Hanuman Chalisa: Explanation of verses 13 & 14

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Insight into verse 13

Laye sanjivan Lakhan jiyaye
Shree Raghubir harashi ur laye

You brought the nectarine herb and revived the life of Laksmana. Sri Rama Chandra embraced with deep joy

hanuman-unknownThis of course refers to the part of the Ramayana where Lakshmana is fatally wounded by Ravana’s son Indrajeet. The wise physician Shushena who is treating Lakshmana says that there is no way to save him unless someone brings an herb called “sanjeevani”, which is only found in the Himalayas. It is a virtually impossible task. While everyone else is discussing what to do and how difficult the task is, Hanuman had made up his mind and leapt all the way to the Himalayas. He found the correct mountain that contained the herb, but couldn’t tell which herb was the correct one. So he picked up the whole mountain and brought it back. Sushena could then heal Lakshmana, and thus Lakshmana’s life was saved.

Spiritual commentators of the Ramayana have traditionally said that Lakshmana represents the qualities of vairagya and vivek. Vairagya can roughly be translated to mean dispassion and detachment. Vivek can roughly means the ability to discriminate between right and wrong and between what is real and illusory. In one’s spiritual journey, these Lakshmana-type qualities are very important. However there comes a time when these qualities become dry, lifeless and cannot carry us further in our journey. The individual becomes overwhelmed with a sense of missing the joys of life, and wonders whether the spiritual life is real or achievable, or whether the material world is the only reality. It takes Hanuman’s qualities, of dedication, devotion, determination and selfless service to save the day. Sanjeevani represents the wisdom of the Rishi culture of the Himalayas, and Hanuman the Guru who brings the knowledge to save the spiritual quest of the aspirant.

We also see in this part of the Ramayana how Hanuman displays an attitude that refuses to bow to obstacles. He will not let obstacles become an excuse not to act. As soon as Hanuman knew the work that had to be done, he got up and done it. He didn’t need to wait around and listen to everyone talk.

Later, when Hanuman sees the mountain and cannot reconise the herb, instead of becoming distressed, he brought the whole mountain. In the same way, we should increase our efforts when we see formidable obstacles, rather than give up or become dejected.

So many times I’ve been at meetings that have been organised to discuss projects that have a good aim. In the discussions, invariably people will point out the problems that will be encountered in the implementation, and someone will then say how it is not realistic at the current time, which in turn puts a dampener on everyone’s spirits. I’ve seen people spend more time discussing why we can’t do something than thinking how we can make it happen. This is the wrong attitude.

When the divine is in our hearts, we shall be succesful if we work with faith. If we keep Hanuman in our hearts we will make a mockery of obstacles that seem so formidable at first glance. If we keep an attitude like Hanuman we will make things happen.

Insight into verse 14

Raghupati kinhi bahut badaai
Tum mama priya Bharata sam bhai

Sri Rama Chandra praised you highly; he said “You are as dear to me as my brother Bharata.”

Deeply touched by Hanuman’s work to save Lakshmana, Sri Rama embraced Hanuman. And said you are as dear to me as my brother Bharata.

It is interesting to consider why Rama mentions Bharat, not Lakshman. Lakshman is near to Rama serving him. Bharata is far away from Rama serving him. Bharata occupies Rama’s mind even more than Lakshmana.

Both brothers have great love for Rama, and Rama loved them both dearly. Yet Bharata was looked on with the suspicion by many, thinking he was Rama’s enemy, wanting to become the king himself. This pierced Bharata’s heart terribly. Rama knew that Bharata had the deepest possible love and reverence for him. Bharata voluntarily lived a life without any royal luxuries, and ruled Ayodhya well in service to Rama. This service to Rama was rendered despite being separated from Rama, and having to sufer the suspicion of society against him. This touched Rama’s heart more than anything in the world.

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