Hanuman, the monkey God, is one of my favorite deities in the expansive Hindu pantheon. He embodies strength with humility and pure, unfaltering devotion. The stories about Hanuman are wonderful examples of perseverance on a devout spiritual path. He quintessentially embodies bhakti – devotional love. He is dedicated to humbly serving God in all his actions – thus he is the perfect bhakta/devotee. A beautiful image that is widespread in Hindu art, and is indicative of Hanuman’s character, is one of him ripping open his chest to show perfect images of Rama and Sita enshrined in his heart.
The story behind this image goes something like this….
“Once Sita gave Hanuman a necklace of pearls. After a while, the residents of the city observed him breaking the necklace and inspecting each pearl minutely. Intrigued they asked him the reason. “I am looking for Rama and Sita,” replied Hanuman. Laughing at his apparent naivety the spectators pointed out to him that the royal couple was at the moment seated on the imperial throne. “But Rama and Sita are everywhere, including my heart” wondered aloud the true bhakta. Not understanding the depth of his devotion, they further teased him: “So Rama and Sita live in your heart, can you show them to us?” Unhesitatingly, Hanuman stood up and with his sharp talons tore open his chest. There, within his throbbing heart, the astonished audience were taken aback to find enshrined an image of Rama and Sita. Never again did anyone make fun of Hanuman’s devotion.”
(Nitin Kumar, http://www.exoticindiaart.com/article/hanuman/)
Hanuman serves as an example to us to strive always to serve humbly and love purely at all costs. He is not swayed by the derision or doubts of others, but firmly remains innocently sweet, loving and true in his devotion to God.
May we always hold God in our hearts in the manner of the pure Bhakti Yogi – Hanuman ji!!!