The human incarnation is God for human beings.
The path to please Him is only sacrifice of work and fruit of work in His divine mission.
The soul is an iota of the creation.
The creation is almost unreal (mithya) for God alone and not for the soul.Shri Datta Swami
[May 19, 2006, Message delivered by Swami on Hanumat Jayanti Day, the birth anniversary of Hanuman]
The festival of Hanumat Jayanti is coming in 2-3 days and happens to fall on this Monday. How to celebrate this festival? The low level of celebration is done when devotees worship Hanuman by offering leaves, fruits, special food items and prayers and then finally ask for worldly boons. The second middle level of worship is doing Bhajans on Hanuman with emotion, which represents the love for Hanuman. Since in the middle level there is no desire for boons, certainly the middle level is higher than the low level. But the best and highest level of worshipping Hanuman is to analyze what Hanuman practiced and bring it into our practice to attain the permanent grace of Lord like he did. This highest level of worship is called as Jnana Yajna. The middle level of worship is called as Swadhyaya Yajna and Tapo Yajna. Swadhyaya means reciting prayers and singing songs. Tapo Yajna means having emotion through devotion, which is the penance and which develops Tapana or Vedana which is nothing but the climax urge of devotion. The low level worship is called as Dravya Yajna. The Gita says that God is pleased with Jnana Yajna (Jnana yajnena) because with this you are analyzing the concepts, which guide your practice in the right direction leading to pleasing the Lord. Therefore the best way of celebrating Hanumat Jayanti is to analyze the practice of Hanuman as presented in the Ramayana written by Valmiki which is the best authority to tell us about His practice.
Hanuman studied all the Vedas and Shastras. He studied nine grammars from the Sun-god. Nobody in this creation can be equal to Hanuman in this scholastic ability of scriptures. Even though, Hanuman became the future Brahma, He never stated that He is God (Aham Brahmasmi). I am astonished to see these petty Advaita scholars who do not have one millionth of the knowledge of Hanuman say "Aham Brahmasmi"! Hanuman always said "Dasoham", which means that He is the humble servant of the Lord. He never stated "Soham", which means that He is God. It is said that by remembering Hanuman, ghosts run away. The real ghost is this misconceived Advaita which will run away on remembering Hanuman.
The most important essence of the life history of Hanuman is meeting Rama, who was the human incarnation of His generation. Hanuman was waiting to meet the human incarnation on the instruction of His mother and several sages. Hanuman had all the capacity to jump to the upper worlds and go to Brahma Loka, Vaikuntha or Kailasha to see Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In fact in the war, He actually went to Vaikuntha and brought down Garuda. Even in His childhood all the angels appeared before Him and gave boons. Then Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Indra etc. also appeared. In that case why was He so anxious about meeting the human form of the Lord? He had already seen all the energetic forms of the Lord like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The psychology of Hanuman seems to be quite opposite to our psychology. We are always anxious to see the energetic forms of God. In fact we feel that we have seen the original form of God when we see the energetic form of God. It is just like saying that when a person appears in a silk shirt, he is the original person. If the same person appears in a cotton shirt, he is not at all the original person! This means we treat the human form of the Lord as an ordinary human being and we treat the energetic form of God as the original form of God. We do not see the person in both the shirts. For us the silk shirt is the original person and the cotton shirt is only a cotton shirt and not the person.
Even if an angel who is simply an energetic form ['worn' by an ordinary soul who is not God] appears before us, we think that he is God. Whereas the human form with God is only a human being for us. For the villagers of Vrindavanam, Indra [king of gods and angels], who is an energetic form and a servant of God, was God! But Krishna in human body was thought to be a mere human child. But Indra fell at the feet of Krishna and asked for an apology. Indra could not recognize Krishna because he was only seeing the external cotton shirt which is lower than the silk shirt. He could not see the hidden God in the cotton shirt. In fact he was simply the silk shirt [there was no God in Indra] and thought that silk shirt itself was God. Hanuman never cared for the energetic forms which are simply angels. He respected the energetic forms of God like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva but He did not worship them as per Valmiki Ramayana. The reason is that the energetic form is not convenient for worship. Hanuman was in a body made of five elements [material body]. The energetic form is made of only one element i.e., Agni (energy). It is not suitable for the human bodies of the earth [We cannot perceive it easily and for an extended durations].
