Hanuman is one of the most beloved deities in human history. His likeness is everywhere in the east, particularly India. Why is that? Because his stories have touched the hearts of billions. Simple and yet profound, the mythology of Hanuman has been inspiring people for thousands of years. Here’s what you can learn from this powerful spiritual warrior!
1. Reach for the Sun
As a young boy, Hanuman leaps into the sky thinking that the Sun is a large mango. As he gets closer and closer to the Sun, he increases his size. But Indra is offended by Hanuman’s naive quest and shoots him down. Hanuman’s spiritual father, Vayu, the wind god, gets upset at his son’s fall and empties the universe of wind- an essential element of nature. As all creatures are on the verge of death, Indra realizes his mistake and Hanuman is revived and granted eternal life. A great lesson in this is that if we aim for the sun, we may not get it, but we won’t come up with something petty. We might get shot down in attempting the impossible but the rewards outweigh the risk.
2. Realize Your Potential
As a young child, Hanuman was extremely naughty. His antics he would trouble everyone to no end. Even the great saints and sages were not spared! At first, they pardoned him, for he was a mere child. But as his antics continued unabated, the sages got exasperated and cursed him. Because of that curse, he would forget about his strength, and unless he was reminded about it by someone else, he would never realize his true potential. It would not be incorrect to say that many of us are also victims of such forgetfulness. We doubt our abilities, we second guess our potential and end up doing things way below what we are truly capable of. We need to be reminded – be it by a close friend, a book, or by witnessing an inspiring performance by someone. And when we finally realize that we are capable of much more, we go ahead and do something that we had thought impossible.
3. Blessings can Come from Everyone
Hanuman decides that he must learn from someone- and who better than the one who sees and knows everything, the sun? At first, the Sun doesn’t agree. He says that he’s really busy running around giving light and warmth to the world. But Hanuman doesn’t budge. His persistence is rewarded and the Sun teaches him everything he knows. When reviving him after Indra’s attack, Brahma blesses him with a boon that no weapon or human can attack him in war. Shiva gives him the boon of physical and mental strength. Indra grants him immunity from further attacks by his weapon. Vayu gives him the ability to move faster than the wind.
Agni gives him the power of being always protected from fire. Varuna pronounces that he would never be harmed by water. Yama gives him the boon of eternal life. Kama assures him that no woman can seduce him. Kubera grants him boundless wealth of contentment.
In this manner, Hanuman is truly blessed by several gods. When our deeds are noble and we are upright in our dealings, the eminent ones around us will wish us well. One who is helpful and humble often receives help from unexpected quarters. Persistence in the quest of knowledge always yields fruits. Hanuman is a great role model on that account.
4. Selfless Devotion to a Higher Cause
When Hanuman meets Rama, he finds a greater purpose for his life. To help Rama in his journey becomes a mission. We remember Hanuman even today not because he achieved something great in his life (which he doubtless did) but because he worked tirelessly for a cause that was bigger than him. Without his involvement with Rama and his journey, Hanuman might have been possibly forgotten. His role in the larger scheme of things reserves a place for him in our hearts even today. Isn’t this true of all superheroes? Without their altruism, they are no different from your average WWE fighter. Their greatness comes from what they have done for others, not what they have achieved for their own betterment. In our own lives, personal accomplishments might give us joy, but helping the world brings renown.
5. The Power to Adapt
One of Hanuman’s superpowers is that in the blink of an eye, he can shrink to the size of an ant or grow to the size of a mountain. He can become weightless or immeasurably heavy. He can travel by land, by sea, or by air. He runs faster than the wind and flies more dexterously than a bird. His willpower is limitless. This tremendous flexibility gives him the strength to overcome any hurdle. In our own lives, if we develop the ability to become small – and see things in detail – as well as become large – and see things holistically – then we become better equipped to find solutions. Sometimes, we have to become weightless – free of our ego – and at other times, we have to become heavy – filled with self-respect. We need speed and agility as well as the firm willpower to steady ourselves at other times.