Friday, September 24, 2010

When Hanuman is Dead

What should one think of a society that cannot stand & fight & win for the values that it holds dear to itself? What should one think of a society where values keep shifting from one goalpost to another, from a bad position to a progressively worse position over time (over the scale of a year if not a month, that of a decade if not a year, that of a century if not of decades, that of a millennium if not of a century), where the tendency is to accomodate the evils that have accumulated in the society rather than stepping forth and destroying them?

I believe that Hanuman has died in that society. Read the following story, (courtesy a note to which I was tagged on FB) to understand why.

"At one point in the Ramayana, Indrajit (Ravana's eldest son) launched a massive attack against a section of Rama's army, causing massive slaughter. When Jambhavan (the commander) arrived at the scene to survey the damage, the first thing he said was, "Is Hanuman alive?"

Hanuman subsequently arrived at the scene and Jambhavan was glad to see him alive and safe. Another soldier asked Jambhavan, "Why did you ask only about Hanuman, is he the only one you care about?" Jambhavan replied, "No, but if Hanuman is alive and everybody else dies, we are still going to win the battle eventually, whereas if everybody else is alive but Hanuman is dead, then we are all doomed."

There is a meaning to this story that transcends its original context and applies to every challenge of life. Hanuman symbolises devotion, sacrifice and determination. These qualities are absolutely necessary to accomplish any difficult and strenuous task. If we are weak in every other way, devotion, sacrifice and determination can still carry us to success in seemingly impossible tasks. Whereas if we possess every other skill and talent, it is not good enough if we are lacking in the qualities that Hanuman symbolises. If we are lacking in every other way, we'll be OK with Hanuman alone, but if Hanuman is missing then we're in trouble.

This is true on many different levels of activity. From a military perspective it has been shown that a weaker force with single-pointed devotion and thirst for sacrifice towards their cause is more effective than a larger, better equipped force that lacks the dedication and devotion. On an inner spiritual level, the qualities of Hanuman are essential for the spiritual seeker to be able to make a true realisation of the Divine. Even a simple man with dedication, devotion and determination can attain God, whereas a highly educated person with strong intellect and many other qualities would still fail without the qualities of Hanuman."

These three qualities might just correct the problems in such a society. Devotion, sacrifice and determination, towards the highest possible goal in the society, towards making everyone in the society content, avoid situations of resource denial to the people, towards making people pursue the collective good of themselves and their neighbours and the society should solve most of the problems of such a society. Re-invigorating the Hanuman spirit in the society, that of devotion, sacrifice and determination can still change a lot of things, even if bigger objectives in the society are not currently attainable. The rest might just follow after this.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Digvijay Divas Anniversary

On the 11th of September, 1893, Swami Vivekananda arose at the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago, where he arose from near obscurity to hold an audience captive by his mesmerising speech. This day is popularly known as Digvijay Divas, meaning the day (divas) Swami Vivekananda victorious over the world (digvijay).

The transcript of the speech is available here: (click) The website has a list of other speeches by Swami Vivekananda and can be a good place to visit for people who are interested in his works.