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A tribute to "Sundaran" of "Sundara khANDam"

Ramanbil_at_aol.com
Date: Mon Apr 03 2000 - 12:11:19 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas:
As a prelude to the commencement of "Sundara KhANDa PArAyaNam" tomorrow, let 
us offer our obeisances to the great heo of the Canto, Sri AanjanEya. This is 
my write up on AanjanEya submitted on the occasion of Hanumath Jayanthi a 
couple of years ago.
Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy
============================================================
Sri AanjanEya is believed to have been born in the month of MaAgazhi in
the constellation of Moolam and on the AmavAsya day. This is also
believed to be the birthday of another RAma Bhakta viz., BhadrAchala
RAmdas. Some place his birth of AanjanEya on the PourNami day in the
month of Chaitra.. 

However it be, the glory of Sri AanjanEya is so unique that it is beyond
all attempts to recount. "Sri Hanumat Sthuti" portrays him as the very gem
in the garland of the great epic of Srimad Ramayana- "RaamAyaNa MahA
Maala Ratnam".

DHYANA SLOKAS
A Dhyana Slokam says that  crossing the ocean, Aanjaneya met Sri Sita in
the AshOka Vana and took the fire of her grief and used that fire itself to
burn down Lanka.

Ullanghya Sindhoh Salilam Saleelam Yah Sokavahnim Janakaaymajaayaah/
Aadhaaya Thenaiva Dadhaaha Lankaam Namaami Thum Praanjalir Anjaneyam//

The Raakshasas bandaged AanjanEya's tail with ropes and rags and set fire
to it. The coflagaration ravaged the entire Lanka city except AshOkavana
where Sri Sita was held prisoner. The fire did not burn AanjanEya's tail
even though it gutted the buildings. On the other hand, he felt a cool,
soothing sensation, thanks to the grace of Sri Sita.

The SlOka " VaidEhi Sahitham"...states that even though he himself was
seated on his " Veeraasana" in the golden ManDapa and even though he was
surrounded by Bharata, LakshmaNa, Satrugna and the Munis, it was in the
immediate presence of AanjanEya that Sri Raama expounded JnAna Upadesa. 

V 
aidehi Sahitham Suradruma Thale Haimey Mahaa Mandape
Madhye Pushpakamaasane Manimaye Veeraasane Susthitham/
AGRE VAACHAYATI PRAPANJHANA SUTHE Tatvam Munibhyah Param
Vyaakhyaantam Bharataadhibhih Parivritam Raamam Bhaje Syaamalam//

In fact, Lord Raama praises him as " Nava VyaakaraNa Vedthaa"- master of
all the nine VyakaraNas. HanumAn is considered an ideal Guru - " Hanumath
Samena GuruNaa"

The following SlOka graphically depicts his multifaceted personality-
his supersonic speed, his control of senses, his razor sharp wisdom,.his
pre-eminence among the simian battallion, his outstanding achievement as
the ideal emissary et al.

ManOjavam Maaruta Thulya Vegam JithEndriyam Buddhimataham VarishTam/
Vaathaatmajam Vaanara Yutha Mukhyam Sri Raama Dhootham Sirasaa Namaami//

MANOJAVAM, MARUTA THULYA VEGAM: His Supersonic speed is evidenced in his 
flying over the seas to reach Lanka, across the land and mountains on
his reach to fetch Sanjeevi malai.

JITEHENDRIYAM: His celibacy  and control over senses is evidenced in his
turning a blind eye to the womenfolk sleeping in voluptuous postures as
he strolled Ravana's harem in search of Sri Sita before he landed at
AshOka Vana.