Therefore in Valmiki Ramayana there is no reference to Hanuman worshipping any energetic form like Vishnu, Shiva etc. It is impossible to worship the energetic form directly. You can only worship a statue as a representative of such an energetic form. Instead of worshipping a statue or a photograph representing an energetic form in which neither the original energetic form, nor God exists, it is better to worship God in the human form, which is also very convenient, being a common medium [material body as ourselves] in the case of human beings. Is it not better to worship a person in a cotton shirt instead of worshipping the photograph of that person in a silk shirt? Therefore Hanuman recognized the human incarnation of His time and worshipped Him directly instead of worshipping energetic forms of God directly, which are inconvenient and instead of worshipping their representative statues indirectly which is useless. Therefore we should learn the main aspect of this spiritual life of Hanuman and then only shall we get the real benefit in our spiritual path.
There are three items in spiritual life:
Regarding yourself, you should realize that you are not God and that you are only a humble servant of God. Regarding the goal, you should realize that the goal is the human incarnation present in your generation. Neither the formless aspect nor energetic forms nor statues and pictures is the convenient form for worship. These two aspects of yourself and the goal are very clearly understood from the spiritual life of Hanuman. The third item is the path to the goal. This is also very clear from the life of Hanuman. He was searching and waiting for the human incarnation of his time. He was anxiously waiting and searching for that. Thus meeting the human incarnation physically, is the first step. Only then is direct conversation and direct vision of God possible. But today, due to the development of electronic technology, we are seeing the persons, situated far from us and we are talking with Him directly. This is exactly equal to direct meeting and direct conversation. Such technology did not exist then and therefore meeting the human incarnation personally was very very essential. Meeting does not mean the simple physical sense. Meeting means understanding Him with full faith. Ravana and several demons also met Rama. Several evil persons like the Kauravas also met Krishna. What is the use of this meeting only in a physical sense?
Meeting means understanding Him with full faith and receiving the true knowledge from Him by clarifying all the doubts. The path in the darkness is shown by the torch light in the hand. The sun situated far in the sky also shows you the path by the same light. Therefore receiving proper guidance from the Lord is more important than mere meeting in the physical sense. After meeting Lord Rama, Hanuman entered into the service of the Lord by participating in His mission, He did not receive the Gita [Divine Teaching of the Lord] like Arjuna did before the participation in the work. Hanuman had already received the Gita with full clarification from the Sun-god and Sun had been preached the Gita, very well by the Lord. The Lord even mentioned in the Gita that He preached this spiritual knowledge first to Sun. Therefore knowledge was not necessary for Hanuman from the Lord. He saw Rama and directly entered into His service.
Sometimes a person becomes a wonderful devotee in practice without receiving any knowledge from the Guru. The reason for this is that he has already received the knowledge in his previous birth and that samskara [impression] follows him in this birth. The hunter Kannappa did not receive any spiritual knowledge from the Lord and entered directly in to the service of the Lord because in his previous birth, he was Arjuna and had received the Gita from Him already. Knowledge leads to devotion and devotion leads to practice. The knowledge continues even in devotion and leads to practice. The knowledge continues even in the practice. Thus the knowledge is underlying in both devotion and practice. If the knowledge disappears, doubts will arise. Then practice will be stopped. Devotion decreases. Therefore knowledge is like a torch light which is put on continuously till the goal is reached. Therefore the guidance of the spiritual Guru is necessary till the goal is reached. After preaching the Gita, Krishna did not leave Arjuna while Arjuna was practicing His message. Krishna was with Arjuna throughout the war and was clearing several problems in the war. The 18 chapters of the Gita were the Jnana Yoga, which were completely transformed into the 18 days of war which is the Karma Yoga. In between the Jnana Yoga and Karma yoga, Bhakti Yoga was developed in the mind of Arjuna which was in a hidden state. Krishna represents the buddhi or the driver, which is the Jnana Yoga -- the guiding force as the Guru. The Veda says that buddhi is the driver. Arjuna represents both Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga. The Bhakti Yoga is hidden in the mind of Arjuna. The Karma Yoga is expressed in the form of participation of Arjuna in the war. The Gita is a mixture of the intelligence of the Lord (Guru buddhi) and the intelligence of Arjuna (Atma buddhi). Thus Jnana Yoga is the interaction of the self with the Super-Self. The Gita is not simply the preaching of Krishna like a non-stop express train. It is the series of answers given to the enquiries of Arjuna. Thus the Jnana Yoga becomes the knowledge with relevance to the soul.
