Vanara Gita 40: Hanuman, an orator par excellence

Hanuman undoubtedly was an orator par excellence. When he addressed Rama and Lakshmana for the very first time, His words were grammatically perfect, peaceful, pleasant, captivating, soft and warm.

Not everyone possesses this art of speaking pleasantly. To speak without indirectly hurting the feelings of others is an art. Hanuman offering solace to Mother Sita and his choice of words when enemy Vibhishana sought shelter under Lord Rama are other examples where he displayed this wisdom and eloquence in speech.

Before the war, Vibhishana, the younger brother of Demon Ravana, approached Rama and sought refuge under Him. That it was a demon who was approaching them was obvious from the fact that he had come flying in the air. Only demons have the ability to fly. We humans do not. From his speech it appeared that he was of gentle nature, but his body resembled that of a demon. He was explaining his entire background as well as the circumstances that led him to seek shelter under Lord Rama. He openly admitted that he is the brother of Demon Ravana. Yet, he was seeking shelter. How could one offer shelter to an enemy? This was the dilemma faced by members of Rama’s camp.

Rama skillfully asked every member present there for his opinion. Everyone unanimously declared that the enemy should not be trusted and should be shot then and there. They gave many reasons why Vibhishana should not be given refuge. They also offered to kill him.

Hanuman however was seated silently far away. Calling him near, Rama asked, “Hanuma, what is your opinion?” Hanuman was now in a fix. He could not approve of the decision of the elders in the group. But he could not openly go against his own elders and give a decision contrary to theirs. What would they think of him? At the same time, he knew that Lord Rama wanted to offer shelter to Vibhishana. For this reason, in spite of having got the opinion of all the elders present there, Rama was still asking Hanuman for an opinion. Therefore Rama had a definite purpose behind this question, Hanuman realized.

Talking exactly as is demanded by the situation is a laudable trait. It is a penance. Carelessly giving any suggestion, giving suggestion such that it is advantageous to us are not appreciable. Having tactfully assessed the situation, Hanuman said, “O Lord, do you really have to ask ordinary beings like us for opinion? Please do whatever you feel like in this aspect.”

Through these simple sentences, Hanuman emphatically conveyed a profound message. The first was that his teammates were ordinary beings whose wasteful opinions did not really matter. Secondly being the king as well as God Rama who was superior to them all had every right to make an unanimous decision without heeding to the wasteful advices of ordinary beings. Thirdly, whatever Rama decides is for the good and hence is acceptable to one and all. Thus, Hanuman’s reply was acceptable to one and all.

To speak skillfully without wasting any words while keeping the situation in mind is a very laudable ability. For possessing this skill, Hanuman has been aptly praised as ‘Vāgvidām varaha.’ He is an erudite scholar.

Tulsidas in his Hanuman Chalisa states- aṣṭa siddhi nava nidhi ke dāta– which means that Lord Hanuman bestows these the eight supernatural accomplishments. Hanuman advises us to use these supernatural accomplishments exclusively for the service of the Lord and in turn to secure the grace of Lord Rama, just like him.

He advocates that everyone should chant the name of Rama to obtain these accomplishments. Nowhere does he boast by asking people to chant his glories. He further says that if anyone chants his name, it is equivalent of chanting Rama’s name alone!


Om Namo Hanumate Namaha.

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