The Role Models from Ramayana- 3

"Hanuman- The embodiment of Selfless Service"

Contributed by RP Turaga

Hanuman, The Embodiment of Selfless Service


 To that Messenger of Sri Rama, I take Refuge, Who is Swift as Mind and Fast as Wind, Who is the Master of the Senses and Honoredfor His Excellent Intelligence, Learning and Wisdom, Who is Son of the Wind God and Chief among the Monkeys,

 Hanuman, is seen by Sri Rama and Lakshmana for the first time near Mount Rishymukha, on the outskirts of Kishkindha.

The very first assurance given by Sage Valmiki through Hanuman, to all of us is, "Be Fearless"

Even today that assurance of Hanuman is ruling high on the Hindu psyche and Hanuman is to be remembered in any event of fright.

The Sundara Kanda is the fifth kanda (part) of the Valmiki Sri Ramayana.

We find beautiful dialogues between Hanuman and Mother Sita in the Sundara Kanda. The book also contains the dialogues between Mother Sita and Ravana, Ravana and Hanuman.

The Sundara Kanda extols the following extraordinary qualities of Hanuman, the son of Vayu (Wind God):

1. Competence

2. Envoy, Devoted Friend, Trusted Companion

3. Robust Self-Confidence and Optimism

4. Alertness, Resourcefulness

5. Swiftness of action and sharp mind

6. Foresight, Scholarship

7. Spirit of Service

Valmiki unfolds the manifold excellences of Hanuman as well as Mother Sita in the Sundara Kanda.

Hanuman is the hero of the Sundara Kanda, which describes the glorious deeds of Hanuman.

Friendship with monkeys

Sugriva, the monkey king, sends Hanuman to meet Sri Rama and Lakshmana.

Hanuman, attired as an ascetic, goes to meet Sri Rama. When He sees the two princes, he wonders at their dress.

They look like princes, but where are the ornaments? They look like those who should be wearing ornaments, but are without any.

Sri Rama tells Hanuman that He has come to make friendship with Sugriva.

As Sri Rama speaks, Hanuman notices the strength of Sri Rama's hands, and that of Lakshmana's too.

Hanuman is focused on one thing — helping Sugriva. So He pays particular attention to Sri Rama's strong arms, which give Hanuman the confidence that Sri Rama could, indeed, help Sugriva.

He then leads Sri Rama to Sugriva...

Hanuman - The Communicator Par Excellence 

Hanuman is an expert in communication.

How Hanuman speaks is analyzedby Sri Rama in the Kishkindha Kanda.

When Hanuman meets Sri Rama for the first time on the outskirts of Kishkindha as Sugriva'smessenger, Sri Rama was charmed by Hanuman's communication style and art of speaking.

Sri Rama tells his brother Lakshmana:

'See how excellently Hanuman has spoken. He did not utter a single word without relevance and significance. He has not wasted a single word. Nor did he omit an appropriate word.He has not taken more time than it was strictly necessary to express what he wanted to say'.

'Every word that he spoke can never be forgotten'.

'Such a voice promotes general welfare and remains forever in the hearts and minds of generations to come'.

'His expression is not too elaborate, not confusing, not dragging and not very fast. It has risen from his chest and delivered in a medium tone through his throat'.

।। ।।

'The language he spoke is richly endowed with grammatical purity. It is wonderful and auspicious. It is neither too fast nor too slow. It is captivating the heart'.


'The voice, the delivery from the three spaces namely the bottom of the chest, throat and head are wonderful and clear. Whose mind will not be pleased by such a word even if he is an enemy raising a sword?'


'O! Sinless Lakshmana! If such a capable person is not an ambassadorof a king how can the tasks and movements be accomplished?'


'All the objectives of a king prompted by ambassadors will be accomplished if he has men around him who are endowed with such qualities'.

Hanuman discovers Mother Sita

Sitting on the branch of a Simsupatree, Hanuman began to narrate in human language the story of Sri Rama from the time he was born till his sending Hanuman to Lanka in search of Mother Sita.

Hearing the narration of Hanuman, Mother Sita was overjoyed and finds Hanuman perched on Simsupatree.

Mother Sita is shocked to see Hanuman, perched on the branches of a simsupatree She is confused whether it is a dream or a reality.

Finally, she thinks that as the monkey is talking to her in a manifested form, it is quite a reality.

Mother Sita prays Lord Brihaspati and Brahma to make the words spoken by Hanuman as true.

A True Friend

There can be no greater boon to a person in this life than having a good friend. A true friend understands our moods and speaks to us comfortingly so as to dispel our sorrow.

He has the intuition to understand when we are sad and when we need to be offered consolation, even if we do not explicitly ask for consolation.

And such counsel from friends is necessary, for mental problems begin innocuously as worries, and then the worries, if left unresolved, lead to depression.

And this, in turn, can affect our physical well being too. But a soft spoken friend, who speaks encouragingly to us, can help us conquer sadness. But it is not easy to find such friends.

In the Ramayana, we have a wonderful example of such a friend, in Hanuman.

When Hanuman goes to Lanka and meets Mother Sita, he is distressed to find Mother Sita lonely and unhappy over separation from Sri Rama.

To reassure Her that Sri Rama too is agitated over His separation from Her, Hanuman tells Her that Sri Rama is tormented by grief at separation from Mother Sita, as an elephant tormented by a lion.

