CHENNAI: A devotee who chose to remain in this world when he was privileged to accompany the Lord to His divine abode is Hanuman. He prided in calling himself as His servant and his rationale was that he would be able to listen to the chanting of the Divine name, Rama, and His glory only here on the Earth. So the popular adage about Hanuman that he is present wherever the glory of Raghu’s name is chanted and listens with tears of joy flowing down his cheeks.

Hanuman does not appear in the Ramayana till the story unfolds to the point where Rama and Lakshmana approach the Pampa lake in their search for Sita. But, from the moment Sugriva despatches Hanuman to find out who these strangers were, fearing that they might be Vali’s men, he comes to occupy centre stage in the epic. The crucial task of locating Sita’s whereabouts was entrusted to him unanimously once his valour, physical prowess and sagacity of mind became clear to all. And the manner in which he successfully accomplished it speaks volumes of his singular devotion to Rama and his eagerness to be of service to Him. No wonder then Hanuman has become synonymous with success.

In her discourse, Dr. Sudha Seshayyan said Rama Himself testified that Hanuman was best suited to be an envoy as he could win over anyone with his speech. After listening to Hanuman’s query about their identity and introducing himself as Sugriva’s minister, Rama impressed by his speech remarked to Lakshmana, “He utters a wholesome, distinct and remarkable speech, which is grammatically correct, fluent and delightful to the mind.” The Kamba Ramayanam commends him in Rama’s words as a “possessor of a wealth of words” (Sollin selvan).

In Tulasidasa’s Ramacharatimanasa, the meeting takes on a spiritual dimension to highlight Hanuman’s devotion and servitude to the Lord. On learning of Rama’s identity, Hanuman, greatly agitated, fell at His feet seeking His pardon for failing to recognise Him at once, saying he was deluded by Maya. Rama lifted him and consoled him saying that he was twice as dear to Him as Lakshmana was. Though the Lord looks upon all with the same eye His devotee is particularly dear to Him.