By Justice Markandey Katju
Today, 27th April, is Hanuman Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Hanumanji.
In the Ramcharitmanas Tulsidas writes :
“कहइ रीछपति सुनु हनुमाना। का चुप साधि रहेहु बलवाना।।
पवन तनय बल पवन समाना। बुधि बिबेक बिग्यान निधाना।।
कवन सो काज कठिन जग माहीं। जो नहिं होइ तात तुम्ह पाहीं।।
राम काज लगि तब अवतारा। सुनतहिं भयउ पर्वताकारा।।
कनक बरन तन तेज बिराजा। मानहु अपर गिरिन्ह कर राजा।।
सिंहनाद करि बारहिं बारा। लीलहीं नाषउँ जलनिधि खारा।।
सहित सहाय रावनहि मारी। आनउँ इहाँ त्रिकूट उपारी।।
जामवंत मैं पूँछउँ तोही। उचित सिखावनु दीजहु मोही।।
एतना करहु तात तुम्ह जाई। सीतहि देखि कहहु सुधि आई। “
These are lines from Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas.
When Lord Rama’s army reached the sea, no one apart from Hanumanji had the strength to cross the sea to enquire about Sitaji’s welfare and return. But Hanumanji was sitting alone quietly, in deep meditation, with eyes closed, on a rock. So Jamvantji, the king of the bears ( reechpati ) was deputed to motivate him.
Hanumanji, though very powerful, had forgotten his prowess, due to the curse of some rishis, whose yagya he had disturbed in his childhood. But the rishis said he will recover his powers if someone reminded him of them.
The above verses should be read as an allegory. Hanumanji are you Indian people, who have forgotten your powers. So you have to be reminded of them.
In the first two lines Jamvant asks Hanumanji why he is silent ? So also, I ask you people of India : why are you silent when the country is in such distress ?
You have the physical strength of Pavan ( the wind ). A storm or typhoon can smash even huge trees and buildings, and devastate whole areas. And you have not just physical strength. You are also full of of ‘buddhi ( intelligence ), vivek ( discrimination ), and vigyan ( science ). Indians are some of the most intelligent people in this world, who discovered the decimal system, plastic surgery, etc in ancient times, and are manning Silicon Valley and many science, engineering, and mathematics departments in North America in the modern times
The next couplet states : what is there which you cannot do ? You have come here to do Lord Rama’s work. On hearing this, Hanumanji’s body started growing, until it became as big as a mountain.
This should be interpreted to mean : Indian people, you underestimate yourselves. You are unaware of your tremedous potential.
Just as Hanumanji had been given a curse that he will forget his powers until someone reminded him of them, so also Indian people have forgotten their capabilities and potential ( as they were demoralized by the British who spread the false propaganda that Indians were only a race of fools and savages).
Now that you are being made aware of your tremendous capabilities, you will rise high in the comity of nations, instead of being humiliated and kicked around.
Hanumanji’s body is shining like gold ( kanak means gold, and baran means colour ), and radiance ( tej ) is coming out from his body ( tan ). The same will happen to India, too, once we attain our full potential and become a highly industrialized, prosperous nation.
Hanumanji then starts roaring repeatedly like a lion ( singhnad kari barambara ), and says he will swallow up the ocean and cross it. That is what you Indians too will start doing, once you know your tremendous powers.
However, Hanumanji also has humility ( which we Indians must always have ). He requests Jamvant to give him proper guidance and advice ( Jambavant main poochahi tohi, uchit sikhavan deejahi mohi ). So even when he is now aware of his tremendous powers he does not lose his modesty.
And Jambawantji gives him the correct advice : Hanumanji’s task is only to go to Lanka and find out Sitaji’s welfare. Rescuing Sitaji is the task of Rama. In other words, one must know one’s limits, and not cross them.
Jai Hanuman gyan gun saagar !