Hanuman's Character as Assessed by Sri Ram
Valmiki Ramayana, Sundar Kanda, Canto 3
Literal translation, verse by verse (Gita Press, Gorakhpur ).
Addressing Ram and Lakshmana
Sent by that high-minded Sugriva, king of the leaders of monkeys, I, a monkey, Hanuman by name, have sought you. The said pious minded Sugriva actually seeks your friendship. Know me to be his minister, a monkey sprung from the loins of the wind-god and arrived here from Rsyamuk (mountain) in order to oblige Sugriva and disguised in the form of a recluse (Brahmin), capable as I am of going wherever I please and acting as I please.
Having spoken thus to the aforesaid heroes, Sri Ram and Lakshmana, Hanuman, for his part, who understood the true meaning of words and was an adept in expression, said nothing further.
Hearing the foregoing speech of Hanuman, the glorious Rama, who wore a most cheerful countenance, spoke (as follows) to his (half) brother Lakshamana, standing by his side:
Sri Rama said:
He who has arrived here in my presence is a minister of Sugriva, the high-minded chief of monkeys, whom alone (Sugriva) I was seeking. Answering in sweet words with affection the aforesaid monkey (Hanuman), who is a minister of Sugriva, knows how to speak and is a true tamer of foes, O Lakshmana!
To speak in the way he has done is not possible for one who has not studied Rgveda with an eye to its meaning, (who has) not memorized Yajurveda and has no knowledge of Samveda either. Surely the entire range of (Sanskrit) grammar has been studied by him in many ways, as is clear from the fact that nothing has been wrongly worded by him (even) though speaking a good deal. No fault of expression was noticed anywhere in his face nor even in his eyes, nor again in his forehead nor in his eyebrows nor in any one of his other limbs.
The speech from his bosom and articulated by his throat is marked by absence of prolixity (too great length; tedious length of speech), is unambiguous and unfaltering and does not make a grating impression (on one’s ears), uttered as it is in a modulated tone. He utters a wholesome, distinct and remarkable speech, that is grammatically correct, fluent and delightful to the mind.
Whose mind will not be rendered favourable by this wonderful speech, which has its seat in the three articulating organs (viz., the bosom, throat and head)? (To say nothing of others) the mind even of an enemy with his sword uplifted will be made friendly thereby. How can the progress of undertakings of a king in whose service no such envoy exists actually meet with success, O sinless brother? By the very pleading of an envoy, all the objects of a sovereign in whose service there happen to be agents adorned with hosts of such virtues are (surely) accomplished.
By Sri D.Ramkissoon B.A. (Hons)
The Legend : The Origin
Sri Hanumanji is an incarnation of Lord Siva.
Brihaspati (the preceptor of the gods) had an attendant by the name of Punjikasthala who was cursed to assume the body of a female monkey. The curse was to be removed on her giving birth to an incarnation of Lord Siva. Accordingly, she was born as Anjana and, together with her husband Kesari (so named on account of his being as brave as a lion), lived a life of chastity and purity. She performed intense Tapasya (austerities) for a great many years, during which period she worshipped Lord Siva who being pleased with her granted her a boon. She asked that He (Lord Siva) be born to her so that she may be freed from the curse.
When Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya was given the sacred payasa (pudding) by Agnideva to share among his wives so that they may have divine children (Ram, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna), by divine ordinance, a bird (kite) snatched a fragment of that pudding and, whilst flying over the forest, dropped it where Anjana was engaged in worship. Pavandev (the deity presiding over the wind) delivered that fragment of pudding to the outstretched hands of Anjana who immediately swallowed it. With that grace, she, in due course, gave birth to Hanumanji. Thus we find that Lord Siva incarnated as Hanumanji in the bodily form of a monkey through the grace and blessings of his god-father Pavandev, with Anjana and Kesari as his earthly parents.
