Since I first published my last article on the lessons to be learned from lord Hanuman - Hindu Gods - Hanuman Bajrang Bali interpretation and lessons - a lot of both Hindu and non-Hindu friends and followers have asked me,
As most of us know, lord Hanuman played a vital role in Valmiki's Ramayana and was instrumental in lord Rama's quest to kill the demon Ravana and bring mata Sita home. But what makes this simple story very interesting is that lord
The answer to these questions helps us understand the practical implications of the story of lord Hanuman. As the story goes, lord Hanuman always had hidden but unbounded powers, and the only thing lord Rama's request/command achieved was helping Hanuman realize his own abilities. In other words, lord
These particular points have a very practical implication in our lives, in essence, they imply that - God will not give us a responsibility without the means/power to do it. When we have a troublesome times or seemingly insurmountable difficulties, it might look like we are incapable of resolving the problem, but in those times we always have the ability to get through them as well. If God gives us a problem,
In very simplistic terms, for the sake of our fellow Atheists or Agnostic brothers/sisters - It means that we should not back away from life's challenges. We must believe in ourselves, have confidence in our abilities and strive to be successful. Tangentially, I might add that even Atheists/Agnostics/non-Hindus can follow this great philosophy of life. Hinduism just doesn't apply to Hindus, it's a religion and philosophy meant for all of mankind (as opposed to Christianity that applies only to Christians and Islam that applies only to Muslims etc). This is the beauty of Hinduism - you can use the life lessons regardless of your own faith, because as far as Hinduism is concerned everyone is born Hindu and no one can escape the basic principles of life taught by Hinduism no matter what religion he/she chooses later!
My apologies for the slight digression, comparative study of Hinduism and Abrahamic religions
You may ask, why God gave you this problem without the ability to solve it and why don't the above lessons learned from the story of lord Hanuman apply in your particular case. This is a valid question because it helps us distinguish our true life paths and our true selves that the God intended for us from our self-conceived lies/delusions/expectations. Let me also rephrase it for the benefit of non-Hindus and Atheists - This question helps us distinguish reality and our true responsibilities from delusional and unrealistic expectations. Real life examples would be - A husband who has lost his wife might want to bring her back; or a cripple might want his/her limbs back; or an employee might want his/her lost job back; or someone might ask to become taller/prettier/smarter than they currently are (assuming the circumstances just don't allow it presently). This is same as lord Hanuman asking why He has a tail, why can't He be a human instead! The astute readers will immediately observe the frivolous and somewhat misplaced nature of these unrealistic demands.
To help us all understand what distinguishes impossible from possible expectations, let me rephrase - The problem with each of those expectations is our own inability to see the real issue.
Besides, in many cases, what we think of as a weakness actually turns out to be a strength. For example, lord Hanuman's tail can be considered His weakness because the demons bound Him by His own tail and a tail is generally a fragile and sensitive organ. But lord Hanuman turned this weakness into His strength by setting the demon city Lanka on fire by using that tail itself! This also teaches us that sometimes we have to learn to think outside of the box and turn our weaknesses into our strengths!
I went into a lot of details there for the sake of our atheist/non-Hindu readers, but if we believe in God and His understanding in accordance with Hinduism, we can easily understand this concept simply by the fact that unrealistic expectations exist simply because we're going against the nature! God almighty has created this universe with a fixed set of physical and metaphysical laws and by accepting God in accordance with Hinduism, we're also understanding those laws. These laws can be simple things like - we can't go back in past and we can't bring someone back from dead etc. Sometimes, even the staunch believers though are led astray because of a negative state of mind and they reject the true nature of almighty and their beings simply on account of their ignorance and try to do something that God never intended us to do thus straying from their true paths.
We must always stay grounded in reality and keep our faith (confidence, in case of non-believer readers) and then sometimes we can even achieve the impossible!
Coming back to the parallels in the legend of lord Hanuman - Any other vanar/human would've given up saying he just couldn't. After all, how can one lift mountains and fly across oceans! But lord Hanuman did not lose faith, accepted his duty and took the first step towards the path that Lord Rama had chosen for him and soon all His troubles melted away.
And finally, the last point that I'd like to make is - Some readers might ask "If God gave us the powers to solve our problems, then why does it take such huge effort sometimes?" In the context of the story if lord Hanuman, this question becomes - "Why did lord Hanuman have to wait to realize his powers?" Going back to the legend, we immediately see the answer - It's not like we will succeed simply because of our faith, no, we will succeed when we're ready for it, we'll succeed when we've learned the lessons that we were supposed to learn from that obstacle. Lord Hanuman did not initially succeed in His endeavors either, in fact even after realizing His powers, he faced insurmountable difficulties. He was threatened to be imprisoned forever by the the demon, He was captured in Ashoka vana and He was taken to the demon lord Ravana, but he found creative ways to win against all odds. This is another example of being able to see our full potential by facing difficulties.
To understand the deep philosophical interpretation of lord Hanuman, click - Hindu Gods - Hanuman Bajrang Bali interpretation and lessons