Vanara Gita 53: The taste that exists in divine names far surpasses every other taste

The following hymn has been composed by Vanara Sumukha-

Rasane rasa-sārgnye madhurā-svāda kāmshini

Hanumannāma piyusham sarvadā rasane piba.

Meaning- O tongue, you who know the essence of all the tastes (rasa), crave eternally to enjoy the most nectarous tastes. Please eternally drink the delicious nectar called Hanuman nama (name of Hanuman).

In his composition, Saint Ramadas sings – O Rama, nee naama yenta ruchi raa, (O Rama, what a delicious taste exists within your name!) He continues in his song that this taste far surpasses the taste that exists within the sweetest of grapes.

The taste that one savors during the recitation of the name ‘Rama’ eclipses every other taste enjoyed by the tongue. Akin to this is the taste that emerges during the recitation of Hanuman’s name. This hymn also reminds us of the famous keertana- Pibare Rama rasam, rasane. Tulsidas, in his Hanuman Chalisa has expressed the same fervor through the verse-

Rama rasāyana tumhare pāsa –  Hanuman, the eternal devotee of Lord Rama, possesses the magical medicinal composition called Rama rasayana (taste/essence contained in the name ‘Rama’).

Hanuman passes on this delicious nectarous essence called Rama rasam to His ardent devotees. As it is impossible to directly experience this nectarous essence called Rama, we should aim to reach it through ‘Hanuman’ as a medium. We should incessantly recite Hanuman mantra. To put it differently, first and foremost we should enjoy the divine taste (rasa) called ‘Hanuman’.

One may probably wonder as to how any taste could exist within the name ‘Rama’, when, recitation of divine names is not something that could be eaten and relished? Towards this, it should merely be understood that the taste which exists within this name cannot be relished, unless tasted.

It is not enough to eat only those foods that the tongue relishes, isn’t it? Foods that are enjoyable for the body should also be consumed. Eating only tasty foods that lack nutrition is of no use to the body. Consumption of that food which is enjoyed by both the tongue as well as the body, renders the person healthy.

Strength and nourishment are provided to the body through recitation of divine names.

The erroneous belief entertained by people is that the tongue can be controlled. One’s lack of control over the tongue is beautifully brought out in Saint Purandaradasa’s composition – āchāravillada nālige wherein he says, ‘Oh tongue, that knows no refinement! Give up your lowly traits. Indiscriminately and eternally you wait to criticize others. Can you not instead wake up early morning, eager to recite the divine names of Lord Vishnu?’

Although being boneless, it is the tongue that retains us absolutely under its authority. For this reason, prayer is offered to that tongue. The holy text Srimad Bhagavatam outrightly condemns that a mouth, which does not sing the glories of the Lord, is not a mouth at all! Only that tongue which sings the praises of Lord Hari, is the real tongue, it says.

It is nothing but the taste of nectar that is contained within the name ‘Hanuman’. After an in-depth analysis of all the Vedas and of all the scriptures, our ancient seers have finally concluded that the taste contained in the recitation of the divine name of the Almighty transcends every other taste. Isn’t clarified butter (ghee) the outcome of rigorous churning? There is nothing to beat its taste.

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