As soon as Hanumanji was born, Anjana was released from the curse and wished to return to Heaven. Hanumanji asked his mother what his future would be and how he was to earn his living. She assured him that he would never be destroyed, and said that fruits as ripe as the rising sun would form his food. Thinking that the glowing and glittering sun was food to be eaten by him, the baby Hanumanji being divine in nature, made just one leap for it. He was 1600 miles from the sun when Rahu, who was exclusively enabled to harass the sun (thus causing eclipses or obstacles to the sun) complained to Indra (king of the gods in heaven) of this new threat to his power. Indra struck Hanumanji with his thunderbolt, wounding his chin and causing him to fall down to earth.
The god-father Pavandev carried Hanumanji to Patala (the nether regions) and as he departed from the earth, all life was endangered. Brahma and all the other gods went to Patala and begged Pavandev to return. In order to appease him they conferred great boons on the baby Hanumanji. The blessings of all the gods made Hanumanji invincible and more powerful than any other being, divine or ordinary. Thus Hanumanji is an embodiment of the powers of all the gods and goddesses.
Hanumanji mentally chose Surya (the Sun-god) as his preceptor. Therefore he approached Surya with the request to be taught the scriptures so that he may manifest spiritually in daily life. Surya agreed to have Hanumanji as his disciple but pointed out that it was not possible for him to stop his journey across the sky as that would cause chaos in the world. But Hanumanji was so mighty that he surprised all the gods by facing his Guru, who had to be constantly moving, thus (Hanumanji) traversing the sky backwards and at the same time concentrating fully on his lessons.
In this way Hanumanji enabled Surya to perform his duty and to impart knowledge at the same time. Within a short period of 60 hours, Hanumanji mastered all the scriptures. Surya considered the manner in which Hanumanji accomplished his studies as sufficient dakshina (tuition fees), but Hanumanji pressed him to accept more. Surya then asked Hanumanji to assist his son Sugriva, who was living in Kishkindha, by being his minister and constant companion.
In the Service of Sri Rama
Sri Hanumanji met Sri Rama whilst Sri Rama was in banishment. Sri Rama, together with his brother Lakshamana, was searching for his wife Sita. (Sita was abducted by the demon Ravana). Their search had taken them to the vicinity of the Pampa Lake situated at the base of the mountain Risyamukha. Sugriva (together with his ministers) was hiding in this region. Sugriva was being persecuted by his brother Bali . Sugriva was suspicious that Rama and Lakshmana might have been sent by Bali to kill him. Therefore, to ascertain whether they were friends or foes, Hanumanji approached them in the guise of a Brahmin. His first words to them were such that Sri Rama immediately said to Lakshmana: "None can speak thus without mastering the Vedas and their branches. Nor is there any defect in his countenance, eyes, forehead, brows, or any of his limbs. His accents are wonderful, auspicious and captivating. Even an enemy who has his sword uplifted is moved. Indeed, success awaits the monarch whose emissaries are so accomplished."
When Lord Rama revealed his identity, Hanumanji fell prostrate before Him and Lord Rama picked him up and clasped him to His bosom. Sri Rama reveals His identity as the son of Dasaratha and prince of Ayodhya, but Hanumanji perceives Him to be the Lord of the universe and prostrates.
Thereafter the story of Hanumanji is inextricably interwoven with that of Lord Rama, and is exhaustively dealt with in the Ramayana of Valmiki and the Ramacharitamanasa of Goswami Tulasidas.
To summarise in a few words: Hanumanji introduces Lord Rama to Sugriva; goes off in search of Sita; discovers and consoles Sita in Lanka; Burns the city of Lanka and kills many demons; brings together Vibhishana and Lord Rama; returns to Lanka with Lord Rama, and features very prominently in the battle that ensues between Lord Rama and Ravana; saves the life of Lakshmana by bringing the Sanjivani (life giving herb) from the Himalayas; and served Lord Rama for as long as He lived a human life on earth.
