From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hanuman: Beating Darwin at his own game

Darwin’s preoccupation with evolution just didn’t go far enough.  Had he continued, he might have discovered what the ancients knew long ago.  Spiritual evolution is not necessarily equated with genetics.

At the very least, a meeting between Hanuman and Darwin could have been quite the (third) eye-opener.  Although physically an ape-like humanoid, Hanuman is actually said to be the eleventh avatar of Shiva.  His level of bhakti (spiritual devotion) far exceeds that of most beings.  The Ramayana is filled with stories of his heroic faithfulness to King Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu.

As may be imagined, growing up wasn’t easy for Hanuman.
According to Wikipedia, he had once thought that the sun was a ripe mango and hungered for it.  This eventually led to his being a disciple of the sun deity, Surya.  This went fairly well except for Hanuman's mischievous habit of riling up forest sages.  The sages then cursed Hanuman with a forgetfulness of his own abilities unless reminded by others about them.

It seems that many humans suffer from this same curse.  It might therefore behoove them to internalize this reminder that Jambavantha gave to Hanuman:  You are as powerful as the wind; You are intelligent, illustrious and an inventor.  There is nothing in this world that’s too difficult for you; Whenever stuck, you are one who can help.

Talk about renewed self-esteem!  Hanuman was now ready to save the day for King Rama, Queen Sita and Brother of Rama, Lakshmana.  “Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no river wide enough” could then be sung with Hanuman in mind - for he flew across an ocean and yanked up a mountain in order to achieve his noble goals.

After all this heroic devotion, a lesser being might have needed a break.  Perhaps just some time to kick back and peel grapes…  Not Hanuman!  Wikipedia reports that he instead undertook the painstaking procedure of inscribing his version of the Ramayana into a Himalaya cliff with his bare nails.

Say what you will, but it’s a safe bet that the all-too-human Darwin couldn’t have matched that publishing feat…


Copyright April 13, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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