In earlier articles, we offered Hanuman Ji’s profile followed by his diplomacy skills in brokering friendship between Lord Ram and Sugriva. The following includes more examples of his diplomacy when Hanuman arrives in Lanka, finds Sita, and meets Ravana.
Hanuman Heading to Lanka:
Tasked to find Sita, Hanuman asked Ram to give him something to establish his credibility as his representative. Ram offered the wedding ring to Hanuman. With the ability to disguise himself and stay under the radar, Hanuman flew across the ocean (using his power embodied in him as the son of Wind God).
As he entered the foreign land of Lanka, Hanuman used his intelligence-gathering skills (present-day drones). He keenly observed the surroundings- the people of Lanka and their demeanor, the architectural landscape, and the security arrangements as much as possible without being noticed. Hindu epic Ramayana documents many challenges and obstacles faced by Hanuman en route to Lanka which he successfully removed with his Divine power and skills.
Ashok Vatika: Finally, Hanuman entered the manicured garden, Ashoka Vatika, where Sita was held in captivity of King Ravana. Hidden on a tree assuming a diminutive, Hanuman observed Sita and took cognizance of her state of mind and the activities around her.
Assuring himself of the safe surroundings, Hanuman dropped the wedding ring which made Sita very curious and concerned. Then, he jumped down to appear face-to-face with Sita Ji. Hanuman, using his diplomatic skills, introduced him as the humble messenger of Lord Ram. At first, Sita was very scared that Ravana came as an imposter because he was very capable to play the game. However, the skilled Hanuman succeeded in gaining Sita’s trust and confidence that he was Ram bhakta (devotee) Hanuman and not an imposter.
Courageous Ambassador with Presence of Mind
Encounter with Meghnath: With the main mission of Sita’s whereabouts complete, Hanuman wanted to assess the military strength of King Ravana. He used his presence of mind to start damaging Ashok Vatika with the intention of engaging the soldiers (guarding the Vatika) in a show of strength. Indeed, the soldiers were no match for the strong and undefeatable Hanuman.
The defeated soldiers informed King Ravana who asked his son Meghnath to go to Ashok Vatika. After a brief fight, Meghnath arrested Hanuman and brought him to the court of King Ravana. Important to observe again is Hanuman’s presence of mind in that he did not resist his arrest and thus he could meet Ravana to assess his strength.
Ravana’s Court: Face to face with Ravana in his court, the proud Hanuman asserted his presence as Ram’s humble servant. Hanuman narrated Bhagwan Ram’s glory unhesitatingly. He diplomatically suggested that Ravana should free Sita and seek Ram’s forgiveness. Such words infuriated Ravana. He rose from his throne to punish Hanuman for his arrogant statement in court.
In the process, Hanuman successfully gauged Ravana’s temper, tantrums, personality, mental state, and strength as Ram’s emissary. Hanuman observed that one of Ravana’s ministers and courtiers, Vibhishan, Ravana’s younger brother, was different. Vibhishan advised his brother that killing an emissary is against the moral duty of King Ravana. Heeding his brother’s advice, Ravana ordered that Hanuman be punished for his defiance, insult, and entering Lanka as an intruder.
Punishment to Hanuman: Ravana’s court chose to punish Hanuman by burning his tail. The daring Hanuman chanted Sri Ram and used his Divine power to lengthen his tail. Ravana and his courtiers were in utter amazement. In a show of his strength, defiant Hanuman challenged Ravana once again for freeing Sita and no war with Ram before walking out with a burning tail.
Burning Lanka: While leaving Lanka, Hanuman fearlessly caused significant damage by igniting a fire in buildings with his burning tail. When Ravana was notified about the damage, he ordered the capture of Hanuman. However, Ravana’s soldiers failed miserably to arrest flying Hanuman.
Clearly, Hanuman used his strong capabilities and skills in finding Sita and diplomacy to convey a strong message to Ravana. Hanuman’s return from Lanka triumphantly was just the beginning of his becoming a trusted/loyal friend and devout bhakta of Lord Ram.
Since Ravan failed to free Sita and avoid war with Ram, Hanuman led the army of Vanaras. Both sides had strong warriors with Divine blessings and potent armaments. However, Hanuman with Lord Ram’s presence played a crucial role in winning the war against Lanka’s Ravana. An immortal warrior and Diplomat par excellence, Hanuman offered help at every juncture.
Returning to Ayodhya: Finally, Hanuman accompanied Ram, Sita, and Lakshman to Ayodhya and earned a rightful place for himself. According to Uttara Kanda of Ramayan, Ram ordered Hanuman to stay on earth. Hanuman is fondly remembered and prayed with reverence wherever Lord Ram is praised.
Traditionally, the Hindus keep fast on Tuesday in honor of Lord Hanuman. Hindus believe that chanting Hanuman Chalisa removes all obstacles and challenges in one’s life.
Hanuman and Today’s Politics: It is believed that Lord Indra blessed Hanuman with immunity from all sorts of weapons making him Vajradeh (body like a diamond) and gave him the name Bajrang Bali. In modern India, an organization called the Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the Hindu Vishwa Parishad (VHP) with an ideology based on Hindutva.
India is undergoing a renaissance to preserve, protect, and promote Hindutva against the ever-growing anti-Hinduism propaganda. For example, Bajrang Dal is at a crossroads in the upcoming assembly elections in the State of Karnataka. India’s oldest but struggling Congress party manifesto mentions that it might “impose a ban” on Bajrang Dal. The manifesto also equates Bajrang Dal with the outlawed Islamic group called Popular Front of India (PFI). PFI is reportedly linked with terrorism and other anti-national activities. Consequently, VHP has kicked up a storm lashing out at Congress.
It is no secret that Prime Minister Modi, a Hindu nationalist himself, is using the slogan of Jai Bajrang Bali (Hail Bajrang Bali-Hanuman) in his campaign rallies. It is a political counter-attack against Congress’s manifesto in Karnataka. Bajrang Dal is also calling for chanting Hanuman Chalisa to remove all obstacles to winning the election and protest against Congress’s manifesto.