BUDDHIMATHAAM VARISHTAM: His being the foremost among the intelligent is
best described in.Kambar's words- " SOLLIN SELVAN"- One possessed of
wealth in oratory - an expression which far surpasses honorofics
like 'silver tongued' and 'golden tongued' oratory (attributed to mere
mortals!). In fact, Sri Sita eulogises Hanuman as the only one endowed
with all the eight lakshanas of a Super-intelligent person (Vide Yuddha
Khandam,Sargam116  Verse 27- in which she says:

Buddhyaa Hi Ashtaangayaa Yuktam TvamEva Arhasi Bhaashithum /
Slaaghaneeyo Anilasya Tvam Putrah Parama Dhaarmikah //

The eight lakshanas are as follows :
i)  Understanding what others say
ii)  Remembering what has been thus understood
iii)  Retrieving the information as and when required
iv)  Explaining to others in an appropriate manner with choice use of words
v)  Inferring the viewpoints of others by intelligent guess
vi)  Providing ready answers in reply to such viewpoints
vii)  Understanding the inner and subtle meanings implied in such expressions
viii)  Grasping the real interpretations of  what is said
Hanuman was a master non-pareil in all these lakshanas.

These are evidenced on several occasions. (e.g)

i)  When Sri Raama and LakshmaNa approached their habitat, Sugriva 
and his retinue mistook them to be the allies of Vaali and so hid
themselves in the cave, It was HanumAn who boldly approached them 
disguised as a BrahmachAri since he could percieve even 
'at first sight' that  they were the very warriors who could help
Sugriva out of his predicament,.

ii)  Instead of asking directly who they were, Hanumaan put in a subtle
enquiry as to how he should introduce them to his Mahaaraaja, whereupon
LakshmaNa narrates the incidents leading upto the search for Sri Sita.

iii) As he returns to Sugriva, he first praises the valour of  the twins
before narrating their mission lest Sugriva should underestimate the
alliance as being tilted towards helping Sri Raama instead of Sri Raama
helping him against Vaali.

iv)  When Sugriva does not turn up for helping Sri Raama in due time as
promised, Sri Raama sends LakshmaNa to convey the warning to Sugriva that
the ' path of Vaali was not yet closed but remained open '- HanumAn places
Taara before LakshmaNa to pacify his anger.

v)  When VibishaNa surrendered, it was Hanumaan who reflected what was
running in the mind of Sri Raama and pleaded for accepting VibishaNa
while all others were debating on the desirability or otherwise of
admitting VibishaNa.

SRI RAMA DHOOTHAM: The essential qualities of an ideal emissary have
been detailed in Kaamaanthakeeya Neethi and Sukra Neethi which have been
quoted extensively in Srimad Vaalmiki RaamaayaNam (Vide p.139 of Yuddha
Khaandam Notes by Sri C.R.Srinivasa Iyengar). Hanumaan fits in exactly as
none else could as the ideal Dhootan and proved his perfection even in
this role. To cite a few examples-

i)  Confronting Raavana when he was not offered a seat which was his due
as an emissary, he wound his long tail and created a seat that was on
par with the raised seat of RaavaNa on the throne

ii)  Hanumaan characterized himself as the dumbest, dullest of Sri Raama's
entourage to let RaavaNa imagine that if such a one could wreak such a
mighty havoc, what could be expected when the smarter ones came upon
Lanka thus effectively instilling fear in the heart of RaavaNa.

iii)  In a fist fight with RaavaNa, Hanuman hit RaavaNa so hard that the
latter fell to the ground reeling. Hanumaan tells him that he was ashamed
of his own strength since RaavaNa did not die but was seen still alive
after recieving the fatal blow

iv)  On return from Lanka after meeting with Sri Sita Hanumaan greets Sri
Raama saying 
" Drishtaa Sita" which translates as "Seen Sita" instead of the usual
staetment " Sita was seen". This was to dispel any anxiety and faulty,
hasty conclusion one might draw if the reference to 'seeing' was
mentioned after mentioning 'Sita'                             

HANUMAN'S ROLE AS A DHOOTA
It used to be said that Hanumaan succeded so much in his role as an
emissary by humbling RaavaNa and spotting Sri Sita etc that the Lord was
so impressed that he yearned to make a try of the role himself. 
In KrishNa Avatara, he did try but the story shows that he did not succeeed
in his mission when he went as a messenger on behalf of the Paandavas.
Thus, Hanumaan excelled even the Lord himself in this regard !.

