Exploring the Hanuman story this holiday season
During this holiday season, many Christians turn to Jesus Christ and some of the Hindu faith turn to Lord Hanuman. It seems that both spiritual figures share the qualities of devotion, surrender, service and kindness. These qualities are of course also present in many other faiths, and even in those persons who do not subscribe to a particular faith. Some of the latter might believe in consciousness. They strive to live up to the ideals reflected by humanists hoping for humans to evolve and transform through acts of service and compassion. Whatever your faith is, one can be inspired by the humility and service rendered to his god.
The story of Lord Hanuman
I particularly love the story of Lord Hanuman. He was endowed with miraculous powers and strengths. This monkey god was the most ancient and most powerful superman known to mankind. He had the ability to contract or expand his body at will and fly across long distances. Lord Hanuman is also the warrior god in the epic Ramayana, a story of fierce warriorship on behalf of Rama’s wife Sita and the eventual vanquishing of the demon Ravenna.
The character of Lord Hanuman
Lord Hanuman’s character tells us what we can do in our lives by becoming devotees to our spiritual paths. He shows us by his total devotion to Lord Rama. I am in awe by the pictures shown of him with his arms wrapped around Rama in devotion. One of these many pictures of Lord Hanuman show him like a child, gazing upon Rama with total faith and love. He becomes so absorbed in this love that he sees nothing but Rama who represents the whole of humanity whom Lord Hanuman has come to serve.
Why is Lord Hanuman in the form of a monkey?
Many ask why Lord Hanuman was born in the form of a monkey. The simple answer is that he symbolically represents man’s lower nature. When it transforms and refines, it becomes a conduit of the Divine. And isn’t that also our own spiritual paths as we struggle with ego qualities that do not serve us? As a personal experience I find that when I ask Hanuman for humility, he does indeed help me. I seem to become more aware of my ego’s presentation. I think of the “I” that covers me in my dealings with people and try to surrender to my own divine nature.
Lord Hanuman as son of Vayu
As the son of Vayu, the god of the wind, Lord Hanuman represents the subtle breath, responsible for the movement of energy or prana in our bodies. It is said to be particularly strong in those who lead pure and authentic lives, performing austerities and services.
Lord Hanuman is also said to represent the mental body with all its fickleness and movement. Just as Hanuman flew across the earth and skies, so too our thoughts move like flashes of lightening. We are reminded that when we are controlled by egos and animal passions, we too are subject to outward disturbances in our lives.
As we celebrate this holiday season, let us all be grateful for the story of Lord Hanuman. It. teaches us that it is in true humility that we can realize our godly natures. Particularly now as we face myriad challenges, we can remember the strength and character of a lowly monkey. He is a symbol of lower nature transformed in the service of mankind. May we remember and ask for our own humility and devotion.