Sonia Sumitra Thakar
If one cannot read the entire Ramayana, it is believed that reading just the Sunderkand is sufficient to imbibe its essence. The Sunderkand is the 5th chapter of the epic. It narrates the story of Hanuman on his search for Mother Sita and chronicles his adventures in Lanka. It is filled with events and incidents that teach us the many morals that we can apply to our daily lives.
Here are some of the profound and highly practical lessons which we can imbibe, and thereby better our lives, from the Sunderkand:
- Each of us has inner strength and unique abilities
In the beginning of the Sunderkand, Jambhavan (son of Brahma and minister in monkey king Sugreeva’s court) reminds Hanuman of his immense strength and his ability to fly. Thanks to this, Hanuman decides to fly across the sea to Lanka to look for Mother Sita.
Lesson: We all have immense inner power and strength. Sometimes we forget this, but if we tap into it, we can achieve great things in life. Also, it is good to be surrounded by true and loyal friends who can remind us of our hidden potential and talent from time to time. It’s important to also surround ourselves with those who can keep us motivated and give us a necessary boost when we need it.
- Chalk out your priorities and remain focussed
When the ocean realised that Lord Rama’s emissary Hanuman was passing over it, it requested the mountain Mainak to come out and offer itself to Hanuman to rest upon. Hanuman politely declined the offer as he didn’t want to delay his journey.
Lesson: Know your priorities and remain focussed on the task at hand. Don’t let anything get in your way and don’t rest unnecessarily when it might delay the achievement of your goal. There is no need to hurt anyone’s feelings—you can always remain polite even when refusing someone’s help.
- Brain over brawn
Sursa, the sea serpent tries to eat Hanuman as he crosses the ocean. Hanuman, with his sharp wit, manages to trick the serpent and escape.
Lesson: Mere physical strength is not enough—mental wit and quick thinking can often can get you out of a tough situation. One should know when to use one’s physical strength or brawns and when to use one’s intelligence or brains to tackle any problem.
- Patience and proper planning are important
Once Hanuman reaches Lanka, he sits on a mountain and contemplates on what is the best thing to do rather than directly jumping in to start looking for Mother Sita. He decides to enter the city under the cover of darkness and in a very small form.
Lesson: We need to analyse any problem carefully and think it through properly before attacking it. Often, patience is the key to overcoming obstacles successfully.
- Pay attention to detail
Hanuman notices a palace with a tulsi plant and a temple with the mark of Lord Rama’s bows and arrows and, thus, finds Vibhishana who helps him later on.
Lesson: We must pay attention to even the smallest of details as we don’t know what might act in our favour. We must think things through logically and listen to the voice of reason.
- Inner strength can raise one up
Vibhishana tells Hanuman - just as the tongue remains soft even though it is surrounded by hard and sharp teeth, similarly even though he lives amongst wicked demons he loves and follows Lord Rama.
Lesson: If one has faith in oneself, no one can touch one’s character and virtue. Even if one is surrounded by negative people one can remain righteous if one has inner strength. No one can sway you from your path unless you let them.
- Empathise and think before acting
When Hanuman sees Mother Sita in the Ashoka Vatika, he doesn’t present himself to her immediately. To let her know that he is friend and not a foe, he first sits on a tree and sings the praises of Lord Rama. After thus comforting her, he then drops Rama’s ring down as proof that Rama sent him. Only after this, Hanuman comes before Mother Sita.
Lesson: One should put oneself in the other person’s shoes before acting. Prior to tackling any task, one must think it through properly and then take appropriate action. Many times, acting on impulse or in a rash manner may cause more harm than good.
- Never let go of your values
Hanuman offers to carry Mother Sita back to Lord Rama on his back. Despite being kept as a prisoner, she refuses saying that this would undermine her husband’s valour and also as a virtuous woman, she could not willingly touch another man.
Lesson: Virtue is our biggest asset and no matter how terrible the situation may be, we mustn’t lose sight of our value system.
- Health is wealth
After speaking to Mother Sita, Hanuman asks her permission to eat fruits from the garden to satiate his hunger.
Lesson: We should never neglect our body no matter how busy we are. Our physical health is important and only a fit, strong and healthy body can support us in our material and spiritual pursuits.
- Be humble and respect others’ power
When Ravana’s son Meghnath unleashes the celestial weapon of the Brahmastra upon Hanuman, he knew he could evade it as Brahma had himself given him the boon to be untouched by any weapon. However, in respect to Brahma, Hanuman bows down to the weapon and lets himself be captured.
Lesson: We must always show respect and regard for the powers and knowledge that others have. Never be egoistic of your own abilities, however great they may be. Practice humility to lead a peaceful life.
- Plan ahead and be strategic
When Hanuman’s tail is set alight, knowing that Lord Rama will come there soon with his army to rescue Mother Sita, he decides that it will be helpful if he destroys many important places in Lanka. He jumps all over the city and sets parts of it on fire.
Lesson: We must think ahead and be strategic in order to succeed. Sometimes mammoth tasks need to be broken down into smaller ones and tackled individually in order to make them easier to accomplish.
- Faith can be our biggest asset
When Hanuman returns after delivering Lord Rama’s message to Mother Sita, Lord Rama extols him for carrying out the assigned mission in an exemplary manner. Hanuman tells him that he was only able to do it because he kept chanting the name of Lord Rama and God’s blessings alone enabled him to complete the task successfully.
Lesson: Faith in God can move mountains. With God’s name on our lips, we can conquer even huge obstacles in our way. Divine grace is the only blessing we should aspire to attain.
There are actually innumerable lessons to be learnt from the Sunderkand, of which these are a few of the most compelling and valuable ones. If you wish to see transformation happening in your life and get ahead on the spiritual path, you can order the Sunderkand today from our catalogue of luxurious products. This premium quality publication is as beautiful as its name.
Reciting the Sunderkand regularly can have many deep and lasting benefits and if chanted with faith and devotion is sure to attract the blessings of Bajrangbali and his master Lord Rama.
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As you can see the Sunderkand is replete with valuable lessons for living a good and meaningful life. You can read more about the values and morals that Sunderkand teaches us by clicking here. Reading and imbibing these lessons in our daily lives can have a profound effect on us and our families. You can buy your own premium copy of this powerful sacred text here and fill your life with peace, prosperity and the blessings of the Lord.