WHAT HANUMAN CAN GRANT?
What one can achieve by mere remembrance of Hanumaan is portrayed in the
following SlOka:

Buddhir Bhalam YasO Dhairyam Nirbhayathvam ArOgathaam /
AjaaTyam Vaak PaTuthvam Cha Hanumath Smaranaath BhavEth//

Wisdom, Strength, Fame, Valor, Fearlessness,Health, Determination, Gift
of the gab - in short, all that one can wish for can be achieved by
anyone meditating on Hanumaan.

If ever there is one who is unsurpassed in JnAnam, Balam, Bhakti,
Valour, Fame, Service, Modesty etc- it is the Svarupa of Hanumaan. 

HANUMAN'S BRAHMACHARYA
It is to be remembered that even though he is depicted as a simian known
for its wayward behaviour, he was just the opposite of all these foibles
attributed to them. His Brahmacharya was exemplary. If one meditates on
him, one would acquire this quality.

BACKGROUND OF HANUMAN'S POWERS
How Hanumaan came to acquire such extraordinary powers is gleaned from
the incidents associated with his childhood.

As baby Aanjaneya was sleeping in the cradle, his mother Anjana stepped
out to gather some fruits for the child. Quite unexpectedly, the child
woke up and feeling very hungry got out of his bed and searched for
something to eat. He saw the Sun rising like a red apple. Desiring to
pluck it, the baby pounced over the skies to reach the Sun. That was
about the time when Raahu was to catch  Surya being the day of Solar
eclipse. Finding a rival in Aanjaneya, Raahu complained to Indra. On
recieving the 911 call, Indra rushed to the spot  mounted on his
Airaavatam. To Aanjaneya's eyes, Raahu appeared more attractive than the
Sun and Airaavtam even more so. So, he gave up his 'hot pursuit' of the
Sun and turned instead to Airaavatam. Enraged, Indra struck AanjanEya with
his Vajraayudham. AanjanEya's cheeks got disfigured and he fell down.
Incidentally, "Hanu" means cheek and because of this incident, AanjanEya
came to be known as Hanumaan.

Vaayu was overwhelmed with grief on seeing the plight of his dear son who
had been mercilessly hit by Indra unmindful of the fact that AanjanEya
was a baby. He gathered up his son and hid within a cave. With the
movement of air coming to a standstill, the entire world suffered
asphyxiation. 

The Devas reported the matter to Brahma who rushed to the spot with all
the Devas. He gently massaged Hanumaan. At the touch of Brahma, AanjanEya
regained his normalcy. Brahma told all the Devas that AanjanEya was a
Mahaapurusha who had a mission to accomplish in assisting Raama in his
Avataara Rahasya and ordered that all the Devas should shower their
blessings on AanjanEya. Indra was the first to declare that AanjanEya would
never again be bothered by his Vajraayudha; VaruNa likewise vowed that
AanjanEya would never be troubled by his VaruNa Paasam or by any water
related accidents; Yama declared that he would be free from his Yama
Paasam, would ever be victorious in war and free from all diseases flesh
is heir to; Sun God blessed him with supreme valour and his own
brilliance; Viswakarma agreed that none of his warheads in his arsenal
would ever torment AanjanEya; Rudra offered him immunity from his own
Trisoolam, Paasupatham and other weapons; Finally, Brahma himself
guaranteed protection against his own most powerful Brahmaastram. Thus,
the Devas vied with each other in blessing the child.

WHY HANUMAN DID NOT FIGHT VAALI?
It may be questioned why if Hanumaan was endowed with such extraordinary
powers, did did he keep mum and not fight against Vaali when the latter
tormented Sugriva.

This was because of a curse which Hanumaan had to endure. Armed with all
the boons, the child Hanumaan set out to play its innocent pranks on the
Rishis in the nearby Aashrams- tearing away and scattering their bark
clothes, throwing their vessels around etc. The nuisance created by him
annoyed the Rishis so much that they pronounced a curse that he would
become unaware of the acquisition of such vast array of powers. But, at
the request of Anjana, they modified the curse to say that he would gain
knowledge of his powers and perform impossible feats when a great soul
reminded him of his potential. Thus, it was that he was unaware of his
own prowess until he was reminded later by Jambavaan. At the point of
time of the fight between Vaali and Sugriva he was not conscious of his
own powers and hence did not intercede on behalf of Sugriva.

