Commentary on Hanuman Chalisa verses 18 & 19

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Tum upkara Sugreevahin keenha // Ram milai raj pad deenha

You extended your value to help Sugriva, brought about his meeting with Rama with whose help he was awarded the kingship.

Tumharo mantra Vibhishan mana // Lankeshwar bhaye sab jag jana

Vibhishan accepted your council and became the king of Lanka. This is known throughout the world.

Sugriva, the former monkey king, had been banished from his kingdom by his more fierce brother Bali. Bali had also captured Sugriva’s wife, and forced Sugriva to live a fearful life in exile with a small band of loyal servants and advisors. When Hanuman met with Rama and learnt of Rama’s mission to find his wife Sita who had been abducted by Ravana, Hanuman encouraged Sugriva to support Rama’s cause. After some hesitation, Sugriva accepted Hanuman’s advice and met Rama. This led to Sugriva’s regaining his throne through the slaying of Bali.

Vibhishan, was Ravana’s younger brother. He was inherently opposed to aggressive “might is right” way of life of Ravana and the others, being of a devotional and sattvic temperament. He was distraught but not surprised that Ravana had kidnapped Sita. He would not let family loyalty towards Ravana outweigh his conscience as to what was right or wrong. 

Hanuman saw this turmoil in Vibhishan when he encountered Vibhishan in Ravana’s court. He encouraged Vibhishan to  seek the refuge of Rama. Vibhishan obviously was afraid. It is said that Rama knew from the start that Vibhishana was of pure heart when Vibhishan appeared before them, but in order to bring consensus, Rama asked his trusted advisors as to whether they felt it was wise to accept Vibhishan into their camp. The others reacted in perhaps the most logical and rational way one would in a war situation – with utmost suspicion. Only Hanuman encouraged everyone to unconditionally accept Vibhishan’s surrender. Thus Vibhishana entered into Rama’s camp in the war and provided invaluable counsel which resulted in the thwarting of all of Ravana’s strategies. At the end of the war, Vibhishan was crowned king of Lanka by Lord Rama, and he ruled righteously ushering in peace, protection and prosperity for all, strong and weak.

Hanuman helps us to find and fulfill our highest possible destiny or potential, whatever that  may be. His message ultimately is simple – “Surrender to the will of Rama, and your life will come to the best possible outcome”.

Whatever power and ability is within us, the outcome of our lives will depend on many factors – the biggest one perhaps is what ideal and cause we decide to serve with our life energies. When we choose the path that is sanctioned by the Divine will, we will get the maximum fulfillment, joy and achievement.  Our innate abilities are magnified many times over when this occurs. It should be noted  that Hanuman, as wise and mighty as he was, could not manifest his full abilities and powers when he was servant of Sugriva. But when he found his highest purpose, the purpose for which he took birth on the Earth, which was to serve Rama, his abilities increased manifold. We all have a potential within us which is much greater than most of us will ever manifest in our lives. Our highest personal destiny may not be to become a ruler, or be famous, yet we will live a life of joy and fulfillment on all level of our being if we discover the path prepared for us by the Divine.

Hanuman counsels us to this path. Hanuman is not merely a storybook character, but is a living power of the Divine Mind, ever there to help and guide us along our life’s path. His grace is ever there for those who are open to it and who sincerely seek it.

All the Deities in Yogic Spirituality are emanations and powers of consciousness, who we can invoke and whose grace will have specific effects in our life. Daily worship of various kinds is sometimes used to gain the grace of the Deity in our lives. Daily worship of this type is sometimes called “Upasana”. This word is related to Upkara (Tum upkara Sugreevahin keenha), which means that Upasana upon Hanuman will counsel one to their highest destiny.

One of (if not the most) important types of daily upasana undertaken to get the grace of a deity is mantra japa, which is the dedicated recital of a mantra which is a sound or series of sounds which are like cosmic vibrations that connect us to the grace of a deity if the recitation is approached in the correct attitude – with dedication, humility and openness. That mantra japa is one of the main ways to connect with Hanuman’s grace is hinted at in verse 19 of the Hanuman Chalisa “Tumharo mantra Vibhishan mana”.

Thus in these verses of the Hanuman Chalisa one of the most important meanings by Tulsidas is the results of the worship of Lord Hanuman. 

Jai Shri Hanuman !

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