O my dear brother mind! Become attached to the path of your own bhajana, and to singing the glories of your worshipful Lordship, His pastimes, and abode Śrī Vṛndāvana. This process of devotional service I have described is called naiṣṭhika-bhajana, or unwavering devotion. Hanumān’s character is a prime example of this.
śrīnāthe jānakī-nāthe cābhedaḥ paramātmani
tathāpi mama sarvasvaṁ rāmaḥ kamala-locanaḥ
Śrī Hanumān said, “Śrī Nārāyaṇa, the master of Lakṣmī, and Śrī Rāma, the master of Sīta, are both paramātma, but still kamala-locana, the lotus-eyed Rāma is my everything.”
This niṣṭhā Hanumān has for Rāma is very favorable for bhajana. Gauḍīya-vaiṣṇavas are ekaniṣṭha towards Śrī Rādhā, Kṛṣṇa, and Mahāprabhu, but still they glorify the niṣṭhā of Hanumānji.
Once, Garuḍa came to Hanumān and said, “The worshipful Lord is calling you—Śrī Kṛṣṇa wants to see you.” He replied, “My health is not good. I am feeling ill. I cannot go.” Garuḍa repeated, “Kṛṣṇa is calling you.” Hanumān replied, “I understand, but I am so weak. I cannot even lift my tail.” Then Garuḍa thought he would pick him up and take him by force, but Hanumān hit Garuḍa with his tail and he went flying into the ocean at Dvārakā. Garuḍa then came before Kṛṣṇa who asked if Hanumān had come. Garuḍa’s abhimāna was now broken. He had thought Hanumān was just a weak monkey. Kṛṣṇa, understanding everything, then told Garuḍa, “This time go and tell him that Sītā and Rāma are calling him.”
Garuḍa went back to Hanumān and said, “Sītā and Rāma are calling you.” At once Hanumān became very happy and said, “I am just taking bath, and as soon as I finish putting on tilaka I will come. Go ahead and tell Rāma that I am coming shortly.” Garuḍa said, “I can fly as fast as the mind so I can take you on my back.” Hanumān said, “Don’t worry. Just go ahead. I am coming now”. Garuḍa began flying as fast as he could to Dvārakā but halfway he saw Hanumān coming back. Hanumān had already seen Kṛṣṇa in the form of Rāma, and spoken to him. He was now returning while Garuḍa had barely reached halfway.
Rāma had requested Hanumān to assist Arjuna during the upcoming Mahābhārata War by being on the flag of his chariot to protect him, which he did. Finally, after the battle was over Arjuna requested Kṛṣṇa to get down off the chariot. Kṛṣṇa said, No! First you will have to get down. Arjuna then got off and then when Kṛṣṇa got down the chariot burst into flames. Arjuna was shocked, and asked Kṛṣṇa why this happened? Kṛṣṇa explained that Hanumān had been protecting the chariot the whole time. As soon as Kṛṣṇa Himself, who is the maintainer of innumerable universes, got down, the chariot could not withstand all the immense damage it had absorbed, and was thus instantly destroyed. The chariot should have broken a long time before from the arrows of Bhiṣma Pitāmaha, Dronācārya, Karṇa, and others, but by the strength of Hanumān it stayed intact. This service performed by Hanumān is a symptom of his niṣṭhā and prema. This is what we call prema-lakṣana.
Hanuman ki Jaya! Narottama das Thakur ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Sri Prema-Bhakti Candrika”. Available from: [email protected] )