that he is so polite and soothing with his words that he must be a Pandit of the Vedas.

Sri Rama also notes that all of Hanuman’s chakras are perfectly aligned to each other which shows that his thought process and speech process are one. So pure! In this world where people put up a façade and speak one thing while harbouring opposing thoughts in their minds, here is Hanuman who speaks exactly what he thinks. Sri Rama immediately decides to befriend him and from here starts the story of Hanuman’s impressive feats in his adult life.

Anyone who has read the Ramayan would know that in his childhood Hanuman reached out to the Sun thinking that it was a fruit he could eat. He was knocked down by Indra’s Vajra resulting in him becoming lifeless for many moments. It took a lot of boons from all the Gods to Hanuman, to appease Vayu, who shut down the movement of air in anger against Indra’s action. These boons made Hanuman very powerful and Chiranjeevi (immortal). But real wisdom dawned on him only after he approached the Sun God once again, to teach him the Vedas. Since he was a Vanar (monkey), Hanuman was naturally naughty. As a child he misused his powers to trouble the Rishis in the area. He was cursed to forget about his powers until such time that somebody reminded him of it. This resulted in no one being able to use Hanuman’s powers till he met Sri Rama. It was only for Sri Rama that Hanuman used his powers. Imagine being that person who only used his intellect, his prowess for doing good, for doing Bhakti, as an offering to his Aaradhya Prabhu (Him whom he respected the most). In today’s world we only use all our capabilities for doing activities for people whom we probably don’t even like.

Once, Narada objects to MahaVishnu’s comment that Hanuman was a bigger Bhakt than Narada. He challenges Hanuman to prove his Bhakti. Hanuman is nonplussed, but because MahaVishnu insists, he asks what he should do to prove his Bhakti to Sri Rama. Narada challenges him to sing devotional songs (bhajan). Hanuman says that he does not know any song other than Rama’s name & he starts taking Sri Rama’s name in different ‘Raagas’ (notes). He gets so lost in singing Sri Rama’s name, that he is filled with emotion and tears stream down his cheeks and that of MahaVishnu & even Narada. Narada has to accept defeat and asks Hanuman to stop singing. Hanuman comes out of his stupor and says that he has not yet visualized beyond Sri Rama’s feet. Hanuman does not even want any boon from Maha Vishnu. Such pure one-pointed devotion! If we were to just learn from this episode of Hanuman’s life, and pray with complete devotion for even those few minutes that we do every day, our life would be so different.

Helping others in distress came naturally to Hanuman. He helped and protected Sugreev when Bali was baying for his blood. It was Hanuman who informed Vibheeshan about Sri Rama being present on the shores of Lanka and he advised Vibheeshan to approach Sri Rama. Vibheeshan was Ravana’s younger brother and he wanted to stay on the side of Dharma. When Hanuman went into Ravana’s palace, he saw the nine planets who were imprisoned and made to lay down as steps which Ravana trounced upon everyday in the belief that he would be able to control his fate. Hanuman immediately released them from this torture. When he set fire to Lanka, he took care to see to it that ailing people, old people and children would not be affected. When Lakshmana became lifeless on the battlefield, Hanuman rushed to the Himalayas and brought the whole Sanjeevani Mountain which had the Sanjeevani herb, to cure Lakshmana. During this mission, he also helped an Apsara who had been cursed into the form of a crocodile, and released her from her curse. It is believed that Hanuman helped Tulsidas ji get a Darshan of Sri Rama and also helped him complete his Tuslidas Ramayan.

He is the favourite God of all children who are enthralled by his naughty and pious deeds alike. He is also the God of all wrestlers and sportsmen who wish to be as fast, as agile, as strong and as disciplined as Hanuman. It is believed that Hanuman comes and listens to Rama Katha whenever and wherever it is held. He is also blessed to be the next Brahma (Creator) when this world is created again after the Pralaya at the end of Kali Yuga. Jai Hanuman, Gyaan Gun Saagar! Truly He is the Ocean of Wisdom and Goodness!

Rati Hegde