The Puranas and epics are full of characters, divine and mortal who seem fantastic and larger than life. While I don’t know if any of it really happened, they are an accurate representation of human behaviour both as is and ideal.
Most Hindu households had elders who told stories from the epics to their grandchildren and thus passed on an oral tradition. My older girl had the privilege of having my mother in-law bringing the stories alive for her as a young child. The younger one has had to do with books. Life circumstances changed by the time she came into the world.
I like to consider characters from the epics as embodiments of certain qualities or traits. As the son of Vayu, Hanuman was blessed with great power but he remained humble and devoted to his Lord. His very existence was for the service of his Rama and he represented the three paths of bhakti, jnana and karma. He was said to be accomplished in speech and knowledge besides being a formidable warrior and sage counsel. As someone who had perfect control over his senses, he was the supreme brahmachari. Yogi par excellence.
He takes the existence of a vaanara, loosely translated a monkey but divinely human in nature. Why a monkey? Why the son of Vayu? Hidden within the stories are other stories, pretty much the modus operandi of most of the ancient volumes available. The story is complete in and of itself but the deeper layers continuously come to the surface every time I contemplate on it. This technique of staying with the same thoughts, words and letting their meanings emerge is a new way of making the field of my mind ready. Somehow it feels right.
Off to the Institute in a bit for today’s celebration.