26. Hanumaan : the ideal for mankind
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 28 (1995)
Hanumaan : the ideal for mankind
EMBODIMENTS of Love! Everything in the world has a value, but the value of the spoken word cannot be easily measured. By his words man can acquire every kind of wealth. By their words Rulers lose their kingdoms. By one's speech one can acquire friends and relations. By words one may make enemies, engender hatred and make himself miserable. Good words are a man's best kinsfolk. Nor is that all. It is one's speech which contributes to his progress in many ways. One's words are the root cause of one's prosperity, courage, bliss or even death. One's speech determines almost everything in one's life. Hence one's speech should be sweet, wholesome and pleasing to others. "Anudhvegakaram vakyam sathyam hitham preethikaram" (One’s speech should not cause excitement. It should be truthful, pleasing, and well-meaning). Even truth should not be uttered in harsh language. It should be soft, sweet, pleasing conducive to peacefulness. Hanuman was the supreme exemplar of such speech.
Hanuman was a dauntless hero who by his sweet and persuasive words promoted friendship between Shri Rama and Sugreeva. He was tranquil, valorous, and virtuous. He was a great scholar in Sanskrith and proficient in many languages. He was a master even of the Paisachi language (the language of evil spirits). Sanskrith is the mother of all languages. It was esteemed as the language of the Gods in ancient times.
God and the cosmos
There have been different conceptions regarding the phenomenal world, some considering it as mithya (illusory) and some considering it as real. The Vedhik seers viewed the world as a projection of the Divine. From very early times many sages devoted their lives to the discovery of the Divine. Only a few persisted in the quest throughout their lives. Their ecstatic experience of the Divine is expressed in the Purusha Shuktha, which declares' "Vedaham Etham, purusham mahantham." This means: "We have seen God. He is shining with the effulgence of a billion Suns. He is beyond the bounds of Thamo guna. His effulgence defies description." "Adhithyavarnam Thamasah Parasthath" (He is effulgent like the Sun and is beyond the darkness of ignorance).
The world is made up of the five basic elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth). The sages demonstrated that the Cosmos is the embodiment of God. The Vedas, the Upanishaths, the Ithihasas and Puranas also proclaimed the same truth. "Sarvam khalu idham Brahma" (All this is verily Brahmam). "Eeshvaras sarva bhoothanam," "Eesavasyam idham Jagath" (The entire cosmos is the abode of God). For experiencing this Divinity, Vairagya (detachment) is essential. Detachment does not mean renouncing health and home and retiring to a forest. True detachment means giving up worldly feelings, developing godly thoughts. The Reality is One only. "Ekoham Bahushyam" (The One willed to become the Many). The scholars declared' "Ekam sath' Viprah Bahudha vadhanthi" (There is One only; the wise call It by many names).
Reason for advent of avathars and sages
To propagate this great truth to the world, from time to time many sages and saints and Avathars made their advent in Bharath. They had total knowledge of the Supreme Self - Paripuurna Brahma Jnanis. Why did such realized souls take birth in the phenomenal world? In the modern world it is essential for people to comprehend the truth underlying this. Although these realized beings have no need to take human birth, they elected to do so for the purpose of redeeming the people on earth by their teachings and actions. Unless they are total Brahma- Jnanis, they cannot make others perceive the truth. Hence they come down in human form to dispel the ignorance of people in the world and reveal to them the Prajnana (highest wisdom). Krishna was a Paripuurna-Jnani (One who possessed the Supreme Wisdom). Why did he take on a human body? "Parithranaya Sadhunam" (to protect the good). Krishna incarnated in human form to teach the highest truth to the pious and the godly persons who were filled with good thoughts and performed good deeds. The sage Vyasa, who codified the Vedas, was a Paripuurna Jnani. Vyasa is Narayana Himself. What need was there for such a Realized Divine Being to make his advent on the earth? Vyasa incarnated as a man to elevate the ignorant and show them the path to a higher life. Shuka (the son of Vyasa) was also a Paripuurna Jnani. He, as well as the others, chose to be born on earth for the sake of promoting the welfare of the world and not because of any karma-bonds.
