Hanuman – Make Him your Ideal

Hanuman – Make Him your Ideal

I am happy to reproduce, at the request of many devotees and friends, a post from a Blog maintained  by Sri Kissoon Behari, a devotee from Chatsworth branch of the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa on the occasion of Sri Hanuman jayanti. Swami Vivekananda was fascinated by the sterling qualities of Sri Hanumanji. He exhorted his disciple thus:

You have now to make the character of Mahavira (Hanuman) your ideal. See how at the command of Ramachandra he crossed the ocean. He had no care for life or death! He was a perfect master of his senses and wonderfully sagacious. You have now to build your life on this great ideal of personal service. Through that, all the other ideals will gradually manifest in life. Obedience to the guru without questioning, and strict observance of Brahmacharya – this is the secret of success. As on the one hand Hanuman represents the ideal of service, so on the other he represents lion’s courage, striking the whole world with awe. He has not the least hesitation in sacrificing his life for the good of Rama. A supreme indifference to everything except the service of Rama. Only the carrying out of Shri Rama’s behest is the one vow of his life! Such whole-hearted devotion is wanted.

One of the main elements of spiritual progress is the companionship of the holy and the wise.  It is one of the commandments of Sri Ramakrishna (Some of the other injunctions being:repetition of God’s name and singing His glories, going into solitude now and then and thinking of God, and practising meditation.) He compared worldly people to moist wood. Even such wood when placed upon fire soon becomes dry and begins to burn. Similarly, the company of holy men or sadhus drives away the moisture of greed and lust from the hearts of the worldly, and then the fire of discrimination burns steadily in them.

And so one will easily understand how elated we were when our most Revered Swami Vimokshanandaji Maharaj accepted our invitation to visit us.

He first went to our little shrine, and uttering prayers, he worshiped with flowers. Then we led him to our lounge/dining room where some thirty  friends and family were eagerly awaiting His Holiness. For some (such as Devan Shukla and Prof Usha Shukla, Devika Madari, Head of Kendra Hindi Patshala) it was a first meeting (and a most memorable one at that). Some others had met Swami Vimokshananda on earlier occasions. These included Rajish Latchman, Deeplal  Buddan, Mala Rambally. These three presented a programme of Bhajans and a recital from the ‘Sundarkand’ of the Ramacharitamanasa. So enthralled was Swamiji by their rendition that he asked the artistes to continue for a little longer.

At our request, Swami Vimokshananda Ji addressed us. He presented a summary of the events of the section sung and then made a comment as only one who has a deep intuitive knowledge of scripture can. The following is a summary of the main points made.


Sri Hanumanji’s cute image at Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa, Durban

Sri Hanumanji , who has just been reminded of his immense power, sets out for Lanka where Mother Sita is being held captive by the demon king Ravana. He springs up on a beautiful hill to leap across the ocean. So powerful is his taking off that the hill sinks immediately into the nether world. On the way, Sri Hanumanji refuses the offer of Mount Mainaak to rest on him. Further in his journey, he encounters Surasa who threatens to devour him. As she opens her mouth to swallow Sri Hanumanji, he enlarges his body to twice the size of her mouth.  As she opens her mouth wider still, so does he increase his size. Then suddenly, assuming a very minute form, he enters her mouth and exits. Surasa reveals that she is there only to test the power of Sri Hanumanji. Receiving her blessings, he departs.

He next meets a demoness Simhika who has the power to seize a bird flying overhead just by catching hold of its shadow, dragging it down and then devouring it.  Sri Hanumanji dismisses her with a single powerful blow.

The entrance of Lanka is guarded by a demoness Lankini. She detects Sri Hanumanji even though he has reduced himself to the size of a gnat. He deals her such a blow that she reels and vomits blood. She recalls that Lord Brahma had disclosed that when she would be discomfited by a blow from a monkey it would foretell the end of Ravana and the demon race.


Swami V proceeded to reveal the mystery of this episode. The journey of Sri Hanumanji delineates the journey of a sadhaka in his spiritual quest.


The hill from which Sri Hanumanji leaps up and away is described as ‘beautiful’.  The hill represents our attraction and attachment to the world. Ordinarily, the world holds one down by its power of gravity or pull of attraction. Spiritual life commences with a strong rejection of worldly life which weighs us down (as does a rock.)


The temptation to relax from our spiritual activities or to turn away to another activity is always present. Such a temptation must be rejected. Mainaak’s offer represents the luxurious rest that entices the sadhaka. But Sri Hanumanji says that there is no rest for him until he has accomplished the work of Sri Ram.


The name ‘Surasa’ is a compound of ‘su’ meaning excessive and ‘rasa’ which suggests that which is pleasing to the taste. Thus, Surasa represents the world which appears pleasurable but which devours us in the end. Sri Hanumanji overcomes her with his wit and power.


Simhika represents jealousy. It is an invisible and most treacherous enemy of the sadhaka. The sadhaka is like the unwary bird flying high in ignorance of the threat that is lurking below (that is, in his sub-conscious mind). Once in her clutches, it is well nigh impossible to extricate himself from her, and so he perishes.


