Learning to Overcome Obstacles with Lord Hanuman

Lord Hanuman, one of the most popular Hindu deities worshipped, is known for his valour and remarkable feats. He is not just one of the heroes of the Ramayana epic, but is also renowned for eliminating the tribulations of a large number of eminent personalities. Known as the remover of obstacles, he is also the harbinger of happiness and peace. More compassionate than the Lord is ‘the devotee of the Lord’ and Shri Hanuman, full of love and kindness, is just such a devotee. He is what one would call a beacon of light that drives away the darkness of obstacles and troubles that plague our lives.

However, mere worship without actual practice of the values he lived, is not enough. Prayers are definitely a powerful means of attaining the peace that we all yearn for. Nevertheless, mirroring some of Lord Hanuman’s righteous actions could help us lead more fulfilled lives. Let us take a look at some of the learnings that we can imbibe from his journey.

Recognize Your True Potential
All of us pass through phases in life, when we feel lost and aimless. Do you know that Lord Hanuman too went through something similar? It was then that Jambavan, the Bear-King, born for the divine purpose of helping Lord Rama win over Ravana, stepped in. He made Hanuman look deep within, and connect with his true Self. Jambavan said,
“Listen, O mighty Hanuman, why do you remain silent? You are the son of the Wind God; like your father, the mighty Wind, you are full of intelligence, dispassion and knowledge. What is it in this world, O my son, that you cannot do? Your very life is for Lord Rama’s work.”

Jambavan did not perform a miracle, he just related to Hanuman the story of his birth and his proximity to Lord Rama’s feet. On hearing these words, Shri Hanuman instantly grew to be as mighty as a mountain. When reminded of his true potential and duty, all his forgotten powers returned.

In life, your Guru is the one who helps you, like Jambavan helped Lord Hanuman. He helps you see the light within and aids you in your spiritual journey. With divine qualities in our hearts, when we invoke the Higher, the Compassionate Lord manifests as the Teacher, removes our ignorance and reveals the Truth. Hanuman represents such an enlightened Guru who gives us this Sublime Knowledge, which destroys the darkness of ignorance, and consequently ends all our miseries.

Remove the Lack of Self Belief
Not everyone has this iron-steel resolve. It needs to be slowly nutured and developed with practice. During his first mission to Lanka, Angada, Bali’s son, failed in his mission, which led to him losing complete faith in himself. In fact, to save himself from the wrath of his father, he was ready to go into hiding.
“Said Angada, with eyes full of tears, “It is death for us either way. Here we have failed to get tidings of Sita and if we go home, Sugreeva, the Monkey King, will slay us.”
This shook Lord Hanuman’s confidence.

Although our loved ones want only the best for us, it can be disastrous to be surrounded by people who themselves are filled with self-doubt. Lord Hanuman overcame this flaw by remembering the greater purpose of his life, which helped energize and kindle the fire within.

Overcome Destiny Through Satsang
Hanuman had met his Master, and felt that others must benefit from the Lord’s divine presence. He carried Shri Rama and Lakshmana on his shoulders to meet the anxious and terrified Sugreeva. He introduced them to each other, and helped build the lasting bonds of friendship between them. He thus paved the way for Lord Rama to save Sugreeva, despite the latter doubting his divinity. Putting aside his own problems, Shri Rama promised Sugreeva that he would help him regain his lost kingdom and wife.

There is no denying the fact that most of our sufferings are due to karma or past actions. It is only in the company of learned men, saints and spiritually enlightened beings that one can evolve spiritually. Try spending time in satsang. On entering the halls of satsang, the removal of footwear symbolizes that we have left our karmas behind. Then, in the company of the wise and the learned, we find peace and solace.

We cannot evade our destiny, but through satsang we can insulate ourselves from the
resultant distress. Satsang purifies the mind; we recognize our Guru, and the attunement with the Guru reveals to us the Lord residing in our heart. This vision of the whole destroys all our karmas.

Rising Above Delusions
It is extremely difficult to detect the enemies that lie hidden deep within one’s personality, which attack unexpectedly, even as the seeker attains great heights of spirituality. When the conscious mind, cleared of its impurities, becomes quiet and pure, a horde of negative impressions and impurities gathered from innumerable past lives rises up in the unmanifest or the subconscious mind.

During the course of the ferocious battle between Shri Rama and Ravana, the latter became invisible and fired a special missile called nagapasa, which shot up snakes that tied everyone, including Shri Rama and Lakshmana, forcing them to lie helpless and motionless on the ground. Narada Muni arrived on the scene and counseled Shri Hanuman to bring Vishnu’s Garuda, the king of birds. The eagle is an arch enemy of snakes. Hanuman brought Garuda and with his help, freed everyone from the nagapasa. Hanuman cut the bondage created by this poisonous missile, and freed everyone from its evil influences.

These are but a few ways of overcoming difficult situations in life. Surrendering to the Lord and seeking guidance from him helps us to lead a more satisfied and fulfilling life.

I sincerely wish that every one of you follows the single-minded determination displayed by Lord Hanuman, staying focused on your aim in life. I strongly believe that every difficult situation has a solution. It is up to us to understand the situation, believe in the guidance that the Lord provides and work out a solution.

Lord Hanuman took a leap across the ocean, firmly holding on to determination and faith in his mind. We need to take that leap of faith. Trust in the Lord, and leave the rest to him. He will take care of everything.

Swami Swaroopananda
Global Head, Chinmaya Mission