Krishna Prema's Food for Thought 2019 # 15 - Have You Discovered Your Full Potential?
Srila Prabhupada is looking at Indian paintings with his early followers at Matchless Gifts in 1966 in New York. Turning to the next picture Srila Prabhupada remarks: "This is also very nice.“ "Who is it?" Howard asked. "This is Hanumān.“ Srila Prabhupada explains. "Is he a cat?“, "No," Prabhupāda replied. "He is a monkey.“ 1
A monkey? Yes, but not an ordinary one! Millions of devotees worship the incarnation of Lord Rāma and His servitor Hanumān. Everyone knows and loves Hanumān for his dedication to the Lord. Here in the west people have almost no idea who he is and how we could benefit from his example. In fact, Hanumān's life in some ways reveals a very important truth for our own lives.
We know the story of how Hanuman as a baby mistook the rising sun for a fruit and therefore jumped into the sky to devour it. The Sun God got scared and requested Indra, the Lord of Heaven, for protection. He then hit the child with his mighty thunderbolt. Vayu, one of the fathers of Hanuman and God of Air, became angry upon Indra and withdrew all the air pervading the entire universe. Gasping for air and close to death, the gods rushed to Lord Brahma, who in turn advised them to ask for Vayu’s forgiveness by granting boons to the child. In this way, little Hanuman received enormous strength by the blessings of the Devas. But being still a child, the boy became very naughty and began to cause trouble to all the nearby sages who were engaged in austerities. He spit water on them while they were chanting their Gayatri Mantra in the holy rivers, he tore off their clothes with his teeth and pulled on their long beards. Because of this, the sages decided to curse small Hanuman so he would forget his powers and will only be able to regain these strengths if he would use them properly in the service of the Lord.
Later on in his life, when the monkeys were searching for Sita, Jambavan reminded Hanuman about his extraordinary powers and told him that he would be the only one able to jump the 800 miles over the vast ocean to Lanka. By the blessings of his superior, Hanuman then remembered his boons and understood that there is nothing impossible for him to do. He began to expand himself into a huge form, climbed to the top of a hill and took a powerful leap and loudly shouted „Jay Sri Rama! “. Thus began his heroic service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In some ways, we are in a similar situation. Originally we are eternal spiritual beings, possessing enormous powers, but since we have misused our little independence we have lost our original potential and came down to this material world. Misidentifying ourselves with the body, we are limiting ourselves immensely. Believing that we are a particular person, belonging to a particular nation, having a certain educational background, possessing a certain character with strengths and weakness, we do not remember that we are actually not this body. We are not this personality we see every day in the mirror. No, we are actually eternal spiritual beings, qualitatively one with the Supreme Almighty Lord! Only by the mercy of Sri Guru, we might become fortunate enough to remember our true identity. The more we become aware of our true nature, the more we purify our hearts, the more we develop a desire to again become an instrument in the Lord's service, the more we become empowered.
Hanumān shows the proper mentality to be developed. Although possessing superhuman powers, he always considers himself as a very humble servant of Lord Rama. He understands, that it is his Lord who empowers him, and he is so eager and enthusiastic to serve the Lord that he engaged all his qualities exclusively in the service of the Lord, never aspiring to use his talents for his own benefit.
These days, celebrating Ramanavami and Hanuman Jayanti we might ask ourselves „what is my contribution to the Lord’s mission? “. Just as Hanuman served the mission of Lord Rama, we, as followers of Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Prabhupada, are supposed to be engaged in the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Am I still in ignorance of my potential? Or did I already receive the mercy of my superiors to remember my abilities? What talents and qualities do I have that I can engage in the Lord's service?
May Hanumān, who is also known as `Batna Siddhi-kara`, Granter of Strength to his devotees, be merciful to us and help us to discover our full potential in order to engage it in the Lord's service. Hanumān ki jay
1 - Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita - Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, Planting the Seed, SPL 18