Readers of the Ramayana, the great epic of ancient India, cannot help but love Hanuman. Hanuman is considered one of the greatest servants of Lord Rama (an avatar of Krishna). How has this wild monkey won the hearts of all? And what does he teach us about living our best life?
1. He is always ready to serve: Hanuman sits next to Lord Rama with one knee on the ground ready to spring into action. Love is not just an emotion nor a noun…it’s a verb. Love means service. When Hanuman found Rama he dedicated his life to helping Him find Sita. Connect with God, find a person who inspires you in bhakti and offer service. Lots of it. Like Hanuman.
2. He takes risks: Oh, we live such safe lives until we peter out in the end. Hanuman was a risk taker. When it came to making the large jump across the ocean to Lanka, he wasn’t sure at first. Then one of his elders told him he had it in him to do it. In fact, when Hanuman was young, he had so much strength he was causing trouble everywhere. Knowledge of his powers was covered to protect him and those around him. So when a trusted elder told him he had the power to do it, he trusted that message and took the leap. And he made the jump. We need to find teachers, mentors and coaches who see the potential within us and who push us to take risks. Trusted others help us become greater than we think we can be.
3. He never gives up: After he travelled thousands of miles in search of a special herb to heal injured Laxman, he couldn’t find it on the mountain. A thorough search produced nothing so he carried back the whole mountain to let the healers locate the herb and do their work. There was no, “I can’t do it” or “It’s too hard”. He figured out a way to make it work, even if it meant more work on his side. He took the high road of commitment and we should too.
4. He turns difficult situations around: When he was captured in Lanka by the enemy army of Ravana, they tied him up and tortured him by lighting his tail on fire. Hanuman broke free and with his burning tail jumped from roof to roof and set fire to the whole city. Not that we should become destructive (remember, Hanuman was fighting a war at that time). But, whatever our difficulties, our mental or physical anguish or pain, we can transform that into a force for good. It is said if we don’t transform our pain, we transmit it.
Hanuman is one of the great heros of the Ramayana. There are many more. Read the Ramayana today. Not only is it a wonderful story, but by reading it our bhakti, the love for God that is within our heart, is nourished and awakened. Without accessing this love our life remains incomplete. Read, and learn to live and love like Hanuman.