Hanuman stands as an example of a mountain of knowledge, devotion and service. The knowledge of Hanuman was over, even before meeting Rama. Devotion arose in him like a tsunami when he met Rama. Thus both knowledge and devotion were in a hidden state in Hanuman. The entire Ramayana of Valmiki, especially the Sundara Kanda, relating to the Hanuman, simply concentrates on the service of Hanuman to the human incarnation of his time. Service (Karma Yoga) cannot result without devotion (Bhakti Yoga). Devotion cannot be generated without knowledge (Jnana Yoga). Rukmini heard about all the details about Krishna (Jnana Yoga) and developed a tremendous attraction (Bhakti Yoga) to attain Krishna as a result of the knowledge. Her devotion was selfless and her attraction to Krishna was not to become the queen of Dwaraka. She wanted to be present at the feet of Krishna and press His feet continuously and her aim was only such service (Karma Yoga). Karma Yoga implies means the automatic existence of Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga.
You are serving your son. What is the reason for your service? The reason is your love for your son which is Bhakti Yoga. What is the reason for your love for that child? The reason is that you are well aware that he is your child born from your blood. Such knowledge and identification (Jnana Yoga) is responsible for your love. Therefore when service exists, it automatically means the existence of Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Of course service should be without the aspiration for anything in return. A servant too does a lot of service, but the reason for the service is the salary that he expects from you. The service and love of a prostitute is for your money. Thus when selfless service is present, it means real devotion and real knowledge exist. The Sundara Kanda shows the selfless service of Hanuman to the human incarnation of His time, which is a proof of his real devotion through real service. Thus from Hanuman, we must learn the three items (Triputi) of spiritual concepts, which are yourself, the path and the goal. Knowing that you are not God and that you are only a humble servant of God is the first item. Selfless service directly to the present human incarnation, is the true path. The human incarnation present in your generation and His identification is the goal. Thus the entire three fold spiritual effort can be realized perfectly from the life of Hanuman which is the divine message of the Guru.
There can be no better Guru than Hanuman because Hanuman Himself was Lord Shiva who was acting in the role of a spiritual aspirant. Rama was the human form of the Lord who was acting in the role of a human being in Pravritti. You have to learn from Rama about the behavior that you should adopt towards your co-human beings in a balanced and justified society which is established by the Lord. Hanuman is the human form which came to preach Nivritti of the spiritual side which involves the knowledge of yourself, the knowledge of the true path to please God and the knowledge of right convenient form of the God to be worshipped on this earth during this human life. Thus God as Narayana came in the form of Rama to teach Pravritti. The same God came in the form of Hanuman as Lord Shiva to preach Nivritti. Shiva is Narayana and both of them are the names of the same God (Shivashcha Narayanah).
Another most important aspect that we have to learn from the spiritual life of Hanuman is about the significance of miracles in the spiritual path. Hanuman Himself performed several tremendous miracles. But He did not give any importance to them nor gained any egoism due to those miracles. In fact He saved Rama several times through miracles as in the case of giving life to Lakshmana by bringing the mountain (for the Sanjeevani herb) or as in the case of bringing down Garuda to relieve Rama from the effect of the Serpent-Bond [a weapon used by Rama's enemy against Rama and Lakshmana] or as in the case of jumping across the sea to get information about Sita etc. Any person in the place of Hanuman would definitely say "Aham Brahmasmi" and "Shivoham" and also declare Rama as His devotee because God protects His devotees through super powers.
Rama never did any miracle and acted as an ordinary human being. He wept like an ordinary human being when Lakshmana fell unconscious [due to the attack of an enemy weapon]. Rama Himself fell unconscious when He was hit by the Serpent-Bond. He was unable to cross the sea and required a bridge. The Lord behaved like an ordinary human being in the role of Rama because the main aim of His role was to preach Pravritti to all the ordinary human beings. Therefore He was required to act within the limits of His role. The miracle of turning of a stone into the lady, Ahalya, was done by Rama only in the presence of Lakshmana and Vishwamitra. That miracle was not advertised by both of them because it would have gone against His role.