Two types of spiritual aspirants
The knowledge of the Supreme Self is associated with total freedom from Ahamkara (egoism). Those who have no taint of ego in them are totally free from the consequences of actions, regardless of what actions they do. Today there are in the world two types of sadhakas (Spiritual aspirants). One type of aspirants regard the cosmos as a manifestation of God. The other type consider the cosmos itself as God. The difference between the two can be illustrated by an example. Many kinds of jewels are made from gold. Some may consider the jewels as different from gold. Others may consider gold as the basic substance from which the jewels have been made. The Paripuurna Jnanis belong to the category of those who realise that without gold there can be no jewels. Those who consider the jewels as more important than the gold, out of which they have been made,.-belong to the category of those with half-knowledge. The truth is that without gold there can be no ornaments. Ornaments can be of various kinds and may have various forms and labels. But gold has no specific name or form like the jewels. God is without attributes, is eternal, infinite and immutable. Everyone born in the world has a form and name. But the divinity within him has no name or form. The individual with name and form is filled with egoism and possessiveness. This egoism and possessiveness are the cause of one's pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow. Hence everyone must strive to curb these two tendencies.
Guru and the disciple
Once a disciple went to a preceptor and requested him to impart to him the Supreme Knowledge of Omni-Self - Brahma-thathvam. The guru gave him a manthra and asked him to recite it continually without any selfish desire. The guru told him that after he has done this wholeheartedly for a year he could come and receive the Brahma-Jnana (knowledge of the Self). The disciple came back after a year duly carrying out with devotion the instructions of the preceptor. Filled with the hope that the preceptor would impart the Supreme Knowledge, the disciple had a sacred bath and was on his way to the preceptor. Unaware of the presence of the disciple, a maid was sweeping the ashram (hermitage) premises and the dust from the ground fell on the young man. Immediately, he lost his temper, as he felt that his purity after a sacred bath had been sullied by the dust that fell on him. He was angry with the maid for allowing the dust in fall on him. He looked at her with anger. The maid was filled with fear.
The disciple went in and offered his salutations to the guru and said' "Guruji! I have been waiting for a year to secure your grace. The time is now ripe for realising it. I am eager to receive the Supreme Knowledge from you." The preceptor said' "You are not yet competent to receive that knowledge. You have the qualities of a snake. You got angry with a girl who unwittingly caused some dust to fall on you. How can Brahma-Jnana be imparted to one who has not even this amount of forbearance? Go back and practise the sadhana for one more year. At the end of the second year, when the disciple was about to come to the ashram, the preceptor instructed the maid to see that as she swept, all the dust fall on the disciple. The maid told the guru that on the previous occasion the disciple had been angry with her, and this time if she repeated the offence, he might beat her. The guru told her to do as directed by him. In accordance with the directive of the guru, she let the dust fall on the disciple in full measure. Enraged at her conduct, the disciple went to beat her but refrained from doing so. He then went into the ashram and paid his respects to guru. The guru told him' "You have not yet acquired the competence to receive the knowledge. You are exhibiting the qualities of a dog. Come back after ridding yourself of these animal qualities." At the end of the third year, the disciple was coming to the ashram after a sacred bath. Carrying out the instructions of the guru, the maid of the ashram poured some dirty water on the disciple. The latter calmly offered his pranams (obeisance) to the maid and said' "Mother! My salutations to you. You have helped to strengthen my forbearance so that I can be worthy of the preceptor's grace." Without getting angry with her, he told her that he would be always grateful to her for what she had done to him. When he went in, the guru welcomed him and said: "Son! To-day you have become eligible to receive the Supreme Spiritual Knowledge." The lesson of this story is that every spiritual seeker has to get rid of attachment to the body. But, that is not enough. The egoistic feeling should be totally eliminated. The sense of possessiveness should be expelled. Only then can one realise Divinity. The preceptor drew the disciple close to him and imparted to him the Brahma-Jnana (Supreme Spiritual Wisdom) and filled him with bliss.
