Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (www.sirwilliamwesley.com)
There are times when, if you’re like me, you look for examples of faith and piety, perhaps someone to inspire you, to teach you the power of devotion. It’s times like that when I think of a particular monkey, and no, it’s not “Monkey” from Dexter’s Laboratory, although he does kick butt! I’m talking about the Hindu God Hanuman.
Following in the fine tradition of Hindu deities with an animal/human thing going on, Hanuman has the head of a monkey or ape (choose your preference) and the body of a man. In all fairness, to many Hanuman is technically considered an immortal, but that does not stop people from loving him! Although he would prefer you devote yourself to Rama and Sita…more on that in a moment.
At the end of the day, Hanuman is known for his courage, power, and his faithful selfless service. Yet, like all mature deities, he had his wild youth. As a young empowered being he took flight and tried to catch the sun, Hanuman thought it was a ripe fruit. Hanuman also spent his days teasing and tormenting mediating sages, sometimes taking or moving around their personal possessions. To help keep everybody a little safer, and a little saner, a curse was put upon Hanuman that he would not remember his powers. They only become available to him when someone else reminds him that he possesses them. Therefore, Hanuman’s days of, pardon the expression, monkey business, were over. On with the mighty heroics!
In the service of Lord Rama, Hanuman accomplished great feats. Mainly, he grew in size. I mean, HUGE! We’re talking walking over oceans, carrying mountains, limitless tail length (it mattered, trust me), levels of largeness. Hanuman’s efforts can be directly linked to Lord Rama being reunited with his Sita. Thank you very much!
At the end of the day, what reward did Hanuman ask for? He asked to live for as long as men spoke of the deeds of Rama. You may be thinking, what a kiss up! Well, you aren’t alone, that’s what many said. To silence the critics, Hanuman tore open his chest with his claws to reveal that enshrined within were Rama and Sita. From that moment forward, no one doubted Hanuman’s devotion.
What can we learn from Hanuman? For starters, he teaches us of the power that lies unused in each of us. It was through Hanuman’s undying devotion to Rama that his powers became revealed to him, thus implying that the same potential lies within each of us as well. Primarily, Hanuman embodies wholly the word devotion, and illustrates to us the strength and power that devotion can provide us. When I think of Hanuman I ask myself one question, one that I pose to you now. If I tore open my chest, to show the world what was enshrined there, what would everyone see? It’s that question, and more importantly, the answer to that question, that illustrates Hanuman’s importance.