The Sundara Kanda of the Ramayana describes Hanuman’s leap across the ocean to Lanka. Sugriva and Rama have given him the task of locating the kidnapped Sita. Hanuman vows to fly non-stop to accomplish his mission, but is confronted with a series of obstacles. The poem narrates the hurdles he faces during his journey, and how the Vanara cleverly overcomes them.

Mainaka, a mountain in the sea, blocks his path, stating that she was sent by the ocean king to honour him as a guest. But Hanuman is focused on his goal and politely declines the offer of hospitality. The celestial beings, eager to test Hanuman’s prowess, send Surasa, the mother of the serpents, to obstruct and challenge him.

She appears before Hanuman and is ready to devour him; for she has a boon from Brahma by which none could go past her without entering her mouth. Hanuman’s strategy is to challenge her to increase her form while he also grows in size. When she grows 100-fold, he quickly takes a diminutive form, enters her mouth and also comes out of it in a trice.

Another demon, Simhika tries to intercept Hanuman’s shadow with the desire of eating him. Hanuman realises he is being slowed down because Simhika is holding on to his shadow, and after assessing the situation confronts her and tears up her entrails.

In these heroic acts, Hanuman displays the spirit of self-confidence, said Sri Goda Venkateswara Sastrigal in a discourse. Self-confidence is the surest safeguard against the hurdles of life. A weak mind easily responds to demotivation, and this may result in depression and failure. No doubt, Hanuman was blessed with extraordinary powers at birth (he was the son of the wind deity, Vayu, and Anjana), and had received powerful boons. At the same time, for overconfidence and arrogance, he was cursed to forget these powers. Despite this, Hanuman was successful in using his powers to cross the ocean, overcome all obstacles, and accomplish his mission by remaining humble, while maintaining firm faith in, and devotion to, Rama. We, too, must cross the ocean of Samsara in the same spirit of confidence and humility.

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