He describes to Her Sri Rama's qualities to cheer Her up. He tells Her that Sri Rama is not even partaking of whatever food is available in the forest.Sri Rama does not sleep — and when He does, even in His sleep, He keeps uttering the name of Mother Sita.

But though Mother Sita is glad to hear of Sri Rama's unfailing and undiminished love for Her, She cannot bear the thought that He is suffering on Her account.

So She weeps over Sri Rama's torment. But when Mother Sita sheds tears of grief at Sri Rama's predicament, Hanuman tells Her of His prowess and of how He will soon be at Her side.

Thus, Hanuman tailors his words to suit her mood swings.

When she is worried thinking of Her Lord, Hanuman's first reaction is to remind Her of Sri Rama' greatness and then to tell Her of His prowess and His longing for Her.

And then when Her mood changes to one of sorrow not so much at Her predicament but that of Sri Rama's,

Hanuman immediately talks of Sri Rama's valorand assures Her that He will soon come to Her rescue.

Can a greater friend be found than Hanuman who is sensitive to the moods of Mother Sita?

 How to serve the Lord

Hanuman is entrusted with the task of finding Mother Sita. When Hanuman goes looking for Mother Sita, Lord Sri Rama gives him His ring as a means of identifying the messenger when he meets Her.

All that Hanuman has to do is find Mother Sita and talk to Her. But Hanuman does much more than this.

Hanuman gives Mother Sita, the signet ring sent by Sri Rama through him in order to strengthen her confidence.

Mother Sita felt very happy to see the ring and praised Hanuman for his arrival to Lanka after having crossed the sea single handedly.

She expresses her hope to Hanuman, saying that Sri Rama, Lakshmana, and Sugrivawill come to Lanka with their armies so as to destroy Ravana, for her sake.

Hearing Mother Sita's words, Hanuman consoles her saying that Sri Rama, Sugrivaand a host of monkeys will come to Lanka by crossing the ocean, so as to defeat Ravana and his army,

There are different categories of messengers. There are those who do not even carry out the instructions that their masters give them. There are those who carry out the instructions, but do nothing beyond that.

But there is another kind of messenger who not only does what he has been asked to, but goes beyond the call of duty. He not only executes the task assigned to him,

but anticipates what is needed at that hour and does it without being asked to.

He is so meticulous and careful in gathering information and doing what will be of use to his master later on, that there can be none superior to him as a messenger.

No one can ask for a better messenger than this. Hanuman belongs to this category.

When he goes to Lanka looking for Mother Sita, he looks around and takes in all the details about Ravana's palace and about the topography of the land. Only after this does he meet Mother Sita.

So when he returns to Lord Sri Rama, he goes back not only with the satisfaction of having met Mother Sita but also with the knowledge of the enemy's country.

Hanuman therefore is an example of the best type of messenger anyone can hope for.

Dutiful emissary

The Ramayana is extolled as the embodiment of the Vedas and Sri Rama as the very essence of Dharma.

The Sundara Kanda captures nuances of rightful conduct, culture, political strategy, etc., vividly as Hanuman executes the task of a messenger of Sri Rama to Mother Sita whom he meets as a captive of Ravana in Lanka.

Hanuman is dedicated to his work, is selfless, brave in the face of odds, achieving the impossible with sheer effort, presence of mind and total faith in Lord Sri Rama.

Guessing her agitated mental state, he introduces himself to her as Sri Rama's emissary with great tact. He speaks reassuring words to her who was contemplating to end her life.

He is impressed by her courage and her devotion to Sri Rama when she treats Ravana with disdain.

On seeing Mother Sita, Hanuman pays tribute to the divine couple who stand as an eternal symbol of conjugal harmony . They outshine each other in their love and loyalty to each other.

Mother Sita gives Hanuman her Chudamani as a token of remembrance to Sri Rama. She reinforces her plight. Hanuman takes leave of her and decides to assess Ravana's strength.

He plans a strategy to gain an audience with him and begins to destroy the garden in Lanka. He gets a chance to fight the demons who tried to stop his rampage.

Finally, in the presence of Ravana, he does not mince words about Sri Rama's valoras a true messenger should, and advises Ravana to release Mother Sita. Ravana orders Hanuman to be killed.

Vibhishana points out that killing a messenger is not the proper political code. Instead they set fire to Hanuman's tail but Hanuman remains un burntdue to Mother Sita's grace.

Spirit of a Karma Yogi

Hanuman also qualifies to be an ideal Karma Yogi.

When he returned to Kishkindhaafter accomplishing the mission of passing on the tidings of Lord Sri Rama to Mother Sita, he only highlighted the plight of Mother Sita and the severe penance she had undertaken ever since she was brought to Lanka by Ravana.

He never boasted of his other admirable deeds in Lanka — burning of Lanka, having an audience with Ravana, etc.

In fact, he felt ashamed to tell the other monkeys about his exploits in Lanka. He had rendered the greatest of service to the divine couple, yet he remained humble.

 He felt in his inner being that all his greatness was due to divine grace alone. Even earlier, when he undertook the mission he sought the blessings and guidance of the divine couple.

The total lack of the sense of I and Mine in Hanuman's nature is the very basis of the spirit in which a Karma Yogi acts.

Hanuman did not wish to go to Vaikuntam with Sri Rama; instead, he opted to stay in the world and be in the midst of the devotees of Sri Rama.

 Hanuman embodies the essence of bhakti and humility.

 Jai Hanuman