HANUMAN'S OTHER NAME WHICH HE HIMSELF DID NOT KNOW !
Anjaneya has several names. He is known as 'Hanumaan' in Tamil,
'Hanumanthaiah' and 'Mukhya Praana Devaru' in Kannada, 'Hanumanthudu' in
Telugu. As one moves North beyond the Vindyas, he is called 'Maaruti' and
in Maharashtra , they call him 'Mahaaveer'.

Do you know that besides being called 'Vaayuputran', 'AanjanEya' and
'Siriya Tiruvadi' (Periya Tiruvadi being GaruDaazhwAr), he had another name
which he himself did not know?

The story goes that Sage Vaalmiki wrote the epic after Sri Raama's
Coronation. After completing Aaranya KhANDam, he desired to name the
next Canto after Aanjaneya. But, AanjanEya appeared before him pleading
that he need not be given such an importance, for after all he was only
a Raama Daasan - a servant of Sri Raama.The sage took his assent to name the
Canto as " Sundara KhANDam". Thereafter, AanjanEya went to his mother to
narrate the incident. Even as he was approaching, Anjana greeted him
calling him by his pet name "Sundara" for that was the name she had given him
at birth!

Aanjaneya rushed back to the Sage to request him to drop this title also.
But, the Sage said that it was too late as the Chapter had already been
completed with " Sundaran" as the hero.

HANUMAN'S CROSSING THE OCEAN
Let us consider the extraordinary feat of Hanumaan in his ' high and long
jump' across the ocean in search of Sri Sita. Lord Raama had to build a
bridge with the help of the battallion of Vaanaras (and squirrels too!)
duly guided by the engineering skills of the technical experts in his
entourage before he could ' walk ' his army across to Lanka. 
But, what did Hanumaan do?. 
He simply recited the Naama of Raama and Lo and Behold ! - 
He could ' fly over ' the high seas and land right on his destination !. 
Thus, he proved not only his own powers but also more importantly that 
' Raama Naama' was more powerful than ' Raama' himself !.

HOW HANUMAN SAVES IN LIFE THREATENING SITUATIONS ?
An important point to note is that in life-threatening situations,
Hanumaan is unfailing. This can be seen from three episodes in Srimad
RaamaayaNa:

i.  In AshOka vana, Sita becomes desparate after 10 months of
incarceration with no trace of the Lord coming to her rescue. She
decides to commit suicide by hanging from a tree using her saree as a
noose. Precisely at that moment, Hanumaan appears to convey her the
tidings of Sri Raama's arrival, instilling hope in her that Sri Raama was
on his way and ere long her sufferings would come to an end.

ii.  Again, LakshmaNa and the entire army of Sri Raama were bound by
Brahmaastra, Sri Raama laments bitterly thinking that his dear brother
and others had died. Jambavaan knew that the only herb that could bring
them alive was on the mountain called Sanjeevi and that the only person
capable of fetching it was Hanumaan. Taking directions from Jambavaan,
Hanumaan flew northwards beyond the Himalayas, Kapilai and Meru mountains
and spotted the Sanjeevi mountain . Not wanting to waste time in
searching for the herbs, he plucked and lifted the whole Sanjeevi
mountain and flew back in time to the battlefield. As he was
approaching, the herbal breeze brought them back to life and they woke
up as if from deep sleep.

iii.  Sri Raama had promised to Bharata that he would return to AyOdhya
immediately on the completion of the 14 years' exile. Sri Raama knew that
if he put a 'no show', at the appointed time, Bharata would commit
suicide in a fire ordeal by ' Praayopavesam'.

Precisely as apprehended, Bharata had indeed ignited the fire and was
circumambulating as a prelude to his plunging into the fire. Unable to
witness the ghastly sight, the citizens of AyOdhya were pathetically
screaming. Tension was building up in a crescendo moment by moment.

