Spirituality Magazine

The Example of Hanuman

By Hanumandass @HanumanDass

The example of Hanuman

“When I know who I am you and I are one. When I don’t know who I am I serve you.”

- Hanuman speaking to Rama, Ramayana

Hanuman the monkey servant of Rama and Sita embodies Hindu dharma through seva. Dharma is the motion, the cycle, and direction of life, ever-moving away from Oneness into multiplicity and eventually back again to its Source. I’ve seen one author describe dharma in the blossoming of maya as the “divine fan unfolding and then closing in bliss”.

Seva is translated service. Hanuman is the perfect servant of God, here Rama, but he is not merely the servant of the manifest God Rama but the servant of the unmanifest, the Absolute…what we call Awareness. We can say he serves Awareness but not in sense that he looks to Awareness as a master to be served.

Rather, he is mindful that as a manifestation himself, part of the drama of the arising of life, he’s bound up in the self-same drama. For Hanuman understands the implication of dharma, acting dharmically is acting in accordance with what is. What better way than to serve God? He embraces the movement of life, he enters the flow of dharma’s current.

We are of course not limiting God to a deity here. In fact, when Hanuman exclaims he serves God when he forgets whom he is, he’s stating that contrarily when he knows, everything is God. When he and God are One there is no distinction, no God and Hanuman, no me or you!

Service is selfless love directed at the other, it seeks the wellbeing of the other by acting on its behalf. It is said that love always seeks the other, for when it embraces that other the lover/beloved distinction dissolves. In the embrace of love, kindled here by service, dharma naturally takes its course, multiplicity returns to Oneness.

When we seem to be overcome by ignorance in our daily lives it can be helpful to follow the example of Hanuman. When you are fully conscious that you are only and all of Awareness there is no need to worry over acting for the other. This dharmic action arises of itself. But when we seem to be overburdened with attachments and can’t seem to recognize our true nature a path of love is provided that leads to recognition by serving the apparent other until you and they are swallowed up in Oneness.

Jai Sri Hanuman,


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