The Bhakti of Hanuman

Leading up to Hanuman Jayanti, we are called to reflect on the humility of Hanuman. We think of him often as a great servant, if not the greatest servant of the Lord. His mind remained steady on the Name of Rama, he acted only in service of Rama, and as we’ll see below, he kept Rama firmly seated in the temple of his heart. But to become such a servant of Rama, Hanuman had to be humble first. Without humility, we cannot serve. 

Paramahamsa Vishwananda eloquently details the humility, focus and love Hanuman had for Rama in His commentary on the Hanuman Chalisa. In essence, He details the very qualities we are called to develop and grow into ourselves as bhaktas of the Lord.

Hanuman at Shree Peetha Nilaya Ashram - Bhakti Marga

Excerpt From Paramahamsa Vishwananda's Commentary on the Hanuman Chalisa

For Hanuman everything is equal, but in the sacred Name of Rama, He finds great bliss and great delight! His delight is not in anything material! He does not find delight in anything which is splendid externally. He doesn’t find His delight in big castles or palaces! He doesn’t find His delight in people! He doesn’t find His delight in praises! He doesn’t find His delight in riches!

His delight is found in the Ram Nam only, in the two syllables of the Name Rama! So, Rama and Sita dwell within His heart.

After Rama had come back to Ayodhya and was crowned its king, everybody was present in the royal court. Rama presented Hanumanji with a pearl necklace for His service, for the work He had done. Of course, a pearl necklace is nothing! For Him, the king of Ayodhya, He could have given lots of things to Hanuman. But He knew that Hanuman was not attached to these material things. Out of courtesy, out of gratitude, like saying, ‘Thank you!’, to Him, but indirectly, He gave Him His pearl necklace. Of course, Hanuman was aware that Rama knows that He is not attached to anything other than Rama Himself. He is eternally married to Lord Rama. Then, Hanuman started to break each pearl with His mouth, looking inside and throwing it away. Of course, the people in the court, all the ministers and sages who were there started saying, ‘Oh my God! How ungrateful is this monkey! Truly He is a monkey! He is an animal, He doesn’t have any intelligence! The king has given Him a very expensive gift and look what He is doing with it! How ungrateful He is!’ And so they started saying to Him, ‘How ungrateful You are! What are You doing? Why are You breaking all the pearls and throwing them away?’ Then, He said, ‘I am looking for my Lord inside these pearls. I am looking for my Lord Rama and Sita inside this material thing.’ 

It’s very important to understand what Hanuman was doing at that moment. He was indirectly saying, ‘In the material things you’ll never find the Lord!’ That’s why I say, ‘What is the use?’ This is here today, tomorrow it will be gone! That’s what He was doing. He was breaking the pearls and throwing them away. They are useless! Don’t get attached to it! Let your heart get attached to something which is great! The sages said to Hanuman, ‘If You are so wise as people praise You, then You should know that Rama and Sita are inside Your heart. It seems that You don’t know that Rama and Sita are inside Your heart. That’s why You are looking for them in the pearl!’

At that moment, Hanuman, with his own hands, tears open His heart (imagine the scene at that moment!) and inside His heart everybody could see Rama and Sita, sitting there. Rāma lakhana sītā mana basiyā – ‘mana’ means heart – in His heart are Rama and Sita. They are eternally present and that’s what He made people understand. The heart is not just an organ to pump blood. It’s where the Lord dwells. In spirituality, we talk about the spiritual heart, the hridaya-chakra, the centre where we find the Lord. This is where He is eternally sitting. Hanuman opened up His heart and said, ‘Here Rama and Sita are sitting in My heart. I am His eternal servant. I am surrendered to Him, He is surrendered to Me, Our hearts are One!’

This is what happens in the lives of many saints, also in Christian saints, for example, St Teresa of Ávila. She was always saying, ‘My heart has been pierced by the spear of my Lord.’ People always thought she was crazy. Before dying she said to people around her, ‘When I die, take my heart and you’ll see that my heart is pierced with His Love.’ And it was true! When she died, they removed her heart and saw that the heart was pierced and there was a cross on it. That’s how the heart of the devotee is! In someone who is surrendered to God, the heart is pierced with His Love. For sure, in Mirabai was the same, because in her poems she wrote so much about her heart being pierced with Love. Here Hanuman had His heart pierced with the Love of Rama and Sita.

May our prayers on this Hanuman Jayanti (and every day onwards) be steady in praises of the Lord, may our actions be steady in service to the Lord, and may we take our inspiration from the humility of Hanuman so that we too may know and serve the Lord with such devotion.