Right then, Hanumaan appeared with the tidings of Sri Raama's arrival,
extinguished the flames  with his bare hands. Meanwhile, Sri Raama,
LakshmaNa, Sita and his entourage arrived in the Pushpaka Vimaanam and
landed (on the helipad?) bringing great relief to one and all..

HANUMAN'S ENCOUNTER WITH BHIMA
Once as requested by Draupadi, Bhima set out to fetch a lotus flower. On
his way, he went on uprooting trees. As he neared the Himalayas, there was 
Hanumaan  resting and blocking his way. When asked to give way, Hanumaan
bade him to lift his tail and go. Bhima tried his best but could not
even move the tail. On learning that Hanumaan was his own elder brother 
(both being the sons of Windgod), Bhima fell at his feet and sought his
blessings. Hanumaan blessed him and promised to help him in the
Kurukshetra war by being atop Arjuna's flag.

HANUMAN'S ENCOUNTER WITH ARJUNA
Once, Arjuna asked Hanumaan why Sri Raama should have taken so much
efforts to build a bridge across the ocean putting the Vaanaras to lot of
strain and boasted that if he were to be there, he would have
constructed a bridge made of arrows which could bear the load of the
entire world. This was inspite of Hanumaan's advice not to be so ego centered,
Arjuna proceeded to demonstrate by building a bridge of arrows. But, it
broke unable to bear the weight of Hanumaan. Arjuna felt humbled and fell
at Hanumaan's feet and begged to be excused.

SRI RAMA'S GIFT TO HANUMAN
At the time of Coronation, Sri Raama wanted to gift something valuable to
Hanuman as a token of gratitude for all the help he had rendered. But
could not find one as adequate recompense. So, he offered himself and
embraced Hanumaan. Except for Sita, the only other person who had the
blessings of an embrace of the Lord was Hanumaan. What greater object could 
he give than this?

HANUMAN - THE CHIRANJEEVI
It is said that when Sri Raama returned to Paramapada at the end of his
Avataar, he invited Hanumaan to accompany him. But, Hanumaan politely
declined saying that he can neither give up the Sarira embraced by the
Lord, nor would he be able to witness the Lord in the form of Sri Raama
in the Paramapada and preferred to stay back. Sri Raama blessed him with
Chiranjeevitvam - eternal life. 

It is believed that Hanuman attends wherever Pravachanam of Srimad 
RaamaayaNam is delivered.For this purpose, even to this day, a special low 
wooden seat (Manai) is provided exclusively for Hanuman in the hall where 
Srimad RaamayaNa Pravachanam is delivered . Hanumaan is believed to listen 
the Pravachanam with folded hands and eyes filled with tears of joy.

Yathra Yathra Raghunaatha Keerthanam
Thathra Thathra Kritham Hasthaka Anjalim /
Bhaashpa Vaari Paripoorna LOchanam
Maarutim Namatha Raakshasa  Anthakam //

Skeptics of moden days may argue that these episodes are figments of
imagination of the poet  forming part of an epic story and question
whether  today in practical life, Hanumaan can help us out in solving our
day to day problems. 

There have been numerous instances of practical experiences in which
SINCERE prayers to Hanumaan have brought INSTANT relief even in the most
trying situations. Let us understand that the emphasis is on the word
SINCERE- UNCONDITIONAL FAITH - not half hearted, disbelieving approach, and
certainly not as a challenge. But, the prayer should be WITHOUT ANY
RESERVATIONS, WHOLE-HEARTED, UTTERLY FAITHFUL AND IN A SPIRIT OF UTMOST 
HUMILITY. THE PROOF OF ITS EFFICACY CAN  WELL BE WITHIN YOUR PERSONAL 
EXPERIENCE !

A SlOka found to be most effective in this regard is as follows:
Several people have reported that in most excruciating circumstances,
constant repetition of the SlOka with the abovementioned faith, have in
fact, brought INCREDIBLY INSTANT relief. 
No joking. Try and find for yourself !

Asaadhya Saadhaka Swaamin
Asaadhyam Thava Kim Vadha /
Raama Dhootha Krupaa SindhO:
Muth Kaaryam Saadhaya PrabhOh://

May Hanumaan shower his choicest blessings on all of us.
Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy


           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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