Service to the Pandavas
Hanumanji met Bhima in the forest and recognised him as his spiritual brother. (They were both born with the blessings of Pavandev). Hanumanji promised to aid the Pandavas in the battle of Kurukshetra. There Hanumanji positions himself on the flag of Arjuna’s chariot, thus stabilising and protecting it. Hanumanji’s flag signifies sense control and mind control that gives victory to the higher nature over the lower nature. Wherever the servant of Lord Rama is, there, victory is secured.
Hanumanji is said to be Chiranjivi (immortal) and is present in the world even today. He is the link between the devotees and God, for, as instructed by the Lord, he serves, protects and inspires the servants of God. Saints like Tulasidas had the darshan (divine vision) of the Lord through the grace of Hanumanji.
In the epics of no other country is there a character so powerful, learned and philosophic as Hanumanji.
From other sources
Hanuman-The servant of the Lord
Generally, all the gods and goddesses are pleased when their praises are sung. As far as Sri Hanuman is concerned, he is more delighted to hear the sacred name of Sri Rama sung than his own name being invoked. Even the most valuable article is rejected by him if it has not the sacred stamp of Ram on it.
There is unlimited power enclosed within us. When all that energy is directed towards the worship of God, it is called Bhakti or Devotion. This is exemplified by Sri Hanuman. If that energy is utilised for our selfish interests, it can result in downfall and destruction, as exemplified by Ravana. If we treat our potentialities with indifference they fritter away in all directions and are completely wasted.This is represented by common people all over the world who are not making any effort to advance along the spiritual path.
Hanuman`s devotion is centred in Sri Ram and his devotion forms the very basis of all his other qualities. One of the nine types of devotion is that of Master and servant- known as DASYABHAVA attitude and Sri Hanuman has adopted this from of devotion to become the most perfect example of it. Hanuman is always seen seated near the lotus feet of Sri Ram.
Hanuman`s devotion to Sri Ram had developed in him a total lack of ill wiil or hostility towards any one. In spite if possessing super human strength we do not find him making misuse of his powers anywhere. When Ravan asks, "Why did you kill the demons?" Hanuman gives a simple reply, "I killed those who attacked me".
In the Geeta, Lord Krishna describes the qualities of a bhakta or a devotee:
"He who acts for Me, who is engrossed in Me, who is My devotee, who is free from attachment, he reaches Me!"
The very first quality is "He who acts for Me". The very birth of Hanuman is to accomplish Sri Ram`s tasks as says Jambvan: "You are born to work for Sri Ram."
He has such a devotion to his task that he forgets all physical fatigue.
When on being pleased with Hanuman`s achievements, Sri Ram embraces him; in return Hanuman begs only that he may remain Sri Ram`s steadfast devotee.
"O Lord, bless me with undying devotion for you, for you are a source of great bliss for me. May I have everlasting love for You!"
This alone was the desire of Hanuman.
Hanuman`s greatness lies in his complete surrender to the Lord and he merges his own existence in the Lord.. From whatever point of view we see, we find that Sri Hanuman`s bhakti or devotion was so perfect that it culminated in advaitic God realisation.
Sri Rama asked Hanuman: "Hanuman, what
attitude do you cherish towards Me?"
Hanuman answered : "O Rama! When I think I am the body, You are the Master and I am Your servant, when I think I am the jivatman (embodied individual soul), You are the whole and I am a part ; but when I have the Knowledge of Reality, I see that you are I and I am You."
Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa Said:
"There are different levels among the devotees of God: superior, mediocre and inferior. All this has been described in the Gita.
The inferior devotee says, 'God exists, but He is very far off, up there in heaven.'
The mediocre devotee says:
'God exists in all beings as life and consciousness.'
The superior devotee says: 'It is God Himself who has become everything; whatever I see is only a form of God. It is He alone who has become Maya, the universe, and all living beings.
Nothing exists but God.' "