Hanuman Darshan … from chapter 18

Hanuman Darshan

I performed my omkars in front of the shiny orange Hanuman, then I sat in front of him, and with great humility and shame, repeated my guru mantra, counting one hundred and eight repetitions on my rosary.

"Hanuman"Hanuman the hero glowed in front of me. His expression betrayed his sense of duty and purpose. Even though one of his feet seemed to be on the ground, he was really flying through the air. I recalled the episode from the story of the Ramayana. Lakshman, the brother of Ram, lay slain, along with countless monkey warriors, as Ram attacked the demon Ravan in his kingdom on the island of Lanka, to recover his kidnapped princess. Ram was distraught, and the entire monkey army was disheartened. Everything depended on Hanuman flying to the Himalayas and returning with a rare herb that restores life to the dead before the sun rose on the following day. Needless to say, Hanuman forgot important details and couldn’t find the herb. After several misadventures, he mustered his heroic strength, uprooted the entire mountain, and flew back to Lanka holding the mountain in his right hand, so that the monkey physician himself could identify the plant. The image I sat in front of, was just that, Hanuman flying back with the mountain. Under his left armpit was a disk. He not only forgot the description of the herb, but he was late. So he also had to kidnap the Sun who, in fact, was his guru, and hide him until he arrived back in Lanka.

I thought of situations of extraordinary strength such as that of the woman who lifted an automobile off her young child. Was Hanuman not pulled by the operation of Sympathy, the Active? Ram, the Balanced, incarnated to restore order to the Universe, to maintain the Same. This Same, the Active, pulled Hanuman and all the power given to him at birth by all the gods, to the performance of a particular deed. Only a superhero could perform such a thing, and so he succeeded. I remembered Hari Puri Baba telling me that Hanuman was the Lord of Hopeless Causes.

Then it occurred to me that this magical operation of the Active, that drew me into Western discourse, was also drawing me into the sameness of Dattatreya, and the Tradition of Knowledge. It was Hari Puri Baba that was pulling me into him so that I should eventually lose my identity and become him. It is only the operation of antipathy, the Passive, that kept me trying to maintain my individuality. But was it really possible to distinguish myself from this constructed Western Man?

The priest came over and gave me a sweetmeat offering to Hanuman, and applied a tikka of sticky orange sindhur to my third eye. He invited me to have a cup of tea with him in the rear courtyard of the temple, where there was a wrestling ring called an akhara. An odd place to wrestle? Hanuman temples often contain wrestling rings and his devotees are often enthusiasts of physical culture. We moved to the back and watched the wrestlers go through their training.