Lanka is guarded by the keeper Lankini. (One may think of her as a security system that prevents entry.) She represents pride. Sri Hanumanji puts paid to her with such a blow that topples her and causes her to vomit blood.

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11 thoughts on “Hanuman – Make Him your Ideal

  1. Respected Maharaj,
    The analogies put the entire story in a different perspective and hence, an illuminating one!

    Shilpi Banerjee
    Bangkok, Thailand


    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Shilpi
      Yes, all legendary stories can be re-interpreted in the tradional lines of Vedanta. It shows how true was Swami Vivekananda‘s observation that a Religion needs three phases viz., Philosophy, Mythology and Rituals.
      May Sri Hanumanji give us ‘bala, buddhi, vidya’ as Tulsidas prays in Sri Hanuman Chalisa!
      Swami Vimokshananda


  2. Respected Maharaj
    Thank you for this post!
    Have a blessed Hanuman Jayanthi!
    Durban, South Africa


    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Niriksha
      Hope at your centre, you all devotees as usual might have chanted 108 times of Hanuman Chalisa. I think, only in SA this type of spiritual activity is undertaken for the benefit of the devotees.
      May Sri Hanumanji give us ‘bala, buddhi, vidya’ as Tulsidas prays in Sri Hanuman Chalisa!
      Swami Vimokshananda


  3. Revered Maharaj,
    What an amazing explanation…!
    Many thanks for enriching us.
    With pranam to Sree Thakur,
    Kolkata, India


    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Debanjan
      Yes, all legendary stories can be re-interpreted in the tradional lines of Vedanta. It shows how true was Swami Vivekananda‘s observation that a Religion needs three phases viz., Philosophy, Mythology and Rituals.
      May Sri Hanumanji give us ‘bala, buddhi, vidya’ as Tulsidas prays in Sri Hanuman Chalisa!
      Swami Vimokshananda


  4. Pranam Maharaj (on this evening of Hanuman Jayanthi here in South Africa)!
    Thank you for sharing the deeper meaning behind the subtle stories. In Hinduism, there is always a deeper meaning behind every notable incident in our mythology. Sri Ramakrishna was adept as using examples to explain spiritual concepts to devotees.
    Respectful prostration!
    Rohith Jeebodh
    Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Rohit
      Yes, all legendary stories can be re-interpreted in the tradional lines of Vedanta. It shows how true was Swami Vivekananda‘s observation that a Religion needs three phases viz., Philosophy, Mythology and Rituals.
      May Sri Hanumanji give us ‘bala, buddhi, vidya’ as Tulsidas prays in Sri Hanuman Chalisa!
      Swami Vimokshananda


  5. Revered Maharaj
    We thank Maharaj for all the wonderful knowledge that you impart to us.
    This year the Chatsworth Sub-Centre held the recitation of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa 108 times. It was such a wonderful experience and the vibration was spiritually awesome.
    Thank you Maharaj once again for sharing your knowledge with us.
    With much love.
    Chatsworth, South Africa


    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Nisha
      Thanks for your visit!
      I am so happy that you all at the Chatsworth branch did 108 times chanting of Hanuman Chalisa. It is true wherever this wonderful hymn is chanted, the atmosphere turns into postive vibrations. When I was in SA, I have experienced the power and force of this hymn many times at different branches.
      May Hanumanji continue to bestow ‘bala, buddhi, vidya’ to all of you is my prayer!
      Swami Vimokshananda


  6. Jai Sri Ramakrishna!
    Revered and dear Maharaj,
    Please accept my pranam.
    It is befitting that this wonderful post on Sri Hanumanji immediately succeeds that on Sri Rama Navami.
    I felt thrilled to go through your vedantic interpretation of Sri Hanuman‘s exploits during his superhuman journey to Sri Lanka. Many thanks for sharing the same. Many thanks as well to the devotee Sri Kissoon Behari for having carefully jotted down important points from your talk and summarised them beautifully.
    Swamiji‘s inspiring observations on Sri Hanumanji reveal his multifaceted qualities/attributes. It looks as though Swamiji is speaking of himself!
    Please permit me to reproduce a 5 line verse from Kamba Ramayanam on Sri Hamumanji. The entire ‘Sundara Kandam’ seems to have been packed in these five lines. Kamban virtually seems to play with the five primal elements, namely space, air, fire, water & earth and portray Hanumanji‘s absolute control over them.

    Anjile Ondrai Petran (Born of Vayoo, one of the five elements)
    Anjile Ondrai Thaavi (jumped over ocean, water)
    Anjile Ondraaraaga Aariyarkaaga Egi ( flew through Akasha for the sake of Sri Rama)
    Anjile Ondru Petra Anangai Kandayalar Ooril (Had darshan of Mother Sita who is the daughter of earth)
    Anjile Ondrai Vaithan (He set fire to Sri Lanka)
    Avan Emmai Anaiththukkaapaan (He will protect us).
    I happened to know about this verse only about a few months back when I was listening to a ‘Hari katha’ on ‘Sundara Kandam‘.
    Today is Holy Easter. My hearty greetings and pranam to you & Revered Swami Purnanandaji on this holy occasion.
    Hyderabad, India


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