The role of Hanuman was quite different. He was acting the role of a devotee. The devotee also attains super powers. But he should not be attracted to such powers and should not become proud by such powers. Hanuman attributed the cause of these powers only to Rama. Similarly the devotee must realize that God is doing the miracles through Him and not by Himself. This was preached by Hanuman through His statement that Rama was the source of the miracles. Krishna, Hanuman and Ravana lifted big mountains. Krishna declared Himself as the Lord. But He declared it only to Arjuna, a deserving devotee, and not to the public. Duryodhana did not believe the lifting of the mountain by Krishna and said that Krishna only lifted a small stone and the story was later modified by people that He lifted a mountain. Hanuman lifted the mountain and also carried it [over a thousand miles] but He said that He could lift it due to Rama, who was God. Ravana lifted a mountain and declared to the public that he is God. Hanuman did not accept Ravana as God even though Ravana had special super powers. Hanuman did not see any miracle performed by Rama. He never saw any vision given by Rama. He never heard any preaching like the Gita from Rama. He believed Rama as God in the first instance of meeting Rama, and directly rendered the final form of service to Him. This shows the strength of the previous samskara and the strength of the divine knowledge of Hanuman. Thus Hanuman is the highest Guru for any human being in this world. God Himself came down in that form to show the part of Nivritti for a spiritual aspirant. Rama can be a practical guide in Pravritti. Krishna is a theoretical guide in Nivritti but Hanuman is a practical guide in Nivritti or the spiritual path. Therefore for all spiritual aspirants, only Hanuman can be the real and complete guide.
There are two stages in the spiritual journey. The first stage is the realization and attainment of the self [Atman] which is the undisturbed pure awareness like standstill water. This pure awareness is vibrated in association with the worldly bonds. These vibrations are called by many names such as Gunas, Samskaras, Vasanas, feelings and thoughts. When you detach yourself from all the external worldly bonds and also withdraw yourself from the gross body, you are confined to the vibrated soul. Due to the detachment, the vibrations also disappear and the undisturbed soul remains. If you confine yourself to this undisturbed soul by fixing your 'I' to it [identifying yourself with it], this stage is called as self-realisation or self-attainment. This is the first stage. However this stage is only the fifth stage of Asthanga Yoga of Patanjali. According to Patanjali's system, it is called as Pratyahara and it means the complete withdrawal of yourself. Self-attainment is possible by identifying the original nature of the self and by removing its superimpositions. The soul superimposes itself on the gross body and also on its vibrations called as subtle body. When the superimpositions are removed, the worldly bonds which are nothing but strong feelings also disappear. All worries and stress also disappear. Perfect mental peace remains. The body and the mind are interlinked. A peaceful mind leads to perfect health of the body too. Hanuman achieved all this and attained a sound mind in a sound body. By this, the capacity of logical analysis (buddhi) also improves.
The attainment of this self is a prerequisite or qualification for the second part of the journey. Shankara stressed this first stage for atheists who are the beginners on the spiritual path. The second part of the journey is the attainment of the Super-Self (God) in human form and to please Him with selfless service. Hanuman is the best example in both the parts of the journey. For a beginner, the first half of the journey is stressed and an encouragement is given to him by stating that the intermediate station, which is goal of the first half of the journey, itself is the final goal. The second half of the journey is not mentioned for an atheist who is a beginner. Thus for encouragement, the self itself is told as the super-self. This will also coincide with [be suitable to] the nature of the atheists who do not believe in God separately [other than themselves]. All the atheists are encouraged to take up the first half of the journey because even an atheist likes to be peaceful and without stress, in his life here. The attainment of the self is a qualification to serve the Super-Self. It is only a rank in the entrance examination, which gives you the eligibility to study the professional course. A rank in the entrance examination is not a rank in the professional degree. Normally, we encourage the students by saying that if he gets a good rank in the entrance examination, he has become an engineer. The study of the engineering course after getting rank in the entrance examination is hidden for the sake of encouragement. By getting a rank in the entrance examination, one should not feel that he has attained the post of an engineer without studying the engineering course.