There are in the world today millions of people who recite the Lord's name. But while reciting the name, they do not realise the greatness and glory of the Divine name. When Hanuman entered Lanka, the land of Rakshasas, the first friendly person he encountered was Vibheeshana. All the Rakshasas in Lanka, who had not seen a monkey, were curious to know all about the simian visitor. They asked him' "Who are you? Wherefrom have you come and at whose behest? How did you enter Lanka?" 'Hanuman was unruffled. He told them, "I am the servant of the Lord Kosala, Shri Rama", though he was very powerful. This means also that in any situation one should remain calm and unperturbed. How is this tranquility to be secured? When the heart is pure, peace is assured. Without purity of the heart peace is unattainable. Even if one appears to be at peace, it is only a pretence. When one has both purity of heart and peace of mind, one can achieve anything. There are three P's. The first 'P' stands for purity. The second 'P' for patience. The third 'P' stands for perseverance. When these are present, one can acquire the grace of Shri Rama. This was amply demonstrated by Hanuman.
But Vibheeshana was full of anguish. He told Hanuman: "Oh Hanuman! How lucky you are, how meritorious to earn the company of Ramachandra! I have not had that good fortune. I have been meditating on Rama's name for many years. But so far I have not got the Dharshan of Rama. You have not only enjoyed the company of the Lord, but you are privileged to carry out the commands of Rama. Please tell me how I can secure such a blessing." Hanuman replied' "Vibheeshana! It is not enough if you merely recite the name of Rama. You have to carry out the injunctions of Rama and engage yourself in the service of Rama. Only then you will experience the power of Rama within you." From that moment, Vibheeshana resolved to participate in the service of Rama.
Nama japa without service is no use
Today in the Kali Yuga, there are any number of persons chanting Rama's name. Nama-Japa (chanting the name) is not enough. Whatever name you recite, you must also be active in the service of the form associated with the name. What is implied by the term, Ramakarya (service to Rama)? Rama is immanent in the entire cosmos. Rama is present everywhere. Hence, you have to take part in social service. By rendering service to one's fellow beings, rendering help to the helpless and performing sacred acts of dedicated service, one becomes eligible for Shri Rama's grace. Although Hanuman was highly intelligent, in matters relating to the Divine, he made no distinction between good and bad. He carried out implicitly whatever he was ordered to do. He did not care to enquire whether it was right or wrong. Why? Because he regarded whatever Rama said as Veda Vakya (Gospel truth). God's word is beyond question. Hanuman felt that. he was not competent to sit in judgement on the 'Lord's words. "My duty is to carry out whatever Rama says." "Karthavyam yogam uchyathe" (Duty is Yoga), says the Geetha. What is this yoga ? "Yogah karmasu Kaushalam" says Geetha. Yoga is excellence in the performance of duty. Hence you should embark on all actions in accordance with the Divine injunctions. Then alone you experience all kinds of knowledge.
Do not give room for doubt and disbelief
Today everyone is racked by doubts' "To do or not to do." To meditate on God why should there be this doubt? No one filled with such doubt will be worthy of God's grace. You should not give any room for disbelief. Even if a person abuses you, you must seek to recognise the divinity in him. Every individual may have his own name and form, but the Divine is in everyone equally. This broad-minded view should be developed. There is no one in. the world without the Divine in 'him. Hence service should be rendered to one and all with this conviction. Many hanker after Self-Realisation. But how can they have Realisation when they have no selfconfidence? What does Self-Realisation mean? It is not discovering one's lineage and mundane identity. These relate to the body. But you do not belong to any family or clan. You are yourself. Even to declare, "I am God", implies dualism. It is difficult to comprehend the Divine Principle. The nearest approach to comprehending the Divine is to consider Divinity as all pervasive.
Leave no taint of self interest in your actions
Embodiments of Love! All devotional exercises today appear to be a kind of business. This is not the way to relate to 'the Divine. Whatever you do, regard it as an offering to the Divine. "Who am I? I am yours" - this should be the attitude towards God. There should be no taint of self interest in your actions. (Svami related how Rama taught to Kaikeyi the Vedanthik message of egolessness as the means of Self-Realisation). Men are dominated by the feeling of possessiveness. But what is it that really belongs to them? They are only Trustees for their properties. Nothing really belongs to them. You imagine that the body belongs to you. But how much control have you over it? Can you live as you please? No. The body is not yours. Everything belongs to God. One can become a true devotee only when he has this feeling. "Nothing is mine. All belongs to you (God)." This should be the feeling of the devotee.
