After a great ordeal, Angada and his team consisting of Hanuman, Jambavan and others discovered the whereabouts of Sita from the giant bird Sampati, the brother of Jatayu. Sita was kidnapped by Ravana and was held captive at Lanka. Lanka is an island in the southern direction. Angada, Hanuman and others proceeded in the southern direction with great excitement and vigor. They stumbled upon the shores of the mighty Indian ocean which is stopping them from reaching Lanka. It is extending hundreds of miles into the horizon as if it has no end. Angadha and other monkey-leaders began to estimate their strength and assess whether they can jump across the ocean and reach the shores of Lanka. Hanuman, who loved Lord Ram more than anything in his life and was ready to do anything to fulfil the desire of Lord Ram was however puzzled and kept silent. Jambavan who was aware of the great potential and strength of Hanuman, reminded him of his prowess and the great benedictions he obtained in his childhood. Hanuman became aware of his strength and grew into a large size ready to leap across the ocean. When sudden challenges confront us in life, we often get confused and depressed. We need caring mentors and friends who can instill hope and courage and remind us of our potential in facing the challenges in front of us.
As Hanuman expanded his form, all the monkey cheered him and enthused him. With a loud cry of ‘Jai Sri Ram’, Hanuman leapt across the ocean. As Hanuman was heading towards Lanka, a great golden mountain – Mainaka began to emerge from the ocean. Mainaka, being conscious of the divine mission of Hanuman in the service of Lord Ram, wanted to offer a place to rest and rejuvenate for Hanuman. Hanuman was conscious of the criticality of his mission. He was also conscious of the perils of succumbing to a cozy and comfortable resort. Therefore he declined the kind hospitality of Mainaka. Nonetheless, he respected and acknowledged the kind gesture of Mainaka by touching the mountain. Excess comfort and cozy lifestyle steals our focus and sabotage our purpose in life. Comfort and leisure is meant to renew our enthusiasm and rejuvenate ourselves to pursue our purpose in life. Therefore, we need to avoid excess and unnecessary comforts, conveniences and leisure and focus on our purpose in life with all vigor and seriousness.
As Hanuman was proceeding towards Lanka, he was again obstructed. This time it was a serpent-monstress Surasa. She was desperate to devour Hanuman. She said – “You can’t escape without entering my mouth”. Hanuman stated his mission and its importance and thus pleaded Surasa to spare him. It was of no avail. Finding no other means of escape, Hanuman began to expand his size. In response, Surasa also began to expand her size. Hanuman further expanded his size. This way both kept on increasing their size. Sensing the futility of this content, Hanuman suddenly became small, entered the mouth of Surasa and came out fulfilling her desire. Surasa who was actually commissioned by the demigods to test Hanuman was pacified and pleased and blessed him to proceed ahead. Life and people around us propose various challenges and contests. Our time and talent are precious and limited. We need to focus on those challenges which are of value and meaning to ourselves and others. We need to choose our battles wisely.
Hanuman resumed his journey. After a while, he felt himself caught by an invisible force and could not move further. He saw below and found a ghastly demoness – Simhika snatched his shadow. The demoness was marching towards Hanuman to devour him. Initially Hanuman began to expand his size but later decided to remain small. He entered inside the demoness and tore off her heart. The demoness let a huge cry, vomited blood and died. Hanuman resumed his flight to Lanka. After a while he successfully reached the shores of Lanka. Simhika represents envy. Envy manifests in form of resentment, revenge and hatred. This is a negative energy that depletes our energy and degrades our existence. It damages others. It does good to none. Therefore we need to refrain from envy by all means and shun it with all our might.
Hanuman faced the three formidable enemies with ease based on the strength and depth of his devotion to Lord Ram. The devotion to Lord Ram enabled and empowered Hanuman to face these vices with clarity, confidence and courage. These enemies of comfort, competition and envy are a commonplace in our lives. They are all-pervasive from shopping malls to social media. They are the main perpetrators of crime, fraud and suicide. If we also equip ourselves with devotion to Lord Ram, we can become immune to these vices and go beyond them. We can become focused, determined and inspired to live a life of purity, value and meaning to ourselves and the world. Let us pray on this auspicious occasion of Dussehra to Lord Ram and Mother Sita to bestow upon us sincere and determined devotion to their lotus feet in the footsteps of Hanuman.