The fruit of self-achievement is salvation. Salvation means the relief from all the worries and is not at all related to God. Even an atheist wants salvation but not kaivalyam. Kaivalyam means the attainment of God. God is pleased with selfless service. Selfless service is possible only if you have attained the self by self-realization. The atheist who has completed the first half of the journey obtained salvation and thought that he has attained God because he thinks that the Self is God. This misinterpretation can be clarified by studying Hanuman because, He is the first rank holder of the first half of the journey and still He never said that Self is God. He showed the second part of the journey by catching the living human incarnation and by pleasing Him through selfless service. Therefore atheists should realize that just for encouragement, the intermediate station is mentioned as the final station. They should understand this and should start the second half of the journey. Take Hanuman as an example. The atheist should catch the second train from the intermediate station. Sometimes you may have a direct train from the first station to the third station i.e., you can realize God in the beginning itself and complete the total journey by the direct train. You will achieve the self too, with self-realization, as an intermediate station. You cut all the bonds in the first half of the journey so that you will have a strong bond with the Lord in the second half of the journey. You acquire full independence by relieving yourself from all this slavery of materialism only to become the best slave to God latter on. The complete independence of the soul (Aapnoti swaraajyam -- Veda) as aspired by Shri Ziddu Krishna Murthy, pertains only to the first half of the journey.
Almost all the spiritual preachers are concentrating on the first half of the journey and they are getting excellent response from the public because everybody wants relief from the stress. But they should know that the Gopikas were facing maximum stress in remembering Krishna and Radha even became mad. The madness of the worldly bonds should disappear so that you can become perfectly mad about God! Even in the time of Rama and Hanuman, the present society existed with the same psychology pnly with a different external culture. People never recognized Rama as God other than a very few topmost devotees. Even in the case of Krishna, who performed so many miracles and preached the excellent Gita, only very few devotees like the Gopikas could believe in Him as God. Even Dasaratha, Kausalya and Kaikeyi etc. loved Rama only as a good person. People used to worship representative statues of energetic forms of God like Vishnu, Shiva etc. or the past human incarnations like Vamana, Narasimha etc. But there is not even a single reference in the Valmiki Ramayanam for idol worship done by Hanuman in any way. Hanuman worshipped only the human incarnation of His time.
Therefore in every generation, the same majority exists which does not recognize the then existing human incarnation due to their jealousy and egoism. The worship of statues is thus inevitable. Of course just for vision of the past human form, the statues or photographs serve a very good purpose and develop inspiration towards the concept of the human form of God. But the extension of service to the statues imagining them to be living human forms is only imagination and madness. It does not contain even the basic logical analysis. When the human being has his eyes covered by egoism and jealousy, idol worship is inevitable like a medicine is for a patient. Subjective satisfaction is the only merit in idol worship. But unfortunately such satisfaction is only imaginary or an illusion. However ignorance is inevitable in the beginning of the treatment as said in the Gita (Sarvarambhahi doshena).
Idol worship is only a representative worship and not direct worship. For representative worship, even a statue or photograph in your house is sufficient. You need not make a tedious journey and spend a lot of money to see the statues in temples that are in far away places in the name of pilgrimage. The statue in your house and in the temple is one and the same, and God is not present in either of them. They only represent God to satisfy your madness of the past human incarnation or the ignorance of an ordinary human being affected by egoism and jealousy. The priests of the far places created stories of the greatness of those temples (Sthala puranam) just like commercial advertisements because they are benefited by the offerings of the large public. However, our ancestors used to go on a pilgrimage. Their aim was different. They wanted to go to a place like a hill or forest where they could peacefully concentrate on the statue, leaving the disturbance in the house. But today these famous temples present on hills and forests are heavily crowded due to the commercial advertisements made by the priests. Your house has a better peaceful atmosphere than these present temples.
The case of the human incarnation is different. Worship to Him is is direct worship (Saakshat Upasanam) unlike the worship of statues (Prateekopasanam). God exists only in that particular human form and therefore you have to run to Him and hear His wonderful knowledge wherever He is; even if He is present on the battlefield like Kurukshetra. God does not exist in any other human being including yourself except that particular human being and therefore there is meaning if you leave your house and undertake a tedious journey to reach Him in the present time. Even that strain is not necessary because you can see a human incarnation and hear Him through the present electronic technology.
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