The difference in attitudes between the gopikas and the denizens of Dhvaraka consisted precisely in this' The gopikas declared' "Krishna, we are yours!" The people of Dhvaraka developed pride and egoism over their kinship with Krishna. That egoism brought ruin on the Yadhava clan. The Yadhavas boasted about their kinship with Krishna in various ways. The gopikas had no such conceit. They were content to declare: "We are yours, Krishna!" The difference in attitudes indicates the distinction between dualism and non-dualism. The nondualist has no problem. "Adhvaitha dharshanam jnanam" (Perception of the one without a second is the Supreme Knowledge). What everyone has to realise today is the omnipresence of, the Divine. "Sarvam khalu idham Brahma” (Verily all this is Divine). The unity of the body, mind and spirit should be understood. No actions can be performed without the body. Without actions the eternal verities cannot be recognized. There can be no Self-Realisation without recognizing the verities.
Hanuman was always engaged in the contemplation of Rama. Every hair on his body chanted the name of Rama. Hanuman is adored by devotees as an example of total devotion to the Lord. When some had doubts whether Hanuman could leap the ocean to search for Seetha in Lanka, Hanuman told them that Rama had given him the task and He would also give him the strength to accomplish it. This absolute faith was the cause of his success. When people entertain doubts as to their capacity to carry out the tasks assigned to them by the Divine, they will be weak and powerless. Hence, to accomplish anything, firm faith is essential. Doubts have to be expelled. Everything that happens should be accepted as for one's own good. That is the means to qualify for God's grace. To go on speculating over Svami's words is an insane exercise. Hanuman exemplified complete freedom from doubts. He had only two desires. To be dear and near to Rama. Hanuman intensely yearned to be always near to Rama. He had no use for any object, however valuable, which did not proclaim the' name of Rama. He threw away the pearl necklace presented to him by Seetha because the pearls did not recite Rama's name. (Svami sang a ballad, in which Rama praised Hanuman as the greatest of devotees and embraced him). Rama declared' "Hanuman! No material object is fit enough to be given to you as a present. You live in the world of the Spirit. You have no attachment to the things of the world. Let you be present wherever my glory is sung." Hanuman was intoxicated by his devotion to Rama and was always in a state of ecstasy in chanting Rama's name. He was all humility in the presence of Rama. He was utterly fearless before Ravana. Before the Divine he was a suppliant. Before a Rakshasa he was a hero. Hanuman knew how to conduct himself in any situation. He was supremely, intelligent. He stands out' as ideal for mankind.
Human action and Divine aim should go together
People today lead meaningless mechanical lives with no ideals to inspire them. The purpose of life is to experience the Divine that is subtle and invisible like the roots that sustain a tree. Men today want fruits without considering the roots. The ancient sages searched for the roots to realise the fruits. Bharatheeya culture was based on this concern for what is fundamental and primal. Today people forget the basic truths and pursue the ephemeral. Worldly life is inescapable. But it should be lived with the ultimate goal in view. Human action and Divine aim should go together. To forget the Divine is to descend to the level of the animal. A hero becomes a zero if he forgets God.
All over the world men are perpetually haunted by fears of every kind because they have not secured the freedom from fear which God alone can give. (Bhagavan sang a ballad describing the fears experienced by man). God's grace alone can free men from fear. All should strive to secure Divine grace by developing firm faith in God. You may worship any form, chant any name, but have firm faith in God. Call the Divine by any name, Rama, Krishna, Allah, Jesus or Buddha - all names are the same. The one Lord is adored by different names. Devotion should not be converted into a form of business. You should not say you will offer something to God if you get a certain thing which .you desire. God needs nothing from you. Everything belongs to God. You brought nothing with you at birth and leave the world with nothing. Only the Divine is with you. Hence, cherish faith in God. · People ask, "How is one to believe in something that is not perceivable?" This is an absurd question. The qualities of a man are not perceived while the physical body can be seen. But the qualities are more significant than the physical features. Likewise, faith in the Divine is more important than faith in the phenomenal world. God can be realised only through Love.
A wave of service, if it sweeps over the land, catching everyone in its enthusiasm, will be able to wipe off the mounds of hatred, malice and greed that infest the world.
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba